The Rotund

Still Here. Still Fat.

Casual Fatness; Casual Friday

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We have casual Fridays at work – this can easily mean jeans and a t-shirt. But I’ve been trying to have a bit more fun than that – jeans still but kicked up a notch.

Me, in jeans and a cap-sleeved shirt, wearing a snap brim fedora

This is what I wore to work this past Friday. I also wore a jacket, because I get so cold, but I wanted to take this picture without it to give a general effect – layers of black are hard to photograph. The details get lost, at least for me and my camera phone. *laugh* It might help if I weren’t taking pictures in the bathroom mirror, right?

Y’all, I love these jeans. They’re by City Chic. I would highly recommend them if you can catch one of the last pairs there in a 28 – that’s what these are and I could have lived with a 26. I hate that they shrank their size range because they really DO have cute stuff. Seriously. I’ve had some luck with their XL tops – but that’s a whole other post.

Anyway. These jeans. Love.

This top is a piece of pre-pink Torrid ancient history. It’s held up remarkably well though I’m down to one button on the back of the neck. The sleeves, obvs, don’t provide much coverage so it’s not for the arm shy but I LOVE IT. And I love it for layering. It DOES show bra straps as well. Which, again, isn’t a problem for me. *grin*

The snap brim fedora has long resided in my closet (or, you know, on my head). I went out to a line dancing bar a week or so ago with some friends and had to dig out my cowboy hat; when I found that, I found the fedora as well. That’s three fedoras between me and my husband. *laugh* I like to wear hats. This hat certainly got a positive reaction.

I don’t have a picture of the jacket I wore from that day – but I do have this shot of the back of it.

Me, over the shoulder, showing the detail of my jacket

This is a cropped tux jacket from Lane Bryant that I bought ages ago and never wore. So one night I decided I knew what to do to it – I added a ton of rhinestones in a skull and crossbones pattern. I wear the damn thing all the time now. *laugh*

It’s cropped and meant to be worn open so it’s easy to just throw on over things. I put rhinestones on the hankie pocket in the front as well. It’s just my kind of glam.

Casual Friday did mean no makeup other than lipstick – but a nice red lip is sometimes more than enough. I wear Ruby Woo from MAC on a pretty regular basis.

I also wore red boots – I have red Ariat stable boots (so massively comfortable) that were worth the trip to the western wear store, 100%.

Casual Friday doesn’t have to be about jeans and a t-shirt – though there is absolutely nothing wrong if it does mean that. It can be an opportunity, though, I think, to play around a little more than you usually would.

What are you wearing today?

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To Keep A Slender Figure; Selling Cigarettes With Thinness

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Lucky cigarette ad

I’m trying to give people credit for not realizing the health issues that smoking can cause when they tried to sell cigarettes by promising thinness.

*facepalm*

Oh, history.

(Via http://writingwomenshistory.blogspot.com/)

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Fatness Casual; Office Goth Goes To The Office

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I went to Ross last weekend – if you don’t have Ross where you live, it’s basically a discount store. The racks are poorly organized and the stock constantly changes. But the dresses are usually under twenty bucks and there’s sometimes treasure to be found in the shoe and home goods departments. This last visit, I tried on 8 items – 6 of them fit but I didn’t buy them for one reason or another – the other two not only fit but totally went into the Buy It Now pile. Ross is cheap but there’s rarely any going back for something – you’ve got to grab it while the grabbing is good.

Everything I bought was covered in ruffles. It was rad.

This is what I wore yesterday (Thursday) to the office:

Me, in a black bias ruffle dress

This dress was $20, which is my upper limit unless it’s a brand name and something I HAVE to have. It’s marked a 2x but it fits me just fine. The dress rack at Ross is an awesome place for larger fats to embrace the “make it work” philosophy that doesn’t work so well in straight size stores. The fabric is a really soft jersey knit – the tags say it’s washable but I was afraid to check the fabric content. *grin* And it’s covered in ruffles – all of which flutter because they are cut on the bias and are layered in a slant. When I tried this on, I had this moment of “Marianne, you already OWN a dress made of ruffles.” But that dress is GREY. So. You know.

