Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Fatshion's Teeth

"The community grew quickly, at the runaway rate so common to tucked-away Internet phenomena. The definition of 'fatshion' was a generous one, embracing goth and butch as well as traditional trendiness. The daily post count escalated; the flame wars commenced. New readers were showing up, wanting to get their fashion fill. Deluged with contributors and commenters, the tenor of the site began to tip."

52 Comments / Post A Comment


I think you meant to link to this article.

Edith Zimmerman

@anachronistique Oops -- you're right. I did mean to include both, but I got it all switched up. Sorry about that, and it should be fixed now.


hell yea!!!! XD@a


Oh man I feel for these frustrated ladies who can't find the right clothes (except they can, except NOT FOR THEM). That sucks! I am a lifelong skinny person so I can't 100% relate, but...I, erm, like to wear men's clothes (or at least things that are cut straight and androgynous), and those are pretty much impossible to find for women so I share that clothes frustration! I don't want to wear the crappy clothes that retailers have decided are "for" me :(

fondue with cheddar

@Sallymander It suuuucks. Especially when your tastes tend toward the androgynous, while the clothes that work best on your curvy figure are the more feminine ones.


@fondue with cheddar Hah yeah, the old "dress for your body type" mantra is awfully depressing!


@Sallymander: What I find amazing is that, when people get to talking about how hard it is to find fashionable clothing in larger sizes, there's always someone (Not you, this is not about your search for men's clothes) who will complain that they are so very tiny and clothing has gotten so very very large that they are forced to buy size 0 or 00 when they used to be a size six or four. The phrase 'vanity sizing' peppers their comments, and the implication is that they are forced to flail around in oversized, clownish sacks because... Actually, the 'because' is never quite clear. It's not solidarity, it's more like accusation, like the insistence on decent fashion in larger sizes is wrong because this one thin woman may, in the future, find herself too thin for fashion, which is never going to happen.


@Sallymander It is. As tyrannies go, I waffle between thinking it benevolent or deserving of all mutinies. I do refuse to ever wear a wrap dress, though, no matter what anyone says!


@kinbarichan Uh, I don't know! I'm sure you're right? Why is this addressed to me? (Is it because I said I'm skinny?)

@hexamaam I am 100% with you about the wrap dress!!! I don't care how "flattering" people claim they are!


@kinbarichan And I mean, it sucks not to be able to find clothes in your size! We know that, skinny people! (Again, not directed toward people who like menswear, which is a train on board of which I fully am). The thing that really is getting to me right now is the idea that I can't wear clothes from certain people because I'm not good enough for them - because having someone over a certain size wear this clothing will cheapen the brand. That's a different kind of frustration than just having to try lots of things because sizing is (allegedly) changing to accommodate people whose body type is different than yours.

And @fondue with cheddar, I totally feel you on that. This 50s dress trend should be fantastic for me, because it's perfect for my body type, but I really just want to be able to rock a blazer and a button-up without massive tailoring.


@SarcasticFringehead Or just being able to find something in the entire mall that will actually fit the dimensions of my ass, let alone in a style I like.

fondue with cheddar

@SarcasticFringehead Yes! I actually bought a couple 50's style dresses from eshakti.com because they're reasonably-priced and you can get custom sizing, but I have yet to wear them because I feel ridiculous and not "me".

miss buenos aires

@hexamaam Wait, what is wrong with wrap dresses? I like the way they look, but not the way I sometimes accidentally flash people while I am wearing one.


@miss buenos aires Well, they are constantly recommended for my body type but I feel like no matter how hard I tie the strings it starts gaping, or the v is actually so deep it's indecent, so then I have to wear a cami underneath, which ruins the nice v shape and I feel like what's the point, this dress is sort of nonfunctional?


@Sallymander: Kind of because you said you were skinny? Your comment inspired me, but in a good way - because I had just been reading a comment thread at XO Jane where a slim woman was complaining about how clothes were getting so BIG, and how hard her life would get if they stopped making clothing for very slim women.

I wasn't being snarky when I said 'not you' - it's more that when you said, "I am a lifelong skinny person so I can't 100% relate" it was a refreshing change from all the times I've read, "I am a lifelong skinny person; my problems are so much worse than yours!" in a thread that's specifically about the lack of good plus-sized clothing.

