Need-freak.

Here’s a rant from an “ugly, fat, feminist” about pathological relationships, love, and poo.

I am very, very, very used to being called clingy. This is because my partner of seven years used to frequently tell me I was such a person (he also used to say things like “Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a girlfriend so I could just concentrate on philosophy, you know?”). In fact, I’ve become so used to it, that when people shut me out it now no longer serves as an immediate warning that I should shut up shop and hop on the nearest train to Fuck-This-Noise-ville. It is far more likely to make me hate myself because I can’t get through to that person, and therefore I become acutely aware that I am a deeply flawed character and that nobody could possibly love me so I may as well be happy with the ticket I’ve drawn.

This is, of course, horse shit.

Due to this relationship and some other f’d up s’t, I have a lot of insecurities to work on. And I do; every damned day. I work hard. Sometimes too hard (and, let’s be honest, sometimes not hard enough). There should not be a single person in my life who I care about that makes those insecurities consistently worse. Let alone someone who I want to be involved with.

All too often, men appeal to the narrative that women are naturally needy and unnecessarily confusing (as opposed to rational men who always ‘say what they mean’). As a result, women usually content ourselves with saying ‘sorry’ all the time and editing our behaviour. Drowning in this crap, we will choke on the words “I’m fine, this is fine, everything is fine”, because we’re so desperate not to live up to that stereotype. Hey, men, you know why we say “I’m fine”? Because you’ve made us hate ourselves. Congratulations. Isn’t it hilarious?

If anybody makes you feel inadequate when you know full well that you work hard to be a good, kind, loving person, then Fuck-This-Noise-ville is calling. They have cake and Bikini Kill. Sometimes that other person might have issues, but unless they love you like no other and work long and hard to let you know it, then you don’t have to take on those issues. That person might not be ready, willing, or able, and that might make you feel bad, but it does not mean you are bad. It means things don’t work. That can sometimes be nobody’s fault.

Asking for  some kind of love is not a lot. Love is a great thing. It comes in all shapes, sizes, colours, and changes over time – a lot like the people who feel it. It’s not something to be embarrassed or afraid of (like every rom-com has ever taught us it is). It’s the only thing that will change this world for the good, in the end. We do all need love (although it’s not all we need). So here’s to need-freaks like me; may we be forever hopeful, but, most of all, learn to love ourselves more than anyone else ever could.

Who's got two thumbs and eight fingers? This grrrl!

Who’s got two thumbs and eight fingers? This grrrl!

wp_ss_20150310_0001 And on a brighter note: I have been salivating over these babies for days. GIMME. Love you all, because everyone with their eyes on these words deserves it. ❤ Chrissy

 

 

 

 

This post has been inspired by someone who makes me feel like this:

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Ugly in a Pretty Dress

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Now, before everybody panics: I Do Not Think I’m Ugly. Not any more, in any case. I’ve had a lot of conversations of late with people who are tired of pretty, flattering selfies. If you read my below post, you’ll see that I want a bit more friction, a bit more ‘ugly’ in the world of plus size fashion. This is because looking “ugly” Is Not A Thing.

“Ugly” is a word thrown at us when we don’t conform,
when we’re not the norm, when we’re born
with the ‘wrong’ skin colour,
or grow to the ‘wrong’ size;
when we fall outside parameters set by industries
that thrive on our insecurities.
Being ugly is Not A Thing.
There is no wrong way to have a body, or a face, or hair, or skin.

So the following review of my Voodoo Vixen dress and Banned Apparel cardigan is called:

Being Ugly in a Pretty Dress

 

Smiling on the inside is more important.

Smiling on the inside is more important.

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This dress is particularly important to me because, whilst perambulating around London, and London Edge, with a troop of spectacularly strong and beautiful women, I felt genuinely fearless whilst being sleeveless. For someone who has relentlessley covered up the parts of their body they dislike all their lives, this was SUCH a freeing experience. And so here’s my next step. Sleeveless, fearless, hairy and proud ❤

Taken with Lumia Selfie

Not long ago I would have hated myself for days over a photo like this. But I feel great in this dress. It’s really comfy, because it’s made of strong but stretchy fabric that maintains it’s inetgrity, and fits so well over my bust. I feel safe in this dress. It’s not going to pop or gape or rip.

