Saturday, June 18, 2011

Body Image and Fashion Blogging

When Gala Darling called out on twitter for contributions to her Body Image and Fashion Blogging article to be featured on her blog I put my hand up right away as there were a few things I wanted to address. You can read what I had to say below and head over to Gala Darling to read Gala and other blogger's thoughts on the issue in part one and part two of the great initiative to get some dialogue going on what we are all thinking.

Here is a photo I was too scared to blog because it shows my double chin...well that and its off centre as my mum took it, thanks mum! x
“Body diversity in fashion blogging is out there, if you know how to look for it. In fact there is a whole world of plus size “fatshion” bloggers getting together, having blog conferences and getting sponsorship from brands and designers just like you all in the “straight” sized blogging world do (straight sized is the respected term within the fatshion blogging world for, for want of a better word, normal sized people). The reason you straight sized bloggers aren’t aware of it is because you don’t have to know about it, if you know what I mean. If your a size 8 then you probably have never heard of Evans, Monif C, City Chic, Torrid or even clicked over to ASOS Curve, all of which are leading Plus Size brands around the world. Because your not googling those words you don’t see the terrific blogs out there in the fatshion world, blogs like Young Fat & Fabulous, Fat Aus, Pocket Rocket, Fatshionable, Nicolette Mason, Musings of a fatshionista, Le blog de Big Beauty and many many more.

For me as a blogger I sit between the two worlds. I am what the plus size fashion world calls an “inbetweener”, I can wear straight sized clothing from designers and regular chain stores but can also shop at plus size stores too. So I see both sides of the blogging world, and that’s the thing, there are sides and I do feel my blog, or any other plus size blog could never reach the heights of Rumi or Jane blogs, I mean Chanel won’t be inviting me to no ball any time soon. In terms of my blog and sponsorship I am lucky that in Australia I have been accepted by the mainstream blog-osphere and as such have worked with top chain store Sportsgirl (An Aussie version of Topshop if you will), helped Target launch their recent Stella McCartney line and been featured in many top magazines (Cleo, Shop Til You Drop etc) but I do also know I have missed out on opportunities offered to others because of my size. Some brands just can’t see through the fat, so to speak, and decide to spend/send their promotional dollars/products elsewhere, even though my readership may be larger than the blogger who they finally choose. Its about branding, and if a brand, which is used to size 8 models isn’t prepared to get in on what makes fashion blogging special, which is seeing a real person talk about and wear the clothes that they make and are promoting than that’s their loss really. On the flip side my size has given me opportunities that I would have otherwise missed out on. For the past year and a half I have been blogging for Australia’s leading plus size retailer, City Chic, and essentially I get free reign on all product in stores (fun!) and last year they sent me over to New York for a plus sized blogger conference, which was more fun and inspiring than I could have ever imagined (more on that later).

I find when I talk to my straight sized fashion blogger friends they start to feel uncomfortable at the words we use within the fatshion blogging community, words like Fat & Fatshion, they are more comfortable with nice sounding words like curvy, whilst we are trying to reclaim the word fat from its negative connotations to become a positive body acceptance word. Lets not dress up what it is and speak the truth, because with the truth comes acceptance. On the other hand I can see that the language used within the plus sized fashion blog-osphere can be a little daunting for those not aware of the fat positive message that is being discussed, without intending to it can exclude others from the conversation. It can get very heated and political as the fatshion world is not always just about pretty clothing, its about changing attitudes and society to be more accepting of fat, which is pretty hard considering the media’s current portrayal of fat people.

There are people on both sides of the blogging divide who are negative about others bodies, yes on the plus size side you can get chided for losing weight, the opposite of what would happen in the straight sized fashion world. I just try to avoid the negativity and look at the positives. I love the strength of the community within the plus size fashion blogging world. Last year when Gabi, from Young Fat & Fabulous organised the YFF conference in New York for plus size bloggers andbrands I got to meet with some of my most admired and respected bloggers in the world whilst also meeting with buyers, designers and CEO’s of the worlds leading plus size brands. The highlight was meeting Gabi herself, a powerhouse in the plus size fashion blogging world akin to the likes of Rumi with her god like status amongst us mere mortals, Gabi has been a leader in the plus size blogging world, one of the first to really embrace her curves and make others have the confidence to do the same.

My personal struggle with self acceptance is all over my blog, especially in the early years (I’ve been blogging for five years now). Of course I still have days when I wish I was thinner, but not as many as I used to. One of my most popular ever posts was this one (and Gala you actually linked to it) where I discussed ways to dress for curves, which I now see as a self conscious way for me to address the fact that I felt alone at the time, like I was the only fat fashion blogger in the world. At that stage I used to get emails from people saying “I love that your a role model for us plus size girls” and it used to both annoy and frighten me, I thought my being plus sized was my little secret (Yes, secret! Even though I was posting images of myself all over the internet) and definitely didn’t want to be a role model for others, I mean how could I? I was still in the doubting myself and hating my body stage. That’s where the fatshion blogging community stepped in and showed me the way to self love and acceptance through seeing that I was in fact not alone, that there were other girls out there just like me, being fat and looking fabulous.

