I love my stripes

I love my stripes

So leave them alone!

Recently I saw a friend post something on Facebook about hating stripes—particularly horizontal ones—because they don’t make anyone look good. This friend is so funny and delightful and I took it as a tongue-in-cheek comment, but it did make me think about how we police ourselves and what we are “allowed” to wear or not because of how we look.

For years I only wore black, telling myself it’s because I’m an artist and I love the color and it fits me. Well, that’s all true, but I like colors, too. I just didn’t want to look as fat as I am, and I thought wearing all-black, from ankle to elbow, was the answer—even in the summertime, which is hot and humid and unbearable in such clothing.

When I took a trip to California, everyone I met handled me with kid gloves and I didn’t get it; weren’t these supposed to be my own hippity-dippity people? Wasn’t I finally supposed to fit in? Well, I was fat, so that wasn’t going to happen anyway—but it turned out that they thought I was a conservative because of the way I dressed! I hadn’t worn my cute, bright peasant tops or wild rainbow earrings or anything since college, after all.

It wasn’t until last year, when fed up with my wardrobe once and for all, that I started to buy stripes. And colors. And other things that are pretty much barred from the Fatty Wardrobe. My favorite are the stripes! I don’t have the opportunity to buy many clothes period, but my black and white stripes, green and gray stripes, and other stripes are definitely my most beloved clothes.

It’s like being in a Tim Burton film. It’s like being a candy striper without the sexist comments, or the frivolity of the barber pole on your own body! I can’t fully explain why I love them so much—perhaps because I’ve banned myself from wearing them since I was, oh, fourteen?—but my stripes seem to give me a sense of power, as if I can defy fashion police and fat-haters and people who pretty much hate my existence just because of my appearance, something that I’ve dealt with nearly all my life (as many fat people have).

I can wear stripes. I can wear teal and orange and lavender. I can wear whatever I want! And so can you.