Monday, 12 June 2017

Clothes As Social Identity

Do you ever watch or read something which is so smart and yet so obvious it really makes you pause for thought? 
This happened to me only the other day. I was flicking through a book called  The Fashioned Body: Fashion, Dress and Modern Social Theory  written by a sociologist called  Joanne Entwistle and one line jumped out at me:

 "The social world is a world of dressed bodies,”

Talk about a lightbulb moment. I suddenly felt all kinds of thoughts fall into place. 
If clothing is one of the main ways in which “bodies are made social and given meaning and identity.” plus size women have been at a terrible disadvantage.  Forced to present a version of ourselves which is unimaginative and restricted, simply by virtue of the poor quality and lack of choice in plus size clothing. Boy have we been screwed over.

If we as westerners, solidify our place within communities (work, home, social)  not just by our actions, and behaviours but also by the clothes we wear on our backs, our very place in the world has until recently, been pre-ordained through a simple lack of fashion options.

We've known for years that the clothes we wear can drastically affect how we feel. Its why we don a smart suit for a job interview. And its not just how clothes make us feel, but how they make others feel about us. Being poorly dressed is often viewed as being slightly out of touch or less in control. We call things "old hat" or "old fashioned" to describe the obsolete, the unimportant. 
The problem is when it takes you all your time and energy to find something that will actually fit, you are less likely to be able to follow fashion or tell a fashion "story"
 Its semiotics 101, what we put on in the morning is a fabric sign post for how we want to be interpreted. Oversize tunics, tops featuring cold shoulders  and poor quality leggings say nothing to me about my life (to borrow from The Smiths) and yet they still make up so much of the clothing offer over a size 18.
 This is why its never been more important for us to continue to push for more clothing choices in more sizes every time we get an opportunity. To relentlessly support brands who are doing it well ( navabi, Yours, Plus equals and dare I say my own Nicky Rockets all spring to mind) and gently but firmly encourage brands whose plus size offer either ends at a 22 or is just woeful past a size 18 to do better.

Fat women deserve to represent themselves in an authentic, meaningful way, and only when clothing is widely available that works in every social setting (and that fits their bodies) can this happen. 

Outfit deets
 stripe badge top by Very 
Skirt-Past Season
Lipstick-Shade Envy By Chloe Ferry (vegan and allows you to layer without going bobbly, love it)


Brand New "'Lighting My Way With The Bridges I Burn " Design  available  only  at  Nicky Rockets

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