And Sarcastic Fringehead... "The thing that really is getting to me right now is the idea that I can't wear clothes from certain people because I'm not good enough for them - because having someone over a certain size wear this clothing will cheapen the brand." God, yes -
exactly this, and I thank you for saying it.

fondue with cheddar

@kinbarichan It's almost as if clothing is made for a few dozen people and everyone else in the world has to suffer with ill-fitting crap.

Sea Ermine

@Sallymander I think it's because most places will cut all their clothes to one body type (slender, slight curves but not much) regardless of whether or not that's the body type that would look best in those clothes or if other body types might want to wear those clothes. So just because a wrap dress should look good on someone with curves doesn't mean it's cut for someone with curves and then it pulls and gapes in weird places. For example, I have a pretty big difference between my waist and hips but clothes that should work with that body type often don't because the pattern is cut for someone who isn't built like me. So then nothing I try on fits and I end up buying a ton of stretchy things to make it work with my body.

ETA also, a lot of clothes that might not traditionally work with a certain body type can if they were cut to fit it (like androgynous clothes on an hourglass figure). Which they almost never are.


@Sea Ermine I'm in a similar boat and just belt the heck out of everything.


@hexamaam I have a wrap dress that used to do this. I just got a slip and now I don't flash people my boobs or my undies or anything.
It's Mr TARDIStime's favourite thing in my wardrobe and it always elicits compliments from people when I wear it (usually when I'm having a bloaty day).
Even though most of my cover comes from the slip and I would probably be almost justified in wearing the slip on its own, the wrap is great re: distracting from slightly bloaty belly. This is where the functional part is for me. Also wearing a slip in the office without anything on top - risqúe!


I don't think it's fair to call the livejournal fatshionista blog a 'ghost town' - there are new posts daily. It's not as popular as it once was, but it's not dead yet.


@muddgirl True of much of Livejournal, really.

Valley Girl

@muddgirl @anachronistique I still spend way too much time on LJ to disagree but I think that when they killed off the Friday sales posts it was the final impetus to push the action onto tumblr.


Can I admit that I despise the word "fatshion"? I completely get that it's meant to be a reclaiming, empowerment sort of thing, but I worry it ghettoizes the brand and there's a cutesiness to all the fat puns that make it hard for me to take these things seriously. Like, is it really taking pride in our bodies, or is it just shoving ourselves into a category??

This has seriously been bothering me for ages.


@hexamaam For reals. Is fashion for everyone, or not? Where does "fashion" end and "fatshion" begin, anyway?


@WaityKatie The same principles apply no matter your size! And I'm confused by it all especially now that such a huge proportion of the country falls into that category! Isn't the "fat" woman the everywoman? These issues of fit are endemic to the fashion industry, and are a real problem, but I feel like the "fatshionista" thing sets up this false dichotomy between "skinny" and "fat" where there are a lot of women who fall in the middle, or who are both in different places, who have their own issues and are also being ill-served.

I'm also personally allergic to the idea of identifying myself by what my body looks like, as if I know anything it's that it's for sure going to change.


@WaityKatie: As a rough measurement, 'fashion' ends at about a size 12 in Canada. 'Fatshion' starts when you have to cobble together outfits from the very few bits of actually fashionable clothing you can ferret out at the few stores that sell anything larger than a size 14. If you look at most stores that cater to fat women, the clothing is baggy, dark and cut like a burlap sack. You want a plain t-shirt? Here's one with giant flowers and sequins! Here's one with a panda! Here's one with a sludgy brown print that looks like fat-lady camouflage! You want a nice pair of jeans? You can't have that. You can, however, have this pair of mom jeans that's too large in the waist and too tight in the thighs, in a colour that was briefly fashionable eight years ago!

In short, fashion is not for everyone if fashionable clothing is not made for everyone.

The one caveat here is that I am Canadian - there are plus-sized lines that exist in the States and Europe that are good, but I can't shop there. (But also, why should I have to travel to buy good clothes? Why can't there be good clothes for fat people here, where I live?)


