Most of us have at least a few fashion hangups based on supposed rules (that are complete BS, by the way) for how to dress for our body type, and a pretty stringent sense of what is and isn't flattering on it. Body-positive clothing brand SmartGlamour has a new project (and hashtag), #ImFlattered, that aims to reclaim the word "flattering." The brand's designer, Mallorie Dunn, asked NYC-area women with all sorts of body types (the line comes in sizes XXS to 6X) and backgrounds to share what they've been told is unflattering. The misguided bits of advice include, "Put the girls away," and, "Hide your arms; they're a problem." These women then were photographed in SmartGlamour pieces from past seasons. The objective? Eschewing the sort of body-shaming rhetoric that unfortunately comprises most of the fashion advice we've likely all gotten (and given, even if with the best intentions).
Dunn decided to have these women photographed holding signs featuring the limiting, confidence-squelching pieces of fashion advice — fashion warnings, really — as well as signs scrawled with the hashtag "ImFlattered." "The definition of 'flattering' is 'pleasing and gratifying,' but if you google 'flattering clothing,' you get tons of listicles on 'how to dress flattering,' which means, 'how to look smaller,'" Dunn told Refinery29. "Women can take up any and all space that their bodies inhabit. We do not have to be small." Dunn hopes this campaign reminds women we're "the ones in control of [our] presentation, clothing, and bodies."
Dunn's project reminds us of Amazon Fashion Europe's "I Wish I Could Wear" campaign, which debuted in November and also showed women sharing and subsequently taking ownership of their style phobias. But hey, the more brands or retailers dispensing this type of body-empowering messaging, the better, right?
The most common fashion neuroses among these women involved "being too large, having too much of a belly, or having large arms," according to Dunn. She particularly wanted to feature plus-size women as well as women of color, with the same rationale for both: "They need more mainstream representation." Trying to shop for, or wear, solely flattering clothes kind of sucks — it limits what you'll dare to bring into the dressing room, and even more what actually makes it home from a shopping trip. Plus, it's boring. On that note, we're off to buy all the cap sleeves, crop tops, hip-hugging pencil skirts, and things that aren't inherently "slimming" (a.k.a., not black) that we've been depriving ourselves of all these years.