Lately I’m all about the slouchy, comfy, anti-fit. It would be easy to say its due to my hectic toddler life, or post-partum body issues, but since neither is really a fact or even a thing, I can’t.
It’s mainly just an aesthetic choice, but handily, also a feminist one: if bodycon is about showing off your shape to induce envy and enjoyment, anti-fit fashion is giving zero fucks about everybody else’s opinion. It’s opting out of the male-gaze mentality that has seeped into our subconscious. It’s wearing what feels good and fits your life, and I love that so much I almost want to print it on a(n oversized) t-shirt.
Bloggers have talked quite a lot in the last few years about ‘uniforms’ – the radical notion of wearing the stuff that works for you every day. I think in the end we all invariably do this anyway, except most of us keep enough other stuff hanging in our wardrobe to kid ourselves that we’re far more varied and fascinating than we actually are.
My life is thankfully slower and less varied since I quit my job, and now my clothing gets to match: hareem pants, skinny jeans, long drapey tees, leggings and dresses. Grey, black, white, nude. Rinse and repeat. Occasionally get fancy with some spangly shoes.
It’s taken me 31 years, but I think I finally know how to dress for myself. I don’t care if it doesn’t impress anyone, or show how tiny my waist is, or elicit sexually offensive comments from men outside takeaways (be still my beating heart). Actually, I kind of like that it doesn’t.
Still, it’s easy to be drawn in. Trying on two prospective dresses in front of R – one a shapeless smock, the other a fitted skater, we both immediately agreed that the latter looked better on me. That feels like a fact, but only because we’re conditioned to seek certain shapes when appraising female figures. This pressure does not exist for men, and in other cultures it’s different for women too.
Of course, it’s impossible to be truly silent in the language of fashion. A secret code shared by all Topshop-literate women, we read an outfit like the words emblazened on a billboard – instantly and without intention. So to other women, a minimalist, anti-fit outfit does still talk, but I like to think it says, ‘oh hi, I have excellent self esteem today! The coffee here is great by the way, and aren’t these all nice shades of grey? Not like the book though, obviously. Grim.‘
To further my commitment to fuck-free-fashion, for the first time in a long time, I’m going fringe-free. It was growing out anyway, and eff it all, I can’t be arsed with four cans of dry shampoo just to keep it looking clean til lunchtime. Yes, my forehead is on the large side – that’s probably because my brain is too, and if you’d like to talk about it I will happily eviscerate you in argument to prove my point. Not you, dear reader, but imagined insulter in coffee shop who – let’s be honest – will probably never exist, & if he did would be unlikely to notice me in my denim muumuu and clogs anyway.
Twenty years of makeup-application and hair-curling and thousands of pounds worth of disappointing disposable beauty products, all down the drain in order to feel publicly acceptable. It bores me now. I’ve got too much to do.
I still dress up, of course, and still try to pull pretty out of the bag when it suits, but it feels more like a choice these days. Slouch over ouch. Stretch before fetch? Hmm. This part needs work, but it’s definitely true.