Taken with Lumia SelfieOh, and it has POCKETS. Pocket equality is something that’s very important to me – if I don’t have pockets, I never know what to do with my stuff or my hands. So ten points for practicality, Voodoo Vixen! Oh, and if you need a reminder, this is Arlene in a 3XL.

Taken with Lumia SelfieI like the back of the dress – it’s got great shape!

This cardigan… is… flimsy. It’s very thin, clingy, and the sleeves are oddly long. But I like the shade of red, and the cupcake patches are pretty. It probably won’t become a staple of my wardrobe, though.

Cardigan: Banned Apparel in S/M

Cardigan: Banned Apparel in S/M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, I love this dress. It’s comfortable, and hard-wearing, and pretty. But I can wear it with my Docs, hairy legs and armpits, messy hair, and make it my own, which is why I value it the most. Thank you Voodoo Vixen, this one’s a winner!

❤ Chrissy x

If my hairy armpits or double chin offends you... Tough!

If my hairy armpits or double chin offend you… Tough!

Frayed Edge

“Are you gonna write your big blog post?” my friend Renee excitedly asks.
Yes; absolutely. I definitely didn’t just have my laptop out to browse Etsy (but, I mean, just look at this wonderful stuff).

Life at The Edge

Voodoo Vixen gave a bunch of us plus size babes an incredible opportunity to head to London Edge a few weeks ago. This was the first event that I’ve been to officially as a blogger for DiDMs, and I was so excited – we would be given a dress by Voodoo Vixen, get our hair and makeup done, and get a bunch of extraordinary goodies to review from the vendors at London Edge.

Makeup done on the day <3 Also this event was a GREAT excuse to buy these awesome vintage-style specs that I've wanted *forever* from Specsavers.

Serving FACE

Dress: ARLENE from Voodoo Vixen

Dress: ARLENE from Voodoo Vixen (3XL). Ain’t she sweet?

I had such a wondeful time! I got to meet the incredible Hannah Boal again (who I’m totally in awe of), and met the wonderful, kick-ass, Kitty Kaos (aka Kelly). She’s really rad, and it was great to talk to someone who’s surfing the same wavelength. And AND, and, I was super happy to meet the astonishing Katie of the #EffYourBeautyStandards team. She’s effervescent and glam, and a really lovely person to know.

My full review of the Voodoo Vixen dress and all the awesome things I got in my London Edge goodybag deserve a full post to themselves, so look out for that SOON (and hopefully with some pro photos this time, courtesy of Margot, My Lovely Friend With a Really Good Camera).

Be, Agressive, Be, Be, Agressive!

The thing I mostly noticed about women’s fashion at London Edge, particularly plus size fashion, is that unfortunately it seems as though it hasn’t changed all that much in about a decade (i.e. since I first became aware of ‘alt’ styles as a wannabe emo teen). I’ll restrict my judgement to plus size women’s fashion because that’s what I know most about, and I’m also only talking about self-consciously alternative fashion. I noticed an overwhelming prevalence of the ultraglam, psychobilly, high-femme, pin-up-inspired look from a lot of the vendors (including Voodoo Vixen, obviously, as that’s their whole aesthetic). Disclaimer: this, in itself, is not a bad thing. Disclaimer to the disclaimer: nothing we choose to do, say, or wear happens in a vacuum, so maybe we should examine our choices and why we make them.

I’m on the margains, as a plus size person who wants to be involved in fashion. I know that. But that doesn’t mean I want to fit a mould specifically made for the margianalised. For example: I loved my Voodoo Vixen dress; it’s so lovely and well made, but I mostly liked it because I could wear Doc Martens with it and feel comfortable. With many of the dresses and styles available to us it would be hard to resist the urge to put on some super high pumps, or at least kitten heels, as the vintage style dictates. And for a lot of people who don’t want to high-femme themselves that’s the problematic element of the main body of alternative, plus size clothing: this feeling that we’re not doing it quite right because we can’t identify with feeling comfortable presenting ourselves to the world like that.

