I rushed into my office — or more rather, the Mission cafe where I conduct the majority of my interviews — scanning the crowd of 20-something hipsters in black skinny jeans, Justin boots and blue Levi denim jackets.
Virgie Tovar was easy to spot in her speckled beige fur shawl draped over a ’60s-inspired white crocheted dress. Tovar, fativist author of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, and Fashion, pushed her black plastic frames back up the bridge of her nose and assured me that I was on time. Not only is she brilliant, Tovar is also very patient and forgiving. She giggled, erasing my fears of tardiness.
“You look so good today.” I told her. She smiled knowingly. Tovar is not only an author, she is a body image life coach helping people connect with their inner Gaia. She’s also a sex educator, and a self-proclaimed “fierce fat femme.” I was glad we were able to find time to meet before Tovar headed out early the following week to BBW Fan Fest, a very sexy adult trade show for lovers of big beautiful women.
After assuaging my caffeine addiction, Tovar and I headed to a local thrift store so she could show me how she stays so fabulous. What transpired was this video, filled with vintage designs, words of wisdom and laughs to spare.
And since not everyone gets to shop with minds like Tovar’s, here’s a cheatsheet she penned for AHDM4U of her do’s and don’ts of hot, fat fashion
Do wear huge jewelry! Big bodies require big adornments, ghurl! I am top-heavy and love huge necklaces that bring attention to my bustline. I also wear really chunky rings and bracelets.
Do flaunt that VBO! “Visible belly outline” is one of the hottest outfit choices a fierce fat femme can make. Ghurl, that skin-tight gold lame pencil skirt isn’t going to wear itself.
Do dress for visibility! Fat ghurls have been taught that we should only wear certain styles and colors. That’s why there’s so many frumpy black dresses with strangely placed ruching on them in the plus size section. I LOVE bright colors (current fave: hot pink) and bold prints (current faves: cheetah and Versace chains). Wear shorts or cha-cha pants or purple mesh body suits if that’s your thing.
Do wear crop tops! I know I’m not the only person in this issue who loves a crop top. There is nothing like the feeling of air on your tummy and the knowledge that you have broken one of the fashion police’s biggest rules. Fuck toned tummy supremacy! I know I’d like to see more softness and jiggle.
Do get a seam ripper! Altering clothing is a big part of my fatshion practice. I promise it’s not hard. All that’s in my fatshion EMT kit is: a seam ripper, scissors, some cute buttons and thread. Sometimes I want to add inches to a garment (there are so many hidden inches in so many garments!) — all I have to do is unseam the hemline or take out the waistband or lining. Need to make a dress plunge-ier or a mini skirt mini-er? Scissors! Sometimes a piece I love fits perfectly everywhere except the sleeves in which case the sleeves need to go altogether, ghurl.
Don’t let the tag stop you! My mantra is: the tag says no but the stretch says yessss! I have pieces in my wardrobe in every imaginable size — from extra small to 5X. There is so much more you can tell from a garment by touching it or trying it on that you can’t tell from looking at the tag. If it’s got spandex there’s a real good chance it’s going to fit.
Don’t let manufacturing determine how cute you feel! Mainstream fashion has thrown so much shade our way, but fuck them. If you’re shopping exclusively in the plus size section at Ross I can understand why you might feel like your fatshion prospects seem dismal. That’s why I want to encourage you to thrift and experiment. There are lots of plus-size fashion blogs that showcase looks for femmes of all sizes.
Don’t wear shit that hurts! I will be the first to tell you to wear something short and tight but that doesn’t mean I believe in wearing looks that inhibit breathing, sitting or that don’t have room to house your junk and your ass at the same time. I remember the days when I used to lay on the floor of the fitting room and try to close some ill-fitting jeans just so I could say I was a smaller size. Ghurl, I don’t need to tell you about the epic tales of camel toe that came out of that period of self loathing.
Don’t buy aspirational or motivational clothing! The only thing that those “skinny jeans” are inspiring you to do is hate yourself. Fabulous femmes don’t have time for all that.
Don’t worry about whether something is flattering! As Gisela Ramirez says “fuck flattering.” If you love it wear it. A garment looks as hot as you feel.