Thursday, October 2, 2008

being a plus-size bride

When I first started looking around for ideas for a wedding dress online, I typed "fat bride" into Google. Apart from one livejournal community (and a site for pregnant brides-- ahem, that's not fat, that's a PERSON INSIDE YOUR BODY) the other links all seemed to be jokes and cartoons about the hilarious idea of a bride being fat, or laments and cries for help. I realised I should have used the current euphemism for fat, plus-size. I've had better luck with that, although if you don't want a big, white, expensive dress, it's quite a lot more difficult to find something you like (unless you like extremely matronly styles and colours like burgundy and navy blue).

I've also started getting advertisements for wedding-related weight loss on my Facebook. I'm assuming every woman whose status is 'engaged' gets these, since it's commonly assumed that all women have problems with their body image and want to spend a lot of time and money on their 'problem areas'. But as an actual fat bride, these ads make me a little uncomfortable.

Listen, I know I'm fat. And no, I'm not particularly happy about it, and I am doing something about it. I lead a healthy life, I eat lots of vegetables and wholemeal bread and low-fat milk and all that stuff. We've bought a Wii Fit and I try to use it several times a week. I didn't start this process because I am going to be a bride; I started it before that, because I want to be healthy and comfortable and fit.

But even if I continue to lose weight at a healthy and sustainable pace, I am not going to be thin by April. And I don't think it's healthy to think of my wedding day as an end point, or as something to strive to be different for. I've seen suggestions that brides-to-be start having regular facials (hee hee) so that their skin is glowing on The Big Day. Listen, if you can afford that stuff and you really think it makes you look or feel better, why not do it regularly anyway? Those are good enough reasons. The Big Day is not really a good reason.

So I'm going to be a fat bride and I'm okay with it. Hey, I ate cheesecake this morning. (Someone brought it into the tearoom. What am I, Ghandi?) The only downside, really, is that it cuts down on my dress options. Still, if I can't find something I like, I can always have it made. I've actually found a pattern for a dress I love, and it would be good to be able to pick the exact fabric I want. (Really, the main reason I want to buy something off-the-rack is because I'm too lazy/busy to go to a bunch of dress fittings.) Anyway, I'm currently going through some sites with pretty plus-size dresses, so I'll be posting soon with some links for anyone else who's interested. And maybe the next woman to search for 'fat brides' will find this instead of Weight Watchers.


David said...

I hate the word fat. It used to describe a tissue that is actually needed at moderate levels in the human body. It actually is unhealthy to have too little fatty tissue in your body (if not more unhealthily than having as too much) Women who are too thin cannot carry children and often miscarry since they cannot sustain their child. Although the point has come to make the word "fat" into a negative, derogatory term. It has been used to demean women and inflict women into a purely physical or sexual entity. Not only do we place impossible ideals for onto women, but also women use the word to disparage themselves with low self esteem.

These stupid stick thin models who sell their bodies as sexy, are anything but sexy. The problem is that women think that outward appearances is sexy when in all actuality sexuality is not a look, but more of an attitude. On a purely physical attraction side, I find women that are on the "plus-size" more beautiful. I even hate the term "plus-size" derogatory too. Additional to what? The fact is the average woman (at least in America) is "plus-size". Then why not call it regular and the small sizes "minus"?

Frankly, I like the term "voluptuous" more. It implies somebody that is full of beauty and sensuality. This terminology puts a positive spin on what should be honored and cherished. Next time you want to describe yourself, try using this positive term instead of fat or plus-sized. See how it makes you feel. Does voluptuous better describe how you feel on the inside?

Annette said...

In reply to David, this is really a matter of personal preference. I know many larger women who are offended by "euphemistic" terms like voluptuous, curvy or zaftig, and identify as fat - using a term that doesn't mince words in order to indicate that they are confident and comfortable with their size. And plus-size is the descriptor used most commonly by the clothing industry, so it really is the best search term if you're looking for information about clothing.

Back to the topic at hand, I initially looked at an dress by Igigi, which I would be wearing if it wasn't now out of stock in my size. They have dresses that would be suitable for both formal and informal weddings but unfortunately I didn't find anything else that was quite right for me in their line. Definitely worth a look, though! And I was really pleased to discover that a lot of dresses intended for bridesmaids have a very comprehensive size range. Torrid and Kiyonna also have a few wedding dresses, though again they weren't styles that appealed to me (and Torrid is a bit dicey in terms of quality).

I thought about getting a dress made, but I found dressmaking services were out of my price range. If only my own sewing skills were better :)

Jessica McLeod said...

David: I think the word 'fat' has been invested with a lot of negative connotations which aren't necessarily accurate. The word doesn't bother me nearly as much as a careful avoidance of the word, which seems to validate the idea that "fat" = ugly, unworthy, etc. But each to his own!

Jessica McLeod said...

Annette: I would love to make my own dress, but I don't have the sewing chops either, unfortunately. Good luck finding something, I hope the links are helpful! Do you have an idea of the dress you want, or are you keeping it a secret?

Annette said...

I'm looking at this dress, in either ivory or champagne (which is a little darker, almost a pale gold).

I suit a halter neckline (regular shoulder straps look terrible on me, strapless would be my second choice) and I like the hint of vintage/retro in this particular style. I might get it hemmed up to knee length, depending on how long it turns out to be... the model is probably much taller than me, so it's hard to tell!

Of course, this all assumes that the fitting on Friday goes well *fingers crossed*

Jessica McLeod said...

Oh, that's lovely! I am definitely going for an empire waist, it's so flattering and comfortable. Ivory and champagne are both great colours, too. Good luck!