How Being Plus Informed My Style

On any given day, you’ll likely find me wearing some combination of black, white, grey or olive green. Black jeans, white T-shirt, sneakers. I wear two cuffs on my ears and usually CZ studs or gold hoops. A random stranger might think, wow, how plain. I’ve been told I lack style and originality. What nobody realizes is how long it took me to get here — to feel comfortable wearing clothes that are actually comfortable; to wear a white shirt tucked into high-waisted jeans, accentuating my stomach. (French tuck, obviously. Thanks, Tan!)

You see, I’m a plus-sized woman. I grew up in a world where fat, rolls, and “thunder thighs” were something to be covered up. There was no room for fashion, only clothes. Clothes that sucked things in, flattened things down, and made things look smaller. While my friends were out shopping for cute clothes, I had to settle for things that fit and were “flattering.” Man, I hate that word now. So, while most people were developing their taste and sense of style, I was constantly trying to find stores with “cool” clothes that happened to come in my size. It didn’t happen often.

 

There was no room for fashion, only clothes. Clothes that sucked things in, flattened things down, and made things look smaller.

 

So, I guess my style became baggy clothes, Spanx underwear with everything, jeans, and loose-fitting T-shirts. It then evolved to those terrible loose shirts with weird butterfly cap-sleeves, A-line dresses with vests meant to accentuate my chest and give me some kind of waistline, and skinny jeans with tunic tops. You know, the classic fat girl wardrobe of the 2000s. 

Being plus didn’t only affect my body. Like anyone who hates their body, I wanted to draw attention away from it. I hated shopping. Clothes were something I obviously needed, but definitely put minimal effort into. I liked the idea of fashion and cute outfits, but nothing I liked was made for my shape, so those images were for my goal weight vision board. Oh yes, you better believe I was on diet after diet, trying to get to that size 10 so I could finally — maybe — look like America Ferrera and dress like normal kids my age. 

 

It then evolved to those terrible loose shirts with weird butterfly cap-sleeves, A-line dresses with vests meant to accentuate my chest and give me some kind of waistline, and skinny jeans with tunic tops. You know, the classic fat girl wardrobe of the 2000s.

 

Looking back at photos of me from college, I can tell how uncomfortable I felt in every outfit. 

Then, something happened. I discovered Forever 21+ and slowly became aware of plus-size models. I started observing how they dressed, and eventually, over lots of time, I felt comfortable trying new things. 

 

Like anyone who hates their body, I wanted to draw attention away from it. I hated shopping. Clothes were something I obviously needed, but definitely put minimal effort into.

 

When I say new things, I mean wearing sneakers that maybe made my feet look bigger (oh no!) and showing off my very large arms. I even tried a bodycon dress once! (Super uncomfortable, never again.) I remember reading an interview with a model where she explained how she’d stopped giving importance to the size of clothes she was buying. It didn’t matter if it was a 14, 18, or 20, as long as she liked the way it fit. Something clicked in me and suddenly the world was my oyster! I started buying things in all kinds of sizes and stopped letting those numbers make me feel unworthy or less-than. They’re just clothes, and I should feel pretty in them. 

Fast forward to now, I’m 29 years old and now I actually enjoy shopping. I don’t mind going to stores, browsing through the (admittedly very limited) options, and don’t get discouraged if nothing fits right. I’ve realized I like clean lines, neutrals, and contrasting black and white. I don’t need heels to make me feel taller and thinner. I no longer try to hide my shape. It is what it is, and I’m happy with it. 

 

I started buying things in all kinds of sizes and stopped letting those numbers make me feel unworthy or less-than. They’re just clothes, and I should feel pretty in them.

 

So as I sit here writing this, my white tee, black skinnies, and black and white sneakers on, I can’t help but feel proud and happy. I grew up hating my body, hating clothing, and wanting to shrink myself as much as possible. Now, I tuck things in. My stomach might show. My thunder thighs definitely come out if the weather’s nice. Maybe my color palette could use some expanding, but for now this is me… and I’m 100 percent happy with her.

  • Jennifer B

    Love this. Thank you for sharing!