Babes, I’m a shopper, I am. Fat vanity is my total game and I’m not ashamed to say I give many fucks about my appearance. Like, really a lot, a lot. I want to present in the world in a certain way and performing my gender and fat femme identity is important and helps me feel able to meet the universe head on. Also, I wanna look hot.
I love clothes and adornment and I love finding cool shit to wear. And babes, I’m pretty good at it. I have to admit though that sometimes my shopping gets a little out of control. I blame feelings of fat babe fashion scarcity- y’know, when you are like ‘I better stock up on this halfway decent sparkly sweater cause you don’t know what kinda plus size nonsense they are gonna come up with next’.
I have been scarred more than once by plus size whimsy- the weird razzle dazzle that ends up on random clothes. Like somehow if you bedazzle jeans enough, or embroider enough flowers on tops, or sew enough lace onto a dress that somehow this will fool people into thinking I’m skinny. Babes, there is no known number of sequins that can distract you from my fat ass (thankfully). To be clear, I am not opposed to rhinestones, sequins, lace, or flowers. I AM opposed to using them to try to hide my fat. I am beyond over plus size design that believes if you look deeply enough into the sparkle you won’t notice my fat bod. That is some fucked up fashion logic, y’all. Screw ‘slimming’. I am not here for clothes that want me to hide in them and really, sequins should be used for the power of good, not evil.
I’m also old enough that, for much of my 20’s, plus size fashion was largely about designing clothes to keep you from being seen. Cause why would a fatty want to be noticed in the world.
Fuck. That. Noise.
But I digress.
Whimsy and invisibility have directly led to my scarcity based shopping process. For real, I have been known to buy the same outfit twice, just in case.
Babes, do not do what I do. It is a shopping flaw. It’s unaffordable and it is what sustains the fast fashion industry, so basically the worst. Besides, things have gotten better, not great, but better for a fat babe’s fashion game.
I have spent the last couple of years trying to shake the twin shadows of whimsy and scarcity while shopping. For too long they have haunted my fat babe psyche and are the reason I have two pairs of the exact same goddamned sweat pants.
Babes, welcome to my fashion thunder dome: one babe enters, one babe leaves with only what she needs. Follow me into the ruthless world of the shopping trip and come out the other side unscathed and with a super cute outfit for your trouble.
Here is my shopping game plan – designed specifically to help me avoid being decimated by consumerism and my own personal fat babe shopping demons. These 6 key shopping strategies help me avoid a panicked shopping frenzy and major buyers remorse.
1. I only shop when I’m feeling A level hot. Basically I have to feel like the whole world wants to get with me and I’m all ‘meh, I’m busy’. Happily for me I’m often A level hot.
2. I put on my current favourite outfit before leaving the house and I don’t try on anything that I feel is less cute than the outfit I’m wearing.
3. Never buy doubles. Unless you are buying bras, but otherwise, never. Babes just don’t do it. It seems like such a good idea, but that is just the other side of the scarcity coin, and then you have two pairs of the same pants for the swap pile.
4. Avoid the ‘cute enough for a fattie’ fashion. Y’know, the shit that is made out of fabric that looks kinda ok but feels like shit, or that has just a little too much business going on. These items can be sneaky and sometimes they make it into the change room, but don’t let them come home with you. No matter how much they whine about it.
5. Bring a friend. Someone who will give it to you straight and not let you make bad choices. Friends can’t make it? That is why we have smartphones. I have been known to text change room photos to other fat babes for second opinions.
6. Look beyond the whimsy. Sometimes you gotta see past the sequins. I have a stitch ripper and I have used it to make clothes that fit great, wearable. Sometimes a fat babe has to take matters into her own hands and sometimes the whimsy can be removed.
Ok babes, come top shopping with me:
Then I take off the coat and scarf…
K, first up:
ok, teal. You are tricky because I love you no matter what. You could be a misshapen sack and I would have a hard time leaving you behind. Babes, honestly I probably would have bought this if my brother had not been all ‘it’s ok, but is it really worth 29.99?’. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED A FRIEND! Or a younger brother who doesn’t care that teal is like, a really hard colour to come by.
Ok on to the next. Now even though it is still in the effing deep freeze of the Canadian prairie, spring shit is starting to pop up, and I am so desperate for this ungodly season to be over that I tried this on:
Cute right? Cute print, nice shape, can be knotted for all your crop top needs…WRONG. This is a trick top. The fabric was awful and I overlooked it for aesthetic. Do not buy clothes that feel shitty because you are wooed by a print. Fabric. Is. Everything. I don’t care what it actually is made of, just don’t buy shit that feels gross on your body. I have had to learn this lesson multiple times, don’t be like me.
Also, don’t buy clothes for a season that is not yet upon us. Especially spring fashions. Now I am aware that what I am suggesting is a seemingly impossible task for those of us who get 6 months of winter. I know babes, you just want it to be over, and a tank top in a rack full of winter wear is like seeing the first robin, but just leave it there, in nature, for the next fat babe to see.
Ok moving along.
Well, this happened:
At first I was all ‘maybe?’. Cause y’all, I like a deep V and a horizontal stripe as much as the next babe, but then…
There was the issue of extra side fabric. Why? What is the point? Just, no. This felt like some straight size designer got stuck making a plus line and was all ‘extra side fabric for drapiness, sure. Whatever.’. Just cause people clearly hate their jobs does not mean fat babes should have to pay. Lazy design or evil design-You decide.
Either way this top is a mess- at least on me. I will say that it is so interesting how one item that looks crap on one fat babe can look brill on the next. Our fat bodies are all so different that sometimes shit that is an epic fail on me will look sick as fuck on you. Pretty sure that extra side fabric is a universal fail, but I am prepared to be surprised.
Ok, I was totally sure I was trying on a dress next, but I was deceived by this tricky tunic:
I love the print and feel strongly that a denim vest or black cardigan and clunky boots would make this totally work appropriate.
Babes then I noticed the slits:
on each side. A TUNIC. Now I have nothing against a tunic, I just don’t like being surprised. And this print as a tunic gives me pause. I phoned a friend. Well texted, cause I had to send pics, natch. Here is the text convo:
Me: Is this work appropriate or just ugly granny?
Me: K just looked at the pics I sent and I’m thinking ugly granny?
Gill: I feel like you look hot and would rock that dress.
Me: It’s a tunic. 😦
Me: I feel it is too ‘tragique fat girl fashion’ for me.
Gill: I understand those concerns.
And there you have it. When in doubt mull that shit over with someone who has your best interests at heart.
Finally, this shopping trip started to pay off:
This is more like it. Fabric I can totally live with even if it is that cotton feeling rayon. That print is fucking awesome and this length is perfect for a mini skirt. And I like it as much as the leopard print dress I came in with. Also I can’t wait to wear it which is an excellent sign.
And so endeth my shopping trip. One cute top, singular. No doubles, no nearly there fashions. No feeling shit about my choices. All thanks to my guidelines for avoiding fat babe shopping traps.
Now fat babes, I showed you mine, show me yours? How do you avoid personal Fatshion “dont’s”, and bring home only the cutest most wearable things? How do you take risks and still manage to dodge the plus size weirdness that exists out there. Tell me all your secret strategies!
Cause babes we gotta wear something, so figuring out a way to make shopping fun and effective is a deeply useful fat babe skill.
And remember, your fat bod is fucking perfect. If clothes aren’t working don’t despair- we don’t need to take on plus size designers poor choices as a reflection of our body’s worth. It is not a matter of your body not fitting the clothes, it is the clothes not fitting your body. Which is the clothes’ loss not yours.
Go forth and adorn. Smooches.