Discovering personal style is a journey. Personal style evolves and changes throughout life, and as a plus size person it can feel hard to define your own style. There are generally less options in larger sizes, the clothes are often shapeless, and everything starts to look the same. It took me a long time to figure out my own personal style, and it mostly came from looking towards other fat babes I wanted to emulate. I’ve asked other members of the squad to share how they’ve defined personal styles over the years, as well as the issues that come with defining personal style as a fat person.
How do you develop your personal style?
Carly – My personal style is for me. It makes me feel good. I look at what I have in my wardrobe, and see if there is anything missing. I feel if there is anything missing. Call it intuition? But, it happens organically for me. I have a feeling about a piece and it just becomes incorporated into my personal.
Yuli – It took me a long time to realize that I like graphics and prints on OTHER people and it’s best to leave them to it. I’ve saved a lot of money since refining my style, with the help of pinning things on Pinterest. I came to notice I was pinning a lot of basics, and structured pieces in black, white, grey and blush pink.
Ama – I have always considered myself a bit of a tomboy, so I would say my personal style came over time when I really stopped giving a fuck about what other people thought and started doing what was most comfortable for me. I feel like when I started doing what came natural to me, my personal style just came through in spades. I’d describe myself now as hard femme meets urban chic.
Alex – Everyday I get up, pick out the clothes I wanna wear, and then take a step back. I look over my outfit and ask myself “Will this make me look like a witch, a mermaid, or like I’m apart of a super rad girl gang?” If this criteria is met, then I put on what I’ve picked; otherwise it’s back to the drawing board. This definitely developed after having a long standing love affair with bad ass ladies.
Amarina – I definitely have a long term general vibe I’m going for but it is also important that I’m comfortable enough to dominate in an apocalypse situation at any given moment if I needed to.
2. Who do you look to for inspiration?
Carly – I like people with a minimalist approach to style. Minimalist doesn’t mean without style, it’s just striped down and more refined. I spend time online looking at bloggers, but there are times when their style fits their personality, and not necessarily mine. I look to my friends here in Hamilton – from the witchy Steve Nicks to the hardworking femme, having fierce woman in my life that are effortless in their personal style really inspiring. It also helps working at an independent small business that brings in Canadian design. It’s fuel!
Yuli – I don’t know if there is one particular person who I look to. I look to brands like Madewell. For however self-indulgent it is I did get a lot out of reading Alexa Chung’s “It”. She talks about refinement of style and working on the basics. That did help a lot in the last two years, as I’ve been feeling really good in what I’m buying and investing in.
Ama – I’ve always had a huge style crush on Amanda Richards (writer), who is just messy and manic and wonderful. I find myself so drawn to her because our styles are similar in a lot of ways. When she did a closet sale, I’ve ended up buying shoes, glasses and dresses from her – so I’m literally living vicariously through her. Her style is so effortless and I love it. Another style crush I have is on Nadia Aboulhosn (fashion blogger / designer), who literally does urban chic like no other. She is the most bad-ass chick ever and I love it. I literally wish I could dress more like her, but I don’t think I could pull it off. Others whose styles I adore are Nicolette Mason, Arched Eyebrow (aka Bethany Rutter) and Curves and Curls (Ciaa).
Alex – I take inspiration from many things; I look to my friends who’re really amazing and have their own awesome style, while also searching #fatshion on different social media sites. I’ve also got a large collection of fashion magazines (like FRUiTS) that I enjoy perusing through when I’m looking for a little kick of inspiration (recently la farfa has come out as one of the only “plus size” magazines in print, so I’m excited to get my hands on it!)
Amarina – Kate Bush, Gretchen Jones, Boney M., Rodarte, Stevie Nicks, but especially and most importantly my fellow Instagram babes who are throwing out endless personal style on the daily.
3. As a fat person, is there anything you find difficult about creating personal style?
Carly – ALL OF IT. As a fat person years ago, I thought I was going to be reserved to wearing long, ill-fitting clothing. Then I realized, it’s just more difficult to find structure basics to make an outfit. I feel like I am constantly looking for affordable, quality goods that fit into this image that I want to portray. I am saddened that there is a lack of Canadian plus size designs.
Yuli – Finding basics is surprisingly hard as a fat person. I don’t know where the notion that to be a fat and fashionable person you need to wear loud, asymmetrical pieces. I shop the men’s section of H&M a lot for these basics. They’re half the price and better quality than the women’s and more likely to fit my size.
Ama – Because it can be so hard to shop as a fat person, I decided to make my own personal fashion statements. For example, my glasses and my nails are the two things I’m known for. A lot of my clothing I have to buy online which can be extremely difficult and frustrating, which is why I don’t rely on having my clothes make a statement for me. But one tip I’ve learned via online shopping is searching other plus-size bloggers closet sales online. Plus-size clothes are expenses and you can get great items this way on the cheeeeap.
Alex – Oh gosh yes! The clothing I typically want to wear won’t come in my size, so that’s widely problematic. Fashion for fat people has gone a long way since I was thirteen or fourteen, but it’s still not where I think it should be in accordance to what the market seems to need right now (fatshion that doesn’t “fit my body shape” type of thing!)
Amarina– I think the big one for fat girl style is variety in brands, looks, and price points. I shop mostly vintage because the thrill of the find is the best but I can also bet that I won’t see my treasure on anyone else.
4. Why is personal style important to you?
Carly – I am tossed between invisibility or hyper-visible because I am fat. My personal style allows me to define myself on my own terms. It’s my voice that I can use, without saying a word.
Yuli – It makes me feel comfortable and even confident so I can go out and be in social situations I would probably shy away from if I was feeling less myself.
Ama – To be honest, I don’t really consider myself to be all that fashionable. I think I just do me and if that means that I’m dressed well and people take notice in the process, amazing. What is most important to me is that I’m happy and that I feel good. In the morning, if I can get dressed, look at myself in the mirror and think, “Fuck yea, I look good” – that is what is important. For example, one Sunday I decided I wanted to wear a floral crown to a brunch. Everyone on the street was looking at me like I was fucking crazy but I thought: fuck you. I look amazing and I am totally feeling myself. I didn’t wear it to be fashionable but I wore it because I wanted to make no one but myself feel good. At the end of the day, if the clothes (or accessories) that you wear inspire you, that’s all that matter.
Alex – I like to express myself through my clothes, and I don’t think I should have to put on what society expects me to wear as a fat person or as a tall fat person (when you’re fat it is very frustrating because most people expect someone who is your size to not be fashionable, or to have self confidence, but I don’t, and I won’t compromise in what I think I deserve).
Amarina – “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.” – Jean Cocteau (as told to me by my bf when I asked him to help me come up with the perfect concise answer for this question).
Being a fat person with their own look can have it’s ups and downs, but ultimately it feels good to be able to put yourself out there and know that you’re changing someone’s perception of what it means to be fat. Developing your own sense of style takes time, and overtime your look will change. Who knows what these babes will be wearing in the years to come?
Tags: Amanda Richards, fat, fat fashion, fatshion, Hard Femme, inspiration, Mermaid, Nadia Aboulhosn, Nicolette Mason, Personal Style, Stevie Nicks, style, where to shop, Witchy