Some Seriously WTF? Fashion Advice

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringSeveral readers let me know about this truly ridiculous article from brightside.me called “Seven Mistakes We Make When Choosing Clothes that stop us looking our best ” Their advice is indented, followed by my responses.  To read the article in full, you can click the link above.

Clothes that have a large checkered pattern can completely kill your figure. They look stylish, but they give the impression that you’re several inches wider at the hips. Instead, go for designs with neutral prints or just plain colors. If you really love checkered designs and can’t imagine your wardrobe without them, select items with small rather than large squares.

Looking several inches wider at the hips will “kill your figure?”  Spare me. Let’s try this again.  If you really love checkered designs and can’t imagine your wardrobe without them, then wear them happily and fuck whoever wrote this.

Horizontal prints give the impression of a much larger figure than you actually have. But if you love striped clothing, don’t despair. All you need to do is change their direction: vertical stripes achieve the opposite, making you look taller and slimmer. Alternatively, you can always opt for a classic combination of different colored items.

If you love striped clothing don’t despair, because you can wear it whenever the hell you want.   You are under no obligation to buy into a stereotype of beauty that suggests that your clothes should be used to create an optical illusion magic trick.  You look just as fabulous with a “much larger figure” so rock those stripes.

Endless ruffles, folds, and frills add at least a couple of sizes to your appearance. Try to choose clothing with the minimal amount of decorations, such as a zip-up skirt which will lengthen your figure or vertically striped clothing as described above.

We are only three tips in and already I’m sick to death of this tired fat-shaming bullshit advice.

Large prints make you look heavier and wider, whilst sandals with long laces going up your legs make you appear shorter. On the other hand, a sharp neckline and a slit in your skirt can make you look taller. Take care to select things made with just one color, and choose shoes that are close to your skin tone. This will also help you look taller and slimmer.

Say it with me – There’s nothing wrong with being short and fat! (Or tall and fat, or short and thin, or average height and kind of medium size, or whatever.) There’s nothing wrong with being tall and thin, but it’s not any better than any other height weight combination and there is something wrong with the idea that we should all try to look as tall and thin as possible.

A boat neckline on a dress can give the impression that you’re a lot heavier than you really are, whereas a V-shaped neckline with cleavage can make you look truly elegant.

This just in – being heavy is not the opposite of looking truly elegant.  GTFO with this nonsense.

The only thing worse than horizontal stripes on clothing is wide and bright horizontal stripes.

Beg to differ.  I think that there are far worse things on clothing than wide and bright horizontal stripes – like spilled spaghetti sauce right before a date, baby spit up when you are running out to an important meeting, or a swarm of angry wasps at any time.  A little perspective, please.

Bright colors make you look larger to a much greater extent than more subtle tones do.

At this point I’d like to suggest an alternate title for this piece “Seven Ways That Women Can Dress To Look As Small As They Can And, If Possible, Disappear Completely.”

This is just ridiculous.  I’m a proud member of the Fuck Flattering Club, but others don’t have to be. People of all sizes are allowed to dress however they want for whatever reasons they want (and should have the same options for design, quality, and pricepoint to do so) but can we please stop suggesting that smaller and taller are better than bigger and shorter?  Can we stop tolerating  articles like this one – that do nothing but promote fat shaming under the guise of fashion advice? Can we celebrate our right to choose clothes based on our own criteria, including not giving a flying frick whether they make us look bigger, smaller, shorter, or taller?  Instead of trying to make all bodies look tall and thin, let’s celebrate the diversity of body sizes and all the ways we choose to dress them.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on October 19, 2016 at 11:53 am  Comments (46)  

46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wait, what?! They even say “we put together things that make you look HEALTHIER in just two minutes?!??! I just can’t….

    • hahahahaha. apparently vertical stripes create the appearance of health.

    • Got an illness? No problem! Just wear a V-necked gray outfit, with only a very tiny print, if you have any at all, no frills, and a slit up the front, with shoes that match your skin tone, and all those icky germs will magically go away!

      • No, you just won’t LOOK sick. You could still die at any minute.

    • Really, though, all these sick people just need to lose the hospital gown. Hospital gowns are so five minutes ago!

