No Sweat (pants)

Fat thought of the day: bigger people can’t wear sweatpants.

No, it’s not a physical impossibility, okay? I know that, probably better than anyone. My imaginary lifestyle blog would probably be called “The Sweatpants Diaries” or something equally glamourous. It’s not compelling. Fat people can’t wear sweatpants and call it fashion. It’s just hard to be plus size and stylish.

I’m not saying that there aren’t stylish plus-sized clothes out there. We are coming into a renaissance where retailers like Forever 21 and Modcloth are finally acknowledging that we have sartorial aspirations! Fab over frump! This is utterly fantastic. Still, on an ideological level, I feel it’s harder to “get away” with certain looks when you’re a larger person.

In a previous post, I stumbled on the revelation in polka dots: I was holding back from dressing how I wanted, ignoring my style ambitions until I could get to a more magical size. And so, saying a big “fuck that” to this, I set out in search of change. Rather than waiting for a more fashion-forward future, I decided to start a push in for a little personal polish in the present on Pinterest. I started a board to try and figure out what my taste actually looks like, which was actually a lot of fun. (10/10, would recommend!)

There weren’t many outfit pictures posted by plus size people, and the ones I  saw were all primed and polished—not that this is a bad thing. But if I looked up “casual” or “sweatpants” searching for comfy inspiration, you can bet I didn’t see anyone above a size 10 rocking that gear. A thinner person can wear baggy sweats, or a pair of athletic leggings and a sweatshirt, and it will be stylish. I throw that on and I’m “hiding.” In fact, I can’t help but feel many “frumpy” outfits on plus sizers are stylish, quirky, hipster chic when you slip into them outside of double digit sizes.

Maybe that’s a poor reflection of my attitude for myself, and my shit opinions on society, and this is my problem to deal with. But it’s a curious exercise as a whole, to survey the general fashion rules that many plus size women have been taught by shows like What Not to Wear and women’s magazines. Fat people: don’t wear baggy clothes because they make you look bigger, but also don’t wear clothes that are *too* tight because they will show off your lumps and bumps? Empire waistlines are your friend. Black is your friend. Blah blah blah….maybe just wear what you want?

I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a standard out there, waiting to be smashed. I personally will be looking for a new pair of sweatpants so I can start #owningit.