My decision to wear crop tops is a big deal. And it’s not just because the ’90s are over a decade behind us.
The fashion industry routinely caters to a certain body type. Walk into any clothing store, read any magazine, watch TV and movies and you will see it. As happy as I am with my body, going shopping for clothing can be incredibly frustrating because there are so many trends, styles, brands, and stores that won’t comfortably accommodate people above a certain size. But, that is a struggle that I’m sure you’ve either heard about before or have personally experienced. It is everywhere and I’m sure that you’re as tired of it as I am. I am sick of going into a fitting room and trying something on, having it fit theoretically (finding something in my size that is easy to zip/button, without the seams being on the verge of ripping open), and sighing because it just doesn’t “look flattering.” And, it doesn’t stop when you leave the store! There are endless fashion blogs and magazines with tips on how to find clothes that “flatter your figure.” But, what exactly does flattering mean? Why is it touted as something of crucial importance to anyone who buys clothes? In my experience, flattering is a concept meant to subtly convince us to hide what society deems unacceptable about our bodies and highlight the things that society wants to see. And, it’s just another way to make us all try to chase after the same mannequin physique, whether or not that’s what our bodies are capable of achieving in a healthy way.
That’s why I was so excited to see this shirt designed by the amazing Gisela Ramirez, an amazing plus size designer from Australia. The message on the this crop top T-shirt is simple and to the point: “F*CK FLATTERING.” Two words that are both inspirational and utterly subversive to the fashion world- or at least the fashion world as a lot of people see it. This shirt is meant to embody the radical idea that you can wear whatever you want whenever you want, showing as much skin or as little as you want, highlighting whatever it is about your body that you want to highlight- regardless of what society, the fashion industry, and frankly, anybody else wants you to wear. F*ck flattering, f*ck what anyone else says, and wear whatever you please.
Embracing the F*CK FLATTERING mentality is the most liberating thing I have done in a long time. Shopping trips used to be an exercise in restraint, where I would walk right past clothes I like that I’ve been told to avoid, from skinny jeans and leggings to horizontal stripes and, you guessed it, the crop top. The crop top used to represent a sort of unattainable goal for me. I have never had a flat stomach, and I doubt I ever will. I have come to terms with that, and despite being comfortable with my body and loving it to bits, I continued to keep a mental list of What Not To Wear. Too many times, I have seen an article of clothing that I would love to wear only to be warned away from it by my mental checklist. The F*CK FLATTERING mantra inspired me to be braver, and challenged me to take fashion “risks” that I would not otherwise have considered possible. And, thanks to F*CK FLATTERING, I can ignore all of that pressure to hide parts of my body, to keep aspects of myself covered up. And, folks? The crop top is great. I can almost hear my pre-teen self applauding whenever I put it on. She thought that by nature of her design, she could never show off her midriff. I’m happy to say that I fully exercise that right, even though it isn’t the late ’90s anymore.
I am not just saluting the ’90s, I am saluting my own body autonomy and my right to wear whatever I want to wear. My crop tops are not just a fashion statement – they are a statement of revolution. I wear my crop top with pride, showing off my belly, pudge and all. F*CK FLATTERING. I look fantastic.