@kinbarichan Yeah, I'm basically right on the border between these two harsh landscapes, at a 12-14. Sometimes I can shop in "normal" stores, sometimes not! Sometimes it changes week to week! And whether I'm considered "normal" or "fat" depends entirely on the person perceiving me. I've been screamed at by dudes in NYC for being fat and gross multiple times, yet last night I was talking to a friend from a previous city I lived in who exclaimed at how "skinny" I am now. I was just, what? I don't understand these words... everyone here thinks I'm the giantest giantess to ever giant.

My personal experience just really points up how freaking arbitrary these labels are, how most people fall in the middle, or have some kind of proportion on their bodies that is not what Fashion wants it to be. One person looking at me sees "average" or even "thin" and another one sees "unacceptable giant whale who must be put back in her place immediately (at the bottom of the sea)." But I am the same person. Arggggghhhhhh being a woman in this society is terrible.


@WaityKatie Screamed at! By dudes! "For being fat and gross"! D:


@Sallymander Well, "screamed" over the internet, of course none of these dudes had the balls to say any of that to my face. (I would have hit them a lot if they had).




@Sallymander Reminds me of this from yesterday, blech


@kinbarichan In my idealistic dreams we're all just trying to co-opt the word "fashion" to cover all self-expression-with-clothes and looking-good-as-we-define-it, and these things would mean functionally the same things, but I like my pie, both in the sky and on my plate


@hexamaam UGH, oh my GOD! I would die if anyone I considered a "friend" ever said something like that, in that situation...aaaaahhhhh!!!!


@hexamaam That was a really great read, thank you for sharing it here!

Big Rig and Jesse

@Sallymander I dunno if I'm reading your comment right, and apologies if I'm not, but I'm shocked by (what appears to be) your shock at this idea? Dudes in real life scream at women about being fat. I started getting street harassed ("cowcalled") for being fat when I was in middle school and still in straight sizes. After years of expecting, and sometimes getting, the worst when I went out, it doesn't happen so often anymore: I'm older and fatter now, so most men on the street don't even see me.


@Big Rig and Jesse I mean yeah, I am kind of shocked. By way of explanation, I am a hermit/loner/introvert type and I live in the 'burbs, so I really don't have much human contact. That's not to say I don't ever go out with people, but it's not frequent and I certainly have been fortunate enough not to encounter what you're describing. I mean, I am not what one would call fat but I haven't been catcalled for being a woman, either.


@kinbarichan yeah, I am Canadian and fat ( a UK 18, which is well served over there) and I marvel at the paucity of options for fat women at home. I want to start a small business in Canada importing plus size clothing, but can't figure out why no one has done it already. If Australia can have relatively good plus size options, why can't Canada? I don't understand it.


Also I want to have a reasonable and interesting discussion with people about fatshion and activism versus consumerism and rethinking beauty ideals and all of that, but I'm wearing really ugly pants today so I'm just sad and tired and mad.


@anachronistique I've been having a similar feeling lately - I just officially "sized out" of a couple more major mid-range, and on the one hand, if they don't want to make clothes that fit me they don't need my business, and consumerism and buying new shit all the time is killing society/the planet/etc., and on the other hand sometimes I just want to be able to buy some goddamn work clothes and not be forced to make a political statement, or be able to walk by any high end clothes store and not automatically have to think that even if I could afford to shop there, I can't shop there.

And sure, in the grand scheme of things it's not important or it's a first-world problem or whatever, but I'm exhausted.


@SarcasticFringehead Yes. This exactly.


I've always found fat fashion stuff fascinating, I guess because it seeks to reconcile two things that are seemingly at odds with each other (fashion = looking "good" in a way that other people recognize vs size acceptance which = accepting a body that most people won't recognize as looking "good"). It gets into such interesting problems, especially when you think about what it means for clothes to "fit well" or be "flattering", which is fundamental to the traditional concept of fashion, but so difficult when it comes to body politics.


This is slightly off-topic, but there's this commercial I've been seeing a lot recently that is just infuriating me far beyond where commercials usually infuriate me. It's for one of those diet things that's supposed to make you feel full longer, and I hate diet commercials anyway, but this one literally starts off with her saying that the secret to losing weight is to eat less. So along with being yet another thing that tells us we're not good enough until we're as skinny as we can get, it's scientifically wrong (although if doctors don't know any better, I guess I can't expect much from an advertising company), potentially triggering for people with eating disorders, and just generally awful. It is, objectively, probably not much worse than all the thousands of other commercials and One Weird Tips and whatever, but the phrasing of this one is just getting to me.