Hence my subtitle: being agressively alternative and creating an accessible form of fashion that also acts as a critique of what the norms of our topsy-turvy world expect from us is really important. Straight-sized alt fashion has heros for this such as Viviennne Westwood (I was also going to list Betsey Johnson but when I went to her site it’s pretty much all flouncy florals or sailor-chic; not so groundbreaking). And, what’s really fundamental, is that this is already an aim at the centre of the plus size movement!  Not apologising for our existence, forcing people to take notice, and saying “fuck you” to the bullies who are expressing the backward values of a world that dehumanises and then demonises fat people. That’s why I love effyourbeautystandards and all the body positivity babes I know. But that agression doesn’t seem to translate all the way to our self-presentation re: fashion choices. It seems like what we’re offered, and what we have come to adopt as our own, is an assimilation into the world and not a radical overhaul of it. A friend (the same who was so excited about this blog post) once asked me how to find plus size body positivists who don’t wear a lot of make-up, for example, because she found it so hard to identify with people for whom that’s a big part of who they are. I love makeup, I have a lot of fun with it, but I generally don’t bother because I’d rather sleep longer than have visible eyebrows Monday to Friday. I also have friends who look like extraordinary birds of paradise because of the way they glam themselves, and I think that’s really wonderful too; it’s another way of being really in the faces of people who would rather ignore us.

I want radical overhaul. I want a world where we can adorn ourselves with whatever the hell we want if we feel like it expresses our character, rather than doing it to fit in. If we do that, and get positive feedback, it might be likely that we come to feel happy doing or wearing something because other people feel happy for us rather than honouring our inital creative impulses. I’m not saying that this is something the plus size or alternative fashion communities lack – not at all! – but perhaps the type of actualisation of it is something we need to work on.

I want to see more people who aren’t concerned with being beautiful, because we all know that our worth is not defined by that. Beauty might be subjective to a certain extent, but there are a lot of standards we’re adopting that might need to change. I would love to see more people doing radical things with their appearance in order to stand out from all the crowds and express themselves. I know it’s not as simple as that. But I really, really want avant garde, agressive, unapologetic, queer, in-your-face plus size fashion movements to start gaining more traction. Something like angry, fat, New Romantics, without the crap music (sorry not sorry).

I very good friend, who has been trained in design, pointed out the value of classic design and trends in fashion. Without them, we wouldn’t have a foundation from which to deviate from – we wouldn’t be able to conceptualise how to begin! And I agree. But I feel so at home in the dystopic 80’s DIY era of punk that I disagree that we need to perpetuate those classic design tropes for their own sake. But I must concede that they have their value, otherwise I would sound naive.

If you want to be ultra femme, that’s cool – not my bag, but I obviously get that as a plus size person doing anything that you’re told you’re not supposed to (like be sexy or feminine) is an act of resistance and can be a personal revolution (it was for me!). The only issue I have is that this is now the norm, and I know so many others like me feel significant pressure to fit in with it in order to be accepted into the ranks of bopo babes. I’m also not saying the creation of this norm is intentional on anyone’s part, as I know everyone reading this is probably going “yeah, but that’s cool too, whatever you wanna do, y’know”. But it’s there, and this is the way I want to break it. Let’s not focus so hard on being pretty, let’s be more pretty out-there. Y’know?

I love you all, and if you’re reading this I hope you think this is a conversation worth having!

Chrissy x ❤

Dainty Goes to Dublin

I'm tiny and sitting on my own shoulder. It's all gone a bit Through the Looking Glass here at DiDM.

I’m tiny and sitting on my own shoulder. It’s all gone a bit Through the Looking Glass here at DiDM.

