Hello friends! Just a quick one to show you this month’s Junarose picks, which I wore for a chilled Sunday of reading, strolling and cinema. I’m generally averse to the cardigan, but when I saw this fuzzy pink one I had to have it. It’s comfortable, warm and a great colour. I adore these grey trousers with neon detailing, in theory, but as you’ll see below, I had some issues with them…
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all plain sailing. I hate being negative on here, but if I’m not providing you with useful, relevant information, then what’s the point? Basically, about 15 minutes after those pictures were taken, this [see below photo] happened. As you can see from the main outfit pictures, the trousers fit me fine. They’re not too small – if anything, I sized up – but there’s just something about the combination of the lack of any stretch, the relatively fine material and the shape of my muscly thighs that meant as soon as I sat down, I felt them rip on one side. It breaks my heart because I love these trousers and was looking forward to introducing them into my regular rotation of ‘easy to wear Junarose bottoms’ that I so enjoy, but it looks like these were a one-time wonder. Maybe a pal with sewing skills can help me out but if not, it’s game over.
I was happy with my makeup yesterday! I had coveted a gorgeous lip look I’d seen on my darling Danie so thought I’d pick up the products she used to see if I liked it on me too. Turns out I did. Maybelline Color Drama lip crayon with Rimmel lipliner in Addiction round the outside is a definite yes from me.
What’s better than leopard print? Double leopard print. I wanted a fun, frivolous outfit to wear for a whirlwind day of fun on Saturday, including dropping by the Fat Positive Clothing Swap organised by the indefatigable Kirsty.
Double leopard print and double red lips? Oh yes. My excellent Monki earrings did the job, along with the delightful Bite Beauty lipstick I made myself.
Because last month’s Junarose Style Insiders picks arrived at my office while I was away over Christmas I feel like I’m way behind, but here they are none the less. In the spirit of my acquisition of clothes that I am likely to wear on a daily basis rather than fun, frivolous stuff I love but will never wear, I went for a white shirt and black faux-leather trousers (which, as far as I can tell, have disappeared from the site, unfortunately). I loved this outfit: it felt cool and easy but also smart and chic, even with my battered Superga canvas sneakers. I wasn’t intentionally going for a full-Junarose outfit but I just love this gilet so much and it worked super well with the new items.
Aaaand because my lipstick was particularly great on Saturday, a closer look at Topshop Lip Bullet in Could It Be Love
I had been coveting this truly excellent cartoon eye jumper on ASOS for a good while, so when it turned up in the sale I pounced. I’m not a jumper person- I find them an awkward length and shape and they’re often too warm, but I sized up in this and it’s not too heavy and I think I got it just right. It seems to go quite nicely with my painfully adorable marabou pom pom hat, which was also a sneaky sale acquisition. The ASOS sale was the only sale I really pillaged, but I got really useful stuff I’ll actually wear, rather than lots of pretty dresses that will languish in my wardrobe.
Christmas and the new year bring up so many unpleasant topics and emotions around being fat, gaining/losing weight, bodies and shame, so I figured it was the perfect time to dispense three pieces of practical advice on how I personally have dealt with the oppressive, insidious messages that are trying to stand between me and my glee as a fat woman.
Get to know yourself
All of those ‘miracle weight loss’ magazine articles generally begin the same way: [insert name here] lost [insert astronomical, medically unsound amount of weight here] after seeing a photo of herself where she looked like A HUGE HIDEOUS WHALE OF A SEMI-HUMAN. I can totally see how this happens.
If you sort of know you’re fat, but do a successful job of kidding yourself you’re an ‘ok kind of fat’ – the kind with ‘curves in all the right places’, feminine, not a fat face, graceful of movement, and you only see this when you look in the mirror because you’re careful to pose and to look at yourself in a certain way. If you only let photos be taken from certain angles, and you make sure any that don’t meet your approval are swiftly deleted, then I can see how you would be knocked back by a photo that shows you with a double chin or belly rolls.
