Hello and welcome, Toasties! I am a fashionable fat girl on a budget, and as such, my love/hate relationship with clothing is more fraught and all-consuming than any other contentious relationship in my life, including that one time I had a crush on my roommate. The things I love don’t come in my size; the things that come in my size I can’t afford; the things I can afford are inordinately frilled or covered in enormous floral patterns that would be more at home on a sofa. Getting dressed in the morning is, let’s face it, a constant struggle. This column is here to document that struggle.
Let’s be clear about one thing before we get started: I know absolutely nothing about Fashion with a capital F. I’m just some girl blogging in a pair of pajama pants and an ink-stained tank top, and I am not trying to be your guide through the trials and tribulations of plus-size style. I won’t tell you what to wear–this is not the place for grand declarations of what’s In and what’s Out, or for replacing three-quarters of your wardrobe every year because you’re not allowed to wear pastels anymore. I don’t even really want to talk about fashion so much as I want to talk about clothes: what we wear, what we love, what we hate, what we yearn for in the depths of our souls (a really good vest with no button gap). And hopefully we’ll all come out looking foxier than ever on the other side.
So I don’t know what it’s like where y’all live, but in my neighborhood, we just came around a corner and got smacked in the face with MOTHERFUCKING AUTUMN. Suddenly, all the trees are tipped with gold, all the beers are pumpkin-flavored, and all the cute shorts and sexy sandals are out to pasture for the year. It’s a time for curling up under a blanket with a good book or a season of Game of Thrones; a time for baking; a time for reflecting on your own mortality; a time, most importantly, for shopping.
The changing of the seasons is my favorite excuse for spending money I don’t really have on clothes. I need appropriate outfits for cold weather! Never mind that I still have all the clothes that kept me warm last fall and winter; those are expired. I need the updated 2013-14 models for improved coziness, aerodynamicism, and sexiness. Okay, actually I’ve already bought what new clothes I can afford (teachers go back-to-school shopping too), but I’m not going to let that hold me back from my favorite hobby: online fat-chick window shopping!
Let’s start at Torrid. This is the one place I bought real-life new clothes this season. I focused on wardrobe staples – black skinny jeans, blue jean skirt, black blazer – and one teeny splurge: this top, which I love because unlike most high-waisted shirts, the waist is located in the neighborhood of my actual waist, not my nipples. (Big boobs take up vertical as well as horizontal space, a fact that many plus-size clothing manufacturers prefer to ignore.)
A Word on Pink and Black: For several years in high school, I wore almost nothing but black; when I started to wear colors again, for at least a year and possibly longer, the only color I wore was pink. Everything in my wardrobe was pink and black. People commented on how coordinated my outfits always looked, and I smiled and did not tell them that the secret was to only own two colors of clothing. In recent years I’ve branched out into other hues – I now own garments in green, blue, red, purple, even, God help me, orange – but somewhere deep in my femme-goth soul, I still believe that pink and black are the truest and best colors in existence.
All of which is to say: I want these jeans. With some sexy black wedges (that I don’t currently have, because my last pair of sexy black wedges died of natural causes and I have not yet been able to find their equal) and a black top with some shiny bits, like this? Send me to a desert island with that outfit, a barrel of peanut butter pretzels and a vibrator, and I will be happy for the rest of my life.
In other news, I may be the only fat girl with Internet access that is not that sold on eShakti. I want to love them – their stuff is so cute! They do custom sizes! They send you coupons like ALL THE TIME, dear God, once they get a hold of your email address it’s a never-ending barrage of discounts, I think at some point they actually start paying you for wearing their clothes. But I’ve bought two eShakti dresses, and both times I paid extra for custom sizing and sent them my measurements, and both times they were just…not quite right. They didn’t quite seem to grasp the physics of giant boobs – once again, it’s a question of vertical space. Breasts are not full of helium. They are subject to gravity like the rest of us, and when they expand, they do so in a downward as well as outward fashion. You can try to push them chinward with underwires and tailoring, and they might go along for a time, but they will make their dissatisfaction known. Anyway, as much as I wanted to adore them, both of those frocks ended up at Goodwill, and it’s been over a year since I last ordered from eShakti.
That being said, if you are lucky enough to be a more standard-proportioned sort of dress-wearing individual, there’s no getting around the fact that those dresses are freaking adorable. This one, in gorgeously autumnal oxblood, just wants to snuggle up with you and some sweater tights and the perfect pair of black booties and keep you warm forever. And of course, the whole point of shopping at eShakti is their array of prints and embellishments, which run the gamut from “adorable” to “oh my god shut up,” so while we’re spending imaginary money we might as well pick up this super cute anchor-print number: it’s made of cozy corduroy, and the bright red collar will brighten up any gray day. Just customize some three-quarter sleeves up in there and wear it until the sun comes back!
Obviously no self-respecting femme is going to stop wearing skirts just because it gets cold outside, but just as obviously, a girl needs to keep her legs warm. I am a total fiend for colorful and patterned tights and leggings, and one of my favorite things to do in the fall is layer hosiery. Start with a solid bottom layer – my workhorse black tights are these, but in a 1x/2x, which doesn’t seem to be available online – and throw something lacy on top of it. Go black-on-black for sexy texture with something like this or add a pop of color with bright fishnets. Finally, top it off with an adorable polka dot dress like this one or the one I got at a thrift store four years ago that’s still in perfect condition. Polka dots and fishnets: because not mixing patterns is for chumps.
For colder weather, start with a basic black legging like the ones you can get at Old Navy (I have their cropped version and they come down to my ankles, because even though I am 5’4”, which is ACTUALLY AVERAGE HEIGHT FOR A WOMAN THANK YOU VERY MUCH, my body is like 80% torso and my legs are tiny little stumps). Layer with bright-colored lace and some sturdy knee-high boots – these have a wide calf and would look so hot on you – and you can keep wearing your favorite skirts and dresses all the way through to spring.
Finally, it’s a myth that most of your body heat is lost through your head, but don’t let that stop you from stocking up on warm and delightful knit hats! You can buy this one for – holy shit, how much money? Never mind, get your crafty friend or relative to make you one. They’re not busy. Or grab this one which is very cute for a tenth of the price. You’ll have hat hair when you get home, but God dammit, you’ll be cozy.
Okay! What are you wearing this fall? And, ooh, what are you going to be for Halloween?