Archive for July, 2009

My Very First OoTD

I’m jumping on the Outfit of the Day (OoTD) bandwagon! Hopefully this post will be the first of many (read: hopefully I can be arsed to keep this up).

Before anything else, I think I should introduce you to my style to give you a bit of context or something. My style has two very distinct and completely separate settings: casual and work.

Casual Frances is a mix of street, 80s and hip hop. I live in my denim (dark rinse jeans and shorts) and I wear a lot of bright men’s graphic tees; most of which get turned into singlets by my alterationist. I never ever wear heels; the most feminine my shoes get are ballet flats. What I love more than anything is my ever-growing collection of kicks:

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My babies!

Work Frances is restricted by the sartorial expectations of the public sector (yep, I’m a government monkey). Most days I’m wearing some kind of black jersey dress and I keep things interesting with accessories: brightly coloured tights, kitsch brooches and chunky colourful resin jewellery.

Both Casual and Work Frances like to wear things that are bright, kitsch and eye-catching because both are great big show ponies who like attention. Both are no good at dressing for winter.

It’s surprisingly difficult putting my style into words; hopefully it will all emerge through my OoTDs.

Speaking of, here is what I wore to my mate’s farewell last weekend:

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Nope, I've no idea what I'm doing with that left elbow either.

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Oversized tshirt : Sportsgirl
Yellow bra (which is super duper visible because of the flash on my camera) : Mossimo
Leggings : Beth Ditto at Evans
Ballet flats : Witchery
Resin bangle : Dinosaur Designs – my favourite accessories brand of all time
Robot necklace : Electric Monkeys, Bondi Beach

Staying Thin, Jessica-Biel-style

This week, I read about one of Jessica Biel’s strategies for staying thin:

“You have to find a balance, especially with what you eat. I don’t live by the idea that you can’t allow yourself a treat,” she said.

“I say, ‘Eat things you like, but eat them in smaller portions’. I always cut things in half and send them back. I’m not perfect, I don’t always do those things, but that’s the goal.”

Fine. That’s fine. If Jessica Biel thinks that eating half is ‘allowing herself a treat’, that is her choice.

But that’s pretty wasteful. I mean, if she’s only eating half her cheese soufflé or half her pavlova, then that’s a lot of very good food going in the bin. Good food that would be appreciated by someone else……….

Do you think that she’d let me follow her around and eat her leftovers? Because I would totally be up for it.

A Good Week for Me and My Mailbox

Lord, how I love online shopping.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that I’d paid my last credit card bill twice, so I had an extra few hundred dollars to spend frivolously. And spend frivolously I did! This week I’ve been coming home to discover happy little packages waiting for me in my mailbox.

First came this:

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The Boys #32 by Garth Ennis and Darrick Robertson

The Boys is one of my faaaaavourite comic books. It’s about time y’all found out that I am a bit of a comic book nerd. Other favourites of mine include The Punisher, Sin City, Preacher and Hitman.

A couple of days later, the postie brought me this:

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Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

This was more of an educational purchase than something fun. I figure if I’m going to do this fat blogging thing I have to know what I’m talking about. That said, I am really looking forward to reading this.

Finally, these babies turned up yesterday:

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Happy Frances is happy

My Beth Ditto leggings were a present from me to me. As you can see, I am chuffed to bits!

As Deena mentioned in her post, these are brilliant leggings. They have been cut and sewn like a pair of pants, so they actually fit my thighs and arse (o, happy day!). The huge double-layered waistband almost comes up to my boobs, eliminating the severe muffin-top I usually get from leggings and tights. They’re also spectacularly garish which is right up my alley. I bought a size 18 and they fit perfectly.

Now I just have to find the right mini-dress or tunic to wear with them. A mate of mine is abandoning me for European adventures and is having a farewell party this Saturday (hi Liam!). Methinks it will be the perfect opportunity to bust these babies out in public.

My credit card is still in credit so I think I’m due for another order from We Love Colors

Fatshion on the Runway

Exciting news, Sydneysiders!