I’ve paired it with black teggings from Re/Dress. Part of this is because teggings are awesome. The other part of this is that I haven’t shaved my legs in a couple of weeks and I don’t like going bare-legged without shaving but I was fed up with pants. SO. Teggings. Yes, it was very warm when I was outside. I just… didn’t spend much time outside.

These boots…. Y’all, I was on an emergency bra run one day because an underwire had snapped. And on my way to the Lane Bryant, I passed a Journeys. And in the Journeys were these boots. On sale. I think I paid all of $18 for them.

They have a very thin sole and no internal support to speak of. BUT LOOK AT THEM. This is why insoles were invents. Though I haven’t inserted any. These have a slick sole and are perfect for doing the Tightrope. Just saying.

The dress is sleeveless – and there are some super black flowers on one side. But see my previous comments about going sleeveless – I paired it with this bright red ruched sleeve shrug from City Chic. This is an XL and it fits PERFECTLY. I love this item of clothing with a deep and loving love like whoa. I did take the shrug off when I went to Torrid to try on boots (that they don’t have in the store right now, curses).

Me, wearing makeup

I like purples and red together, what can I say? Other than that I blame the Red Hat Society for kind of ruining the color combo for everyone else. It’s worse than sports teams!

This lipglass was designed by Afrobella for MAC’s Blogger’s Obsessions collection. It’s AWESOME. And named All My Purple Life. What’s not to love?

My eye, with makeup

I usually go the black eyeliner route but sometimes it’s really fun to break out the angled brush and use something like Amber Lights to line. I love it with purples. Basically, I just love Amber Lights. One of my favorite eye shadows ever.

Now, obviously this outfit, shrug aside, is a little gothier than what usually springs to mind when you say business casual. But there’s nothing inappropriate about it. The shoes are the riskiest thing – and shoes are often the safest risk to take for women in an office setting.

Maybe it’s because of the way we’re gender stereotyped – oh, ALL WOMEN LOVE SHOES. *facepalm* And, you know, some women DO love shoes but it’s hardly universal. Still, when someone does come in with an exceptionally awesome pair of shoes, even if they are heels you wouldn’t expect to see outside of the bedroom (especially if they are heels you wouldn’t expect to see out of the bedroom in some cases), the reaction is generally favorable.

Maybe it’s because, in the greater scheme of things, shoes still count as accessories. If our clothes are conservative, we can still rock it out with the accessories and glam things up (if that’s our thing). I’m going to deploy a really terrible cooking metaphor. Are you ready? Okay:

So, our outfit is like a tomato sauce. It’s sitting there, a good solid base. It’s ubiquitous tomato sauce, no one could ever object to that. Then we start adding things. Maybe we add some veg because, hey, that’s what we dig. Classic accessories to present a really refined and traditional appearance. Maybe we add some brown sugar and cayenne because that’s actually really damn delicious. 80s jewelry! Bangles! A bow! STUFF! That updates the preppy look and dashes in some Madonna/Lady Gaga (but without the meat dress).

Terrible metaphor aside, our accessories really do provide the flavor – and shoes are a big part of that.

Like, this dress – I’d totally wear it out clubbing. I’d just wear it with fishnets and no shrug. Or with a frock coat or something. And maybe a hat… Now I’m just building fantasy club outfits. *laugh* I’d probably wear these shoes but I might do a regular combat boot for dancing purposes. But the red shrug makes it a little brighter, a little more office-y. Solid teggings instead of fishnets. Pretty makeup instead of loads of black eyeshadow and eyeliner. *grin*

That’s one way I make my wardrobe do double duty – I don’t have two wardrobes. I have a LOT of separates and dresses that I make work in a lot of different contexts.

What are YOU wearing today?

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A Fatty In The Office; Blue And Shiny

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Me, wearing black pants and a blue satin shirt

So, we talked about the problems with business casual – and one of those problems is that it is so damn variable. This is what I wore to work on Tuesday. Before I talk about the outfit, lemme tell you about the pieces:

Black ponte knit bootcut pants via OneStopPlus.com – size 28, Avenue brand, $15 at the most.

