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?