Okay so this blog is called Clotheshog and I haven’t done any clothesblogs in a while. There are many reasons for this, some better than others. One big ‘un is that I don’t have to go to an office every day and therefore the obligation to get dressed is no longer a daily one, which is a huge victory for 4-year-old me who sorrowfully asked my mother, “You mean I have to do this every day for the rest of my life?” upon being told for the second day in a row that I would need to dress myself to go to school. Good news, little me! Not every day! You just have to make it to 2018 to reap the rewards!
Another factor is that it feels shallow as fuck to write about clothing, not that I am a deep or masterful writer. I originally started documenting my outfits in a misguided, if well-intentioned, attempt at contributing to fat acceptance. This month is probably the 6th year I’ve contributed to the #fatshionfebruary hashtag that has become popular on Instagram and Tumblr and at first it felt like an amazing way for fat folks to appreciate fellow fashionable people with large bodies. Unfortunately, it soon became obvious that the “beauty standards” we were supposedly “effing” by buying expensive outfits, wearing full faces of makeup, and adopting pinup style, only resulted in fat women’s perception as “boner killer” being upgraded slightly to “idk i guess i could hit that”. I don’t know about you, but my effect on someone’s hard-on is of little consequence to me. What I actually want is some goddamn respect–professionally, medically, and societally. I don’t want other fat women to feel shitty for not spending as much money on dresses as I do, nor do I want the world to think that fat people are okay, but only if we’re REALLY trying. As fun as it is to finally access the self-expression that my skinny friends have enjoyed for years, I don’t want anyone to think that freedom will come in the form of wiggle dresses and wide-width stilettos; I want all women’s liberation, not fat women’s equal subjugation.
That being said, though….y’all, I am only human. I am not into makeup, I refuse to do a goddamn thing with my eyebrows, but you can pry my cute dresses from my dead, unmanicured hands. I grew up as a medium-fat kid and blossomed into an actually-fat adult, and I had to wear the clothes that I could afford that also fit me, which meant a LOT of thrift stores, Ross, and hand-me-downs from my Nana. I honestly didn’t think I could wear a dress without being laughed at until I was 26 years old because I thought for SURE if I put one on, strangers would approach me to say “Excuse me ma’am but you know you’re not pretty, right? You can put a dress on a pig, but…”. I only finally bought a dress because I got too hot one summer day in Atlanta and thought I would actually die of wearing jeans, and the potential ridicule was still more appealing than dying in the South. After I realized a dress meant that I could be in public sans pants, it was all over. I wore dresses like they were going out of style…at least in the summertime. It was still a couple years post initial-dress purchase that I realized fat women could also wear tights, if we could just find a brand that understood we wanted them.
Enter: We Love Colors. Women on the Fatshionista board had mentioned We Love Colors but I was still pretty sure I hated tights, my only memory of them being the heart-patterned pairs of my toddlerhood. Weren’t they just leg traps? Wouldn’t I feel constricted by a garment that covered my entire feet AND legs? Wouldn’t they just rip? And uh, why are they so expensive? I’m a bargain shopper and hate paying over $20 for any single item, and if a pair of tights rips on the first wear then $15 is way too much for a single-use item. But jeggings are still PANTS and I hated pants and loved the freedom of dresses, so I eventually asked my mom to buy me some tights for Christmas. That year (2012?!), Santa brought me three pairs of tights; yellow, red, and a funky blue tie-dyed pair.
After trying them on and getting over the initial weirdness of wearing clothing whose name describes how it feels wearing it, I was sold. These tights were thick without being bulky, stretchy without being saggy, and way more durable than the nude pantyhose I’d had to buy for job interviews. Reader, I bought MANY more tights after that. Many. More. I pretty much only wear We Love Colors tights because they’re the only brand that 1) fits and 2) offers so many dang colors! I have bought tights on Amazon and they’re okay but generally only last one wear. I have WLC tights that I’ve owned for literally years. They’re not in mint condition but they still have a lot of life in them, and I even machine wash & dry them (in a garment bag). They’re not indestructible or anything, but as far as tights go they’re probably as good as it gets.
Since WLC is my go-to, I tend to tag them in my outfit photos, and we have built up a bit of a friendship. They just sent me three pairs of tights to do a side-by-side comparison of, and while I doubted there could be much variation in one brand’s offerings, there was a clear standout. I decided to wear one dress three ways to showcase the differences in the three styles of tights. Of course “three ways” is a bit of an overstatement. Last Fatshion Feb someone commented on my photos that I didn’t so much have different outfits as I have one outfit with different permutations (only they said it in a meaner, stupider way and I don’t feel like looking it up). I think they thought they were being clever, but they were right–I have a formula and I stick to it because getting dressed is hard and I hate thinking about it. I love figuring out different ways to make the outfit work, within the constraints of dress/belt/tights/shoes/sweater/earrings, and I don’t wear pants AND I don’t like wearing a lot of shit at one time. Some people are really creative and layer shirts under dresses or dresses over pants, and I personally can’t imagine ever purposely wearing that many things at once. Tights are already a sacrifice, you know? My goal would be full-time nudity, weather permitting.
