Last weekend (no, not this past weekend, but the one before) was full of fat, fabulous clothing swapping.
On Saturday night, I hosted an informal swap at my apartment. I set up signs on the couches and chairs for different sizes ranges (12-16, 18-22, and 24+), and people piled clothing onto the furniture as they arrived.
We had a blast trying on clothing, passing things around, and generally enjoying each other’s company. I picked up some truly awesome stuff, and I was happy to see some of my old clothes go to good homes as well.
Then, on Sunday, I went to a more formally organized event: Sip & Swap: The Curvy Edition, hosted by Ty-Juana of Style Your Curves. It was in a bar downtown, which was nice and quiet in the afternoon, and the event had three signature drinks. And I wore an outfit made up mostly of things from the first swap!
Dress: Lane Bryant via swap, hat: Icing via swap, earrings: either So Good or Claire’s, leggings: Wet Seal Plus, shoes: Naot, pearls: So Good, fat necklace: Fancy Lady Industries
First, we had some time to mix, mingle, and look at the clothing. There wasn’t a dressing room, but I managed to try on everything I liked over my clothing, so I could tell what I wanted to grab when the swapping started. I got to chat with a few other fashion bloggers and meet some cool new people, like Shay of Curvy Genes.
Then there was a short period of swapping. We were divided into two groups based on numbers we had received at the door, and the people with numbers 1-5 went first, then the people with 6-10. I made a beeline for the items I liked, and got all of it but a gorgeous red wrap dress. I’m sure whoever took it will rock it!
Overall, I had a good time, but I felt like it wasn’t as fat-positive an environment as my swap. I heard smatterings of talk about minimizing or camouflaging body parts, and references to smaller being better. I even talked with one women who proclaimed, “Curvy doesn’t necessarily mean overweight!” and then went on to tell me about her niece, who had a “perfect body”–big breasts and butt, flat stomach–but still thought she was fat, which of course was a travesty.
In moments like that, it’s hard to know what to say, so I just let it slide. But it’s frustrating to hear other women talk about fat as a bad word, draw a line between acceptably fat (“curvy”) and unacceptably fat (“overweight”), and hold up a particular body type–which happens to be very different from mine–as an ideal. Especially since my not-at-all-flat stomach is the body part I’ve struggled the most to accept. I wish I’d had the guts to tell her, all bodies are good bodies. Fat isn’t a bad word.
It definitely felt like an event that was more focused on fashion than on fat politics, which is totally fine–not all events need to be political, and fashion is a lot of fun.
But it made me grateful that I also have a political fat community, a group of people who share a common understanding that there’s no wrong way to have a body.
On that note, here’s my outfit from the first swap, featuring lots of fat-pos accessories:
Top: from the clothing swap a few months ago (because swaps are awesome), skirt: two smaller unicorn skirts found at the Buffalo Exchange, sewn together by my friend Red, capri leggings: Target, flip-flops: Old Navy, headband: Crown & Glory (yes, that’s where I get about 80% of my hair accessories), fat necklace: Fancy Lady Industries, custom TTH necklace: DiDepux, brooches: the Tiny Hobo, earrings: Lithia’s Creations
And while we’re at it, a few more pictures of Sunday’s outfit:
The timing of the two swaps was perfect, because I ended up with so many new things to experiment with right before Fatshion February. And I donated the leftovers from my swap to The Big Thrifty, which I’m so excited for.