A Weighty Issue

I’ve recently discovered a unique fashion blog that I really love. It’s written by a fellow IF vet, and it’s called Danimezza.

I have, like most women, a complicated history with body image. I have very small bones, and am tall, which are ingredients for a body type passable for fashion. My hips are a bit wide, which is a problem area I attempt to mask. I went through a phase senior year of high school when I ate two things: light yogurt and a salad. I worked out every day for two hours. I weighed 110 pounds (at 5’8″), and was exhausted every day: it’s a miracle I got into university. My clique of friends all dieted extensively. At the senior cruise, one of friends almost died. She had become so thin that her blood pressure plummeted dangerously.

Once that happened, I decided to chuck the starvation plan. I ate normally but continued to work out. I gained ten pounds, but was still passably thin. Being skinny stopped being an obsession.  This lasted throughout my twenties, with a brief foray into dieting for my wedding day. (Which was stupid and unnecessary: I look too thin in the photos. My dress was a Vera Wang: I used to make a decent amount of money, and this was my one splurge on myself. I thought I had to be thin for the dress, because it was FASHION.)

When I started to go through infertility, the drugs I took added weight. I got into the high 130s. My friend, on a shopping trip, told me, “It’s OK! You’re not thin anymore, you’re just normal.” Ouch.  That day, nothing fit me well and my love for fashion died a bit.

I’ve always had mad love for fashion. In high school, I would cut out ads and editorials from Vogue and try to piece together my own version of a signature style: at that time it was California girl meets Bridgette Bardot. It was a bit weird: cut-offs with fancy flats, French twists with jeans and dressed-up t-shirts. Denimn shirts tied at the midriff with a polka dotted skirt.


Photo credit: By loungefrog (claudia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Karl Lagerfeld once said: “Fashion is the best reason to diet.” Unfortunately, that stupid stereotype has remained with me, however: I thought fashion looked best on the thin.

In your thirties, I think most people have to work hard to be thin. Where once it was OK to work out regularly, now you have to also have to monitor your calories to stay within a range. With a few exceptions: the women trotted out as the “naturally thin”.  I just discovered that one of the “naturally thin” women I know eats a chocolate bar, then skips eating for two days.  She has help with her children.  If I attempted to watch the twins without eating food, very, very bad things would occur.

I have deplored the fact already that our bodies are supposed to be ornamental, not functional.  I am not advocating obesity or unhealthy eating habits, but I would like to wean society at large away from the actress moms who are supposed to be our body role models.  They don’t eat much, have help so they don’t have to do the heavy lifting of childcare and work out excessively.  Their job is to be thin.

Anna Wintour3

Photo credit: By Captain Catan from Frankfurt am Main, Germany (ParisDay5 roll1 268) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

As a SAHM, my job is NOT to be thin. It’s to be at the very top physical condition I can be in so I can do the physical tasks, discipline, food preparation, cleaning, reading, and being engaged in play.  Surprisingly, none of these things keep you thin.  So, I have given up the dream of being a skinny minny.

Back to Danimezza: what’s so inspirational and eye-opening about her blog, is that she is incredibly stylish and fashion-forward. She knows what fits and flatters her body, and she looks unbelievably put-together and fashionable. It’s a revelation: you can love fashion at any size, and look good in it.

So take that, Lagerfeld.

Do you agree that we don’t have to be thin for clothes to look good? Can all sizes look good with the right cuts and styles? Why are young women pressured to look like Jessica Biel and mothers pressured to look like the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world?  Is this all a bunch of nonsense because I am terrified about wearing a bathing suit in 3 days, in front of my friend who represents SELF magazine?



Filed under Infertility

9 responses to “A Weighty Issue

  1. chhandita

    Ahem **cough**cough**. I am one of those naturally SKINNY women you know. I think what matters is being healthy. I am trying desperately to gain weight because, hmmm, no, there are stuff that look awesome only when you have a curvy body. I think the pressure is on all women to fit into a certain kind of a ideal body type. I mean I hated it so much when I heard Oprah say “real women have curves”. Made me feel disgusted about my body. Its a constant struggle. But I am learning to live with my body. Curves or no curves, as long as I am healthy, what the heck!

    And you go girl, you will rock that bathing suit, am sure!