Hello to you, Dainty Darlings! Lovely to have your eyes on my words again. Spoiler: this is a fatbabe and travel packed post. Scroll further down for some fatshion ❤

If you’ve read my bio, you may have seen that I’m taking a year off from my PhD in philosophy. Part of this change in my life will involve getting away and starting afresh somewhere new, and for no particular reason I’ve picked Dublin! I went to visit Tara in order to check the place out, and promptly fell in love with it.

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Learning that the cathedral behind me has people buried in the walls.

This was also the first trip I have ever, at the grand old age of 25, organised and executed all on my own. I hate flying more than anything in the whole world, but I managed it, and after being in a funk and feeling like an overgrown 15-year-old for ten years I finally began to feel as if I could do things on my own without screwing up. It’s a big deal, I assure you.

On the first day Tara (the talented miss O Brien) took me to Kilmainham Gaol, where we learned a tonne about Irish history, and we went to the museum right next to the Irish parliament where Tara showed me that the Irish are THE COOLEST PEOPLE (gold hoards for daaayyyysss).

On the second day we went to the Leprechaun Museum. Yes, you heard right. And it was fabulous. Check us out walking through rainbows and sitting on a giant’s furniture!

Fat babes doing things!

Fat babes doing things! (Click for The Big Picture)


FATSHION UPDATE:

It turns out Dublin has a Forever 21, so I bought everything.

WP_20150117_13_05_20_ProI’ve wanted a pair of trousers like this FOREVER. I bought these in a 3X. I loved the fit, the pattern, and the fabric. They were very quirky and relaxed but also smart enough to be suitable for work. Or so I thought, until I wore them for a day, and the seam on the inside leg tore like wet paper. The fabric has zero stretch to it, so is NOT conducive to movement. Of any kind. Major thumbs down, F21.

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I bought the first bikini I’ve had since I was six (obviously this is me wearing just the top part). And the first swimming apparatus that I’ve had for at least five years! It’s incredible, but the best part is…..

#unapologeticfatty

#unapologeticfatty

The back! It’s so cool! And actually makes a lot of sense, strap-wise, because if you have a bigger bust it provides a lot more support. As yet to test it out, but I can’t foresee any problems. Again, I bought the top and a pair of plain black bottoms in a 3X.

WP_20150117_13_07_56_ProAnd I bought all of the velvet goods. FYI to the Chub Rub Club: velvet leggings are the answer to our prayers.

Tara took me to my First Ever Drag Show that night. It was explosive! I loved The Dragon (best gay bar I’ve ever been to) – the atmosphere was effervescent and the performances were powerful. I only got about two hours sleep before I had to get on a plane again, but the experience was worth the exhaustion.

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So the message for this post is twofold: push yourself to do new things – getting out of your comfort zone is terrifying, but doubly rewarding, and… Go to Dublin.

635576398081831137I love you all endlessly, and remember to love yourselves just as much! ❤

Chrissy x

Resolutions, Revelations and Rowans

Good morning, folks!  I’m Vic and I am very excited to be here.  As we get to know each other, you’ll probably begin to notice that I am a feminist, a dinosaur-enthusiast and I have a knack for saying inappropriate comments when the music dips at parties.  One thing I’m not so good at however, is the ol New Year’s resolution.  This is because I am pretty lazy, often opting to sit in my pyjamas, eat stilton and watch Netflix rather than venturing outside of my flat, and also because the misery of January often compels me to drink away all memory of the good intentions I initially had at the start of the month.  So, dear readers, I thought I would use this initial introduction to inform you all that I have finally managed to cross off a new year’s resolution from 2010!  *Victory air punch* I know, I know, you barely know me but here I am, dazzling you with my personal progress…

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I-can’t-dance-in-front-of-people face

This particular resolution comes in the form of a dance lesson.  Swing to be precise (or not so precise if you are checking out mine and my partner’s dance steps).  Having spent years banging on about the fact that we wanted to learn, we decided to drag ourselves to one of the many Swing Patrol events that take place in a wide range of venues across London.  Being based in North London, we attended the class being held at the Horatia on Holloway Road.   I was hoping that my partner, Chris, would be the first one to fold, to step back outside and march us back to our warm apartment round the corner.  Alas it was I: on entering the venue, I quickly shat myself and begged for us not to have to dance in front of real humans who were probably borderline professional lindy boppers.  To my dismay however, my efforts were ignored and I was accompanied to the back of the pub, given a name tag and told that we’d start our evening by learning the Charleston.