The Australian plus-size brand City Chic will be holding a fashion show as part of the Rosemount Sydney Fashion Festival (the same folks who organise Australian Fashion Week). Models from BGM will be strutting about in City Chic’s spring/summer collection. A plus-size brand has never been part of a mainstream Australian fashion event before (please correct me if I’m wrong), so this is seriously exciting stuff.

The City Chic runway shows will be at 12:30pm and 1:30pm on Thursday 20 August 2009 at Martin Place. Tickets are available through Ticketek. I’ll be attending the 12:30 show, notepad in hand, and I’ll give you guys a complete rundown. I’ve never been to any kind of fashion show before – this will be a bit fun!

City Chic and BGM Models are also hosting a plus-size model search;  if you have dreams of full-figured super stardom, see the City Chic website for all the details.

Plus size runway shows AND talks of bringing FFFWeek to Australia? This could be the start of something big (teehee).

Thank you to Sonya at No More Mumus for blogging about this – I never would’ve found out about it otherwise.

Fatshion and The Punch

A post by my fellow antipodean fat blogger, RandomQuorum, directed to me to this article on The Punch, ‘Fatshionistas are hip, but can they fit into the dress?‘ by Nedahl Stelio. The Punch (mmmm punch) is an Australian opinion site, owned by News Limited. Nedahl Stelio is a former deputy editor of Cosmopolitan and former editor of Cleo.

As RandomQuorum notes, this article is kind of a big deal. Stelio writes about New York’s Full-Figured Fashion Week, Beth Ditto’s line for Evans, and makes reference to the awesome Daily Beast article on our fabulous fatshionistas. Plus-size fashion is not a subject often covered by Down Under mainstream news outlets, and it’s truly amazing that Stelio did not feel compelled to note that all fatty fat fatties are riddled with disease and will die soon, if not sooner. (Predictably, the reader comments do. Australians are horrendously fat-phobic and the comments on fat-related news stories can be vitriolic.) So this is sort of a win for us. w00t.

But this is also lazy reporting. The article was published on 9 July – a good 2 weeks after FFFWeek – and yet Stelio writes as if the event has not yet been held. She also fails to mention the aaaaaaaawesome news that FFFWeek is looking into bringing their event to Australia.

In fact, Stelio completely bypasses anything and everything to do with Australian plus-size fashion. FFFWeek was in New York. Beth Ditto’s line has been released in the UK. The Daily Beast and Manolo for the Big Girl are US-based sites. No mention of the barren wasteland that is plus-size shopping in Oz. No voxpops from fat Australian women who have to navigate a difficult fashion landscape. No praise heaped upon the few plus size designers we do have. No pressure on the rest of our designers and retailers to lift their game and clothe the plus sized. This strikes me as a very curious decision for an Australian fashion writer on an Australian website.

Worse still, every quote that’s in Stelio’s article I have read before. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not naïve enough to believe that every journalist has engaged in hardcore primary research for every article they have ever written. But she’s written about things that don’t really affect Australian fatties (unless they’re willing to brave the weakness of the Aussie dollar and fork out AUS$15+ on shipping for Beth’s line) and she’s done a few Google searches for her material. Seriously?

I wanted to be excited by this article, Nedahl, but you have got to give me something to work with. Next time, drop me a line and I’ll give you all the Aussie Fatosphere voxpops you need! /shameless plug

Women I Love: Ashley Graham

Welcome to another arousing exciting edition of Women I Love! (Yes, two in one week. I have a lot of girl crushes to work through so I don’t have time to dilly-dally.)

Introducing: Ashley Graham

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Ashley Graham in Latina Magazine

I will never understand why Ashley Graham isn’t so spectacularly successful that we can’t open a newspaper without seeing her. She is literally perfect. Her figure, her face, her hair, her amazing lips… all perfect. I can’t even talk about it, the girl just kills me.

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Ashley Graham by Brian Boulos

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Ashley Graham's Ford+ polaroids

She was discovered in her native Nebraska at age 12 and by age 15 she had been signed with Ford Models. Even though she was and is gorge gorge gorgeous, she still had to deal with prejudice; her high school peers would tell her “You’re a fat model. It doesn’t count.” She is conscious that her unique opportunity in plus size modelling probably saved her from developing quite a negative body image in her teens; as such, she is purportedly working on a self-esteem handbook for teenage girls.