The answer to this is to have a super frank relationship with your body. This is literally the only long-term answer. To know what your body looks like, to know all the possible combinations of what effect moving your body has on the way it looks, to observe yourself in motion, to observe yourself from different angles- all of this adds up to a more whole and realistic picture of you in your fat body. What I’m saying is to put yourself in a position where you cannot be surprised by your body. Get a good look at yourself naked, often. Know what you look like sitting down or from the back or next to your petite friend. Don’t shy away from those changing rooms with mirrors on all sides: this is essentially how people are seeing you all the time. And that’s because this is what you look like. You are not the heavily-contoured, meticulously-posed selfie headshot. You are your double-chin, your belly roll, your fat thighs spreading when you sit down, the hair in places you didn’t want to believe you had it, the colour of your face when you get really warm and sweaty. That is all you, and the sooner you get to believe it, the sooner you’ll be at peace with what you see. It’s all yours, and it’s no one else’s. You can’t learn to love something you don’t believe exists.
(To illustrate my point, here is a photo of me which I’m sure a lot of people would write off as ‘unflattering’ – look at my tummy! look at my fat arm! – and I’m standing next to a thin pal who looks tiny by comparison. I’m super happy with this photo because I know this is what I look like, so I can just enjoy an adorable photo with Cathy, who I love. There were dozens of ‘better’ photos taken of me on this particular day, FYI, but this one is memorably gleeful)
Look at photos of other fat people
You will probably not see beautiful photos of fat people if you consume mainstream media. Unless you’re lucky enough to be reading a magazine that’s condescended to running a one-off piece on fatshion blogging, or watching an interview with Rebel Wilson or Melissa McCarthy or Retta, then there will probably be no fat people in the media you consume. And if there is a fat person, she’s going to be on the receiving end of derision. This is why the internet has been so socially and psychologically vital for fats: it’s the only place where we can glorify our bodies and our images and have that consumed by willing participants who respond and engage and maybe sometimes we even change their minds about theirs.
So that’s why I think it’s super important to just look at positive images of other fat people. Follow fat babes on Twitter, trawl Tumblr tags, read blogs. Photos of confident, happy fats saying ‘I felt great today!’ Fats in bikinis where their cups runneth over. Fats in clothes like the clothes you wear. Fats in the clothes like you wish you wore. Fats just living their lives, having ups and downs and meaningful interpersonal relationships and promoting the badass work of other fats.
Look at photos of them, see them out in the world, existing. Just knowing you’re not the only fat person on earth can be so nourishing and therapeutic. Seeing yourself in the context of these others, as one of them, as just like them, can be exciting and empowering.
Say ‘fuck off’ to weight loss
If weight loss is not personally desirable to you, destabilise it as an inherently desirable process. I can’t tell you the last time I congratulated someone, even a close friend, on weight loss. This is because I don’t consider it a personal virtue, or something I want to give props to in people I love. Losing weight doesn’t make you a more interesting, attractive person. It just makes you thinner. And I don’t buy into thinness as the ultimate goal. Stop indulging weight-loss talk. Assert the fact that you have not bought into the fatphobic and ableist belief that weight loss is the social and ethical holy grail. Tell weight loss to fuck off. Sure, your pal might have ‘worked hard’ for it, it might be what they’ve wanted more than anything else, but the world loves weight loss.
Their family, their partner, their other friends, the woman who serves them in Sainsbury’s, the old colleague they meet up with for a drink (vodka slimline tonic) are going to congratulate them because weight loss is viewed as a universally and inherently good thing. I’m lucky in that even weight-losing friends know to take their chat elsewhere, that I’m not gonna be their girl to celebrate that 2lb loss or to tell them how PROUD I am that they eschewed a social engagement to hit the gym. The absolute best I can do is smile and nod then text them afterwards to say ‘please never talk to me about weight loss again.’ Basically: don’t feel obliged to put boosting the ego of someone whose ego is probably getting boosted pretty hard above your need for safe, comfortable, fat-positive spaces. I believe sometimes people can lose weight without having the underlying assumption that they’re better than you as a fat person, but those people are probably not gonna try to have conversations with you about it or ask for praise. So it’s pretty clear-cut.
I don’t care. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to encourage it. We are intelligent people and can be better and more challenging than upholding such ubiquitous and unquestioned wisdom as ‘weight loss is great.’ We can talk about literally countless other exciting, stimulating, expectation-busting topics. We can do better than calories. (Oh and same goes for putting on weight. I don’t want to hear you whine because your body now more closely resembles mine, thanks!)