Posts Tagged ‘fancy’

Success – the man is fancy

I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days now. I saw a picture of myself from a Sunday afternoon trip to the park with some friends and thought “HEY! I CAN LOOK FANCY TOO!!!”

[img_assist|nid=86|title=Fancy Nick|desc=Not my glasses, but fancy none the less.|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=133]

It’s actually the first time in, well, ever that I’ve thought that about myself. I know that with my wedding photos (which you’ll see if you read back a couple of days to one of Natalie’s posts) I thought I looked pretty good. There was still this “but I’m fat!” in a sad way when I was seeing them for the first time.

Now, I feel like I can fat it up and look awesome in any situation. My wardrobe isn’t that extensive at the moment, but I can work on that. Mmmm, spending up big at Kingsize Big and Tall. What I would like is more variety and for fat man clothes to not cost an arm and a leg. Just an arm or a leg would be sufficient.

However I think I know who one of my icons of fancy is. Penn Jillette. I’m way shorter than Penn is though so the look wouldn’t work for me, but he comes out time and time again looking awesome even with a casual look.[img_assist|nid=87|title=Penn Jillette - fancy!|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=261]

I think part of it is just the metric butt load of confidence that this man exudes. In fact it is almost pouring out of his skin, his face, his clothes and the awesome goatee. He has a bit more hair though. Which moves me right into my next train of thought. Love a good segue.

I’m balding and I’m proud to be balding. I don’t want some advanced hair regrowth formula because I wouldn’t look like me any more. I haven’t had a full head of hair in years. So I’m starting to wonder whether what to do with it. Do I shave it all off again, and keep a beard? Can you be a bald shaven beard wearer and look fancy?

Don’t get me wrong. I think bald men are fancy. I do sometimes wish I had more hair, but only so I could grow into a silver fox when I get older. Could a silver beard with a bald head work? Perhaps I could just leave a small amount of hair to try and make sense of the beard. Or perhaps just a simple Penn Jillette style goatee.

Nah, I’ll stay with what I’ve got for now thanks. I’m pretty darn fancy as it is.

 

 


There’s a learning curve to fanciness!

You know, for a long time I was very disdainful of fashion.  Looking back, it was probably a combination of resentment that I couldn’t fit into clothes that were fashionable, and a sense that I was a nerdy girl and thus ‘not allowed’ to be fashionable.

To which I now say: BULLSHIT.  Anyone can be fancy, in their own way.  It’s just a matter of finding your style.

[img_assist|nid=41|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=79|height=100]I posted my first Ootfit of the Day (OotD) on the Fatshionista Livejournal community around January 2008 (I can’t find the exact date).  Not much, is it?  It was the middle of winter, and my body was still learning to cope with a Japanese winter.  I’m wearing a tomato red turtleneck from Japanese store Uniqlo, and old cream turtleneck from Ezibuy (an Australian catalogue shop), a black top from Uniqlo (which I still have and love), a pair of jeans from a Japanese plus-size store, and socks.  No accessories, no shoes, taken in a dirty mirror – the only thing going for it really is my awesome haircut.[img_assist|nid=42|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=49|height=101]

It’s interesting that some things here have stayed the same: I love layering, especially long sleeves under short, and I have a pretty similar haircut.  What’s happening is I’m learning, and taking photos of yourself is a huge step towards accepting your body, and deciding what sort of styles you really enjoy and are comfortable in.

In this outfit, which I’m not sure of the date, but is a similar timeframe, I’ve discovered dresses.  I’ve seen a lot of members in Fatshionista wearing dresses, and have decided to try breaking out of my top-and-jeans rut.  The dress is from Jump, an Australian brand stocked at department store David Jones.  I’m wearing a necklace in this one, but I’m clearly still working on the ‘co-ordinated outfit’ thing.  Still loving my hair![img_assist|nid=43|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=right|width=61|height=100]

Here’s where I start to get my fancy on! I’ve discovered the concept of accessories, particularly scarves and earrings.  I’m still having a love affair with scarves, actually.  Tell me your favourite place to buy fancy scarves!   This particular outfit features a thrifted dress, a random black top, sunglasses by Christian Dior, scarf from a random Japanese boutique, and coloured tights  from We Love Colors, a fabulous site that sells opaque tights in heaps of colours.

From here, I pretty much go nuts trying to find the style that suits me.  Ultimately, I love dresses and skirts, particularly of the knee-length a-line or pencil variety.  I’m still not sure if belts work for me, but my love for  scarves will probably never abate, and I’m a big fan of interesting (yet comfortable) shoes.