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Ashley Graham for Penningtons

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Ashley Graham for Penningtons

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Ashley Graham by Brian Boulos

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Ashley Graham for Liz Claiborne

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Ashley Graham for Bombshell Magazine

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Ashley Graham by Brian Boulos

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Ashley Graham, Ford Models

She’s also best friends with Crystal Renn. Good lord, can you imagine?! If I ran into them together I would be an utter mess. A quivering, stammering, fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up mess.

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Am...

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...dead

PS. For those in New York, she did an interview with Vogue US on her favourite NY shopping haunts which has been graciously uploaded on Too Fat for Fashion.

Women I Love: Crystal Renn

Welcome to the first edition of Women I Love. I discovered a lot of beautiful plus size women as a result of my tumblr and now I’m overflowing with girl crushes. What better place to showcase my lascivious ways than on my blog!

Introducing: Crystal Renn

I love Crystal Renn. I love her so much it borders on unhealthy.

To gather fodder for my tumblr, I started an online hunt for plus size models because I honestly didn’t know of any. Crystal Renn was the first one I found and I’m fairly certain that this was the first picture I saw:

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Crystal Renn by Matt Jones

Which caused me to do something along the lines of this:

actual Frances may differ in size and appearance

Actual Frances may differ in size and appearance

Crystal Renn first attempted modelling at age 14 after being spotted by a model scout. However, the scout told her from the beginning that she would need to lose 10″ from her hips in order to be successful. Fighting against her natural body shape and the constant pressure to stay thin led to an eating disorder. Eventually she realised the toll it was taking on her body and she walked away from her job, recovered from her illness, got a new agent and started plus size modeling.

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Crystal Renn in People 2006, showing her as a straight size model

Crystal Renn in the finale dress for Jean-Paul Gaultier prêt-à-porter S/S06

She looks like a goddess. Sigh.

She also has a book coming out in a few months detailing her own experience with self-esteem and body image. While I am of the opinion that 23 is a wee bit young for a memoir, I’m still looking forward to its release. Watch this space for the review when September rolls around.

Anyway, that’s enough biography. It’s time to perve:

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Crystal Renn for Torrid

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Crystal Renn in Elle Canada, January 2009

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Crystal Renn for Anna Scholz S/S05

Crystal Renn in La VanGuardia, Spain

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Crystal Renn by Steven Meisel in Vogue US, April 2004

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Crystal Renn by Steven Meisel in Vanity Fair Italy, March 2004

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Crystal Renn by Ruvan Afandor in Elle Italia, December 2008

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Crystal Renn by Ruven Afanador for Nordstrom and Harper's Bazaar

I eat, therefore I’m fat

The Fatosphere and various fat communities like to point out how active they are, how balanced their diet is, how they were fat children that grew into fat adults and their corpulent physique is not something they can control or change even if they wanted to. I understand why this is, and I’ve no doubt that for many people this is the case.

But I am not one of those people. I am fat because I eat too much.

I’ve never been small person; I think I was at my thinnest when I was around 17 and 65kg/140 pounds. But I know that if I were to exercise a bit more and eat a bit less, it’s probable that I could lose around 10kg and a dress size.

But I don’t want to do that. I love to eat.

For me, eating is an almost hedonistic experience. When I eat something truly amazing, like a beautiful cut of steak or a simple margherita pizza, my face beams. I dance unconsciously in my chair (my boyfriend calls it my ‘happy food dance’). And I like to eat a lot, because the feeling and look of fullness is so pleasant.

I am not fat because I eat ‘junk'; I don’t eat much processed food, not because it’s unhealthy, but because it tastes like crap and makes me feel gross. In fact, my body craves all manner of things: pesto pasta, opor ayam, wholemeal tuna sandwiches, pho, wood-fired pizza, rare steak and homemade chips, soft boiled eggs and toast soldiers, cake, porridge and stewed fruit, roast chicken, laksa, unadon, absolutely anything covered in garlic… I end up eating a reasonably balanced diet, just a lot of it.

