When I asked the Twitters, some months ago, whether I should buy this hot pink muumuu-like thing from ASOS Curve, the response I received was a resounding no. Oh, certainly, there were a few who went against the grain and encouraged me, possibly in an attempt at reverse psychology, as anyone who knows me understands that the surest way to make me buy and wear something is to tell me it can’t or shouldn’t be done.
Beth Ditto, fatshion icon to the multitudes, recently asked Style.com, “Why wear pants when you could be wearing a muumuu?” As someone who hasn’t bought a pair of pants in something like eight years, I’m inclined to agree.
Sure, a muumuu is comfortable -- you’re basically wearing a sheet, right? -- but for me, there’s also a distinct subversive appeal. Muumuus are culturally associated with a lack of style, not to mention connotations with socioeconomic class and age. They're UNFLATTERING. Our culture tells us that no self-respecting style-invested lady should dare be seen in a muumuu, much less if she is a lady who is also fat.
We all negotiate the tyranny of fashion rules, but once you become a lady of a certain size -- I prefer to use the word “fat” to describe myself, but different strokes for different folks -- the rules become more stark. Your clothes should "fit," as though this is at all possible given both the scarcity of well-made plus size clothing and the incredible variety to be found amongst the fleshy distribution of said bodies. Your clothes should not be too bright, too tight, too loose, too patterned, too attention-grabbing. The established rules for dressing a plus size body are, well, BORING.
The muumuu defies all that, all the more so when it’s bright pink. I’ve been working on Project: Take Back the Muumuu for a few years now, and I’ve decided part of said project should include action shots of real live muumuu-wearing out in the world.
Where does one wear a muumuu? To glamorous locations like THE SUPERMARKET and THE PARKING LOT BEHIND MY CONDO. I draped my 300+ pound form in fuschia chiffon and ran some errands.
This thing actually came with a black satin tie belt -- AS IF you would want to belt it and give the illusion of a waistline! -- but I ditched that sucker immediately. I also added a colorful scarf to get a sweet Cass Elliot vibe going. (Future post: Cass Elliot as style icon. WATCH FOR IT.)
I don’t know whether I got any funny looks for this outfit, or at least, any more than usual. Fact is I get funny looks every day, and moms yanking their kids from my path, though whether it is because they simply want to keep their children out of the way, or because they’re afraid I will barrel right over their offspring, I cannot say. I’m pretty oblivious to the stares of strangers, because if I weren’t, I’d probably never leave the house.
Would I wear it again? Yes. All the time. I’d like to encourage you -- no matter your size -- to give it a shot as well, if you’re so inclined, because there’s nothing you “can’t” wear. Reject the rules. Wear what you like.