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EXPRESS  YOURSELF!
by Thea Politis,
Managing Editor ElegantPlus.com
Invited Guest Post on the Just My Size Blog February 2006
Archived on ElegantPlus.com

 

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Would it surprise you if I told you that the man sitting next to you sporting a green mohawk and multiple body piercing was a lawyer? What if I told you that the perfectly coiffed woman over there in the meticulous Chanel suit was a folk singer? You’d not only be surprised in either case, you’d also tend not to believe me. These may be extreme examples, but whether we realize it or not, we all respond to the visual cues clothing sends. And then in a few split seconds we make certain assumptions about the person wearing them. Celebrities know this. That’s why they hire stylists.

What do your clothes say to the world about you? Do they exude your personal style and reflect the inner you? Or do they speak of body insecurities and low self-esteem? Are they telling the truth? Or are they lying? If they are lying – is it a lie that you, the wearer, want to tell? One thing is absolutely certain: they are communicating something to those around you. The question is what story are they telling and are you in control of the story?

Until recently big girls were told that we must always hide in head to toe black. We must cover our bodies. We were only offered shapeless tent-like garments. Collectively we accepted our fate and our choices, limited to frumpy, “fat girl”, unattractive fashion messaging. Even the most confident and self-expressive curvy chick had trouble finding anything more than a brightly colored floral muu-muu that came in her size. That choice may get noticed, but it hardly expresses much more than a loud, brash personality lost in a sea of ill-fitting cloth. Where’s the person under that tent? All of this, of course, severely limited our abilities to fully communicate who we were and what we can do to the world around us. Essentially we were brainwashed and then handicapped by our clothing options. Our only real choices relegated to neat and tidy or unkempt and sloppy -options which, in and of themselves, actually do speak volumes about how we feel about ourselves.


Over the last few years our fashion choices in larger sizes have changed dramatically. But have our actions and attitudes towards ourselves changed? Much of the social messaging is still around…. “wear black”…. “hide your body”…. “thinner is better”….in direct conflict with the growing number of alternatives out there. How many of us have the confidence to play with fashion as a tool of self expression? And, how many of us are “waiting until we lose a few pounds” before we buy the fabulous dress or jacket that we are lusting after, and instead opt for the safe, the comfortable, the voluminous big girl black?


Stop the madness! Neither size nor health is the issue here. Start with feminine, flirty or fun undergarments and watch a little spring magically enter your step. As people around you begin to respond to the improved body language, you’ll gain the confidence to begin experimenting with more looks, to figure out what works on your particular version of curves and within the social circles in which you move. You’ll start to find your own fashion voice. Next thing you know, you’ll have escaped the tyranny of the “fat girl uniform”, complete with all its associated negative social messaging, to emerge as the individual you truly are. You’ll have the ability to tell your own story when you walk into a room, meet a client for the first time, or go on a job interview. What you do with that tool is up to you. Put your best face forward or consider it a casual pajama day. Dress it up or dress it down. Exude professional polish or wild, joie de vivre. Become a social rebel or a soft, voluptuous siren. You can even tell a fib or two – it’ll be you and your wardrobe’s little secret. Regardless, you’ll find the people around you will respond accordingly. Don’t like the response, you know how to change direction, dial it up a notch or play it down. The difference now is that you are in control the minute you walk into a room and before you open your mouth. You are not relegated to a fat chick social cliché. So, express yourself!



 

About the Author

Thea Politis is the Founder and Managing Editor of ElegantPlus.com, a fashion and lifestyle internet guide specializing in plus-sizes 12-34w and is a curvy woman herself. Her PhD level academic research specialized in jewelry, textiles, semiotics, social theory and the role of fashion in image and non-verbal communication. Combined with a sense that fashion should be available as a a form of self-expression for all sizes, large and small, this perspective is unique and empowering to the plus community. Her fashion flair and trained eye in color, proportion and aesthetics provides a distinctive background for plus fashion styling and editing.

 

 

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