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Evans’ Bloggers for Your Shape

July 16, 2012

Today Evans put up their Bloggers For Your Shape campaign which I am a part of as the “Pear” blogger. I was really excited when Evans asked me to join, but I knew that the opportunity came with its dangerous parts. A lot of fat acceptance activists do not believe in “dressing for your shape”, and I get that. It can be really damaging to be told you can only wear an empire waist dress or you should never wear skinny jeans because it throws the balance of your body off–because we’re all supposedly seeking an “ideal” shape. But I approach dressing for your shape in a different way–in a way that personally helps me understand certain garment shapes and allows me to make wise choices when navigating online stores. I also see the need for businesses to be aware that there are various body shapes for fat women. For instance, I’m a pear (meaning my bottom is a size or 2 larger (or more) than my top size), but my sister is an apple (meaning she has thin legs and arms with more volume in her mid-section). We could weigh the same weight and wear the same size, but garments would fit completely differently on each of us. It took us a long time to figure out that we couldn’t share clothes because the proportions were all off, but we could share styles and learn how to buy the appropriate size for what we needed. We also needed stores that would cater to multiple shapes and not take on a “one size/ one shape fits all” mentality.

For me, “dressing for your shape” is just like any other fashion rule out there, like “brights are best in spring” or “cool shades in winter, warm in Autumn”. They can be used to guide you or help you make choices, but they should never be seen as set in stone. Rules are meant to be broken, right?

So after all this, how exactly does understanding my shape help me when shopping online?

1) Knowing and loving the curves of my pear shape means that I want to wear clothes that showcase the curves of my body. In my last maxi dress post, the reason that dress made me so happy was because it fit closely up top and hugged my hips, embracing the fact that my hips are bigger than my upper half. If I want to show off my shape, then I need to understand that tops that are more fitted up top and looser towards the hips showcase that for me. That doesn’t mean that I never want to wear a top that is oversized and loose, it just means I have to understand how different shaped tops look on my body.

2) Understanding my shape also helps me understand why certain garments do not fit me correctly. Button-down tops and sheath dresses are/were the bane of my existence with their non-stretchy fabrics. I love them, but they very rarely fit me correctly. Now I know that I have to look for these button-down tops that have my curves built into them. If I can’t find that, then at least I know to order for the size of my hips and plan to spend some extra bucks at the tailor for the perfect fit.

3) Most importantly, when a store does focus on various shapes of women, I have a little more comfort that not only I will be able to find clothing, but also my sister and women with different shapes. To be fair, my pear shape is pretty easy to dress with the exception of the above mentioned items and the constant out-sizing I face. It’s easy to find items that are more fitted up top and looser towards the bottom. My sister has a much harder time finding clothing. Denim shopping is a nightmare for her. Letting shape guides help her in finding items in online stores is necessary, especially when you can’t try the item on in person.

Ultimately, I love that women can find bloggers with the same and different body types as them. For me, it’s helpful and reassuring to see women like me in all kinds of outfits, and it’s also great to push at accepted sizes and “ideal shapes”.

How do you feel about dressing for your shape or keeping your shape in mind when you shop? How in touch with your shape do you feel you are?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2012 8:32 pm

    I love your fearlessness and think you always look beautiful! I am always learning something new about dressing to accentuate my shape. It always makes me feel good to nail a silhouette!

  2. figlow permalink
    July 16, 2012 9:43 pm

    I feel like my shape has changed. In my mid 20s, I definitely was more hourglass, and now I\’m more pear-ish? I hadn\’t really thought about it much. I think I\’m a little bit of two different shapes. It does help like you suggest to see someone with a shape like you to see what works and what might not work. It\’d also be interesting to see one outfit on people with different shapes, and how they all customize the outfit to make it work for their shape.

    You talked about tailoring items to your shape (as in the button down top). Do you tailor clothes often? I haven\’t tailored an item before, and know I need to even if it is to just hem the bottom of my jeans. So excited to have found this blog.

    • July 22, 2012 9:34 am

      I do not tailor my clothes often. I’ve gotten to the point where I can tell which pieces will work and which won’t. That said, I often have to get pants hemmed, and I’ve been considering getting button-ups tailored. I think as I get more into my professional wardrobe, I’ll be looking to do it more.

