The Plaid Dress

A few weeks ago, on a whim while shopping at a big box store, I bought a dress in a size 16/18 without trying it on because:
a) I thought it was cute and actually kind of trendy (not that I'd necessarily know).
b) I wanted to see if I could fit into it, and figured if I didn't now, I would eventually.
c) It was on sale for $9. People.

And now I have the perfect opportunity to wear it, since we're heading into a sun-filled San Francisco park tomorrow for a birthday party.

Except I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it.

Here's the thing: the dress? It fits. It's a little tight around the boobs (whatever, this will be the case no matter what size I am, I know this from experience), but it's got buttons all the way down, so I can just undo the top ones and wear a tank top under it.

The dress is red plaid (on-trend, right? plaids?) and a-lined, and cinched at the waist, all of which is good for my figure.

But wearing a dress that fits is weird.

For one thing, for the last several years, I've tended to wear loose-fitting everything. Where's my waist? Who knows! (Having giant boobs has its advantages when trying to disguise where -- and how large -- one's waist actually is.)

For another thing, fashion for the plus-sized, as I've discussed 90 billion times, is not like fashion for the rest of the world. You have a handful of stores to choose from, and within them, your goal is to find the thing that will make you look the least heinous.

Plus-sized clothing is about hiding the bad more than it's about accentuating the good. Sad but true.

So but back to the point.  I have this dress. It's just a dress. Yes, it's large (I'm just not quite a 14 yet, bitches), but it's not a plus-size-specific design. It's just a large size of a dress that is made for "normal-sized" people. Which means it's not designed to hide my body, it's just designed to look like a dress. On any body.

And so, when I wear it, I look like my size. And that's kind of scary.

Is this making any sense?

Of course, I always look my size. I know I'm not fooling anyone by wearing "flattering" tent-like outfits. But the thing with the bigger clothes is that I'm just kind of hiding the goods altogether. When you can't see where my waist is, you know it's there, you know it's not small, but you don't quite know how not-small it is.

Whereas in this dress, you do. You see. Oh, her waist is THERE. And it's precisely THAT not-small.

So it's hard. The more weight I lose, the more likely I am to wear form-fitting-ish clothing. Which in some ways means that the more weight I lose the bigger I'm willing to look. (At least while I'm in transition.)

Please tell me I'm making some sense.

Wearing this red plaid dress means owning my curvy, bubbly, size 16-ish body. It means full-out acknowledging that I am the size that I am, in a way that hiding in bigger clothes doesn't.

The challenge is that I'm tired of hiding my body in bigger clothes -- I'm ready to reveal my thinner, healthier body. Except uh, I don't HAVE my thinner, healthier body yet. I'm still working on it.

So this stupid dress is like, an emblem of how far I've come and of how far I still have to go. I want to wear it because of the former; I'm afraid to wear it because of the latter.

Weight loss is so much fun.

By the way, I'm down over 30 pounds now(!), thanks to Medifast, who is awesomely sponsoring me. As a reminder, you can get $50 off an order of $275 by using the code SHEWALKS...but the code expires THIS MONDAY, May 31. 


  1. I am a big fatty and I wear dresses all the time. Woohoo! I love dresses - they are so comfy. At least the ones I wear to work. I almost feel guilty getting compliments on what are essentially long tshirts with some shaping.

    Also, shockingly, you tend to look smaller in clothes that are more fitted than in giant, oversized no shape clothing. Wear your dress and I'll bet you get a ton of compliments!

  2. oh kristy, 16 can be incredibly sexy. truly, it can be. and i know you can rock that dress.

    i need you to do me a favor, though. you love @ish. you trust him and you know that he loves you, right? try looking at yourself through his eyes. i bet he thinks you are gorgeous. perhaps you could rock that dress, head held high, because your incredible man finds you desirable. (now i am the one who has to ask if i am making sense, but i'm trying to say don't negate the fact that the man who you love & trust finds you beautiful and worthy of that dress and so much more.)

    wear it. own it. rock it.

    you are beautiful.

  3. own your curvy shape. the more you see how you really look, the more you'll love it.

    you DO have a healthier, thinner body. it's healthy to celebrate and appreciate what you've accomplished already, knowing how hard you've worked.

    and if you still feel the need to hide a little, you can always add a shrug or cardigan. might make you feel more comfortable.

    (my verification word: "blogotor!" sounds like a new kind of creature.)

  4. p.s. evilsciencechick is totally right in that form fitting clothing makes you look much smaller than tents. this size 20 girl should know!

  5. I have a wedding next month, and I went to try on a dress that was LOOSE pre-baby. I was sure it would fit. HA! Now it doesn't even fit over my boobs. Oh, I could probably squeeze them in, but the whole dress would be milk soaked by the end of the wedding. So... I'm headed shopping tomorrow and I was thinking of going the tent route. But then again, maybe not :)

  6. I find your self-awareness refreshing. I have no fashion sense and I'd prefer not to think about my clothes, ever. But I get self-conscious because I know that other people might notice. Are you at all worried that you'll wear your sexy new dress and no one will notice anything, bigger or smaller looking? Cause I'd be that clueless person. I had a friend who lost 100 pounds while we lived in different cities, and when I saw her again, I didn't notice until she told me. Then I felt really bad.

  7. Girrrl, wear it. I know how you feel, I rock shorts all the time and sure I have cellulite and thick thighs, but damnit I have long legs and love shorts so I wear them.

    It IS hard, but I think you will feel really good if you do it. I don't remember where I heard this, but I remember reading that even if you are a size you aren't comfortable with it is still important to dress in a way that makes you feel good.

