Reflecting on Tim Gunn’s article for the Washington Post: “Designers refuse to make clothes to fit American women. It’s a disgrace.” First off cheers to Tim Gunn for his articulate confrontation on the willfully ignorant fashion industry’s stance on the inclusion of plus size bodies in fashion. I particularly like this statement from Gunn referencing plus size women:
“But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.”
Then, oh Lord, Gunn let us know his stance on crop-tops and pastels:
“I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal panties; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout ‘prom.’”
This quote was in reference to Project Runway Season 14 winner Ashley Nell Tipton’s designs for plus size ladies. I did not see that season, so I’m not going to remark on that or Tipton’s designs specifically. I am sharing my thoughts on that statement in reference to what I wear. This may be a departure of the original conversation because he asserted that Tipton won based on tokenism and I cannot remark on that based on my limited knowledge.
I must say, I enjoy and adore Tim Gunn’s salty personality. I was not offended by Gunn’s opinion, in fact his personality and opinions remind me of some of my closest friends. I, however, embrace most of his don’ts. Though Tim Gunn began his career at Parsons School of Design nearly 35 years ago in 1982, he was never a chubby curvy woman like me (I can picture him rolling his eyes at the obviousness of this assertion!). Gunn hasn’t been forced to be creative about his clothes due to financial reasons or because of his size. I think many of us, plus-size feminine people, appreciate the aesthetics he admonishes (bare midriffs, skirts over crinoline, pastels, and large-scale floral embellishments) because up until recently we pretty much only had overpriced bedazzled jeans and frumpy Looney Tunes t-shirts to choose from (not that there is anything wrong with that ;)). Options were extremely limited, especially at a low price-point. In college if I would have worn off-the-rack clothing at a department store, I would have had to take out a credit card to feel like a frumpy sack of shit. Don’t worry, I didn’t. I had to get creative and embrace the fact that I just didn’t have the option to participate in the fast-fashion industry that many of peers were wearing. Thus, I wound up engaging in so many fashion don’ts. I sausaged into too small clothing sizes, I shopped thrift stores primarily (this I had done since a child for financial reasons), I accessorized with the men’s department (belts!), and learned to sew. Through necessity, my aesthetic lens was acquired.
I am hardly saying my style is novel or even anything to strive for. I am merely sharing my perspective. Below are some photos of me where I clearly made the plus size girl faux pas which is explicitly written about in the referenced article. I invite you to share how you also embrace these faux pas by hashtagging #GunnedIt on social media! This is all in good fun, as I’m still a Tim Gunn fan.
Let it be known I am raising my dog daughter, Frannie, to also embrace the gingerbread trim aesthetic!
In conclusion, make it work, bitches!