Continuing the “we here at major women’s fashion magazines care about fat people and their happiness!” trend, Marie Claire, major women’s fashion magazine, has started a once-a-month column by Ashley Falcon, Plus-Size Stylist. Hooray! Quick, do not notice that her columns appear next to their regular “From Fat to Fit” series. Or maybe that’s just part of the beauty of size diversity? Some people want to go from fat to fit and we shouldn’t judge! Except for how “fat” is not the opposite of “fit” but OMG LOOK IT’S A PLUS SIZE STYLIST AND HERE’S A PONY!
Anyway, Ashley Falcon, Plus-Size Stylist, is adorable. She has beautiful hair and great style and she reminds me a little bit of my friend Trish, so I’m inclined to be fond of her right off the bat. Plus she wants to “feel comfortable, sexy, and confident,” and that’s awesome, right?
I’m the most stylish among my friends. Growing up in Miami’s tight-knit Cuban community, I was the girl everyone sought out for fashion advice, the one who transformed boring outfits into head-turning looks with the flick of a collar or the cinch of a belt. Of course, it surprised no one that I decided to pursue a career as a fashion stylist—though at 5’2″ and 220 pounds, I’d need an elaborate pulley system and a can of Crisco to shimmy into the clothes I dress models in. Instead, I’m relegated to the plus-size racks, where trendy usually translates into “when’s your due date” empire waists and cinch-sack drawstrings. It’s not easy being chic, but it’s an epic struggle when you’re a big girl.
She’s fashionable and she works it! Except she keeps saying things like that bit about how she would need Crisco to fit into designer clothes, and how most of those things wouldn’t fit over her thighs, and that was kind of funny, I guess (she’s reclaiming the cliche, right? right?) but then she talks about needing to “camouflage” her weight, and needing “slimming” jeans and having to” squeeze” into them in the dressing room. A big girl wearing ill-fitting clothes is “tragic”–more tragic than a smaller-size girl, of course.
And it’s all too familiar. It’s the stereotypical self-flagellating fat girl language, complete with unflattering verbs to describe a fat girl getting into clothes, and it’s killing me. It’s like Marie Clare is crushing her soul. It’s like getting a piece of delicious pie and digging in and finding out the blueberries have been cunningly fashioned of wax.
My knee-jerk impression, which may not be fair, is that working in the fashion industry is bound to have rubbed off on her attitude, her self-esteem, her language in subtle, and therefore even more harmful ways that she probably has not even noticed. Or maybe some editor at the magazine toned down the yay, fat girls talk and bumped up the “squeezing” talk–not that that would ever happen, right Conde Nast?
I don’t know. I love her railing against clothing manufacturers, I love that she advocates saying bite me, fashion world, I am going to be stylish no matter what you tell me I can and can’t have in my size, but I keep getting this taste in my mouth that is a little bit sadness and a little bit irritation and generally just bad.
Her first column is here, her second here, and her slideshows–jeans and day to evening wear–are here and here. What do you guys think of adorable Ashley, her clothes, her column? Am I being too sensitive? Should I just be happy there’s a plus-size stylist with a national platform? What do you think?
Posted by jenfu