  8. Heavier women (like me) need to wear clothes with more structure - that is, tailoring. Fitted clothes that are just sort of tight, but not constructed are horrible. But the big loose tents are almost as bad. Really, there are like a gazillion episodes of What Not To Wear that can give you examples. Your dress fits? Great - THAT's what you should be wearing. You'll look great.

  9. I know EXACTLY what you mean. But everyone is right. The loose, tenty clothes (which I've worn a lot of) only make you look bigger. A flattering form fitting dress will automatically make you look thinner, even if you hadn't lost any weight.

    Wear it. Be uncomfortable and wear it again. You just need to get used to being Ok in your clothes - your pretty clothes. And you will get used to it. And you will look fabulous!

  10. I just wrote a comment on your last post about how annoying unsolicited advice is, but my first thought after reading this was, "I hope she wears the dress!" I'm writing that instead of "Wear the dress!" Anyway, I think things that show what you have instead of "hiding the bad" always look better. That's been my fashion plan since I decided to accept that my waist measurement is what some people consider a hip measurement, and my hip measurement is what small children consider their height. I am curious to find out what you do!

  11. You make PERFECT sense.

  12. You need to leave the security of the tent-dresses.

    You've grown comfortable hiding under yards of flowing fabric - yeah, sure, no one can see precisely where your waist is, but (a) no one really is that worried about it but you, and (2) if they are, you can be sure the fat dresses make you look bigger than you really are - leaving it to the imagination, well, people do tend to assume the worst.

    Besides, when you feel prettier - stylish, trendy, whatever, you look better.

  13. you are amazing. Be proud. Your gonna be hot!

  14. Wear the damn dress.

    Here's the thing about the tent: It isn't hiding anything. In fact, it invites hypothesizing about what could be under there. Chances are at your current smaller size, the tent might cause people to believe you're bigger than you are.

    You've been working SO HARD for this waist, this size. So BE that size, and enjoy it. Progress not perfection...wearing something you might have worn even 1-2 sizes ago would be a slap in the face to all of that hard work. You'd be doing yourself a disservice, truly. The first person who needs to realize how far you've come and how great you look is you. Put on the dress and don't think about tomorrow. Have fun!

  15. Yes, yes, what they all said.

    And then take a picture for us cheerleaders to see.

  16. Everything that everyone has already said and also this...

    When you wear that dress, own it. You are such an amazing woman and you should be full of self-confidence because you are, in fact, so amazing. No matter your waist size, that self-confidence is beautiful...especially in that dress.

  17. Everyone has already said what I was going to say. I tend to hide in my clothes too. My size 18 body is not where I want to be. However, it's better than the size 22 body I was 2 months ago. I finally broke down and bought a couple of dresses too. I was self-conscious the first time I wore one. However, I go SO MANY compliments. Yes, people noticed that I actually had a waist, and it was a GOOD thing! No more clothes by Omar the Tent Maker for me!

    Wear that dress. Walk tall and proud with shoulders back and head held high. You've worked hard for it. Even though you're not to the size you eventually want to be, the size you currently are is an accomplishment. Flaunt it!

  18. Wear it, and rock it.

    I know you know all of the people who've said that fitted will make you look smaller than hiding in the tent dress are right. Intellectually, you know that.

    Feeling it is the harder part.

    But, you certainly won't feel it if you don't wear the dress.

    Maybe you could try on the dress and have Ish take a picture. Then try on your waist-hiding alternative, and have him snap a pic of that, too. Put them up side by side on your computer screen, and try to objectively analyze. Maybe crop out your head so it doesn't distract you. Look at the pics with the same scrutiny you would look at the before and afters on What Not To Wear.

    Imagine Stacy & Clinton in the room with you. You know what they'd say.

  19. Kristy, wear that dress and hold your head up. Be proud of your accomplishment! I know you still have a ways to go, but - - you have come so far already....ROCK IT, GIRL! :)

  20. I vote for wearing it and know exactly where you're coming from. The prior commenters are right that the big tenty things aren't helping you out either, and damn this size 14-16 knows that 16-18 is awesome, beautiful and sexy, plus: $9!

    Cheering you on from here!

  21. I also think larger women look waaay sexier in form fitting dresses than loose, baggy stuff. It's all about owning it, and when you own it, you look hot. That's just how it is.

  22. I totally know what you're saying; the more weight I gained the more loose I wanted my clothes. The same went for my overweight boss.... When she lost weight on the same diet you did she started wearing more form fitting clothes (when she went down only one size) and OMG she looked so much more tiny. When she was wearing the large shapeless clothes everyone (including me a fellow fatty) assumed she was much larger than she actually was. You are likely to be so overwhelmed with folks telling you that you look damned adorable that you'll barely be able to stand yourself. Wear the dress and learn to conqure those demons girl!

  23. Maybe the dress is the wrong shape for you. I'm not saying big and tenty is the right shape, but maybe you feel large in a more fitted dress because it is fitting you in the wrong spots for your figure type.

    youlookfab and inside out style are good sources for dressing for your shape.

  24. Did you wear it?

  25. So did you wear it? Can we see a picture of it (even without you in it)? You can't leave us hanging like this, Kristy!

  26. Just read your blog for the first time. You're hilarious. I hope you wore the dress - it sounded really cute and I have a feeling you really wanted to wear it!

    My husband and I moved to SF from Norwalk, CT in 2005. I work in SF and we own a business in Napa ( which he runs.

    We lived on the Westport border, in the area behind Pepperidge Farm Hdqts.

    We're a tad older than you. But it's a small world, huh!

  27. It makes perfect sense! And congrats on your weight-loss!! Thirty pounds is awesome!!

  28. I totally get it. Be comfortable where you're at. If it doesn't make you feel great, don't wear it. And trust me, as a recovering size 26, I get the whole plus-size-clothes issue.

    But you are gorgeous and your husband isn't just blowing smoke up your skirt when he tells you that.


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