A couple of my favourite outfits! Featuring the first thing I ever bought from a Fatshionista sales post, which are a great way for antipodean fats to get hold of US and UK clothing at a reasonable price.  The first photo features a tunic is from Maurices via a sales post, cropped cardigan from Japanese store We Go, and boots from Japanese shoe store Washington.  (How amazing is it that I was able to find gorgeous wide-calf boots in Japan?!

[img_assist|nid=38|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=56|height=100]

[img_assist|nid=39|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=75|height=100]

[img_assist|nid=40|title=|desc=|link=popup|align=none|width=60|height=100]

Number two is a black top from 1626 via Natalie’s clothing swap, grey high-waisted skirt from Dorothy Perkins (shop review to come!), and shoes from Marui, a Japanese department store. And the last is what I wore to work on Thursday, as today outfit of jeans and a jumper for casual Friday was not very fancy! Dress by Mlle Gabrille via Alight.com, sweater from Uniqlo, ribbon stolen from another skirt, jacket from Basque Woman (Myer), tights from Jinnee (Japanese plus-size store) and shoes by Naot.

I hope this gives readers a bit of insight into how the Axis of Fat members get their fanciness on, and in future posts there’ll be handy-dandy shop reviews, and some vlogging to help you all reach the fancy lady or man inside!


From Diet Misery to Self-Acceptance

(Note: May be triggering for some readers – diet/weight loss/self-harm).

I have a rather shocking confession to make. Brace yourselves.

I am fat, and happy with my body.

I don’t mean fat in the sense of “wah wah oh I can pinch more than an inch oh woe is me”, while dramatically flinging my hand against my forehead and waiting for all my friends to chime in and bolster my self-esteem by decrying my tirade of hating myself. Fuck that noise.

I mean in the sense that I regularly wear plus-sizes (generally an 18-20, for the curious), have a protruding, bifurcated belly, and for medical purposes, fall somewhere between obese and morbidly obese.

Becoming at ease with my body has not been an easy journey. I’ve been fat for as long I can remember – always stockier than my slender primary-school friends, wearing a size 16 in girl’s clothing, and knowing deep down that I should be ashamed, and finally, when I was twelve years old, subjecting myself to Weight Watchers.

[img_assist|nid=21|title=Circa age fifteen|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=262|height=400]At the time, I weighed 79 kilograms, or about 175lbs. I dieted myself down to 70 kilograms (154lbs), but given that I’m only 5’4” tall, the goal listed on my little purple diet booklet suggested I should be around 67kg maximum. Maybe I would have got there, maybe I wouldn’t have, but I moved interstate, got a job working at McDonald’s, stopped playing netball, focused all my efforts on staying home and studying…

Yeah, I gained the weight back. And a little more, just for spite.

My life became a constant push-and-pull with my body. In high school, I remember fantasising about slicing my stomach off. I used to stand in front of the mirror and tell myself how fucking ugly I was. I actually slapped myself in the face once, after eating a slice of cake.

In grade eleven, I started walking for over an hour every day before school, eating half an apple for breakfast, purging my lunch, and picking at my dinner. I stopped purging because I was worried about ruining my teeth, but the compliments as I got slimmer and slimmer (and tired and pale and irritable and stressed and…) were so satisfying.

The shame I felt when my mother made my formal, or prom outfit, as she measured my waist and pursed her lips and shook her head, was overwhelming. I looked amazing that night. So many people told me how great I looked. All I could think was that I weighed 85 kilograms, having finally given up on the restrictive dieting while I was studying so hard for university entrance.

University is a bit of a blur. I found a boyfriend, something I was convinced would never happen because I was so disgustingly fat. I went on naturopath diet, something horrible, where she wanted me to basically be a vegetarian (no hating on vegos here, but goddammit, I love my meat). My life was a swing of highs and lows, solely centred on whether I lost or gained weight each week.

I went on a medical diet program in my final year. At the beginning, the doctors did an EKG, blood sugars, cholesterol, liver enzymes. They were noticeably surprised that all my levels were normal, and that my blood pressure was perfect. Throughout the six month program, I lost very little weight, although I went to the gym for up two hours every day. I burst into tears at the last appointment. All that had happened was that my blood sugars and liver enzymes had improved, though they were good to start with.

