By now pretty much no one (except our adopted uncle John Waters) observes the old “don’t wear white after Labor Day” rule—we know it’s outdated and silly. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of “don’t wear horizontal stripes if you’re fat” and other rules that imply our only goal when getting dressed is to look 10 pounds thinner. Body-shaming under the guise of fashion advice is gross, and it’s so ingrained in our culture that you can miss it if you’re not paying attention. Bigger girls are conditioned to wear A-line skirts, “slimming prints,” boot-cut jeans—and god forbid we don’t belt every dress we try on. Look, I get it: certain colors and cuts can enhance your favorite features and draw attention away from the parts that you don’t want people staring at. But I think we need a real change in the way we talk about fashion for plus-size women. Fashion should be fun, not limiting. Stripes, miniskirts, body-con dresses—none of these should be forbidden just because of our body types.
The same goes for wearing white. Fat girls are told over and over that we should avoid light colors at all costs, and white is the ULTIMATE light color, but you know what? FAT GIRLS LOOK AWESOME IN WHITE, and I don’t just mean gauzy cover-ups on the beach. I propose that we should all be the iciest ice queens ever this winter and give society a big FU by wearing head-to-toe wintery white. Since this is my first article on Rookie, I should probably pause here to note that I am not using the word fat in a negative way. As a fat girl, I think of the word as an accurate description of my awesome body.
If you’re still not convinced, allow these two flawless creatures to change your mind:
Cass Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas is legendary for her gorgeous voice, but the fact that she was so stylish at her size in the 1960s—when Twiggy was all the rage—is also a huge freaking deal. And she wore white all the time—onstage, on TV, on album covers. Does she look skinny? Nope. Does she look awesome? Yep. The same goes for singer Beth Ditto (all-around fatshion hero). She is workin’ it in that ruched number. Given that Beth has posed nude multiple times and has been known to wear little more than a bra on stage, I will bet you my entire bank account (which is, like, maybe enough to buy something at the vending machine) that the ruching wasn’t some stylist’s executive decision to conceal her rolls. She probably just liked the dress, so she wore it! That’s the way it should be.
I have nothing really to add here, but I wanted an excuse to gush about Cee Lo. I mean, the dude is so outrageous, how can you not love him? And he wears white all the time—even his cat is fat and white.
I have two favorite ways to rock winter whites. The first is by going full-on glam. The goddess Liz Taylor will forever be known for this look, and rightfully so. She looked seriously stunning in it at every age and size, and her over-the-top style inspires me to hold nothing back.
Getting this look right comes down to finding luxe fabrics (or ones that look the part), like silk, satin, and most important, fur. (If you’re like me and not into the real deal, fake fur is just as glam.) The peplum faux-fur coat above is absolute perfection: a totally modern way to bring a little Liz into your life. And if you do want a more traditional fur coat, but you don’t want to buy new for financial and/or ethical reasons, eBay has tons. Finally, if you’re gonna do this, you might as well go big, baby. Take things to another level by adding a little bling and some red lipstick—the contrast against the white is MAJ (I adore Make Up For Ever’s Rouge Artist Intense collection).
I know dripping in diamonds isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, nor is it really doable on a daily basis, so let’s move on to my personal favorite winter-white style: heavy knits. White knits, especially when mixed with other heavy fabrics like wool, are super chic in the cold-weather months.
The best part is that you can play it two ways! You can go comfy, yet still look put-together, by wearing slouchy knit sweaters and dresses. This cable-knit sweater dress from Macy’s is approps for a party or a family gathering, but it also looks super comfy to just curl up in and watch TV. Or you can go sleek, with a tailored sweater/trouser combo or even a full-on pantsuit. These Talbots trousers are amazing—that front crease instantly makes you look sophisticated. Personally, I like wearing barely-there makeup with relaxed looks like this, but do whatever the hell you want, you know? That’s the whole point.
Finally, don’t be afraid to mix whites. I consciously try to mix ’em, because it creates a little dimension. Creams, eggshells, ivories—they all look great together, especially when layering.
I can’t promise that wearing a white fur coat or a big white sweater won’t make you appear larger. In fact, it most likely will. But looking thinner doesn’t have to be your end goal when it comes to fashion—try looking and feeling awesome instead! Be brave, be confident, and wear white whenever the hell you feel like it (except maybe not during your period—I speak from experience). ♦