I’ve been thinking about Kate Davies’ blog post a question of proportion ever since she published it in July. She talks about how her disability and her feelings about it have effected what she wears. And this week’s topic for Slow Fashion October is What’s Your Look. So I want to respond to all of that and talk about dressing like me.
Last December I began wearing a medical device on my stomach that I prefer to conceal. Additionally, I’ve gained weight over the past year. The combination led to a body that I didn’t know how to dress.
I started with the most vital – clothing that accommodated my new medical device. It needed to have a rise up to my belly button so the whole thing was covered. Patterns and tighter fits provided the best camouflage.
A wide variety of influences led to my selection of tops. In Shrill Lindy West talks about looking at larger bodies helping her to find them beautiful. And as a chronic cancer patient, the rules about what certain bodies and ages should wear don’t seem deserving my attention. I dove into a new wave of inspiration and experimentation, nothing was off-limits.
And this is the silhouette I love – slim fit high-waisted pants with a cropped top. My belly is bigger and home to some of the most intimate parts of my illness, yet I feel like I have found my style in baring it. I feel cool and sexy and comfortable in my skin.
Every October Karen over at Fringe Association starts a conversation about Slow Fashion. Just like slow food is meant to represent making a choice other than fast food, slow fashion is making a choice other than fast fashion. Here’s her post covering this year’s master plan. Lots of the conversation is happening on Instagram and I posted an intro there last week, but I feel like I have more I want to say than will fit in that format, so I’m continuing my thoughts here.
Slow fashion is a really good match for my interests and the way I approach the world. I have never been interested in collecting clothing, I like to have just enough to serve the purpose of clothing myself. I love knitting, but can’t stand to make something that is going to end up sitting on a shelf. One of the things that has really transformed my making in the past few years was making the decision to treat my wardrobe as a project worthy of care and planning. I know what I like to wear, and spend my time making those things.
Concurrently with this revolution in my crafting, I have been fighting cancer. It has been humbling to no longer be healthy and able-bodied, and I have realized how much of a privilege it is to make your own clothes. Slow fashion isn’t a choice available to everyone, it takes ability and time and money to participate.
Last year I was angry during Slow Fashion October. Every post celebrating someone’s success felt like it ignored my struggles. This year I have a different perspective. Everyone has a reason that it is hard to choose slow fashion, and that’s why we’re talking about it. The pride of a handmade garment is well-earned and it is valuable to talk about how you pulled it off. There’s room for that and a frank discussion of the hard parts.