  3. July 16, 2012 11:18 pm

    Everything you said is perfect. I don’t think dressing for your shape is bad thing… I’m a apple shape and I share your sister’s plight. That’s why I love online stores like Eloquii or C.J. Banks that offer a “classic” or “straight” cut that have wider waists. Everything else has way more curves than I do and looks like MC Hammer pants on me, lol.

  4. July 17, 2012 3:36 am

    Thank you so much for taking part, Rebecca. At Evans we create shape guides to help women feel confident, but they’re just guides and if you love something and it makes you feel great then we say wear it!

  5. Sarah permalink
    July 17, 2012 10:53 am

    I wish the items you are wearing were available to ship to the US. Only the jeans are 😦

  6. Denisa Dellinger permalink
    July 17, 2012 3:19 pm

    I think this is wonderful. I really got into the show “What not to Wear” several years ago and it changed the way I shopped. It takes your assets and plays them up and downplays your flaws. Me, I have big boobs so I go for scoop neckline and V neck lines. I have big hips so I go for the straight leg pants and not so much the peg leg pants. I like some bell bottom pants as well. I like anything that will play up my shape. I don’t like short sleeve blazers because I have large arms, I like a full arm. Colors also have a lot to do with how I shop. It is the hue of the color. These things are meant only as a guide, If you want to wear a fad, there is nothing wrong with that. I love that us big girls can dress in a fashion conscious way that will draw attentions to proportion.

    • July 17, 2012 3:33 pm

      Denisa, I used to watch that show a lot too! I think fat activists (including myself) are mostly concerned with the idea that our bodies have “flaws”, and I agree that we shouldn’t try to minimize our bodies. For instance, my arms are big, and most would tell me to minimize it because they are “flaws”. I don’t believe in doing that or hiding my body. I think that’s where the concern is. Thanks for your comment!

  7. July 18, 2012 6:10 am

    I think it’s important that people dress for themselves and what they want to wear, enjoy wearing and feel good wearing. If that means dressing for your shape, then go for it, if it means bucking styling tips and trends, go for it, it it means wearing something everyone else would consider “unflattering” then go for it if it makes you feel good.

    Personally I’m a proper hourglass so I like dressing to accentuate my smaller waist and show off my breasts, and like styles that skim off my hips and get fuller at the bottom, proper Late forties “New Look” type stuff.

    Hope you enjoy the Evans blogging challenge.

    Melissa

    • July 22, 2012 9:29 am

      Thank you for your response, Melissa. I think it’s an important one, because I think there’s questions between what people want to wear and feel they have to wear. I’m at the point where there are days I dress for my shape and days I don’t, and I love it all, but I know some feel like they have to dress for their shape. Not sure if they enjoy it or are just scared into it.. Hmm.. (sorry for my rambling!)

  8. July 22, 2012 5:29 am

    The problem I have with Evans “dress for your body type” is the “get it or forget it” – I hate the fact that they are telling their customers that certain items will not look good on them. It’s bullshit. Actually they retyped it, it doesn’t say “get it or forget it” anymore, but they have just downplayed it. They obviously think in those terms.

    It’s a good thing that “shop for your body” makes it easier to shop, I have a large tummy and trousers/jeans and any type of pant is just not for me, not because I don’t like pants or have a problem showing my curves aka my stomach 😉 but they just don’t fit me. But honestly.. I think most people can work that out for themselves.
    What other stores tell their customers that they will not look good in certain things? It’s a plus size exclusive Im afraid..

    The flipside of “dressing for your body type” is that we are giving in to dressing “flattering”. Trying to make ourselves seem as thin as possible, “don’t draw attention to that stomach now” and therefore we are participating in the making of an ideal we do not represent.

    An ideal that only accepts an hourglass figure or a slender one and all others are tabu.

    Im all for dressing up your curves, I just wish that ALL curves were acceptable and not meant to be hidden away 🙂

    • July 22, 2012 9:32 am

      Hmm, thanks for your response, Ann Charlotte. I hadn’t seen the “get it or forget it” slogan, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. I agree with your last statement. I think plus size companies need to continue to use shapes in a positive way rather than dismissal of shapes. In a positive way, I mean for them to make garments that are actually cute for various bodies (like with more room in the bust or pants made for larger bellies but thinner legs). Next time I participate, I’ll have to ask more about the wording placed with the campaign. Thanks!

      • July 22, 2012 1:49 pm

        To clarify – Im not against you or your participation. You are smashing and I love the way you look at the “dress to shape” thing 🙂 Im just not sure that Evans has the same view on the matter unfortunately.

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