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how wearing a crop top made me love my fat bod

Fashion
photos via Instagram

my world, my words

I am a fat queer feminist who loves and respects all bodies, including mine. But I’m also a person who lives in a fatphobic world and has 26 years of internalized fatphobia to battle every single day, and I’m going to be honest with you: Sometimes I want to hide my body very badly. Some days it feels like if I drape extra fabric over my belly, or wear a knee-length skirt instead of spandex short shorts, or just find a way to cover up as much of my self as possible, I’ll feel a little bit better in my own skin.

My secret weapon of choice on days when I do not particularly love my body? The crop top.

Crop tops have been getting a huge amount of attention in the Fashion World as of late, most recently because of the amazing response from women all over the internet to an absurd comment in O Magazine that attempted to shame anyone who doesn’t have a “flat stomach” for wearing a crop. The #rockthecrop hashtag is an incredible haven for style, body positive inspiration, and sexiness, and hearing other fat women speak out about wearing whatever the fuck we want has been super heartening.

But my personal crop top journey began more than a decade ago, and this essay is less of a rebuttal to anyone trying to police the clothing that fat girls can or cannot wear, and more an ode to a particular teeny tiny article of clothing that is helping me love my body more and more every day, fatphobic world and horrible voices inside my head be damned.

The first person I ever saw wear a crop top was my 16-year-old babysitter, Kim. I was 8, and in my mind, Kim was a goddess. I wanted to emulate her blue toenails, her belly button piercing, and the cropped shirts she wore, which she called “baby t’s.” When I was gifted a white ribbed short sleeved baby t of my own for my birthday that year, I wore it obsessively.

But then I turned ten, started puberty, and learned I was fat. I knew this because I was bigger than the other girls in my class, because I couldn’t share bikini tops with my bunkmates at summer camp, because boys used the word “fat” when they talked about me and I could tell it wasn’t a compliment. Fat girls weren’t allowed to wear baby t’s, I understood. No bikinis, either. As a fat girl I was supposed to cover up, hide, feel shame.

With this new information, I decided to wear overalls on the first day of fifth grade. My family had just moved to a new town and I was about to meet 75 new potential friends. I was scared if the other kids saw my belly they would know I was fat and wouldn’t want to be my friend. I thought about this predicament for weeks, sifting through the clothes in my closet, wondering how I could camouflage my tummy. The night before school started I couldn’t find my overalls and I cried and cried and cried, because I knew that finding a way to hide my body was the key to acceptance in a new place. Reminder: I was ten.

I threw away my beloved baby t. The style went out of fashion. I tried a million different diets. I learned to hate my body a little bit less. Some days I still hated my body so much. I never showed anyone my belly.

And then suddenly, without warning, crop tops were back. I don’t pretend to understand how fashion works, but I do know that in 2012 I was living in New York City and pretending to be okay with my body and experiencing a real love affair with floral print and one day I walked into a shop and there was the most perfect floral print crop top I had ever seen in my life. I wish I could tell you that I was so okay with my body at that point that I didn’t even question if I could wear such a garment, just slapped my money on the counter and triumphantly walked out of the store wearing my new purchase. But that’s not how it went at all.

I didn’t buy the top. Then I lost a little bit of weight. Then I went back to the store and hesitantly bought the top, and only wore it occasionally. Then I lost a little bit more weight and felt okay about wearing the top all the time and bought another crop top and told myself I had conquered all my body issues. Then I gained a bunch of weight and stopped wearing all the crop tops I had amassed and had to come face to face with the fact that I had not, in fact, learned how to love my body unconditionally–I had simply loved that particular version of my body, the thin version, the one that I had wanted so badly when boys called me “fat” in elementary school. I felt like a failure because of my weight gain, but I felt like even more of a failure for caring about it.

There are so many fat women in this world who are rocking it so much harder than I am when it comes to body acceptance, body positivity, and body love. I have so many weird body feelings: I am smaller than some fat women, so am I allowed to call myself fat? Sometimes I still fantasize about losing weight and being a thin woman, so am I allowed to call myself body positive? People compliment me on my body confidence all the time, but mostly I’m faking it–do any of these thoughts or feelings even count if I feel like a fraud?

Sixteen years after my first day in fifth grade, I have found myself the new kid, yet again. I just moved to Portland and I’m trying to make new friends. I’ve got a different strategy this time around, though: I don’t want to hide my stomach. I don’t want to hide anything.

I’m so much larger than I once was. I grew taller and I grew fatter, but that’s not exactly what I mean. I mean that I learned to be big. I have large ideas and large feelings and a large personality. I take up space. I call myself fat, and queer, and femme, and dyke, and I know when I say those words and don’t cover myself up I’m roughing up the edges of the half-hearted smooth acceptance some people in this world would offer me if I could just keep quiet and covered, but I don’t care.

Except on the days I do. And on those days, now, I put on a crop top anyway. I do not hide. I put on my teeny tiny shorts, and I make sure not to suck my belly in all day. I am not totally in love with my fat body yet, but I’m going to get there. And wearing a crop top, for me, is a small victory in my own personal body love revolution. Wearing a crop top has changed my life.

Photo by Handout / Getty Images.

From selling probiotic supplements to picture frames and umbrellas

A Kardashian-level of success doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without proper planning. Kim Kardashian West clearly knows this because, according to TMZ, she has already filed for trademark protection on the name of her two-week-old baby, Psalm West. From personal appearances and entertainment services to probiotic supplements and scrunchies, she is leaving no stone unturned in terms of possible business opportunities.