Blue satin shirt via ebay – the same seller that has the infamous ruffle dresses! – 5X, I think. $15 at most.

Teal glitter vinyl belt by Plastic People – which probably doesn’t even exist as a company anymore because I got this in the mid-90s at a store called the Drag Strip in Gainesville, FL. I got it custom made and it cost me about $30.

Black Doc Martin shoes (the Club Monk) that you can’t see because the bathroom at work is not a great place for taking pictures. *laugh* Size UK6.

Three pieces make an outfit, in theory, so I try to work with that. I don’t need, necessarily, three pieces of actual clothing if I have a seriously statementy piece of jewelry. That’d be the belt in this instance. I don’t often wear belts because they squish me when I sit down. But if I wear them high, I’m generally good. And this shirt was big enough it needed SOMETHING.

This outfit is very comfortable (though satin is an iffy fabric – if I’d spent any time outside, I’d have been miserable and sticky). The pants are like pajama pants – they are cut like jeans (without front pockets) so they actually fit really nicely though I have to wash them every time because they stretch out. Ponte knit is a good go-to fabric for the office because it is COMFORTABLE. I hate those pull-on pants that Lane Bryant has pushed for years – but that’s about pull-on pants and no so much a reflection on the material.

The shirt is technically too big. I’ve had sizing issues (which is why I recently sold my ruffle dress) with this seller but her stuff was so cute I just kept trying. I wish this shirt had been cotton is all I’m saying. I love the color and the buttons and the collar. And I love that all day long coworkers kept complimenting me on it.

I don’t work in a very daring office – anything brightly colored AND textured stands out a little bit. And that’s okay. Because business casual does NOT have to mean conservative clothing in black or brown or grey. Sometimes it does; only you can be the judge of your workspace. But sometimes it can totally mean bright blue satin.

Now, I’m an editor. We are, metaphorically, at least in the same neighborhood as creatives. This means there is a little extra leeway – and that I’m not going to be a big corporate executive no matter what I wear. That’s also something to consider. They say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I HAVE the job I want, which means I have a lot of privilege as far as that goes.

Me, wearing a lot of eyeshadow

This is the makeup that I wore. You’ll notice a distinct lack of foundation, lipstick, and blush. Because screw a bunch of that. Business casual does not mean a full face of makeup every day. At least it doesn’t have to.

I wear a lot of bright eyeshadow to work and I’ve had people ask how I get away with it. I have never, at any job, been sent home for wearing well-applied makeup, no matter how bright. I’ve had people go “Oh, that’s bright!” but that’s it. And I’ve had far more people compliment me on it. It’s a thing that people remember. It’s not going to help you be the silent worker bee but if you think you can’t wear bright eyeshadow to work, you might just need to be the person who DOES it.

It’s important to me that people realize a couple of things about business casual. The first is that because it is so wishy washy, other people are afraid of getting it wrong, too. That is – no one else got a super secret document laying out what is and is not acceptable. Everyone is in the dark on this one – you are not alone. The second is that navigating those uncertain waters gets a lot easier when you figure out what your style is going to be for work and what YOU are comfortable wearing in a business environment.

I’m a big loud fatty who reviews people’s work. It’s not really possible for me to be anonymous – nor is it in my best interest. My clothes aren’t always loud – but people know my style, and through that, they know a little bit of me. And that’s a really good thing.

What did you wear to work/school/etc. today?

My eyeshadow

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Fatness Casual; On Getting Dressed To Go To Work

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I work in a business casual environment. I often think business casual is the wishy washiest of possible terms for a dress code; it’s very much like pornography in the most important way: you know it when you see it.

When I first started working, as a teacher at an alternative school, I struggled with the dress code. The school ran on a business model – but their professional dress code didn’t really support that; no one ever really just spelled it out, which made negotiating their actual expectations (conservative business wear) and my budget (minimal at best) really surprisingly difficult.