While my growing belly is a consequence of my over-eating, it’s a happy one. I love being fat, and not in a ‘This is what I’m stuck with so I may as well love it’ sort of way. I genuinely think I look better now than when I was 30kg lighter. I’m certainly a helluva lot happier.

I wanted to make this all very clear because so far I have not found anyone in the Fatosphere that I relate to on this matter. Of course I’ve found people who enjoy food, but none who publicly love it as much as I do and none who identify it as a cause of their fatness. I am sure I am not the only one. I wanted to make this clear because I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

When the media is full of reports that FAT IS UNHEALTHY AND YOU WILL DIIIIIEEE, it’s natural for fatties respond with statistics proving that being obese does not automatically equate to unhealthiness and that the active fatty will outlive the inactive skinny. And that’s all very good; we should not allow misinformation to parade around as fact. But what I want to stress is that I am not ashamed for being one of the inactive fatties.

I do some exercise; I go to dance class and I swim at the beach in the summer. On the other hand, I also wish the whole world sloped downhill so I’d never have to walk up another incline again.

My point, in a roundabout way, is that we should not have to prove ourselves to be one of the ‘good’ fatties in order to be seen as people. We should not have to divulge our eating and exercise habits to family/friends/strangers/journalists in order to justify our fatness. Whether we happily overeat or happily run marathons, we all deserve respect.

Full-Figured Fashion Week continued, or Why Frances is Dancing in the Streets

As expected, the Curvy Collective have been kept busy blogging about the inaugural Full-Figured Fashion Week. Luvin’ My Curves has summarised the three day event, with an official recap of the runway finale still to come. Gabi at Young, Fat and Fabulous has covered the runway show, while The Musings of a Fatshionista has reviewed what the various brands had to offer.

All the posts are, as always, worth checking out, so hyperlink your way over there.

Now I know that in my last FFFW post I may have sounded tad resentful. Perhaps I threw what could be described by some people as a big tanty. All that is behind me now due to this short addendum on Gabi’s YFF post:

Oh, and for all you Aussies, supposedly FFFWeek is coming your way soon!

*victory dance*

I know this is hardly concrete. But, if this happens, it will be a huge step forward for Australia. Maybe we’ll see a few more plus size brands starting up in Oz…? Maybe some of our brilliant straight size fashion designers will step up to the challenge…?

A girl can dream.

The Full Body Project

Matisse Circle

Matisse Circle

In another attempt to make myself appear worldly and cultural (a persona I won’t be able to keep up for long…), I present to you more brilliant fat photography: The Full Body Project by Leonard Nimoy.

In the artist’s words:

This current body of work is a departure for me. For a number of years, I have been producing images using the female figure. I have worked with numerous models who were professional people earning their living by posing, acting, dancing, or any combination thereof. But, as has been pointed out to me in discussions at exhibitions of my work, the people in these pictures always fell under the umbrella of a certain body type. I’ll call it a “classic” look. Always within range of the current social consensus of what is “beautiful.”

These women [in The Full Body Project] are interested in “fat liberation.” They hold jobs in the theater, the film industry and in business—and together they perform in a burlesque presentation called “Fat Bottom Revue.”

Their self-esteem is strong. One of them has a degree in anthropology and will tell you that ideas of beauty and sexuality are “culture bound”—that these ideas are not universal or fixed, and that they vary and fluctuate depending on place and time. They will tell you that too many people suffer because the body they live in is not the body you find in the fashion magazines.

With these new images, I am now hearing different words. Sometimes “beautiful,” but with a different sub-text. I hear comments, which lead to questions. The questions lead to discussions—about beauty, social acceptability, plastic surgery, our culture and health. In these pictures these women are proudly wearing their own skin. They respect themselves and I hope that my images convey that to others.

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269-49

It’s a wonderful project, with many of the photographs looking so joyous. Clickety click your way over there.

The NY Times did an interview with Nimoy about this project, his work in general and the size acceptance movement. The bulk of the article is rather good, if you’re able to ignore the totally unnecessary sentence “He doesn’t necessarily find them sexually attractive.” THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP, NY TIMES.

All pictures reproduced with permission courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries


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