This past Saturday, I was walking down a subway platform, late to the meet up at Lee Lee’s Valise in Brooklyn, when I heard my name called. I turned around and it was Lesley, who had recognized me based on my obnoxious dress and red boots. Meowser was right there with us as well. And as we stood there, greeting each other with hugs, three fat women on a train platform, I knew it was going to be a good day.
This is the power of fashion, of Fatshion. To identify us. I’d have known Lesley the same way she knew me – because she was wearing a loud dress, too, and a little orange cardigan (and ye shall know her by her layers), and coordinating shoes, and and and.
(It was awesome to meet both Lesley and Meowser. Seriously, y’all are amazing.)
The three of us headed over to Lee Lee’s Valise, which really does provide the boutique experience they aim to deliver. It’s far more fantastic than I had imagined and I can’t say enough good things about shopping there.
What followed was another exercise in amazement. Kate and Fillyjonk were there and meeting them has been a long time coming. If only Sweet Machine had been able to make it as well! Substantia Jones was there, which was just awesome. She also had her camera. Just saying.
There was an awesome nonblogger (she has a livejournal but it is a personal journal so I shall not link) that I was thrilled to meet. And there were other people – I wasn’t sure for a while there who was with our group and who wasn’t! Lisa, owner and diva of Lee Lee’s was running around finding sizes and suggesting garments and the place was like those scenes of awesome shopping in movies. The kind of shopping scene I had never imagined being a part of.
I just have to say, since this was the first time I got to meet Kate in actual person, she was exactly what and how I knew she would be. Kate is herself online, as much as anyone can be. I am THRILLED to be writing this book with her.
So, here’s the thing. I’ve been shopping with other fatties before. But never in such a large group and certainly never with such a large group of people who are not ashamed of themselves. We tried on clothes, traded clothes, tried on bathing suits, gave each other constructive feedback, pointed out fit issues, and kept up a constant stream of laughter and chatter. The only time we were quiet was when we watched Lisa’s bra fitting video, which was very good, by the way. We took silly photos and traded stories.
This is the power of fashion, of Fatshion. To inspire self-confidence. We didn’t once lapse into hating ourselves or talking about how fat our thighs are.
This is not to suggest that we all fit into every garment super perfectly. The black skirt with ruffles and netting with which I immediately fell in love only went up to a 3x and it was too small. But I didn’t have to be sad because there was immediately something else for me to try on. I actually wound up only getting one top (in part because I had spent part of my shopping budget on tickets to see Tom Waits but also because I buy only things that fit AND that I love) – but it white and purple and yellow and it has big flowers on it and it is NOT invisible at all.
But when clothes didn’t fit, it wasn’t my fault. When something didn’t look right, it had nothing to do with my body being defective. When I couldn’t find the size I needed, it was possible that was because someone else had it.
We shopped and traded fitting rooms and none of it felt full of import but I think it was. Because, for once, we were normal women shopping for clothes.
I don’t know if women who wear straight sizes feel any of the sense of comraderie that we felt – and, you know, maybe it was just me – but I’d like to hope that they do because it is a powerful experience to know that neither other women nor clothes are your enemy.
This is the power of fashion, of Fatshion. To unite us. I’m sure it helped that we were, by and large, all friends online before gathering in the store. But now these women amaze me in all new ways. They inspire me to wear whatever the hell I want with confidence and attitude. They lend me their power when I am feeling powerless and I hope I prop them up in the same way. This is the power of Fatshion.
This entry was posted in Adventures in Shopping
, Body Image
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