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By Ghia Vitale
The plus size fashion world needs clothes in more extended sizes to begin with, but that’s not enough for me. I also want cute, hyper-feminine, dainty, and flirty clothes to be available in extended plus sizes. Having cute fashion available in extended plus sizes promotes accessibility, fat liberation, and inclusion, all of which are desperately needed by the fashion industry and the world at large.
As many of you already know, plus size fashion is one of my main interests. I often post my fashion and makeup looks on social media for the sake of providing representation to people with fat bodies like mine. Expressing my creativity through my outfits helps me cope with everything from everyday pandemic stress to bad mental health days. Still, due to my size and the systemic nature of fatphobia, my ability to experiment with the cute fashions I want to is limited at best.
You see, there are plenty of mature and sophisticated styles available in the plus-size fashion market. However, there is a shortage of clothing options that cater to cute aesthetics. I’ve always been into cute aesthetics, but only recently started engaging with it through how I dress. For this reason, I’ve recently started speaking out about the lack of cute clothing options available for people who wear extended plus sizes.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting more heavily with cuteness in fashion. I’ve been doing outfits and makeup looks that take inspiration from pastel goth, nymphet fashion, the doelette aesthetic, kawaii fashion, and more. So many times, when I want a cute piece of clothing, I can’t find items like it in my size. I’m a big fan of gingham, peter pan collars, lace trims, Tokidoki designs, crop tops, strawberry or cherry prints, etc. and every time I conduct an online search, there’s only so much “plus” in the plus-size options these fashion brands offer. Sizes 14 to 16 are often where brands stop in terms of plus sizes. If we’re lucky, some brands go out on a limb and make sizes up to 20 available. That’s great for small fat people, but it leaves us larger fat people in the dust, and that's not right.
In a moment of frustration, I decided to tweet about the need to make cute clothing styles in extended plus sizes. I even put the tweet on a colorful graphic version and posted it to Instagram. Since I post pictures of myself in cute and kawaii outfits somewhat frequently, I knew my audience would be sympathetic to the cause. After all, fat femmes looking cute and feeling empowered embody the kind of change the world so desperately needs, so why not advocate for cute plus size fashion as a fat femme myself?
The exact tweet read as the following: Make more cute clothes available in extended plus sizes. I’m talking pastel colors, lace trims, crop tops, Peter Pan collars - all things cute and fashionable!🌸✨ #plussizefashion #fatshion #fatliberation #bodypositivity #nymphetfashion #kawaiifashion #accessibility
Still, much to my surprise, the post wound up being more popular than my other recent posts on Instagram. I was touched by how other people shared the post to their stories along with comments of agreement and encouragement. I was happy to see the nymphet fashion and kawaii fashion communities be especially receptive to the post. The response made it clear that I was far from the only person who recognized the need for brands to provide cute clothing styles in extended plus sizes.
You see, my style deviates from the fashion rules that mainstream society wants me to abide by. Mainstream fashion rules prefer fat people like me to cover our bodies instead of “drawing attention to it” with revealing or cutesy clothes. They want us to wear the color black, also to hide our bodies, but never to the point where we adopt an alternative or goth style because that makes us stand out more. They’d rather us wear “flattering” styles (read: anything that makes us look thinner and hides our fatness) instead of wearing what we want in the fat bodies we currently have. That’s why I find empowerment and pride in posting pictures of myself wearing crop tops, skirts, bright colors, Fat people deserve to wear the fashion we want and exist in our bodies without being subject to abuse or prejudice. We deserve to stand out and take up space as much as thinner people do.
Honestly, I give fat people in alternative fashion a lot of credit, especially when we post our looks on social media. We receive way more hate and less appreciation than thin people do when they post similar or even less cool looks. We still manage to show up looking great even when our options are limited. So many of us still show up looking cute as hell even when our own communities and societies marginalize us for being fat and wearing plus sizes. Let it be recognized that simply showing up like this takes a degree of braveness in a world that shames fat bodies for existing.
The idea that certain fashion “isn’t for plus sizes” is fatphobic and exclusionary. The fashion industry needs more body positivity, more inclusion, and more accessibility. We deserve to have more cute clothing options and enjoy the same cute styles that thin people do. The only reason why someone would think that cutesy, frilly, dainty designs and otherwise revealing clothing isn’t “for” fat people is if seeing our bodies in such fashion makes them uncomfortable, and that thinking is a product of thin supremacy. Fuck the concept of “flattering fashion” and fascist fashion rules for fat people. Give me clothes that let me flaunt my fat body for what it is and embrace my cuteness.
Furthermore, plus size fashion brands better stop trying to sell me drab, matronly clothes in generic designs. It’s just another attempt to conceal my body’s fatness and hide my body for thin comfort. Sure, many brands might argue that their audience doesn’t feel comfortable showing their skin like that. However, insisting that these styles should be the norm is another way of trying to shrink me in order to fit the mainstream narrative that my body is problematic and therefore undeserving of wearing anything that’s bright, doll-like, delicate, or showing my skin. As such, I shall resist it with all of my being. I deserve to have dresses with peter pan collars readily available in my size without some pearl-clutching fashion gatekeepers handwringing about how the peter pan collar will make my fat neck look (or lack of a neck at all, if you go by fatphobe logic).
I would be happy to support brands that sold cute designs in extended plus sizes. Just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I only want to wear baggy, non-form-fitting clothes in bland, “mature” styles. Let fat people look and feel cute by providing us with flirty, fun, and cute clothing options. Let us look and feel like the romantic leads in our own lives even though Hollywood refuses to portray us as such in movies. People who wear extended plus sizes deserve to have cute options be available for us. The brands telling us that their boring, baggy, “flattering” designs are for fat people’s own comfort are enforcing colonial beauty standards and thin supremacy like everyone else. Wake up and do better.
The era of fat girls and fat femmes in cute outfits is among us, and there’s no turning back. Fat people like cute and kawaii styles too. Demand that brands start making more cute fashion available in extended plus sizes. Fat liberation means making the world accessible for fat people, and providing cute fashion options in extended plus sizes is what the fashion world needs.
Check out more of my cute outfits—follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. It’ll give you a dose of cute, fat positive fashion inspiration you need in your life.
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