I Went to Texas and All I Got Were These Great Outfits

I am a true clothes-loving femme. I love dresses and button-downs and comfy jeans and t shirts. I can go from high femme to tomboy femme and be perfectly happy. I like to plan my future in terms of the outfits I get to wear. Maybe it’s being indoctrinated into a consumer driven capitalist agenda, but it makes me feel happy to dress in clothes that make me feel good.

As a plus size girl in a skinny fashion world, however, shopping often sucks.

It sucks to try on clothes designed with smaller bodies in mind, just made a few sizes bigger. It sucks to not be able to button shirts over my ample chest when the rest of a shirt fits fine! It sucks to try on dresses that cling or hang baggily on my body, as if I don’t get to look good because I don’t fit into ideals of beauty. There are a lot of style trends that are created around smaller bodies that make other women look cool and effortless, but when I try them out I feel like people see me as sloppy and lazy.

Last week I made my first foray into the American South. I visited Dallas and I saw many things for the first time, like long horn cows and bedazzled rhinestone hats that said “USA.” I also found several different stores that sold clothes that actually fit my body! I don’t know if it’s true that everything is bigger in Texas, or if it has to do with Southerner’s penchant for putting sugar in everything, but it seems like people in Dallas, Texas know what a full-figured woman wants to wear!

The hat of my dreams.

I went to local businesses and chains I had only previously seen on the internet and I was surrounded by things that were made with me in mind! When I walked into Torrid (a store that exists in New England but that I had never actually seen before) for the first time you couldn’t pry the goofy grin from my face. It doesn’t matter that they lean heavily into the hearts and skulls motif, being in a store where the employees and customers all looked like me made me feel finally seen in a world I sometimes feel rejected from. Trying on clothes that were too big for me at times was a privilege because it meant other women were sharing in my joy.

I’ve spent a long time working on loving my body. For a while clothes meant covering up something that was too big. When I was a young college queer  I would go to stores with my friends and see feminine clothing that I thought was so cute, but just not for me. I lived in oversized men’s button downs, which effectively hid my shape and advertised my queerness.

Then I learned about femme identity. I learned that my body and my voice shouldn’t be afraid of being too much. That I could dress my body for myself and not for the consumption of others. That I could be feminine and queer. I felt good about playing with fashion, and with some much needed confidence (as well as the endless affirmations of my femme friends), I started feeling like my body isn’t something I need to hide. It felt like a one woman revolution. In a community that often privileges skinniness and masculine-leaning androgyny, I could make a little space to just be me.

For me being fat is intrinsically linked with being femme. It’s about taking up space and being unapologetic and making choices for my own happiness. It’s about finding community with people who share my size and affirm it. It’s about not being ashamed to eat in public or wear something that’s ugly or to use my style to make a statement. It’s about not letting overarching ideologies about femininity or size make me feel bad for being who I am.

It is a continuous challenge to unlearn the many “isms” we internalize over the course of a lifetime, but the work is infinitely rewarding, as we learn to love ourselves and each other in new, more complete ways.

Thanks @Dallas for the fun trip. Sorry I made fun of the cowboy hats so much.

❤ Marnie

 

 

Advertisements

Femme Fashion: Warmth is Key

Not to state the obvious, but winter is really fucking cold. Honestly there are days when I think “could global warming just speed up a bit so I don’t need to wear 5 layers to insulate my body?” Unfortunately nature never listens to me, and for 4 long months I am forced to retire my cute femme skirts and crop tops in favor of never letting my skin touch open air again.

I believe there are people out there in the world who are somehow resistant to the cold, either through magicks or amazing personal stamina. Just the other day I was on the bus, (wearing fleece-lined tights under my pants, a sweater, a flannel, a jacket, a hat and a scarf) when a woman boarded and sat down directly across from me, wearing tights, a pea coat, and flats. We got off at the same stop, and I saw her walk straight through a pile of snowy slush without wincing. Who was she? What powers does she have?

That being said, my approach to winter style is similar to my approach to interpersonal relationships: warmth is key. Here is a femme’s guide to winter style (and warmth):

Blanket Scarves: 

True story: my mom got me a blanket scarf last Christmas and I thought it was too big to actually wear and ignored it until this year, when my roommate explained this style to me. YOU GUYS. The blanket scarf is everything you never knew you always needed.

Cover the maximum amount of skin possible while still looking cute and seasonal.

blanket scarf
Pro tip: Cover your mouth and nose with this scarf, and no one on the street can tell you “you look prettier if you smile.” Available on Etsy for $16!! 

Fleece Lined Flannel: 

My gf and I decided this November that the two year anniversary is the fleece-lined flanniversary and honestly it has changed my life. I know flannel is a stereotype, but with the right attitude, anything can be femme.

10298568_10153746337036285_4925346635536959502_o
She knows I love purple ❤ ❤ 

L.L. Bean sells some amazing fleece-lined flannels that are listed at $64 on the website, but I encourage you to sign up for email updates, because they send out coupons ALL THE TIME. If you hate emails but still want coupons, consider downloading the chrome extension Honey, which tells you about active coupons on any website you visit!

 

Fleece-lined flannel jeans: 

It’s flannel-ception! Pants lined with flannel are warmer, softer, and overall cozier than regular pants. All the places that sell them have them styled with a cute rolled cuff and a splash of flannel color, but honestly, who is doing that in the cold?

These great pants come to you via Eddie Bauer, on sale now for $54.

pants
Or try Cabelas, which gives you a pop of pink for just $30

Dickies and L.L. Bean also sell fleece-lined jeans for varying prices.

Leggings and Fleece-lined Tights:

Fleece-lined tights are perfect for every occasion, such as lining your pants for warmth, or those winter days when it’s juuust sunny enough to convince you that a skirt might be worth while. Leggings can fill this role too, just make sure they are actually keep warmth in! I know from experience, pleather leggings will just leave you with broke dreams and icicles for legs.

Shout out to my friend Meghan who told me about UNIQLO Heat Tech Leggings. They come in black, grey, and navy, as well as the really cute blue and the winter sweater style shown above.

Fleece-lined tights are pretty much everywhere, including Old Navy and Target, but be careful! A lot of them do not provide the same stretch as regular tights, and are cruel for those of us with big bellies who just want to hibernate in a warm cave for winter (Can queer women be bears too?) On this I will defer to the tights wisdom of XO Jane.

Hats etc: 

Now that you have all the staples to keep you living in a soft flannel wonderland, you’ll need some sort of headgear to keep your ears from falling off. I lean into the beanie style, more for practical than aesthetic reasons (they don’t fall off my head) but there are so many options!

These creepy mannequins look SO WARM. The two above are from Etsy, and will run you between $30 and $35 but you can find cheaper at literally any store in the winter, although probably in lesser variety.

Earmuffs are also apparently making a comeback, and while I prefer something that covers my whole face, I am a strong admirer of those who rock this look. Find the first pair at Ann Taylor for $30  and the second at Last Call for $25.

Feminist Swag: 

One of the troubles with winter is the inability to flaunt your feminist crops and tees, due to your need to layer. Worry no more, with any of the feminist sweatshirts from Feminist Apparel, your politics will be obvious to all!

These sweatshirts run up to a size 2XL and will cost you about $45, but again keep an eye out for frequent sales. Fun fact: Feminist Apparel is a non-profit dedicated to starting conversation about feminist issues. Woo!

That’s all I’ve got for today! I encourage you to scour your local thrift shop and get warm reusing some cozy clothes from years gone by. Bring retro coziness to the table this winter!

Do you have any great femme winter fashion tips? Share them in the comments and help Marnie keep cozy during this long long winter. Stay warm!