  2. Being 5″2 and about 145 pounds, I think I will be visiting that blog. I hate diets, I think they’re destructive, and I have vowed never to diet again. I exercise regularly and eat healthy, and if that’s the weight my body wants me to be, so be it. My husband loves me just the way I am. (But I could definitely use some fashion advice)

  3. I have curves, but I agree with you about being healthy … in the end, that’s what matters. Thanks for posting this! (You will be beautiful in that bathing suit, because you’re beautiful in you own skin. *grin*)

  4. I struggle with this because I am very curvy at any weight. I’m 5’7″ and have been everywhere from 125 to 150 lbs, and am pretty much the same shape regardless–big boobs, big butt, big thighs. It sounds OK on paper, but clothes are not made to fit me at all. If a pair of pants covers my butt, it’s about 6 inches too big in the waist. It’s so frustrating. I think I’ve become a bit anti-fashion because the designers appear to hate people like me.

  5. I feel like fashion looks good on any size. But it’s 100% about the cut and fit. I think it helps that I’m drawn to the fashion of the 30’s-40’s-50’s, because women back then were voluptuous and curvy, so it works for me. But I’d be lying to say I don’t long for a tall and thin frame on occasions, because clothes just seem to hang right on them. I can go into the stores like Forever 31 21 and nothing fits me right because they’re all cut for long and thin. I quickly get snapped back into reality and into vintage and thrift stores (and consignment stores!) in order to find clothes that fit me. I’ve liked that about being in my thirties, I think you start to be more comfortable in your skin and start to understand what works and what doesn’t.

    And now that all of that has been said, I should admit that I’m totally doing eating no carbs and all protein for a week until I go to Brazil because, well, I have to be in a bikini IN BRAZIL! And we all know what Brazilian women look like in their bikinis. Although, I’m hoping I’ll just blind everyone with my white skin and they won’t see the love handles of 3 pregnancies. 🙂

  6. Happiness and really really liking who you are feels like an entire box of cupcakes with sprinkles. An entire box of cupcake with sprinkles may or may not be happiness and after that box, you will definitely not like who you are for a day or two, but other than that, I’m all about the line from Mame.. “most poor suckers are starving to death.” Love the post, and would point out that the women who they trot out in fashion magazines are the only 14 year olds on the planet who are rich enough to afford the size -1 they’re sporting…

  7. I agree with those who said that fashion looks good at any size, as long as the fit is good – it’s worth it to buy some staples and have them altered (I too have trouble finding clothes that fit me just right- I have big muscular thighs. small hips and big boobs).

    Most important is being fit. I still remember my psych professor saying at the beginning of one semester: “I almost never have physically fit people come in to my office for counseling” – and now that I’m in medicine, I’ve found that to be very true!

  8. I think that some clothes do look much better on skinnier people (or only look good on skinnier people. I know this because I tend to love those looks and then I put them on in my size and I’m like, oh my good, this looks awful. The really thin fabrics that just fall gracefully off shoulders and collar bones don’t look so great when they land on belly flab or even a stomach of any kind.

    It took me a long time (and a lot of stupid purchases) to realize what I look good in and it’s not very much. I am 5’8″ too but I’m about 140 at my lowest (and 150 now). I carry all my weight around my stomach area and it’s SO HARD to find clothes for me. Pants are always too small in the waist and HUGE in the hips and butt (which I do not have at all). So generally my pants are hanging off my hips and it makes me look like I have no ass whatsoever. I once had a 12 year old boy follow me down a metro platform yelling “no ass saggy pants” for like 3 minutes. Oh, and that happened about three months ago. So yeah.

    I don’t know why it is that people (in general, not all) are so much more attracted to smaller, thinner people. It doesn’t make sense evolutionarily and yet it seems to be a fact. I battle for a long time with body issues and food issues and finally got over them when I spent a year in Spain at my skinniest (125) and also my most miserable. Learning first hand that skinny does not equal happy really shock me out of that. After about two years of being a bit overweight I finally dropped my compulsive eating issues almost entirely and settled at a nice 140, which looks and feels great for me. I feel INCREDIBLY lucky to have had that revelation in a way that was meaningful for me because I was sure I’d spend the rest of my life obsessing over food and body issues. I truly feel like I was given a second chance at life.

    I can only hope that I will somehow be able to instill some of that into my daughter. It’s one of the things I’m most scared about raising a little girl.

  9. There are fashion for all sizes although that’s not how media shows it. As long as you are healthy and happy with your own body I think it should be okay. If you feel content with what you have that will shine through as well. And if your weight is threatening your health, well that’s another issue really.

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