My bra is showing a little in these photos, and when I was shooting these pictures in the middle of New York I remember saying to my friends Lydia and Alex ' Is the bra too much?' It was only showing a tiny bit but I thought maybe this is too risqué for an outfit out and about around New York City. In hindsight I was being ridiculous, why should I care if my bra was showing, it's just a bra, I felt great and no one died for seeing a tiny bit of my underwear. The problem is even I, a fairly confident plus size woman can't always get passed the 'rules' that are put on to us as women. You know the ones that we are taught since we are practically birthed on how we should present ourselves to the world?
Wear black because it's slimming.
Don't show too much cleavage.
No horizontal stripes.
It's boobs out or legs out, never both.
When ever I do interviews for magazines one of the questions I am nearly always asked is 'what tips do you have for dressing as a plus size woman' and sometimes I just want to say,
'Put on clothes you like and leave, the house the end.'
Why do women need tips for something as basic as getting dressed?
But I get why people ask this, I like to think most people mean well, and the truth is, more often or not, it's true, plus size women do struggle with knowing how to dress or how to be 'brave' It's just what we have been taught and it's really hard to unlearn all those negative thoughts.
Due to this very reason unfortunately some my harshest critics are fellow plus size women. Every time I get featured on a brands page as a plus size woman wearing anything that isn't conventional or deemed as suitable for 'curvy women' the rules are relayed to me.
That isn't flattering
Plus size women can't wear that
I wouldn't wear that
There are no rules
when it comes to fashion
Sometimes I want to scream when I see this. Like seriously we have it hard enough from everyone else we really don't need this from each other.
But is it really any surprise that this still happens? These rules are perpetuated all the time in the media and not even just to plus size women. We are constantly offered tips and tricks to alter our shape, change our size, look younger and most importantly thinner.
So how do we get past this?
Well first of all,we need to start accepting people as they are.
Let people wear what they want and decide what they want without passing judgement.
Call out slut shaming.
If a person wants to wear something outlandish, bright and bold , let them. You don't have to like it, you are not wearing it.
Remind yourself that the whole point of fashion is that it is fun and expressive, a way to show your personality, show who you are!
It took me nearly 5 years to be in a position where I can leave the house in something I like, rather than what I should like and you know what it feels really good.
My skin is thicker than ever to deal with 'Sandra from Southampton' who tells me that I look awful in anything that isn't a dress and leggings because quite honestly I don't care. I am tired of living my life to make other people happy.
If I could impart one piece of advise above everything else it would be to diversify your life. Curate your social media feeds with strong, diverse women. Disabled women, black women, plus size women, trans women.