@SarcasticFringehead Yeah, it's awful and seems to be on incessantly. But on a different not, have you seen the (Nutrisystem?) meal plan commercial where the person just dances really terribly? They're so happy they got to eat processed foods that they're doing the Harlem Shake.

Valley Girl

Ooh I totally got into it with one of these ~less politically inclined~ bloggers when I called her out on defending PORK magazine's really nasty appropriation. My closest brush with fatshion fame. The PORK thing is definitely a dead-on example of ~fatshion's~ ugly problem with intersectionality and I kinda wish they'd been able to touch on it in this piece. Great otherwise, though.

(Thanks for posting a political/fatshion thing, Hairpin! Fluffy fatshion is always fun too but ya know, containing multitudes, etc)


So many frustrating things. Besides fashion labels thinking I am not good enough for their clothes (FUCK YOU! I HAVE DISPOSABLE INCOME YOU FUCKING BIGOTS), I hate having to be like a sartorial goddamned MacGyver just to create outfits that are on-trend. AND the fact that there is a huge gaping black hole between 15-25 year olds (F21, Torrid) and Shit My Mom Thinks I Should Wear Like What Is Your Deal Mom I'm Only 34 (Eileen Fisher, Chico's)

Also I feel sad EVERY TIME I see those shitty poly giant print dolman sleeves Wallpaper Batman "tunics" that seem to be 90% of the shit out there (like some asshole cabal of designers were like "social stigma, being ignored, under promoted, blatantly discriminated against isn't good enough for us. Let's fucking FULLY humiliate these fat bitches for offending my eyes) because I always assume that the women who buy that stuff are just broken and defeated; like all "I guess I just have to put up with this, oh well" and it sucks ass.

Thank god for Asos Curve, y'all. But it's not fucking enough. We deserve more options. We are not goddamned monsters. Which is what it feels like when you're, oh, in any shopping mall in America. And forget about local boutiques.

Fuck it makes me so mad I am like trembling a little.


@smack I AM RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. Except I'm right at the edge of the Asos Curve sizing, and while Eloquii occasionally has things I can deal with (pencil skirts!) I just... it should not be this much of a fucking ordeal. And ModCloth is all "we have more plus sizes!" and I wear a 22/24, you jerks, none of your adorable sundresses are going to fit me and then I feel like a hideous elephantine beast. I'm still a person! I would like to look cute! It would be nice if I could wear something made out of a natural fiber once in a while! AAAAARGH.


@smack YES PREACH this is great!

I found a killer, slamming b/w dress at eloquii. But it took a load of searching through multiple sites to find something that I really liked and looked forward to wearing and I couldn't even try it on before buying it. And it wasn't cheap.

Also, major props for your icon.


@editrickster oh y'all I got the most indispensable black dress from eloquii. Igigi has some great ones too, although you know, it's the ubiquitous polyester jersey type stuff.

It's just, fucking bullshit. I have a favorites list a mile long of sites that sell plus sized clothes because there's no easy way to find them, and you have to sift through miles of shit. I just can't believe how many fat women there are in this country and the general opinion is that it's fine to make them feel alienated, bad, and furtive about buying fucking CLOTHES.


Yo, as someone who just paid $112 to have a $270 suit tailored to fit me properly, I just wanted to drop in to mainsplain that I have a lot of the same problems with men's fashion. You'd think if there was a kind of garment that would fit heavier dudes, it would be The Suit, but nope (and I'm, like, barely an L -- you have to go up like 10 sizes before getting to Big 'N' Tall territory). Alas, anything remotely fashionable is going to be designed for a 6'5" lacrosse player, apparently.

Thankfully I can just drop into the tailor and he's like "Dude, your ass is way too big for this" and I'm like "I know right, here's some money, fix it" and then I can walk home eating a cheeseburger or whatever and not face Value Judgements from all the strangers on the street. END MAINSPLAIN.


@stuffisthings No but seriously I should start a line of fashionable suits for heavyset guys. Maybe we can get Alec Baldwin as an investor/spokesmodel, he's not up to much right now. (HAHA HE GETS TO BE A SEX SYMBOL EVEN THO HE'S OLD AND KINDA FAT. PATRIARCHY!)

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