I was so proud! I finally finished my very first linen boxy tee, the kind everyone is wearing these days, and posted some pictures. I then got a comment saying I should have made something form-fitting instead, because it would be more flattering if I defined my waist, and make me look less dumpy. Dumpy!?!? I love this tee, and I feel crushed 🙁 How can I answer naysayers and let them know that I’m happy in my body, and I will wear what I want, when I want?!
It sounds like you’ve answered your own question! How infinitely rude—for sure, block them, or at the very least, give them a good “How dare you!!!” 🤬
There has been a lot of chatter these days regarding feedback, solicited and non-solicited, and I think it’s certainly appropriate to tell people “Thanks But No Thanks!” Especially if it’s body-shaming—that is never acceptable, whether it’s Dear Old Aunt Mamie Who Means Well, or Internet Rando.
You should always feel like you can wear whatever makes you happy and comfortable! In fact, I made a video because I want to talk a little bit more about this, and why I think “flattering” is a lazy word.
In the video above, I also talk about “proportion.” Some would argue that this is something that only a designer should worry about, and it’s not a real fit issue. I would like to posit that proportion depends on the shape and height of each individual wearer, therefore it is definitely a fit issue. The size and shape of style elements greatly affect how a garment looks on you, and how you feel wearing it. (And can be a huge reason people feel like they need to tell you if something is flattering—whether or not they know how to identify it).
Proportion is a big deal when it not only when it comes to design and style, but to your personal fit. Oftentimes, if you see something you don’t like visually, but can’t identify any of the usual culprits (shade, texture, draglines), it could be the proportion that you don’t like. OF COURSE you shouldn’t mess around with proportion only to make things more “flattering” or to please others—but this is a tool (akin to identifying your color palette) that can help make you feel happy with the visual appeal of your end garment.
Which brings me to: a short list of some of my favorite people who are always playing around with design and proportion! These people, brands, and blogs serve lewks on the regular, and also have important messages and points of view that aren’t defined by someone’s well-meaning Aunt telling you you need to show off your décolletage. Whenever I’m feeling stymied by a project for whatever reason, it definitely helps me to look at the awesome things other people are up to, and let those shake up my thoughts. I love seeing all kinds of different design perspectives, proportion and color play, and innovative silhouettes. A full bust adjustment will always be only a full bust adjustment, but sometimes a dash of flare is what’s needed to really elevate a garment and make you excited to wear it. Check out the gallery below for fabulous fashions and people who wear what they want, when they want to, regardless of if they’re “supposed” to, or not.
Please note that the below list is not an official Sewcialists endorsement of any of the below designers/businesses/people—this is simply a sampling of my own personal inspiration feed 🙂
How about you, dear readers? What makes you feel the most confident in your clothes? Who do you follow for style inspo? What tricks do you use when you are stuck on a style?
How to submit:
Send an explanation of your problem with a short video or set of photos, and your contact information. This can be purely for fit advice, sewing and technique questions, or really, any kind of sewing etiquette! Your submission will be edited into a blog post, so please note that by sending an email, you are granting permission for your video/photos and sewing problem to be shared online. You are helping the community see all-bodied individuals! There is no shame or judgment — the end goal is to help you make clothing that feels great and that helps you feel the same way while wearing it.
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Gabby is a technical fashion designer, fit specialist, and prolific googler. She lives in Denver, raises tiny littles, reads, embroiders, makes, experiments, fails, learns, tries again. See her on instagram @ladygrift.
I felt happy after reading this post and admiring the photographs. Thank You!
🙂 excellent, thanks so much for reading!
Nice. Well said. Helpful in so many ways.
Thank you, and thanks for reading! 🙂
Those resources are AWESOME! I’d only heard of a couple before, now I have a ton of inspiration to flip through!
Oh good I’m glad! Yeah I love all of these, I feel like I get major heart-eyes when I look through their accounts 😍😂
Thank you!!!! As one of the CSC editors, I have to do a side-eye and hold back the snark any time someone offers a “helpful suggestion” on one of our blog posts as to what would make someone’s make more “flattering”. (And I swear that we’ve been seeing an uptick in these comments lately.) Like, what part of “this is a body-positive blog” do these people not understand?!???
Totally! Thanks for reading 🙂 that stuff just drives me up the wall. Like, if I ask for tips on how to make my legs look longer, sure. But unsolicited commentary about physical appearances? Ugh!
What on earth is wrong with people!?!? Who thinks it’s okay to say that to someone?!
I’ve never liked the word “flattering” and you’re right – it’s lazy. It’s often a lazy attempt to soften judgmental and/or rude comments. You know what else I’ve noticed a lot of lately on my own posts? I am discussing fit and, I’m not out here achieving perfect but I have a really good idea of how to fit my body. It is *inevitable* that I will list the adjustments I need to make (It’s a muslin people, I made it to figure out the adjustments I need!!!), and someone will suggest I go up a couple sizes. :eyeroll: Uhmm, no? My full, round butt doesn’t necessitate the extra leg width that larger sizes will provide; I just need a butt adjustment, sheesh. But it never fails. And I wonder, if I were a size 4 and posting if I’d get the same comments. My gut tells me no as smaller sewers who wear close fitting clothes NEVER get told they need to go up a size.
On proportion – totally agree as well. I still find myself hemming and hawing over something until I realize there’s some tweaks needed. I’m wearing a top today that’s from an awesome pattern and even more awesome fabric. Yet when I finished it I pulled it on and…meh. After trying it on the 3rd time I realized the problem! It needed to be shortened! So I chopped it off and re-hemmed it. LOVE!
Right?! It’s really stunning what people will say behind the safety of internet anonymity. And sometimes even in person. Anyway, I think that’s an excellent point, and I am curious too, regarding the smaller sizes and getting callouts about being too tight. I suspect you are right, and that must be so frustrating getting those comments. And! That’s awesome. So glad you figured it out and rescued your top! I think it’s so important to think about that stuff when fitting 🙂
I am sure that size has something to do with it. Before I had my breast reduction last year, I used to get all kinds of unsolicited comments suggesting that I’d need an FBA or a larger FBA, even if I’d already done a fairly sizable one (people just look at photos and don’t actually read text/descriptions a lot of the time). The less curvy and more opinionated folks out there don’t grasp that an FBA can only do so much and has its limits, size-wise–certain garment types made out of less drapey fabrics are ALWAYS going to have certain draglines when they’re on a very curvy body.
You are absolutely right! I wish more people understood the limitations of fabric and fit.
I really like the inspo links!
Flattering is such a gendered thing too – it’s taking me a while to figure out what works for me in terms of feeling good, and it’s not a defined waist or a breast-oriented neckline. I don’t want that silhouette, even if it gets compliments and looks put-together easily because it’s what’s expected! I am tall and am going to take advantage to crop, widen, flare…things that can be interesting in composition without only having that one goal. Proportion offers much more fun when it’s not only defined by looking thinner or more feminine, or at least, when it’s not limited to that unless you want it.
🙌glad you like! And yes- I love outside-the-norm shapes, it makes everything so much more interesting. Can’t wait to see more of your stuff and how you work those proportions in 🙂
Gabby, you light my fire.
Ha! 😘 right back atcha