I went on my last diet in January 2008. A local chemist here has a meal-replacement diet; because I was working in an office, I found it very easy to stick to, and lost about 9 kilograms in five weeks. Then I moved to Japan. Of all the places one might expect to find peace with their body, Japan would be pretty low on the list. It’s an image-obsessed culture, where the cult of thin is possibly even more entrenched than it is in the West.

But there was something about it. Maybe it was the fact that my Japanese wasn’t good enough to consume the local media, so all the fat-hatred went straight over my head. Maybe it was the fact that I knew I was going to stand out for a multitude of reasons, my fat being just one of them. Maybe it was the surprising number of compliments I seemed to receive on my clothing. Maybe it was the sweet Japanese man I ended up dating for a significant portion of the time I was there, and who seemed to adore my body. Maybe it was the fact that I was homesick for Western food and didn’t care if I gained weight because I was already massively obese by Japanese standards anyway. Maybe I was just tired of fighting.

We take these bodies of ours for granted, so much of the time. They move us around, with or without assistance from aids, they house our minds and hearts, they protect us. And yet every day we treat them with utter disdain, even hatred, as they refuse to conform to the exceedingly narrow standards society has written for us.

I discovered size acceptance, the radical notion of accepting, even loving yourself at any size. I pored over Shapely Prose, The Rotund, Fatshionista.com and many more, absolutely astonished that people my size and bigger could be genuinely happy with themselves. After so long railing against it, calling it names and even physically abusing it, I wanted not to hate my body.

It’s not easy, and don’t let anyone try and tell you it is.

[img_assist|nid=22|title=Outift of the day, July 3rd 2009|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=400]I love to dress well, and I relish the compliments I receive on the clothes I wear, remembering how I used to hide in bust-compressing sports bras, baggy men’s shirts and capri pants. I wear makeup, or don’t wear it, as the fit takes me. I look to other fat people – Beth Ditto of The Gossip, Lesley Kinzel of Fatshionista, and more, for inspiration and help when the overwhelming message of fat hatred overtakes me.

I returned from Japan in April of this year, knowing that I would be thrown back in the media hysteria of obesity, the constant barrage of ‘fat is bad’ messages and the knowledge that every day will be always be a fight. Not a fight to force my body into the thin ideal, but the fight against such a pervasive message of fat hatred.

I no longer diet. I don’t purge or restrict my eating. I eat with joy and delight for the taste of food, sharing it with the people I care about, and nurturing my body. I don’t exercise for two hours every day, but move when I have the time, the inclination, and the ability to do so.

I wrote this not just as an introduction, but as a cathartic exercise to lay down in print how the misery and hopelessness of body hatred doesn’t have to be a part of my life, or of yours. Fat, thin, or anywhere in between, treat your body with respect. It’s a cliché, but it’s true – this body is the only one you’ve got, so you might as well give it the love it deserves.

I’m proud to be a founding member of the Brisbane Axis of Fat, where we acknowledge how inherently subversive it is to chill with your fat body, and are fucking upfront about it.


Do Not Adjust Your Set

The fancy people behind Axis of Fat have all written and contributed to blogs for a while now. But we felt that there was something missing in the blogging world, especially the Australian blogging world — and that was a collective of fat and fashionable fancy ladies (and men!), blogging about their politics, fat issues, their style and how we find shit to fit. The idea for the Axis of Fat came about from an idea Natalie had, in which we combine our different knowledge and blogging experiences into one big blog. 

The idea for Axis of Fat actually came together while Zoe was overseas in Japan (being fat all over the place and getting some seriously fashionable gear), so the whole concept coalesced before the four of us had even all met in person.  Once she returned, and the four of us finally got together, we realised how far we could take the concept.  We have a wide knowledge base: Nick’s web experience and familiarity with the fail that is fat men’s clothing (HI LOWES), Natalie’s extensive blogging on various fat issues, Sonya’s writing and previous blog work in NoMoreMumus and Zoe’s wide knowledge of international plus-size fashion.  Naturally, we can take on a variety of topics – from the dearth of plus size fashion in Australia to fat acceptance activism.     

We plan to have regular features on the blog, including vlogging style and Cosmo-esque lifestyle tips (with more cursing), how to find the elusive and sneaky clothing for fat men, and advice on how to build an oufit to suit your style. One feature we hope to make a regular occurence is to put our op-shopping skills to the test, and scour the thrift stores in order to find clothing and accessories for cheap, while still keeping in with personal style.  If you are in Brisbane and are interested in being part of a vlog, drop us a line – any size is welcome.

-The Axis of Fat collective


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