Let’s talk about the word “flattering.”
(This is actually what comes up in images when you Google “flattering”)I’m going to let you in on a secret: the purpose of clothing is not – and does not have to be – to make you look thinner.(And by saying this, I am not speaking to women who enjoy manipulating their body shape by using corsets and what have you to create fun and dramatic shapes.)The fact of the matter is – that we live in a society where thinness is worshiped. Whether that thinness is gained by healthy or unhealthy activities and habits is typically not of concern. (Interesting – then, how the “unhealthy habits” of fat people is of SUCH concern – but I digress.)Specifically in the land of women, we are told every day – subconsciously and blatantly – that we should be smaller. We should have no visible fat, cellulite, or imperfections. But at the same time, we should also look effortless.
Don’t let anyone know you’re trying!Because of all of this, we are constantly searching for new ways to achieve this unrealistic standard of beauty. One of the seemingly most simple directions to take is using clothing “tricks.” Flip open any “women’s magazine” and you’ll find countless articles and tips on “how to dress for your shape.” However, this never gives actual advice and lessons on measurements, proportions, rises – why things fit the way they do. They simply discuss what is “flattering.”The word flattering, as a stand alone, is not a bad one. The definition is – pleasing or gratifying. Having clothes that please you is wonderful! But that’s not what flatter means contextually nowadays. Having “flattering clothing” basically means – “that makes you look thin.” Or – slightly better but still not good – “that makes your shape look great.”Here’s the truth, ladies – your “shape” does not need to “look great.” And clothing does not need to “do the work” for you. All clothing needs to do – is clothe you. If it fits and makes you feel good, wonderful! That’s a lovely side effect. But you do not owe your appearance, attractiveness, or thinness to anyone.I’ll say that again, because it’s important. You don’t owe your beauty to anyone. You owe it to yourself to care for your mental and physical health. And I’ll even go so far as to say you owe it to yourself to feel beautiful (whatever that means to YOU.) But you do not owe that feeling to your family, your partner, and certainly not to strangers.You’ve got one body. And it does wonderful things for you. Embrace that. Put clothes on it – but don’t worry about “Is it flattering?” Summer 2018 Edit: We are all in a constant state of learning and growing. As a cis woman creating an inclusive brand – in the past three years since this post was written, I’ve learned to be much more gender inclusive with my language, no longer refer to SmartGlamour as “women’s clothing”, and no longer address the collective shopper/reader as “women” or “ladies.”This is still an important topic and conversation – but it is also a conversation that includes femmes and non binary folks. You’ll see that our current language and more recent articles, campaigns, and posts be sure to include all folks and also address the topic of gender on occasion.Also – we must not ignore the intersection of body politics with racism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia. Fatphobia is insidious and rampant – but it becomes even more layered when you are also up against discrimination for your ethnicity, class, sexuality, and/or gender.