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Here is a terrific piece by Bethany Rutter on what plus-size fashion is getting wrong:
At the core of what's holding plus-size fashion back is a set of rigidly imposed rules and norms. The ultimate goal is to pretend you're not fat. The secondary goal is to reproduce hegemonic beauty standards by faking or creating 'womanly curves,' prizing so-called femininity, huge boobs, a flat stomach and wide hips. Using these two goals as the focal point of most design decisions means that most mainstream plus-size fashion is not a radical place.It's literally one extreme or the other: Fat women either have to wear something "flattering," defined as something that is supposed to magically make you look not fat, or have to wear something shapeless and billowing in order to cover our fat bodies as completely as possible, in order to concede "yes I'm fat and I'm so ashamed of it and I am wearing something that protects your delicate eyes from the horror of my visible fatness."
...You would think that fat women would be excited to see a great diversity of styles, an opportunity to try looks they hadn't been allowed to before, but no. The rigid orthodoxy imposed by the big brands is so pervasive that choice and diversity is seen as a negative. Clothes that don't 'hug your curves' or 'flatter your figure' are treated like a threat.
...All of this is the effect of the 'Cult of Flattering.' This is one of the strongest, most dominant norms of plus-size dressing, and dictates pretty much every styling decision made in plus-size fashion. For the uninitiated, this school of thought entirely revolves around the myth that these clothes will make fat people look thinner if you wear them in this way. These clothes will conceal the fact that you're fat. This styling will trick those around you into believing you're thin. Not flattering? Don't wear it. Tight, short, bright, eye-catching, oversized, textural? But it's not flattering.
...You don't need me to tell you this is a thoroughly pointless endeavour. If you're fat, you'll look fat whatever you wear, and the sooner you and yours accept that, the better. More than that, though, the sooner you accept you're fat, the sooner you can start dressing in the ways you want for the body you have, rather than dressing in ways you think will give you the body you don't have.
It's a sorry state of affairs that fashion, that's meant to be fun, experimental and a way for people to express their personality, has, for fat women, become merely an exercise in (self-)deception. Instead of saying "what do I want to wear today?" or "What excites me?" the question is "How do I most efficiently pretend my body is what it's not?" It's a joyless enterprise, and fat women deserve better.
Either way, so much of plus-size clothing is about trying to minimize or disguise fat bodies, instead of just dressing them well.
Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What is your favorite feel-good outfit?
Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.