What it boils down to in the end though is the two blogging worlds are separate because the shops are separate. Well, that and a few other reasons, but hey, at least now you know we are out there, and we rock!”
What are your thoughts on body image in the blog-osphere? xoxo


  1. Well, I don't even know how to address this issue, it sort of freaks me out because it feels like the way I see the world is so different to the way the rest of the world sees it. I think it's a bit of a generational shift thing too, as young girls often seem to think of me as a "plus size" blogger because I'm around an AUS size 8-10, and even when I'm thin I don't have the Rumi type body. I don't really give a shit about body shape or size in other bloggers though, I like to be entertained and amused, find out interesting things and sticky beak into other people's lives - body shape or size has no bearing on that stuff whatsoever. I style blog because I like to look at style blogs myself - I enjoy checking out people's outfits because clothing and fashion choices tell us so much about people and our culture - I guess, so the fashion modelly kinds of style blogs are dull to me aside from in a meta kind of way. So I do read blogs from both "sides" even though I don't really identify with either particularly. Then again I'm an old bag too, and finding it hard to find a niche for myself in the blogging world from that perspective.

    If being super skinny is the way to super stardom in the style blogging world, then being really into cooking, owls, and gardening and hermes scarves seems to be the way to super stardom in the old lady blog world. That and complaining about your children!

  2. Interesting stuff. I usually just read plus size bloggers because I can relate more to what they are posting and want to find out about what's on offer but it comes down to the styling. If the looks are fun and different, I'll keep reading.

    I think the I love colors blog is great because it features both straight and plus sizes. Usually if I find new blogs to read, it's through them.

    Btw I never noticed your double chin in the photo until I read the text under it. I think we all hone in our "bad" spots when we look at photos of ourselves and miss the good.

  3. I'm new to your site, I followed you from another fashion blogger, but I wanted to say, we (in a perfect) should accept people based on their morals and values, of course I don't think promoting fat is good as it's not healthy to promote the sickly thin either.

    In terms of health alone, if we as women are within our BMI which gives us a fair window (for example: I'm within my range if I stay between 120 and 138) so I have 18 pounds to work with and still be healthy. If you are a size 12 and within your BMI and healthy, who cares what other people think, right?

  4. Hi Hayley, while I am not strictly a fashion blogger, or fat, I am aware of body image issues and disability. I am so confident with my looks, despite my skin condition (severe red skin) and not shy to post pics of myself on my blog. In fact I believe it sets a great example of diversity, positive body image, and just getting on with life. I get so much good support for my photos and blogs re my disability.

    I adore fashion and love to dress well. A friend asked why I am so into fashion when I dont want people staring at my skin. Simple. Dressing well makes me feel good, and messes with some of the expectations people have of those with a disability. I take pride in myself, and love how I look. Thanks for this post, I may expand on my blog :)


  5. I think about this too. My blog seems to also lie between the two worlds. While I am a size 26 and occasionally post about fashion, Jessica from Fatshion Chic lists me in her non-fatshion blogroll with a straight sized girl. I blog about body acceptance (body image q&a: and use the words fat and fat positive. I honestly do worry that this will keep me from gaining more readership but then I quickly remember that I am being myself and that if the mainstream blogger world can't accept it then it isn't what I want. I like to think that I am representing the fat blogger world to a group of people that would not normally know about it, and am slowly making my way in. I have been lucky to not get any negative comments too even though I am pretty sure that I am the only plus sized crafty blogger that isn't on a diet. So I totally understand what you are talking about here. I have had to make a conscience effort to be myself and not succumb to the pressure of being popular or fake. And I have only been met with respect and admiration from the straight size world. I encourage you to do the same because I love your blog and I think there is a place for us inbetweeners.

  6. Firstly, there's nothing wrong with the picture, I think you look very pretty in it!
    I know what you mean about trying to reclaim the word fat and turn it into a normal, positive word-one of my friends recently referred to herself as fat and everyone else went all into a fluster, saying things like 'oh you're not fat, you're just...not thin...curvy?' which is annoying because thin people can be curvy too, dammit!
    I can't wait for the day when people stop paying so much attention to size and shape and pay more attention to individuality and personality!
    I think I rambled a bit there, but anyway-great article!

  7. I just started reading your blog and I can't stop. I love your take on fashion and being fatshionable. I think body image is something a lot of fashion bloggers tackle and it was one of the first things I wanted to write about:
    I had never thought about why I don't feel like posting my day to day outfits, but I definitely think I feel like I will be judged.

  8. You look great b/c you are comfortable with yourself and you have STYLE! I really think anyone any size can look FABULOUS with confidence and effort and personality! I'm so happy that you share all your outfits and looks with the world I want to see all kinds of women being themselves and having a good time about it!

  9. Also an "in-betweener". I wear the smaller sizes at plus size shops, and the larger sizes at most straight size shops.

    I agree with GothBarbie, anyone at any size can look fabulous with confidence, effort, and personality. Unfortunately, that's not what mainstream media tells people. I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone say "Ill do/wear/experience X once I've lost weight". You can't wait to live while you lose weight, what happens to the folks that don't make their goals? So sad!

  10. Hayley, you are looking so cute in your photo. I think every plus size woman has more beauty than others. As a plus size teen Torrid is my favorite store but only issue, they are expensive. I've found a solution "Torrid Coupon Codes" if you use coupons at checkout you can get discount at your favorite Plus size store.


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