Monday, January 5, 2009

Dressing For Your Body Shape or Why You Should Wear Whatever You Want

I have thunder thighs.

I’m not ashamed of them, but they are pretty huge. I could crush a head between them. (I have while wrestling. Seriously. I OWN at wrestling. But…uh…never mind.) My ass happens to have a matching voluptuousness, so I’m kind of pear-shaped. But when we factor in my cup-runneth-over boobs, I can pull off the balanced-figure hourglass look pretty easily, too.

If you’ve cracked open any magazine/book/ancient scroll/etc that tells you how to dress, you’ve probably heard references to these body shape terms. They’re probably the most recognizable, but they often come along with others like “apple”, “banana”, “straight”, “inverted triangle”, “rectangle”, “cello”, "violin", “bell”, “goblet”, “ruler”, “spoon”, “cone”…the list goes on and on. And these magazines also go on to tell you what your personal “dos” and “don’ts” are—what you should and should not wear to look more like a perfectly proportioned human being.

For example, if I consider myself to be an hourglass, I should wear:
  • Boot cut or flared pants
  • Pencil skirts
  • A-line skirts and dresses
  • Wrap skirts, dresses and tops
A’ight, I’m cool with that. Thanks for the suggestions. The problem is what I supposedly can’t wear:
  • Baggy clothes
  • Short skirts
And because of my thunder thighs, I’ll have to just say no to:
  • Tucked in tops
  • Patterned or light-colored pants
  • Skinny jeans
Oh. No. Way. I will not give up my skinny jeans. I absolutely adore oversized tops. AND WHO DENIES A WOMAN THE RIGHT TO HER MINISKIRT? This is just cruel. But…I guess I must forever scorn these pieces, lest I look like a grotesquely disproportioned caricature of a human being.

WRONGO. We can all wear whatever we want. We will not simply ban a certain type item from our wardrobes. We will try on whatever we like and if we want it, we will buy it, dammit!

The truth is, if you exude confidence and don’t take anyone’s crap (the technical term is “own it”), you will look like a million bucks no matter what bit of anatomy you happen to be emphasizing. We shouldn’t have to disguise what our body looks like with certain types of clothing.

So, I won’t be trading in all my skinny jeans for bootcuts and flares, or give up my dreams of owning old-fashioned jodhpurs (which actually make the thigh look larger, le horreur). Thank the maker!

For a little extra confidence, examples of ladies OWNIN’ whatever body they have:

Photo by Jo Weldon
Miss Dirty Martini is a gorgeous burlesque artist.

Beyonce's hourglass figure doesn't stop her from wearing baggy clothing, and she looks great.

When Jennifer Love Hewitt was put down for her body, she released a powerful statement about body image.

This lovely was snapped on the street by Hel Looks, one of my favorite sites for scoping out people rocking out their bods.

Having huge thighs doesn't stop Elastigirl from fighting crime. ;>

Now I'm getting a bit silly. But in all seriousness, let us write some DON’TS of our own.
  • DON’T think you can’t wear something just because someone else said it’s unflattering. You have the right to wear what you like—dress for yourself, not others’ expectations!
  • DON’T wear things you feel uncomfortable in or don’t like. Even if it is a supposed “do”, that doesn’t mean you have to wear it! Likewise: if something emphasizes a body part in a way you truly dislike, there’s no reason you have to slap on fake confidence. In a perfect world, we would all be able to accept our bodies just the way they are, but in the meantime we should wear what makes us comfortable now.
“If you aren’t enjoying your clothes, then you really are missing the point.”
-Betty Halbreich



  1. Thank you for hitting on the core truth: Wear what makes you smile.

  2. Right on. That's the way I live. It's also the reason I don't enjoy the show What Not To Wear. But that's not the point. The point is, you rock for pointing this out & I've always admired you for it. You always were one of my most stylish friends.