It’s worthing noting, too – I live in Florida. Regional differences, especially climate, have a huge impact on expectations and definitions when it comes to office appropriate clothing. On the one hand, it’s hot as balls here for a serious portion of the year. On the other hand, we tend to over air condition the hell out of our offices. So you have to dress for both conditions.

This is why a lot of people just don’t wear panty hose in Florida.

I’m fortunate that I now work for a company where I can dress in a way that expresses my own preferences as long as I maintain that mysterious business casual level. Not everyone is in the same position, of course – though even some places where people wear uniforms are lenient about accessories and that sort of thing.

We spend a lot of time talking about what we wear for fun, what we wear to go out, what we dream of wearing. But I want to talk about getting dressed for work. I have to do it every day – a lot of us do. I’m no less fat in the office than I am anywhere else, so office appropriate clothing has meant access issues in addition to my… taste-dependent style.

One of the things I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately is the definition of professional dress. “Professional” is, all too often, a code word for “conservative” – which isn’t the end of the world but which is something that needs to be understood. A lot of people tend toward “when it doubt, take the conservative route” which still doesn’t have to mean boring!

The thing about professional dress codes that really bothers me: it’s totes okay (by which I mean legal) to have separate dress codes for men and women but the men’s code is usually about grooming and the women’s code is usually about gendered expectations.

There is nothing unprofessional about not shaving your underarms if you are a woman. But most websites talking about “professionalism” will say it’s not professional for women to have hairy pits. It’s a blanket statement, too, like everyone will know even if you never wear sleeveless things. That’s not about professionalism – that’s about enforcing gendered stereotypes as a price of admittance into the corporate world. Just saying.

There’s a lot of reason and room to negotiate and protest these sorts of bs requirements. And how much anyone feels able to do so depends on a lot of things (like how badly you need to keep your job), so I don’t feel like telling anyone they have to protest dress code policy for the good of womankind of anything. That sort of prescriptivism is just as bad as the situation we’re trying to correct.

So where does that leave us? Well, I think it means we’re left with trying to figure out the goals of professional dress codes in the first place: cleanliness, good repair, avoidance of overt sexual advertising. It’s about looking competent and trustworthy to your clients, which means a certain amount of looking “put together” in a way that signals you grok their expectations.

When you put it like that, it’s kind of obvious that dress codes are about class conformance and performance.

Which is gross. Because baggy jeans and a dirty t-shirt don’t actually mean people aren’t competent. This is one of those things I’d change in a perfect world; in the meantime, though, we all have to keep going to work and feeling the effects of it.

When I get dressed for work, I have practical concerns: it’s freaking cold in here, but it’s hot outside; I spend a lot of my days sitting, so I don’t want to be squished; I also have to walk between buildings so I need comfortable shoes. I have aesthetic concerns: the dress code is what it is; I work in a fairly conservative industry; I still want to dress LIKE ME.

Plus, you know, I’m fat – deathfat. Deathfat in a way that means I can’t always find stuff to fit me in actual stores. And my clothing budget is pretty small, too.

I am pretty indistinct when left to wear truly casual things. But I can, at this point, rock the hell out of slightly dressy – because I have to get up every morning and make my style work within the confines by which I am bounded.

There’s no tidy conclusion for this – and there’s not even any pictures yet. It’s a conversation we’re going to have to keep having – because it’s a great big topic! Let’s use this as our starting point.

Talk to me about work clothes.

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The Two Battles Of Fat Acceptance; Where My Priorities Lie

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Me, with bright red lipstick and a lot of high contrast

Over the weekend, as I played with Google+, I found myself appreciating more and more the ability to have more control over my audience. Not because I don’t want to reach a wide and diverse group of people, not because fat acceptance isn’t for everyone – but because most of what I do here isn’t for the people who hate fatties.

There is a segment of fat acceptance, a totally important and vital segment, that is involved in directly confronting studies and dudes on the street about their mistaken attitudes. That is so important!