    • I can, but I am trying to fight it. The way non fat people regard, consider, think of, dismiss and realign ( to non human status) fat people is moving into the absurd. After that comes scary…

  2. All of us like to wear clothes that flatter us. Each body, regardless of size, is different. I would think each of us should wear what flatters our own body and not gaf about some crappy advice that has been around since the 50’s! In the early 60’s, growing up wearing “chubby” sizes, some of the stores would tuck a half sheet of fashion suggestions in the bag with your purchases. These were exactly what is above. C’mon, it’s 2016, not 1960! FFS already

    • As a proud member of the Fuck Flattering club, I dress purely for comfort. My concession to social propriety is wearing any clothes at all during a Texas summer.

      • Yes. This sounds right out of the fifties and early sixties. I guess they thought that we would be oh so excited to see it recycled. NOT. (And it is size/fat negative, to boot.)

      • I am in my underwear right now. Granted, I am alone in my room, but I was out washing dishes earlier, and still in my underwear. Texas fall is hot, too.

        But I still love Texas. Thank God for air conditioning and curtains.

    • I’ve always thought that “flattering” meant that something showed off your shape, or highlighted what you wanted it to. I’ve never really considered it in the purely “makes you look thinner” sense. So I like clothes that show off my hips and butt well, rather than making them look flat or oddly shaped, and I consider that flattering.

      I feel good in clothes that flatter my body, and that doesn’t mean I look thin. It means I look curvy, usually.

      • Flattering, to me, usually includes jewel tones, like emerald, sapphire, and ruby. Why? Because they make my skin look so much better and yes, healthier (pallid is not healthy-looking, and women used to take arsenic to achieve sickly/pallid looks, because the Victorians got this “romantic” idea about women dying young of consumption), and I just lost my train of thought.

        Oh, yeah! For me, flattering means bright colors that bring out the color in my skin.

        Gray makes me look sickly. I don’t wear it.

  3. Over analyzing patterns, colors and stripes on clothing can often give the unflattering appearance of dumb-assery. Try spending life’s valuable moments writing about something a bit more potent.

  4. I love the part where you trashed their stupid hyperbole! The “swarm of angry wasps” part slayed me! Please expect to hear from my lawyer as I am owed due compensation for my death. It’s VERY inconvenient and traumatizing to just die like that in a puddle of gigglepee, which makes it HIGHLY irresponsible of you to go around killing people with clever jokes! *grins playfully*

  5. Remember, girls: ruffles, folds, and frills are strictly aspirational. EYE ROLL. After reading this article, I want to set the word ‘figure’ on fire.

  6. I always wore v necks because I thought they would make me look thinner. Recently I found a new cut that I love, and it doesn’t make me look thinner but it’s super comfortable and professional-looking. It feels liberating to buy clothes because I like them and I like how they feel on my body.

    • It’s really liberating to be able to bend over in an office, and not worry about your breasts showing too much, because of a deep neck. Boat-tops rock! So do V-necks, if you’re comfortable with them, or if you’re always standing up straight. V-necks are not so good for a modest woman of large cup-size, who needs to bend over a lot, or who must stand close to much taller men in an elevator.

      Turtlenecks! Why did they not even MENTION the wonderful turtleneck? Or a pixie collar? I like pixie collars.

      Professional AND liberating, because you’re more interested in what you are actually *doing* than in how “elegant” (tall and thin) you appear. And it’s more productive, too, because you can do so much more with all that spare mental energy.

      Also, I really like those skirt-pants on the bottom left. They look dressy, but you still can do all sorts of “pants-y” activities, like riding a horse, or crawling under a desk to reach the outlet and read the serial number on the back of the printer, and climb ladders, without worrying about the guy who is holding it for you. Yeah! Professional!

  7. It’s one thing to say something like ‘stripes can make you like wider if they are horizontal, and taller if they are vertical’, which lets the person decide what effect they want (if they care) and another to say, don’t do one, do the other because that’s better.

    I find it helpful ahead of time to know what to look for if I want a certain effect, but leave out the judgement!

    • Exactly! Those are basic design concepts, the ways different shapes and colors create different effects. But telling people they HAVE to choose one is so crappy.