Rock, step, kick, step, kick, hold, kick, step!

This looks and sounds a lot easier than my uncoordinated-self could demonstrate and I spent the majority of the hour apologising profusely to each dance partner before waving my legs around like an over-enthusiastic Tin Man.

I look nothing like these people.

It was during this process – of wheezing, not knowing what the hell I was doing, kicking people accidentally, losing my balance, and miscellaneously wobbling –  that I realised I was having a brilliant time! This was of course once I cast my insecurities aside.  For the most part, I don’t really have a problem with making myself look like a twat in public, it’s when I have to actually demonstrate ability that I tend to clam up.   I have now attended two classes and though I’ve barely improved, my confidence has grown tenfold.  So much of insecurity is based on pre-conceived ideas of how you think others are judging you, and the best part about going to a beginners swing class is that most of us were in the same dancing boat!  Albeit the others in the boat seemed to sweat a lot less and dance a lot better than I.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put these moves into practice when I drunkenly ended up at Rowans Tenpin Bowling on Saturday evening.  For those of you unfamiliar with this glorious place in Finsbury Park, I can only describe it as a haven for those who like to bowl, karaoke and/or boogie to the likes of TLC and R Kelly.  Oh yes…no longer can you say that two pounds won’t take you far in Finsbury. And it is on this dance floor that I spend a lot of my time, usually with drink spilled down my blouse from all the embarrassing shapes I’m throwing to the sound of “Sexual Healing”.  As an individual that is prone to falling over on dry, flat surfaces whilst sober, it is perhaps best that I keep all Charleston practice to the confines of supervised lessons.

So there you have it, I have now attempted and intend to continue a New Year’s resolution, and  I could not recommend swing classes enough in terms of having a fun, social activity to do on a weekday.  For information on Swing Patrol, you can find out more here.  Unless, of course, you only like dancing to cheesy RnB music, in which case, I will see you folks on the dance floor in Rowans.

Vic

Tess and the Dress

Hello and ‘how do’ to all of you. Bit o’ Northern in there because this blog has nation-wide hopes. Don’t say we never dream big.

It’s Chrissy checking in for a post on fatshion and fat babes. I’ve had a day of re-writing my CV, which is a desperately depressing task when you’ve been focussed on academia so long and your actual employment record is patchy and haphazard at best… It’s okay though, I had a curry for supper to make up for being so miz all day.

So I needed an injection of positivity! I wanted to share with you a story about a couple of days at the end of last year that made me realise that I’m finally proud what I’m doing with my life. As someone who has suffered from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and life-long self-loathing, this was a Really Big Deal.

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Instagram helps me connect to some incredible body positive warriors; in particular, my beautiful friend Tara O Brien (on the left). After chatting for a while via IG (I also commissioned a really beautiful tattoo design from her which I hope to get inked in soon!), she dropped me a line saying that she won the competition to meet Tess Munster on her visit to the Yours Clothing flagship store in Birmingham, and asked if I wanted to come along with her! Obviously I said yes (more like “HELL YES!”) and spent my last dime on a train ticket to Brum.

PS_20150112021207I will be forever grateful to Tara for this opportunity, because it was the best two days I’ve had in a really, really long time. I met Tara properly for the first time and we had an awesome sleepover eating all the baked goods we could find in the local Sainsbury’s and watching a silly movie. It was wonderful to laugh and talk with someone who just *gets it* when it comes to body positivity and the daily struggles we all face with it.