At the same time, for me, the most important part of fat acceptance is giving fat people (and other people who are having to deal with body policing and body hate) useful tools to help them stop hating themselves.

I’ve long said that we have to fight fat hate on two fronts – those who hate fatties, with is the external battle, and those fatties who hate themselves and other fatties, which is a more internal battle. I increasingly find myself concerned with the second battle. You can’t change someone’s mind if they just aren’t ready or willing to engage with the idea of fat acceptance – but you can spread the word that there is this other trough from which we can drink and quench ourselves, slack our thirst for something radical and alternative.

I don’t care if other people hate my body – *I* don’t hate my body. It’s the firm foundation from which I MUST begin before I can do anything else. Otherwise, I’m too shaky.

And that’s not entirely true – I do care if other people hate my body. That tells me a lot about those people and how I don’t want to be involved with them. It tells me that they care about things that don’t matter to me – that they care about things that I am actively opposed to making important when it comes to how I treat people. It just doesn’t have any impact on how I view myself.

That’s what gives me the confidence to interview my doctors and act like they work for me. That’s what guides me when I’m picking out an outfit that Fatties Shouldn’t Wear.

That’s the freedom that I want other people to feel – the idea that your own opinion is valid enough for you to feel confidence in it, the idea that what you think and how you feel about your body and the way you dress and the way you deserve to be treated is more important than what judgmental douchebags have to say about any of it.

I want fat people to know, for themselves and not because anyone else is telling them, that they deserve quality medical care. And cute clothes. And not to be the butt of jokes in sitcoms. And so on.

When WE all believe it, I’m not sure it’ll matter nearly so much if other people don’t. Because fuck them. We’ll all know it for ourselves.

I don’t engage with trolls here because I don’t give a shit if they like fat people or not. I care if FAT PEOPLE (and other people who can benefit from fat acceptance) like themselves or not. It’s that simple.

24 Comments


Pretties; In Which I Gratuitously Post Clothes I Love

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My love of LucieLu.com is no secret. In fact, I’d go so far as to say: I’d wear the beige (oatmeal) that’s part of their color palette. I know of no higher compliment. Seriously, though, there’s so much heather grey that I kind of want everything from this new batch. But look at this dress, y’all:

Fiona dress from lucielu.com

Also, I own this dress in blue but the mint green! I am swooning, y’all.

Sway is a just-launched Australian line – I particularly love that Jen models her own stuff (she’s an Australian size 24). Nothing against the typical plus-size models… but one thing I appreciate about Sway (and Lucie Lu, too) is that the models aren’t typical. There’s a blue twist dress I waaaaaaaaaant, but there’s also this lace maxi skirt, y’all.

Lace Maxi Skirt at Sway Clothing/>

Australian sizing runs differently – but I think I might have to risk it.

On a certain level, I am all “Whatever, ASOS.” Because their sizing mystifies me and their models, while lovely people, I am sure, bore me. But last night I was video chatting with Lesley and there was this pink dress hanging behind her that I had to ask about… and the next thing I knew, I had fallen into a deep well of OMG PRETTY DRESSES. This dress, while it falls into the omgwtfbeige category, is seriously haunting my dreams. HAUNTING MY DREAMS. The hem! And the ribbon down the back! And the… sack-like nature of it! It is definitely making me feel some feelings. Also, this dress needs to happen in my life.

Piped Button Through Dress at ASOS

POCKETS.

Dear self: You cannot afford new dresses right now. REMEMBER THIS. You are saving for an iPad 2.

I have to be stern with myself. *grin*

But it’s so good to look – and to have such variety of styles going on right now. It’s not great – it’s so not like we’re done fighting the clothing battle. But variety makes me hopeful. And it’s a solid sign that, yeah, actually, we ARE making slow progress. I’d love there to be stores, all over, where this stuff was available on the rack for me to TRY ON. I probably won’t be satisfied even with that. *grin*

It’s vital that we have options. Black options and neon options. BEIGE OPTIONS.

What are you loving right now?

