I know that in a recent post, I talked about having an hourglass shape, which would suggest a smaller waist. That is true up until a point. When I gain weight, I tend to fill in that middle part, though of course the top and bottom of the hourglass get bigger too.
In the late 90s, I went along with the grunge fashion trend and spent most of my time in my standard uniform of jeans, a size XL men's t-shirt, and a flannel shirt unbuttoned over the top as a sort of a jacket. For summer, I switched to men's shorts, a tank top, and a short-sleeved shirt instead of the flannel. I thought this uniform cleverly hid the weight I had gained since graduating from college. I was so unhappy about this weight that I really couldn't do anything productive about it. I had never heard some of the advice that Frances wrote about, but even if I had, I don't think I would have worn big jewelry in the hopes that it would make the rest of me look smaller. I wasn't that ambitious and I probably wouldn't have believed it would work.
I can trace my fashion reawakening to the day I was watching some B-level talk show and heard about Mode, a new magazine that was coming out for plus-sized women. I went to the local drugstore and thumbed through that first issue, and unlike BBW, it was a magazine that I could buy without dying of embarassment. The title didn't refer to size and the clothes looked stylish and the cover models were gorgeous. Wikipedia doesn't have an entry about Mode, but in the entry on plus-sized modeling, I found this mini-history:
With strong cooperation from Wilhelmina 10/20, Curves and Ford 12+, the premiere issue of Mode magazine was launched in the spring of 1997 to immediate success. No other fashion magazine specifically targeted the plus-size consumer with a Vogue-like fashion philosophy, nor with sophisticated imagery and clothing everyone wanted to buy. As a result, a booking with the magazine was viewed as the ultimate level of plus-modeling success. Mode's practice of including the models' names and quotations on self-esteem to make them more approachable greatly aided the popularity of the women featured and gave them a form of celebrity. Mode also ran model search competitions in association with the Wilhelmina modelling agency, drawing entries from thousands of hopefuls from the US and Canada. The circulation of Mode magazine was around 600,000 at the time of its demise in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.That magazine gave me the permission to actually put some effort into how I dressed. The models in its pages wore my size and they looked gorgeous. I started actually spending money on clothes, and even ventured into Lane Bryant for the first time, since they were an advertiser in the magazine.
Oddly enough, when I started buying fashionable clothes in my size instead of wearing oversized men's clothes, I started feeling better about myself and actually started to lose some weight. That gave me the confidence to exercise and start making more conscious weight loss efforts.
When "What Not to Wear" came to U.S. television, I was near my goal weight and trying to figure out how to dress my new body without looking like I was trying to pass as a teenager. So I appreciated the advice that Wayne and Stacy (and later Stacy and Clinton) had to offer. I didn't find "The Rules" to be overly oppressive, because I was free to ignore them if I wanted. And as I felt better about my body, I started to pay less attention to clothes again, because it seemed like whatever I wore was fine.
Now that I'm back on the way down again, I appreciate the advice on how to look thinner and make the most of my body shape. I follow a lot of Stacy and Clinton's advice on a daily basis. I love wearing a good structured jacket and I have at least 5 of them. I always wear a good bra and I buy mid-rise jeans and wear them with a wide belt. I don't feel pressured to do these things, but they do make me feel a little more confident when I'm leaving the house. But I still don't think that wearing big earrings will make my butt look smaller.