At university I gained weight. A lot of weight. I have only just started to lose it, and I graduated over two years ago. Despite not ever describing myself as fat (I ‘have fat’ but choose to not call myself ‘fat’) the weight gain was substantial, enough to move me from a slim size 12 to a plus size 16. At the average size for a UK female, it stil seemed like a different body to me.
But here is the thing: I regret none of it. It is worth adding as a disclosure that I am closely monitored under hospital guidelines for a separate medical condition, and that had I at any point been told to lose weight, I would’ve done it in a second. My health comes first. In my opinion your health always trumps vanity. The thing is I didn’t just gain weight, I gained so much more. If giving up the times I had at university, the eating Milk Tray in the bath or drinking several bottles of wine on most nights of the week meant being able to stay slimmer there is no way that I would change my behaviour. I regret nothing. I just thought wine was calorie free…
There has been some controversy lately about whether ‘standard size’ designers are capable and equipped to design clothes for plus size women. The arguments seemed to come back that of course they are, why wouldn’t they be? But I want to throw a spanner in the works. I think that having a plus size body, whether this is how I am for the next 5 months or the next 5 years, has equipped me better as a designer to design for women in a similar boat, or with a similar body shape.
I understand the cut of a neckline for a woman with a 34H cup, because guess what? I’ve been there. I know that there are anxieties involved with talking openly about your size, or having measurements taken. I know that a drop waist on a lady who carries most of their weight in a pear or apple shape isn’t going to flatter them or make them feel at their best, and I understand that getting undressed in front of a stranger isn’t just as simple as ‘whip ya clothes off love’.
Being plus size is part of my journey, I have learnt more about the capabilities of my body and mind that I ever thought were possible. I truly believe that it has enriched me as a designer, and that it has given me the upper hand when it comes to designing for bigger bodies. I think it has given me compassion and patience, and that this has truly enriched my character. I also went wakeboarding last weekend.
Weddings are so magical. Getting married is saying, ‘I choose you. Not as you were or how you might be, but right now you are who I want for my always’. I fully support anyone wanting to lose weight before their wedding, maybe it is the push you need to do something you have wanted to do for a very long time. But, I also support those who are genuinely happy with themselves (trust me, it's a thing) and want to stay exactly as they are.
This is your body, this is your journey. Own it ❤