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January 21, 2011 / Melissa Yuan-Innes

I speak fashion and you should, too

Our society expects you to wear clothes.  Why not wear ones that you enjoy?

Rant on

I don’t care if you weigh 200 pounds, fashion-wise (as a doctor, it’s different).  If you own your fat and you feel good about it and wear clothes that make you feel good, more power to you.

Why does the phrase “fashion police” exist?  Because people want to judge other people.  They do it through clothes.  They do it by critiquing bodies and dividing them into “good” and “bad.”


Yes, this pisses me off, but I’m trying not to swear because I write children’s books and other authors told me not to swear online (voluntary censorship).

Yes, I have body issues.  Often I hate that I weigh “too much” after having a baby, even though everyone else tells me how great I look.  Even though I realize that, when I’m thin enough for those jeans to fit [if there are any young’uns reading this, it was a MUCH bigger deal before they started making jeans more stretchy]…guess what?  I still wasn’t any happier or sadder.  Just, I had increased my fashion options by one pair of jeans and that was all right, but I still had the same life.

Sometimes I can offload it as someone else’s problem.  Like yesterday, at Jacob, the saleslady told me they’d sold out the medium obi belt and I could only have small or large.

Small, I said automatically.  I knew I was carrying baby weight, but I just wanted to see what the belt looked like on.

She helped me put it on, but then she said, “Ah, mais ca serait mieux si la ceinture etait plus large.  On ne peut pas travailler le materiel trop.”  She gestured helplessly.

I said, I don’t care, I just want to see what it looks like on.

Mais ca serait mieux si…[the ends were longer].”  I could tell she felt sorry for me because it didn’t fit.

I gestured at my 2-month-old and told her, Yes, it would fit better if I hadn’t just had a baby.  I just want to see what it looks like.  I marched to the mirror and noted that yes, the ends looked dumb too short, but the main problem that I am 5’2″ and with such a wide (tall) belt on, I looked like I’d been cut in half, had part of my torso removed, and then spliced back together.  You know, like a magician’s trick gone wrong.

At that moment, I didn’t care if she thought my body was wrong or if she just genuinely felt sad that they’d sold out my present size.  (Everything is 50% off right now.  OF COURSE they’d sold out the most common sizes.  That’s why, if you’re cheap, it’s better to deviate from the mean in size.  You can snag the sales and, if you’re small, you can shop in the children’s section, which is usually cheaper.  But anyway.)

I just didn’t buy the belt.  I didn’t want to buy it from there anyway.  I’d seen some on Etsy and wanted to know how it looked on.  Answer:  bad.  Solution:  save money so I can buy something that works for me.

So here I am, typing in my red princess open-toed heels, capri jeans, and pink tie-dyed long-sleeved shirt.  Why wear heels to write?

Well, why not?

My friend Bea, who speaks fashion too, gave me a silk sarong from Thailand and said she told a friend, “I’ll give this to Melissa.  She would wear it to the grocery store.”

“Thank you.  I will,” I said.  Why not?  It puzzles me why this same friend says for herself, no, I won’t buy it, I have nowhere to wear it.

Who made up these rules?

Why should we obey them?

@#YY$#@#$#$Y&&^&^%$%#$#$#$$#@#@#  the fashion Nazis!

Just go and have fun!

Rant off

P.S.  Had to take the heels off.  Even when writing sitting down, they get uncomfortable.  Dang.  Well, I’ll just treat them like art and admire them.

P.P.S.  I guess you shouldn’t try heels on with socks at 3:30 p.m. when your husband and baby both want to go home and pick up your son from school daycare, because the size 9’s are too big now.  Ah, well.

Final sale.  Lesson learned.



Leave a Comment
  1. cindie / Jan 21 2011 4:28 pm

    You crack me up! I have the opposite problem. I have clothes and shoes I like but I don’t wear even if I have somewhere appropriate to wear them. I have a sort of fashion phobia — tragically afraid of the fashion police and thus condemned to jeans and t-shirts (long sleeved in winter, short-sleeved in summer). While I am almost always comfortable, I’d still like to have the chutzpah to wear those awesome thigh-high black boots I bought last year. Or the antique pagoda-heeled shoes (the heels are wood, actually carved into pagodas) I bought some 15 years ago. Or, if nothing else, I’d like to stop buying these fabulous things and accept my tragic mediocrity.

    • melissayuaninnes / Jan 21 2011 7:15 pm

      This makes me so sad. It means you have the eye, you speak fashion, but you deprive yourself of the pleasure?


      I remember you mentioning boots you couldn’t wear.

      So let’s take baby steps (inadvertent pun).
      Dr. Fashion prescribes
      1. Take the pagoda shoes out of the closet
      2. Send picture to Melissa, because these shoes especially sound whacked out flipping smacking good, although I would also compare thigh high boots with you. I can send you my pics if that would help.
      3. Try shoes on
      4. Take shoes off
      5. Repeat 3 & 4 until you feel comfortable and it seems normal.
      6. Wear shoes outside in increasing perimeters until it seems normal.

      I’m doing this with the heels right now. I’m enjoying the added height. I balanced them on my balcony like art; I wore them around the kitchen; Max ibid; and then at some point Max turned them into boats and put his letter magnets in them.

      Do not fear the shoes. They are only shoes.
      You deserve good shoes.
      You deserve a f-ing fantastic life.
      Wear the shoes.
      Thank you!

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