Apparently, all of the Kardashian parents file these kinds of trademark protections for their kids even if the businesses never come to fruition. It's done as a precautionary measure to keep others from profiting off of their name and to make sure that, should they ever want to start a business, they don't have to worry about someone else getting to it first. The sheer length of this list speaks to the huge earning potential of baby Psalm, who can't even control his own neck muscles yet, let alone go into business. Still, this brings a whole new meaning to "securing the bag."

Below, a list of all the things Kardashian West is seeking usage rights for.

Hair accessories

Barrettes

Bands

Bows

Clips

Ties

Ornaments

Pins

Scrunchies

Chopsticks

Twisters

Wrap

Hair extensions

Ornamental novelty pins

Entertainment services

Personal appearances

Skin care

Probiotic supplements

Toy figures

Doll accessories

Computer software

Clothing

Baby bottles

Furniture

Strollers

Beverageware

Swaddling

Blankets

Skin moisturizers

Lotions

Creams

Bubble bath

Fragrances

Body powders

Shower gels

Body oils

Skin serums

Nail polish

Nail polish remover

Nail care preparations

Puppets

Puzzles

Toy jewelry

Toy cameras

Toy food

Bath toys

Baby gyms

Playground balls

Electronic action toys

Baby bouncers

Baby changing tables

Baby walkers

Pillows

Mirrors

Cushions

Picture frames

Playpens

Baby carriers

Cosmetic bags

Toiletry cases

Duffle bags

Umbrellas

Clocks

Watches

Key chains

Calendars

Books

photo albums

Stationery

Stickers

Writing utensils

Collectible trading cards

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FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Well, actually it's crocodile, but she looks out of this world so...

Winnie Harlow walked the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday on her way to a screening of Oh Mercy!, wearing a showstopping gown.

The sheer black dress featured green embroidery on the front and back, which Ralph and Russo confirmed was in the shape of a crocodile. She belted the dress with a black crocodile skin-like belt and finished the look off with some strappy heels. She didn't leave it at just that. For beauty, Harlow packed on full lids of sparkly purple eyeshadow. She kept her hair sleek and simple.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Though the brand says otherwise, as Game of Thrones fans, we'd like to think the embroidery is reminiscent of a dragon's skin. Not to mention, Harlow looks out-of-this-world beautiful in it.

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Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

That denim kimono!!

Marion Cotillard shut down the Cannes red carpet on Wednesday at a screening for Matthias Et Maxime. Instead of an extravagant gown that's expected of the event, Cotillard wore a matching black crop top and shorts. Despite wearing an outfit I typically don to a hot yoga class, she looks incredible. She completed the look with an oversized denim kimono, a statement necklace, and heeled booties.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

At first, I was drawn in by the crop top and hotpants duo, but, after looking closer at the kimono, it's clear that it's the real scene-stealer. The floor-length Balmain piece was decorated with artful rips and dragon motifs. I would like to live in it.

Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Let's all bow down to the Khaleesi of Cannes.

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MORE in VIDEO
Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.

"It doesn't make you weak to ask for help"

Singer Billie Eilish is continuing to open up about mental health, this time in a new PSA video in partnership with the Ad Council and Seize the Awkward.

In the video, Eilish insists that "it doesn't make you weak to ask for help." She doubles down on the importance of asking for help, and stresses the importance of friends and family being there when their close ones reach out and checking in on them as well. "You should be able to ask anyone for help, everyone has to help someone if they need it." According to Eilish, there have been times when someone reached out to her at the exact moment she needed it, and it helped.

It was particularly refreshing to see Eilish acknowledge that there are things she still doesn't know and has to learn about her mental health. At the very beginning of the video, the interviewer asks her to reflect on her mental health journey, and all Eilish can do is let out chortle. "I think when people hear, 'Remember to take care of your mental health,' they think that everyone else is, and that is not at all accurate," she admitted. "You know, for me I'm trying to learn still to make sure that I stay okay."

Check out the PSA below.

Billie Eilish On Mental Health & Friendship | Ad Council www.youtube.com

Photograph via @kimkardashian.

"#NotOnMyMoodBoard"

Kim Kardashian has definitely been accused of borrowing a design now and then. But when Instagram influencer and Kardashian look-alike Kamilla Osman claimed the entrepreneur copied her birthday look for a Met Gala after-party, Kardashian was not going to let it fly—and shared plenty of photo evidence to shut down the claim.

Fashion industry watchdog Diet Prada first noticed Osman's claims on Instagram and shared side-by-side images of Kardashian's Cher-inspired outfit designed by Mugler and Osman's dress. "Never get confused with who 'inspires' who. They won't give you credit but they will copy," Osman wrote on her IG story. "I designed this dress for my birthday last year. Nobody had a dress like this was an original design."

Kardashian responded by posting the true inspiration behind her look: images of Cher, in similarly sparkly, plunging-neckline dresses and wigs, and of model Yasmeen Ghauri walking a Mugler show in the '90s. In fact, the only similarity between Osman's and Kardashian's looks is the bodycon mini-dress style, which the two are not the first to wear. Among the images, Kardashian included a blank slide with the hashtag "NotOnMyMoodBoard," making it clear that this was in response to Osman's claims.

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram Stories

Though I am with Kim on this one, Kardashian does have a history of co-opting other people's work. From being sued over her Kimoji app, to claims she copied makeup palettes and perfume bottle designs, to being accused of copying Naomi Campbell's entire style, it's far from the first (and probably, far from the last) time Kardashian's name will be mentioned like this.

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