Things that don’t impress me

Supposedly body-positive ad campaigns that only feature hourglass-shaped, flat-stomached, smaller plus size women.

Supposedly body-positive ad campaigns that claim to represent “all shapes and sizes,” yet come from a site that carries few plus size items, many of which run far smaller than true plus sizes. (Unique Vintage has only 85 plus size items available on their site right now, out of over 1,000 dresses, tops, and bottoms. About half of them are from Kiyonna; of the non-Kiyonna dresses, quite a few have size charts on which the largest size, 4x, is equivalent to a 16.)

I just can’t bring myself to care about images that don’t include any models who look like me, or stores that carry very few items in my size while they claim to champion all bodies. These campaigns don’t feel particularly new or revolutionary; stores like Lane Bryant have been parading hourglass-y, smaller-fat models around in their undies for years if not decades, and plenty of stores carry sizes up to 14 or 16. The same old “inclusion” that actually includes only a small minority of fat women doesn’t do anything for me, nor does the thin veneer of body-positivity that marketers have adopted as a trendy way to sell us the same old shit.

I’ll be impressed when Lane Bryant makes an ad campaign featuring models who wear all the sizes they carry, up to 30/32.

I’ll be impressed when Unique Vintage follows ModCloth’s example and actually starts making a variety of cute clothes in true plus sizes. (Which is not to say that ModCloth is perfect, but they’ve made some genuine big steps forward and shown that they’re responsive to their plus size customers.)

To be clear, I’m not bashing women who do find these campaigns exciting or inspirational. If they resonate with you, cool, you do you. I’m just not impressed, and I expect better.

OOTD: Summoning spring

If I wear lots of bright colors and florals, then spring will come more quickly, right? I’m pretty sure that’s how weather works…

plus size pink and yellow floral outfit

Cardigan: Eloquii via clothing swap, dress: Yours Clothing, teggings: Re/Dress, coat: Nicolette Mason for ModCloth, shoes: L.L. Bean, socks: not sure, necklace and bracelets: eBay, earrings: So Good (present from Steve), headband: Gardens of Whimsy

plus size outfit light pink coat and yellow leggings

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Sunday Links, 12/18/14

house with lots of christmas decorations including toy train and large snowman

One of the many houses in Somerville that go all-out with Christmas decorations.

#BlackLivesMatter
-“It is comforting to think of these acquittals and non-indictments as contrary to American values. But it is just as likely that they reflect American values.”
“Ya’ll Ain’t Hearing Me”: white liberalism and the killing of Aura Rosser.
-“Whether or not he had a gun, nothing warranted Antonio Martin’s death, and nothing justifies leaving his body in the streets for two hours like roadkill.”
BlackAmazon’s “Twas The Tweet’s Before Christmas.”
13 things we re-learned about the prison industrial complex in 2014.
The cops hate being filmed, so why are they ok with body cameras?
Embracing “crazy” in the “land of the free.”
The deaths of two NYPD officers are tragic, but not an indictment of the anti-brutality movement. It is also imperative to center Shaneka Thompson, whom Brinsley shot before killing the two officers–to make it clear that domestic violence is violence.
#BlackLivesMatter protest shuts down the Mall of America on December’s biggest shopping day. Show some love for LUSH Cosmetics, which got trolled by racists for supporting its workers’ right to join the protests.
Injustice at the intersection: how America’s suburbs are engineered against the walking poor.
How Chicago Youth Diversion fails justice-involved girls.
No, Mayor DiBlasio, there is never a wrong time to say that black lives matter.
-“it’s frustrating to see my righteous anger at unjust systems interpreted as hatred for individuals. but it’s more frustrating to see the oppressed suffer while those maladjusted to injustice remain silent.”

bouquet of blue and white flowers for hanukkah

A Hanukkah bouquet at Trader Joe’s

Fa(t)shion
-The coolest thing ever: a Nobel recipient accepted her prize wearing a gown covered in the neurons she discovered.
-So excited for the Lela Rose collection for Lane Bryant!
ModCloth’s #FashionTruth monthly spotlight: Jennae says, forget the rules!
-More fabulously edgy pictures from Skorch’s living doll editorial.
-Liz reviews a top from Smart Glamour, a new company that carries size up to 6x and also offers custom sizing.
3 amazing dresses Rebel Wilson has worn recently, and where you can buy them. I especially love the pink one, of course.
-Wisconsin fatties, check out my friend Emma’s upcoming clothing swap! Continue reading

OOTD: Time travel

I wasn’t sure what to do for the Alternative Curves December theme of time travel, until I realized that I had never posted pictures of what I wore to my friends’ wedding and rehearsal dinner back in June. The dress I wore to the rehearsal dinner is very Edwardian, and although the accessories aren’t, I think it still counts.

alternative curves edwardian dress

Dress: ModCloth, shoes: Clarks, fascinator: H&M (old), necklace and earrings: So Good, bracelets: Deb Shops, clutch: eBay, rhinestone ring: ASOS Curve, rose ring: really old

plus size edwardian dress

I love this dress so much. I’ve only worn it once since the rehearsal dinner, but I’m definitely planning to wear it again this holiday season. Continue reading

My #FashionTruth

I know I’m a little late to the #FashionTruth conversation, but better late than never. I’m really glad that ModCloth’s co-founder Susan Koger has challenged the industry to change for the better, and I have plenty of thoughts of my own to add. Consider this my own open letter.

hot pink plus size outfit with blue scarf against pink wall

Dear Fashion Industry,

I’ve always loved fashion in one form or another, from the days when I pored over the rainbows of fabric colors in L.L. Bean catalogs to the time I showed off my new floral skirt for show-and-tell in first grade. I got really into style as personal expression in middle school, which is also when I became fat–so just as my interest in fashion deepened, I found myself excluded from it in so many ways.

