Proud2Bme | 5 Reasons Why “Unflattering” Clothes are a Myth

  • Lifestyle
  • Style at Any Size

5 Reasons Why “Unflattering” Clothes are a Myth

By Catherine Mhloyi--Many of us have flipped through fashion and lifestyle magazines and have seen articles entitled “How to Dress for Your Body Type,” “Wear This, Not That,” or “The Best Styles for Your Body Shape.” There is nothing inherently wrong with these kinds of features—except that most are written with the premise that certain styles are unflattering on certain people. Here’s the problem with that:

1. The definition of unflattering is exclusive and body negative.

Oftentimes, clothes are said to be flattering if they make you look slimmer and hide what are considered to be flaws. If your body fits society’s expectations of beauty, there will be fewer clothing options that are described as ‘unflattering’ on you. However, people of color, fat people, disabled people, transgender people, gender non-conforming people and so on will have a hard time fitting into the very narrow mold of what society thinks they should look like. These tips just aren’t made for everyone.

2. You have to try things on!

Everyone’s bodies are so different, and size and fit change everything. Even when magazines do address different body types, they oversimplify the wide range of bodies out there. Sure, you may have big hips and a small chest, but you may or may not have a round tummy or a short torso. Fashion advice can’t be taken at face value. When you try things on, that’s when you know for sure what things will look like on you. Maybe, instead of wearing the skirt at your hips, you can pull it up to your natural waist, or maybe instead of your regular dress size, you can go up a size and wear it as a looser-fitting item. There are so many clothing possibilities that can only be explored by trying things on.

3. Not everyone wants to look the same.

You may be advised against wearing something because it “makes your butt look bigger,” but who says that you don’t want that? Not everyone wants to look slimmer, not everyone wants to look curvier and not everyone wants to look taller. You may want an androgynous look or maybe you want to show off everything you’ve got. It’s for you to decide what you want to look like and what you choose to embrace.

4. Sometimes, people are just wrong.

All my life I’ve been told what works and what does not work on plus-size bodies, but being the rebellious fat-shionista that I am, I always dare to prove people wrong. Multiple sources will tell fat women that prints, bold colors, form-fitting clothing, crop tops and basically everything fun is “unflattering” on their bodies, but many super stylish plus-size bloggers and I can confirm that it’s just not true. These kinds of myths make people afraid to try new things, to be themselves and to take risks—but nine times out of ten, the people writing these articles or giving this advice are not plus-sized themselves. The same goes for advice for petite, tall, pregnant and all other different sizes and shapes of women.

5. If you feel good about yourself, you look good, period.

You can follow all of the rules and have all the “right” clothes, but if you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t exude the confidence necessary to rock the hell out of your outfit. You know who you are and you know what you like. No one should ever tell you not to wear something you really love just because it doesn’t make you look the way they want you to look. When you’re really feeling yourself and how you look, like you’re Nicki or Beyoncé, you will stop the world, believe me. Confidence is the most important thing you can ever wear and that could never ever be “unflattering” on anyone.


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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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