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*content warning, some conversations in this article about weight and fatphobia may be triggering to some readers

 

As I scrolled through the street style pictures from Australian Fashion Week and it got me thinking. And no, it wasn’t the lack of plus-size representation. I’ve talked about that before. Every damn year, I’m tired of waiting for this type of inclusion to catch up. What got me thinking was the actual street style fashion and how casual and laidback it was. Planned and executed, obviously, but think ill-fitting/oversized suits, denim and sneakers, flats and basic tees.

I’m team casual style, and loungewear is definitely having a continuing moment. I’ve pinned many outfits to inspire me to get more creative with my own style. But what if I showed up at Fashion Week in a similar style. You know, if they invited fat people ever. Would a similar outfit on my size 24 body be considered stylish and cutting edge, or would it be deemed too casual, not put together enough or sloppy?

 

Because that’s how people view fat people, right?

 

God forbid your style, like mine, leans towards minimal, basic items. That’s not good enough. To be considered stylish, a plus-size person in our society, you must appear to be making an effort above and beyond that made by a straight-sized counterpart. Look at the strawberry dress situation with Tess Holliday and the strawberry dress. The linked article sums it up perfectly with this quote.

 

“I definitely empathize with what Tess has said about her dress experience; fashion is often centered around how affluent, white, cis-gender bodies look in clothing,” says Dallas-based influencer Rosey Blair. “Oversized T-shirts paired with bike shorts are edgy and carefree when depicted on a thin person — but on a fat person would be considered lazy, sloppy, and unintentional.”

 

It comes back to what I was saying above; that’s because fat people can’t be stylish, right? Let’s look again at Australian Fashion Week and the abysmal lack of brands who make clothing above a size 14/16. And the comments on articles covering the demands to see more inclusive sizing represented trolled with dozens of comments about health and obesity while featuring a size 16/18 model.

 

HA! Imagine if the person calling for this diversity wasn’t acceptably fat?

 

Even if you look outside the inner circle of Australian ‘plus-size’ Instagrammers, things can get a little repetitive. There is a certain hyper-feminine look, plenty of body-positive skin on show, sourced from select stores who stop sizing at an AU20/22. Where is the variety? Why is there still one specific look to strive for if you’re a fat woman? Why is it that we have to look a certain way, even when selecting our own personal style?

Even the media coverage of this whole situation deals with more mid-sized women and brands with extended sizing, at best. With my limited research, women who haven’t experienced living in a fat body. A body that is large enough that the media deems it unacceptable to speak. Imagine that? It seems to me these articles and perhaps the sources within them are looking for just the next size or two to be included. To welcome them into the fold and forget the rest.

I think it is because we are still trying to fit into an idea of what we should be. The line in the sand was moved a little, but we’re still not considered, counted or deemed worthy of being part of the conversation. I remember as a teen that clothing stores would size out at a 16, now it’s a size 18/20. It’s not enough, and while the debate continues to be about health and worthiness to be included, you’re missing the point.

 

But fear not, I’m here to tell you that you can do what you want.

 

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t shop in stores that actually cater to you and what you enjoy wearing. Look to these Fashion Week images for inspiration if that works for you. But put it aside if not. You are allowed to wearing whatever makes you feel stylish, confident and happy. The world will have to catch up. That’s my plan anyway; feel free to hang out here with me. Around here, we do what we want and will always be trying harder to do better for those who feel forgotten, left behind or unworthy.

 

Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash