When I was a kid, I had this mint green turtleneck. I think it was my most loathed article of clothing. I don't just mean during my childhood -- I mean I still hate that turtleneck when I think about it. The turtleneck itself felt like it was slowly strangling me (I still have some sensory issues and they were more intense as a kid) and the color felt like a betrayal. It was lovely and minty but when I put it on, I looked like I was about to die of liver failure.
I've worn a lot of wacky stuff -- I don't abide by fashion rules, be they about wearing stripes or sleeveless things while fat. But even so, there are a few elements of style (heh, English major joke) that have never come naturally to me. Chief among these, going all the way back to that awful, terrible, no good, very bad turtleneck? PASTELS.
I've checked out pastels a lot over the past couple of years but even reading Alyssa's Do This Don't on the subject wasn't quite enough to convince me that now was the hour. In the end, there were two factors to my fashion capitulation:
- I'm still using Gwynnie Bee (so I could try styles without commitment to them).
- I kept hearing people say they were too fat to wear pastels.
That's means and motive right there, y'all -- "too fat to wear pastels" is guaranteed to get a response from me. And so I began the process of experimenting.
Things were a little rocky at the beginning of this experiment. Gwynnie Bee (that's the same referral link as I used in my last post) has seriously stepped it up, in my opinion, when it comes to options for sizes 28-32 and I took advantage of that by trying a lot of things I couldn't even stand to photograph because I didn't wear them long enough! I learned that no matter how many people compliment me when I wear coral, I just don't like how I look in it. I learned that zippers in the back of a dress freak me out. I learned that it wasn't the pastels so much as it was the styling that I was having issues with.
Those are all good realizations, right? I learned, I moved on, and I requested more clothes. And so I present to you, my most recent experiments. Let's evaluate!
Pastel Jacket Over Print
I got this very pale cool pink jacket from Gwynnie Bee and knew immediately I wanted to pair it with the only item of beige clothing I own -- a digital camo print vintage style dress from eShakti. The day was cool, so the jacket was appropriate.
In the past, I've paired this dress with solid, jewel-toned cardigans and neon tights. It's been about contrasting with the camo print. Wearing it with pale pinks played with femme in a different way. It's not like I felt particularly delicate -- I paired it with my pink studded Dr. Martens to rescue me from being twee. I like the color combo, but the loose cut of the jacket obscures the really great silhouette of the dress. I think this jacket would have gone even better with jeans and a crisp white t-shirt.
In that situation, I would have paired it with pastel shoes, too. I'd have had to buy some though.
Pastel Plus Bright
When confronted with a sheer, striped mint and white sleeveless top, I reached for my old favorite red vest (from Domino Dollhouse) and a pair of jeans (skinny jeans from Torrid) -- I was still looking for a balance between the inherent cuteness of pastels and, you know, something spiky.
This shirt was a chiffon deal that I never would have tried on my own (Florida humidity + chiffon just don't ever work for me), and I think I'd have liked it better in a jersey fabric for maximum summer comfort. But I'm actually really glad that I got to play with it because now I'm a little obsessed with button-front sleeveless shirts. It's a new fashion quest!
The concept on this outfit felt solid to me, especially paired with these Fluevog heels to dress it up a little bit.
Pastel Dress With Cardigan
I had to conquer mint green as a whole garment -- that was a must during this experiment. While I'm still no fan of what it does to my skin tone, I am totally a fan of this dress! I'm tempted to keep it. I also embraced the twee a little bit more -- because why not?
This is the outfit in which I felt most like a marshmallow or an Easter egg. And there was something incredibly satisfying about that! I love marshmallows (and the marshmallow girl label being applied to body-accepting women and girls in Japan who aren't in line with the super slim and petite cultural body ideal), and I also felt like a first flower of spring or something ridic like that. Mind, it's not ridic because it's wrong or bad to feel like a flower -- it's ridic because we've been having summer since April. That cardigan hasn't seen a lot of action even though I bought it years ago at Torrid. I'm glad I kept it -- I am eager to wear it again.
This outfit works because I committed to the idea of it, to the cuteness and sweetness that I'm not generally very good at pulling off. Even with the patent leather pink docs.
The Gwynnie Bee clothes gave me a chance to learn what I liked, to practice working pastels into my outfits. I took that knowledge and didn't even hesitate when I found this dress from eShakti. It fit right into my summer style plan for comfy dresses and spiky accessories.
Technically, I am cheating on the pastel idea with those black leggings. But finding plus size pastel cropped leggings was beyond my capabilities. In a perfect world, I'd have been able to use them to incorporate another shade of pink. There's something breezy about a good sack dress, and it pairs well with the lightness of a range of pastels. That was the trick I learned with this -- to keep it light.
And in that sense, this is the outfit I had the most fun with because I succeeded with the lightness and humor inherent in pastels.
Speaking of having fun.
On my best days, getting dressed still feels like playing dress up. We can say so many things with our clothes -- as fun as clothes are, presentation really is a serious issue. When fat people are told we can't wear things, our options for presentation are limited; in a way, that puts a fence around what our identities are allowed to be.
Balls to that!
Fat people can wear pastels -- and look awesome doing it. It just takes the right resources, having access to what we need. I've got another tool in my presentation toolbox now, and I'm super excited about it. I'm also excited that I didn't have to spend a lot of money buying things that didn't work for me once I started putting outfits together. Gwynnie Bee continues to be super useful!
What's your least favorite fashion rule? Would you use a service like Gwynnie Bee to try a whole new style?
And what rule of fashion for fat people should I break next?