I also got to meet increda-babes like Hannah Boal of fabulouslyfatfashion.com, Lolly from lollylikesfatshion.blogspot.co.uk, and of course the Eff PS_20150112020120Your Beauty Standards queen herself: Tess Munster.

Connecting with these women has made me realise just how important the feminist principle of ‘not seeing each other as competition’ is. The people who contribute to effyourbeautystandards are of all shapes, sizes, colours, and genders – and we’re all learning one really important thing: that we deserve to love ourselves no matter what. When you start with self-love and begin to face the problems you have with yourself, loving others and being kind becomes a lot easier. The shame we’re expected to feel about our bodies begins to drop away. Building up other people on their journey to self-acceptance is a fantastic process because you learn to stop seeing them as competition – something we’re taught to do from primary school upwards, and something that is really damaging to our psyche as individuals and to the group identities of people who don’t fit the norm. Breaking away from that and internalising the eff your beauty standards mantra is hugely liberating.

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I want to thank this incredible human being for inspiring me and so many like me, who have struggled our whole lives with our body image. Meeting her was wonderful. Of course I totally clammed up and could barely say a word, but she was so sweet and down-to-earth that she put us all at our ease. And wow, does she know how to take a selfie.

As part of the prize for winning the competition, Tara and I received gift vouchers from Yours Clothing (an absolutely WONDERFUL store with really fun fashion in a great range of sizes – I love love love their lingerie too!).

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Tess was wearing a stunning dress from Yours when we met her, and afterwards I made a bee-line for the rack where it was in the shop! I think it’s totally stunning, and every time I put it on I’ll remind myself of this fantastic few days and be filled to the brim with self-confidence and joy. I feel like a star in it.

Go and check out Yours Clothing; they have really lovely things for a so many shapes and sizes (my wish list is MASSIVE).

Signing off now, as I think I need to learn how to get a solid night’s sleep if I’m ever going to attempt this full-time employment thing.

❤ C

Welcome to Dainty in Doc Martens!

Hello all! It’s lovely to see you – thanks for dropping by. Cup of tea? Some cake? You sort that out, I’ll get on with the story.

It’s Chrissy here with the first broadcast from this soon-to-be-smashing blog. Myself and co-founder Vic decided that we needed a space where we could make a splash; a space for feminism, creativity, worries about the real world of rent and jobsearches, and words about our favourite types of snack foods (a wide variety of cheese-based products).

For me (Chrissy), it’s mostly about fashion. Well, FATshion – fashion that aims to break out of the confines of what we’re told is acceptable in terms of body image. I’m a fat babe, as you’ll see in my bio, and I like it that way. I’ve struggled with body all my life, but feminism and movements like EffYourBeautyStandards have turned me around in recent years. I’m into plus-size fashion with an attitude; I’ll wear a little black dress with huge Doc Martens and bright pink lipstick any day of the week. I also love art that breaks boundaries. Illustrators like Tara O Brien (if you’re not following her on Instagram already, you need to reassess your life choices and go find her: @taraobrienillustration) make you see the world as a more beautiful and unapologetically diverse place.

I will always challenge the norm, and I admire people who do the same. It takes a lot to love yourself in a world that bombards you with messages that make you feel inadequate, but I’m here to tell you, and show you, that you don’t have to listen. LOVE YOURSELF! You are worthwhile and wonderful, and you deserve to see that. Fat babes unite!

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This is me being an unapologetic badass fatty in my junk food sweatshirt from H&M.

It’s probably my favourite top because it reminds me that sometimes the simplest act, like putting on a shirt with “BAD FOOD” on it, shows that I know people might stare and judge me, and that I’m nonetheless happy with who I am – inside AND out. It’s a long way from where I was a few years ago: miserable, trying to hide away in baggy dark hoodies and ill-fitting jeans. It reminds me to be proud.

Watch This Space for posts on when I met Tess Munster (!!!!!), an update from Vic, and generally a lot more fabulousness. Get ready to have your world fully glitter-bombed.

Thanks for reading! Hope to see you next time ❤ xxx