Since weather is not currently permitting, I put together a few different ways to wear this ModCloth dress I got on eBay last week. First up, here are the three pairs of tights I was tasked with testing. We’ve got Neon Pink in style 1023, Dusty Green in style 1008, and Yellow in style 1053. Sadly I already own most of these colors, but to be fair I own most of the colors, period. I might love colors more than We Love Colors loves colors.
For the test, I didn’t look up what any of the style numbers were so that I could formulate an unbiased opinion on the quality. Back when I was a new WLC shopper, for plus sizes they only sold either 100% nylon tights, or a nylon/lycra blend; I always ordered the blend because I’d heard they were more durable. It looks like the 100% nylon is no longer offered in plus sizes, and your options are an unspecified nylon/lycra blend, an 87% nylon/13% lycra blend, and a 90%/10% blend they categorize as being microfiber. I gotta be honest, I have no idea what makes something microfiber and why it wouldn’t be the one with the highest lycra percentage. Google says that microfiber is a fine synthetic yarn and I’m already bored, so let’s just get to the tights.
I tried on the Dusty Green/1008 first and my first impression was that they weren’t as stretchy as my usual WLC tights, making them a bit difficult to put on. They seemed less opaque than usual though they still had decent coverage. As I wore them they seemed to ease up, and overall they were a fine pair of tights. I wouldn’t beg for more of them, but I’d probably buy a pair if I needed them and these were the only thing available. I didn’t filter the closeup at all so you can see the color in natural light; these seem a bit more blue than green but I still like ’em. The rest of this outfit isn’t super notable I’m afraid. The belt came with a different dress, the shrug is from Ross, and the shoes are some cheapos I found on Amazon.
Next up, I grabbed the Neon Pink pair of 1023s. These quickly became my nemesis because they were a complete struggle to actually stuff my body into–they were awkwardly long, hard to stretch, and didn’t have the springiness that the last pair did–they bagged up a little and didn’t have as much “memory”. All of this felt especially insulting because they’re a 4x, and I normally wear a 3x in pretty much anything. A larger size is of course, not actually an insult, but it’s still hard to see a bigger number on a tag than I usually see and irritating that a size up from my usual size in this exact brand is still too small. If I’d paid money for these, I’d have cashed in my social capital with WLC to ask for an exchange or refund. Since they were free, I’ll probably toss or donate them. The neon color is AMAZING though; I didn’t filter these photos at all and the pink is obviously vibrant af. These shoes are by Chelsea Crew and they are foot murder disguised as adorable wingtips. The back comes up too high on my heel and each step is like a razor blade into my achilles. I knew this and yet I moved them 3,000 miles across the country because they’re so fucking cute, but I think I need to just trash them. Or include them in a donation with a neon pink tights, to someone I hate. The belt is from Amazon, and the sweater was a Zulily find.
Inadvertently, I saved the best for last. The Yellow/1053 were different right out of the package. While all three pairs are similarly textured, the 1053 has a wider waistband but a shorter waist. My usual WLC tights could easily come up OVER my entire bust (and sometimes I do walk around the house like that, because it’s funny), though I generally nest them under my boobs and bra, but this pair hit at my mid-waist. I find this preferable to dealing with a bunch of extra material because I’m just 5’5″ and my usual nylon/spandex tights end up pooling at my ankles over time due to my lack of vertical mass. These tights were easy to put on, and the most comfortable to wear. I didn’t dread needing to use the bathroom which is a clear sign of a good outfit–had I the need to pee while wearing the pink pair I would have just Hulk-ed them off my body and thrown them away rather than go through the struggle of putting them back on. But this yellow pair wasn’t a threat at all and now I’m afraid I’ll have to replace my entire collection with this style now that I know it exists. The cardigan is a ModCloth/Pinup Girl Clothing staple, the shoes are from Amazon, and I am guessing the belt came from It’s Fashion Metro (which is not a thing here and I miss it dearly).
If it wasn’t obvious, the winner of the tights test was style 1053, which it turns out are the Microfiber tights. Who knew that those tiny lil yarns made such good tights?! 1008 are apparently my usual nylon/lycra blend, which I suspected but only after the horror of the pink pair. 1023 are the ones with the most spandex, which surprised me because I thought for sure mo spandex=mo comfort. How wrong I was! This is good news, because the microfiber tights are actually a buck cheaper than the ones I usually buy! I hope Santa is reading my blog.
So there you have over 2,000 words about clothes, which I am deeply ashamed of, but now you know a lot about fat ladies’ tights. You’re welcome.