    • Yeah I’m more used to at least seeing it go both ways, where they say (paraphrasing) fatties don’t wear horizontal stripes but you skinny 6 foot tall ladies should not wear vertical stripes. That’s not good either, but at least it offers the concept that there is such a thing as not wanting to look as tall and skinny as humanly possible. On the other hand I never read these kinds of articles, so I don’t know, maybe most of them aren’t like that.

    • Precisely, Isstrout! I have absolutely no problem with an article, or even a book, that says “Do this to achieve this optical illusion,” and let you decide if that’s the illusion you’re after.

      These tricks are particularly useful in costume design, for instance.

      But to say that only one shape/size/and height is acceptable, and all others MUST be made to conform or at least appear as if they are conforming, is just… I don’t have a word for that. But it’s bad.

  8. Aw, geez, burka anyone??

    Sheesh!

    Those tips are actually sound bites from childhood.

    Since I’m the one paying for my clothes, I wear what I please.

  9. Livin it! I found a white sweater with blue HORIZONTAL stripes I really liked but it was a little too big so I took it in as best I could and then cropped it to wear with skirts. You should SEE the looks I get from people. I swear, no matter what your shrink tells you about: “Not possibly knowing what another person is thinking when they look at you…” you know that Oh My God, what does she think she is doing, she is NOT allowed to wear THAT! look when you smell it. I add a smile to go with my blue racing stripes! Fractured!

  10. Wow – how to look slightly taller, slightly thinner, and boring as hell. I could follow every piece of their advice and I’m still going to look short and fat. I might as well look like I have a personality! sheesh.

    On a somewhat related note, I’m 20 weeks pregnant and having a fabulous time trying to find clothes that make my belly look as large as possible. Horizontal stripes look amazing on me!

    • You want to look taller? Act boldly and you will look taller.

      True story: At college, one of my dorm-mates came up to me during the second semester, and said, in an accusatory tone, “You’re short!”

      I just said, “Yeah. I’ve always been short. You just now noticed?”

      “Well, you’ve always seemed larger than life!”

      So, if you want to dress to look taller, where bright stuff that makes you feel happy, and show it. You won’t blend into the background, and your very presence will make you *seem* taller and “larger than life.”

      Congrats on the baby! I’ll bet you look fantastic!

      • It’s so freeing to confidently walk around with my belly sticking out. I’m hoping some of this confidence sticks around afterwards, because I’ve never felt so great. And maternity pants are the best thing ever. I don’t know who decided that jeans should have waistbands, but we’ve all been duped.

        • Does the waistband of your maternity pants go over the bump, or does it roll down during the day.

          I ask because I have a bit of a belly and my pants seem to roll down at the waist, even though they are not elastic.

  11. I don’t even know what a boat neckline is. I guess I’m doomed… Lol

  12. LOL – “there are far worse things on clothing that wide and bright horizontal stripes – like spilled spaghetti sauce” – that did it for me! Thank you, dear Ragen, for the belly laugh! And you are so right. To all these clever people who wrote down this “fashion advice” I would like to saythis: even if I clothed myself from head to toe in vertical stripes, I would still look like I*m short and fat; the reason being that I AM short and fat. And , curiously enough, I own (and love) a horizontally striped hoodie in bright green and purple (the dreaded, ominous “wide AND bright horizontal stripes” combi , uh oh..(. and guess what: every time I wear it, I get a lot of compliments ! Duh.

  13. A time will come when fatness is correctly understood as A) actually beneficial, and B) the physical embodiment of Abundance, and hence always worthy of Reverence and *never* revulsion. In the meantime I urge the embrace of horizontal stripes, designs which reveal and celebrate the midriff, and shiny spandex leggings. Thumb your collective noses at those whose assumptions are wholly bogus.

  14. Wow, what a joyless wardrobe this person must have. No prints, no colors, nothing that stands out or catches the eye. They truly do want to disappear completely.

  15. The only thing I could wear to cover all my so-called flaws is an invisibility cloak. Oh wait– I’m over 40. Already invisible. Screw it. I’ll wear what I want: things with pockets.

    • Must have pockets! I recently read an article saying people should stop wearing cargo shorts.

      NOOOOOOO! You’ll take my pockets when I’m dead and gone!

