Wearing Clothes that Bring You Joy

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Plus size clothing options are still woefully limited & it’s hard not to be resentful over what you can’t have. Trends often appear in plus size lines months later when they’re barely relevant or over-done. Pieces are over-priced & – with a few notable exceptions – poorly made. Size charts are rife with rogue measurements & vanity sizing, making well-fitting items almost impossible to find. Advertising is full of euphemisms like flattering & curvy.

It’s difficult not to internalise these failings of the fashion market into personal failings. When everyone else seems to have come to the consensus that I don’t deserve comfortable, stylish, quality clothing, who am I to disagree?

Dressing a fat body is one of the least joyful experiences I know. & I don’t think that’s fair.

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But I do disagree. So, if this is the the context that we as fat people have to operate in, how can we turn getting dressed each morning into a genuinely enjoyable experience?

A couple of years ago, I read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. I bought the book in a desperate attempt to get the trash-pile that was my living space at the time under control & despite being deeply cynical, reading it honestly did change my life – & my wardrobe.

One of Marie’s key principles is that your home should only contain objects that bring you joy. If you’re struggling to weed out the non-joyful items, she suggests holding each one for a minute or two, asking if it truly makes you happy, & discarding anything that doesn’t. I know, I know, but hear me out. I genuinely believe that for items as tactile as clothing, touch is super important, as is ditching the practicalities for a bit of emotive instinct.

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When I first used Marie’s technique, my wardrobe was full clothes that made me sad. Jeans that didn’t fit but I was holding on to in case I lost weight; itchy jumpers I hated wearing; skirts that looked great on the hanger but that I didn’t love on my body; & jackets I’d never taken the tags off but kept because I was too embarrassed to admit I’d wasted money on them.

After that first clear-out, I stared at my almost empty closet & wondered if I had made a mistake. I had barely any clothes & very little money to buy new pieces – surely having clothes I was ambivalent towards was better than having nothing to wear? But as I slowly added in new pieces, I realised that the clarity of my stripped back wardrobe was key.

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Now, rather than spending money on anything in the ASOS sale that felt okay, each new addition was held to the highest standards. Would I wear it regularly? If not, was the joy it would bring me on the occasions I did counterbalance the fact that it wasn’t an everyday item? Did it fit well? If not, did I love it enough to invest in getting it tailored? & finally, how did it work with the other pieces I already owned? While money was obviously still a limiting factor on what I could purchase & when, I stopped buying items just because they were cheap, instead using sales to stock up on basics & pieces I loved but couldn’t afford at full cost.

Becoming more selective about what stayed also meant returning more – thank you free returns policies, but it was so worth it. Each morning, rather than having to dig through pieces that weren’t quite right – & if I’m being honest, never would be – it felt like I could grab anything, put it on & feel amazing.

When I’ve spoken about my approach to shopping before, a few people have asked if the brings me joy policy just results in a wardrobe full of beautiful but impractical pieces & the honest answer is no. While sequins & embellishments do bring me joy, on cool Autumn days its a perfectly soft sweater that makes my heart sing & while jeans may not be exciting, I love the feel of slipping on a pair that hug my hips like they were made for me.

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In a world where many are excluded from fashion by cost, sizing & availability, committing to wearing only pieces that bring you joy is a privilege but I honestly believe that even just acknowledging that you deserve clothing that works for you is revolutionary. & if the style you want isn’t available to you then that failure lies with the system & not your beautiful body.

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dress  |  belt (similar)  |  shoes (similar)

3 Comments

  1. this might be off topic but i just wanted to tell you that you are absolutely wonderful. (and also this dress is the best dress i’ve ever see). Thank you for existing

    Like

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