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Why "dressing to flatter your body" is a load of bollocks

I "shouldn't" wear strapless dresses. And I don't, really. Years of 'Dressing for YOUR Shape' features in women's mags and feeling uncomfortable at school dances and well-meaning but ultimately, if we're honest, pretty bitchy comments from shop assistants, friends, relatives, and myself have pretty much turned me off the whole idea.

Through years of trial and error, foiled online shopping attempts and What Not To Wear marathons, I have learned that a woman of my height (5'6) and size (UK12) should not, nay, cannot wear the following: wide-legged trousers, strapless anything, drop-waist dresses, smock dresses, flapper dresses or unstructured dresses, generally. Why? It's not flattering. Oh, no. No. HONEY. You don't want to wear that. You're a pear, you know. Surely there's something more FLATTERING we can find. 

But what IS flattering? And why is it so tantamount that all your clothing be it? I think we all know the answer to that, and for those of us not currently writing this article (i.e. everyone else) I will answer on your behalf: "Flattering means THIN, doy-oy-oy. It means ideal. The mainstream ideal, which, come on, this is not a school project on How The Media Works, we all know where that comes from and how damaging, difficult-to-obtain and unreasonably narrow-minded (pun firmly intended) it is. That is why all women know what fruit their body is shaped like."

Jeeze, bit long-winded, aren't you? But we are all correct: when people suggest to you that you find clothing that is more flattering, they are asking you to hide the shape, size, texture, whatever that your body actually is. To make it more proportionate, to take up less space or appear to do so. Women with small breasts couldn't possibly just be like "Yep. That's them." They have to 'balance out' a 'flat chest' with a 'gathered front cami.' Shaped like a strawberry? (Lots of shoulders, I think?) Better get an interesting belt. You know, to distract from the whole 'having shoulders' thing. Have a big butt and feeling cool about it? ABSOLUTELY NOT, put on a boot cut jean. Never mind that boot cut jeans say "2000" louder and harder than a personified peasant blouse wearing a bucket hat dancing to "Will2K." Never mind that the "skinny" in skinny jeans refers to the CUT OF THE DAMN PANTS and are not an aggressive dicta as to the types of legs that can go in them. Hush your mouth and put on these "curvy fit" jeans, you apple bottomed betch. Sort your body out.

Any "wisdom" suggesting that there are certain ways your body can and can't be dressed operates under the assumption that when you get dressed in the morning your main objective as a female person is to look good, and further assumes that to look good you should look as skinny and mainstream-attractive as possible.

ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz...

Look, there's nothing wrong with dressing in a way that highlights body parts you feel good about and brushes over things you're less into (bless you, shirtwaist dresses). There's also nothing wrong with wearing whatever you damn want. Or dressing for functionality instead of an item's potential ability to make it look like you've dropped a few pounds. As the trend landscape makes it increasingly difficult to find clothes that are 'flattering,' I would like to suggest an abandonment of the concept. See a rad dress? Put it on your body. Always dreamed of wearing chunky platforms but held back because of your chunky ankles? Add a chunky anklet and stomp the yard rocking TRIPLE CHUNKS. Worried you're too 'boyish' already to rock an androgynous look? Put on a loose sweatshirt and some running shoes and some giant freaking fake eyelashes and lipstick because who cares, you're a girl, check it out. I don't care what Stacey and Clinton have to say about it, I am not spending the rest of my life imprisoned in a wrap dress.

You don't have to 'make your shape work for you.' Your shape is working fine. Everyone's is and you can't compare how 'well' an item of clothing fits a busty size 6 vs a short size 12 vs a leggy 20 because they're completely different things. It's like... well, it's like apples and oranges.