Every teen magazine I read was full of unattainably-thin bodies, with only the occasional token plus size model who looked vaguely like me. As a young teen, I barely fit into a size 13, which was the biggest juniors’ size available in most stores–and then I gained weight and sized out of most juniors’ clothing. The fun clothes I saw in magazines rarely came in a size 16, and it was especially hard to find specialized items like prom dresses. It takes a toll on your self-esteem when you hardly ever see your reflection in media;  when bodies like yours are portrayed only as problems to be solved; when you can’t find your size in most clothing stores you walk into, or can only find one rack of frumpy dresses at the back of the store.

Plus size clothing has come a long way since then, mainly thanks to the rise of online shopping. I have far more options today at a size 22 than I did then at a 16. But still, it’s rare to find my size in a brick-and-mortar store, so I’ve mostly given up on buying clothes in person. And women who wear a size or two larger than I do, let alone a size 30 or above, have significantly fewer options.

This needs to change. It’s not ok that such a large percentage of women and girls don’t see themselves reflected in fashion media, and it’s not ok that so many of us can’t find clothes in our size.

plus size outfit pink jacket, blue and pink scarf, pink hat, and black pants Continue reading

Sunday links, 9/14/14

woman in pink tutu jumping in front of the notre dame cathedral

Life has been a little overwhelming since getting back from Europe. I’ve been catching up on all sorts of things and dealing with getting back to everyday life after my first adult trip abroad, all while adjusting to a new office (my current temp job has been moving me around, and I’m still not sure if/when/where I’ll get moved next). I have so many things I want to write about, and so many pictures to post! But it might take me some time to get to them. In the meantime, here are my traditional jumping-in-front-of-landmark pictures. 🙂

Fa(t)shion
-ModCloth’s co-founder, Susan Koger, asks the fashion industry to change for the better. Many bloggers have added their voices to the #FashionTruth conversation, including Kristina, Virgie, Kate, and Thamarr.
The connecting threads between the global garment trade and sex trade.
-I love everything about Betsey Johnson’s spring show “Pre-Nup” (except, of course, the lack of body diversity and the fact that Betsey Johnson doesn’t make clothes in my size).
Five fabulous ways to wear tulle skirts.
-Sally writes about the evolution of her style and the expectations that readers put on fashion bloggers.
Curves on the red carpet: Danielle Brooks.
-Olivia gives her recommendations for dress-shopping as a plus size bride.
Plus size fashion: 1 step forward, 2 steps back?
-Leah went to Plus North, which sounds like a lot of fun.
31 ridiculously gorgeous people at the Afropunk festival.
-Margot Meanie started #alternativecurves on Instagram, which is full of fab punk-y inspiration.
Catherines’ new Black Label collection includes size 34W/5x.

Fat Acceptance
Processing the federal government’s $3 million lesbian obesity study in six steps.
-Ragen writes about what it’s like doing fat activist work full-time. On a related note, Jes is leaving her job to do body advocacy full-time, and you can support her work by donating on Patreon.
-“Aren’t you afraid of health problems later in life?”
“Good fatty” vs. “Bad Fatty”: an exploration of behavior and the policing of women’s agency.
-“My images are for everyone who has ever been told that they can’t.”

woman jumping in front of eiffel tower Continue reading

Sunday links, 8/31/14

plexiglass rainbow panels attached to bridge in boston

I love Boston because I come across gorgeous art installations like this one while just walking around.

FYI, there will be no Sunday Links next week, as I will be busy doing some fun and exciting things that I’ll tell you about afterwards. Comment moderation may also be a bit slow for the next week or so.

Fa(t)shion
Afropunk fashions: bodies as resistance.
Troll earrings, you guys. TROLL EARRINGS.
-Liz Black has teamed up with Fame & Partners to make a line of plus size fancy dresses. They’re pricey and only go up to a size 22, but they’re gorgeous.
-Skorch Magazine has a guide to plus size retailers’ Labor Day sales (25% off everything at both Domino Dollhouse and Re/Dress, hell yeah!)
-Meet Jes Baker at ModCloth’s open call for models in New York.
Body parts aren’t problems, and they don’t need solutions.
29 plus size jackets, because autumn is right around the corner.
Headwear inspiration from the Countess of Glamour.
-I love Re/Dress’ new lookbook, Farewell Fairytale Summer.
Girls speak out against sexist school dress codes.
A photographer captures the often-overlooked South Asian “aunty” culture.
Found: 15 new plus size labels to love.

Fat Acceptance
It’s not me, it’s you: the absent dialogue around fat women’s sexuality.
Why skinny shaming is not the same as fat discrimination.
-If you have diabetes, check out the Fat Acceptance Diabetes Support List.
Pretending there are no fat people.

close-up of rainbow plexiglass panels and their reflections on the sidewalk Continue reading