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Read This! In Which I Enthusiastically Recommend A Link

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Does This Book Make Me Look Fat?” by Sonya C. Brown

I’m thrilled to see some usernames I recognize quoted in this article – and I’m thrilled to see the article. It IS academic in tone but, y’all, seriously. Read through it and revel in someone taking this stuff seriously in the context of romance novels. Also, the works cited and works consulted lists look like a glorious field to harvest – if you haven’t read most of those books. *grin*

More later, when I am coherent!

8 Comments


Insert Clever Marketing Slogan Here; Actually, Don’t, Because Bodies Are Not Products

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“No one wants to see a fat man at a techno show.”

I read these words with a kind of horror, magnified because the person saying them IS the fat man in question. These words embody the kind of fat hate I find most important to counter, most vital to stand in opposition of: self-loathing. Fatties hating their own bodies, their own fatness – it’s understandable, given our world, but that doesn’t make it any less terrible.

Here is what I have learned to be true: If you’re living in accordance with what other people want to see, you aren’t living your own life.

Giving the people what they want is not the job of the individual. It’s the job of politicians and manufacturers. It’s interesting – and kind of terrifying – that this aspect of capitalism has swept so completely into our personal lives, that we regard our own bodies, consciously or unconsciously, as a product to be consumed by viewers. I am not a politician or a manufacturer. I’m not a business. I’m a person, my own person, without a marketing team or targeted demographic. As such, while I believe in being appropriate for given situations, I don’t believe in presenting myself for the pleasure of other people.

I am not to be CONSUMED.

At the end of the day, it is my job to take all the inputs I am given – race and class and circumstance and personality and cultural construction and ingrained values – and manage my life as best as I am able. That life does not have to look any particular way – no matter how much other people tell me it should.

My life is not a consumable product for the benefit of other people either.

That’s why I have such a powerfully negative and visceral reaction to the idea that any person would curtail their own life experiences based on what other people may or may not wish to see. If other people like what they see, that’s a perk. If other people do not like what they see, well, tough shit. We’re out in public, all of us leading our lives. There are many things I see all the time that I don’t want to see: racism, casual cruelty, obsession with celebrities, littering.

Let me tell you, if I have to see someone throw a cigarette butt out the window of their car, then I’m not going to feel bad about APPEARING IN PUBLIC THANKS.

I’m not a product – I don’t need to appeal to a certain segment of the population in order to be worthy of leaving my house. I’m not a product – I don’t need to limit my life’s activities based on a certain marketing image of any particular event.

I am not a product.

And neither are you.

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Personal Fat Visibility; A Little Moar Fat On Your Screen

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I am not a fatshion blogger. I talk about clothes, sure. But the dedication to fatshion displayed by the actual fatshion bloggers is awesome and I just don’t have it in me. What I do have, though, is a personal style I wear to the office every day. And so, in the name of fat visibility for those who work in cubicle farms everywhere, I want to stay showing y’all my work clothes. Office-appropriate is a little different from rad trends, alas, but it doesn’t have to be BORING. Especially for fat people.

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300+ pounds of deathfat in the mirror. Black tiered maxi skirt (hence my lack of feet) (3x Old Navy), grey dolman-sleeve top (22/24 Avenue), ruffly scarf, sandals you can’t see.

Good Monday outfits are easy to wear and don’t take a lot of thought to put together. I wear a lot of jersey knits on Mondays, when I am readjusting to the work week (and the thermostat here). It’s like wearing very stylish pajamas.

I work in a businesd-casual corporate environment – I have a lot of leeway. But grey and black are colors I don’t have to think about when I’ve stayed up too late the night before. *grin*

The maxi skirt thing – I’m only 5’4″. I have struggled with wearing maxis because it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – not to mention short and stumpy. I hold on to this skirt because I think it’s the perfect maxi length for me. And I keep trying stuff on until I find something else I love (I’ll have to post my most recent maxi dress). It isn’t so much that certain styles don’t work on certain bodies – it’s that different cuts are more comfortable and if we don’t have enough options we wind up screwed.

It’s Monday and I’m in meetings. This working fatty is still going to work it.

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