      I looked and looked for cargo shorts in my size, but couldn’t find them, and now my chances are even worse, if the fashion industry wants to get rid of them, even for this people! Noooooo!

      :weeps for the future of humanity, without pockets:

  16. Just commented this there. “I’m saddened that these are “mistakes” that we somehow have to avoid and tough cookies if you like these “mistakes”. I hope this misogynistic article was written by a man and not a woman who still buys into this: “we must give the illusion of being a certain kind of body because ours is terrible if it doesn’t match the Hollywood stereotype” stuff. All bodies are equal. Unless you’re a model, in which case you have to be whatever the job needs. For the rest of us, how about “seven mistakes we make when choosing clothes that stop making us look our best”. 1. Believing we don’t look our best in the clothes we lov to rock. Times seven. “

    • “1. Believing we don’t look our best in the clothes we lov to rock. Times seven. “

      LOVE it, Iypscratch!

  17. Last set of pictures: Look at the shoulders on the left. Look closely. See the seams? Now look at the shoulders on the right. See THOSE seams?

    The shirt on the left is a larger size! So, not only is she standing in an awkward position, with the front tucked in, but not the sides or the back, but the shirt itself is NOT “identical except for color.” It is big and baggy and loose, because it is a larger shirt. Also, paired with different pants and sloppy hair.

    Also, how many times do we have to hear that thin=”elegant”? “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  18. They should have titled this “Seven Ways to Put Uppity Women In Their Place.”

    Really, it’s all about making us disappear, isn’t it?

    • Absolutely!

  19. Some realistic fashion tips:

    Always try it on. Catalog photos do not reflect reality.

    If you are trying out a new color, buy something inexpensive in that color and wear it for a while. Check out how it looks with your skin tone in various lights.

    Check the washing instructions. If a piece requires care that is not feasible to provide, it’s not for you.

    If the seams bug you now, they won’t stop bugging you later.

    A different bra can completely change the fit of a garment.

    • And say no to itchy clothes! If it bugs you in the two minutes you’re trying it on, it will drive you insane if you wear it for a day.

      • When trying on clothes, move around in the dressing room – bend over, spin around, wave your arms up high and low and all around, jog in place, twist, and basically put every angle you can to the test.

        And Jennifer, you are absolutely right about the washing instructions. I have wasted to much money on clothes that I would rather give away than dry clean or hand wash. Although, for a while, I went through something of a hand-washing phase. But I’m done with that now, and if it’s not machine washable, I don’t really want it. I will hand wash a few small items, like scarves, socks, and shawls. But not complete outfits.

        Itchy seams and clothes – Oh, yeah! TRUTH!

        And when shopping for a new wardrobe, always buy the bra and other underthings first! Buy them and then put them on there at the store to wear under the clothes you are trying on. Shoes as well, if possible. Because heels and sole thickness will affect your hem length.

        • A lot of our handwash stuff goes good in the delicate cycle. Just make sure to hang/line/flat dry, or the dryer is on low.

        • My front loader has an extra-delicate “hand wash” cycle that works really well. I don’t trust it with fine sweaters, but for most “hand wash-only” stuff it does great. I also have decided on several of casinos that I’m willing to ruin clothing to see how dry-clean
          only it REALLY is. Obviously some things won’t wash, but I have several “dry-clean only” items I’ve been throwing in the wash for years with no ill effects.

          • OCCASIONS, not casinos–for crying out loud. DYAC.

  20. It’s a load of hooey anyway. “No, it was a different lady I spoke to–you’re 5’6″ and wear a size 24; the one I remember was 6’1″ and a size six,” said nobody ever.
    I and another big lady I work with are rocking sailor stripes today and we look great. None of the outfits in that article appeal to me or look good to me in the slightest, and even if I wanted to look a different size than I am, I don’t think any of these outdated suggestions will do anything other than suggest to viewers that I’m trying to be a good fatty.

    • The good fatty thing again. Yeah. Good fatties blend in and fade away. They do not dress boldly, nor do they act boldly, and they must hide in the closet whenever they eat anything except salad without dressing.

      Bad fatties may wear what the like, act how they like, eat when, where and what they like, but they will face rejection and hatred if they do so.

      Of course, good fatties will face rejection and hatred, as well. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, they’ll get a pat on the head.


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