Outfits Are For Every Body — You Definitely CAN 'Pull It Off'

by Katie Cloyd
Halfpoint Images/Getty

“Oh, I love that outfit, but I don’t think I could pull it off.” How many times have you heard someone say that? How many times have YOU said it? We take stock of our body shape, our age, our general personality, and we declare that we are unable to adorn our flesh in certain configurations of fabric and thread because we couldn’t “pull it off.” The whole idea is so silly when you break it down.

I’m here to tell you that no matter who you are, what you look like, or how you see yourself, if you want to wear something and you do it with confidence, you can pull off any outfit that you love.

My two best friends recently went on a joint vacation to Las Vegas.

Courtesy of Katie Cloyd

Don’t worry. I would have been welcome to join, but we had other stuff going on. They’re good friends. Relax.

Anyway, the week before they left, I excitedly asked them at dinner what outfits they were taking to Vegas. Neither of them had an answer! My friend Jenn shrugged and figured she would just bring the same stuff she wore last time they went. When I asked her to show me, she produced one sparkly tank top and a pink velvet blazer. Emily didn’t have one single stitch of clothing to show me.

Courtesy of Katie Cloyd

I was shocked.

It’s VEGAS. They had booked amazing dinners and shows! My gal pals were heading to Sin City for a kid-free long weekend of cocktails and bright lights. How in the world did they not have every single outfit planned down to the lipstick color? This would not do.

Three days later, we scoured our local mall for every sparkly, sequined outfit in sight. There was a lot of “Can I pull this off?” happening in the dressing rooms. All they could see was the tiniest lump, bump or perceived imperfection. All I could see was how freaking amazing they looked in their choices, which I lovingly deemed “sparkly boob shirts.” I gassed those beauties up like a best friend should.

Courtesy of Katie Cloyd

Courtesy of Katie Cloyd

By the end of the day, they each had a sexy, fun outfit for each night. The entire time they were gone, I demanded photos, and they willingly obliged. The giant smiles in their mirror selfies were all the proof I needed that there is no outfit you can’t pull off if you just put it on your body and do the dang thing. Their “sparkly boob shirts” were EVERYTHING. They looked like celebrities! I was so proud, and I can’t wait to go with them next time! I’ve already put a sequined crop top and a blue satin skirt on my Christmas list.

No matter who you are or what you look like, I’ve got news for you: If you want to wear an outfit, you can pull it off.

You should really only have two requirements for your clothing. 1. It helps you adhere to the legal requirement for covering your personal bits, and 2. It makes you feel comfortable.

That’s it! There is no outfit you “can’t pull off.” Only outfits you feel good wearing, and outfits you don’t. Everything that feels good to you is open to you when it comes to dressing your spectacular bod.

I mean, think about what clothes even are. Way back at the beginning of humans, we as a species decided that being naked was a no-go, and we started fashioning garments out of whatever we could find that would lend us protection from predators, weather, the sun, rain, and sand in delicate places.

Somehow over the millennia, this desire for protection from the elements has turned into a complicated, expensive system of adornments with a gazillion “rules.” We call it fashion, and we spend a lot of money and mental energy making sure we are adhering to the guidelines, often forgetting that people just made it all up! We’re still making it up as we go along. Things that were the pinnacle of fashionable five years ago are no longer en vogue because people who sell us fashion need us to keep buying more.

Because it’s all we’ve ever known, a lot of us also love fashion.

Myself included. I can acknowledge that the entire concept of fashion is a made-up thing that doesn’t actually matter as much as it feels like it does while also admitting that it’s part of our lives that is here to stay. There’s no reason not to enjoy it.

The thing is, I exist in a fat body. I always have. If there’s one thing Big Fashion loves, it’s a skinny gal. We fatties aren’t always at the top of anybody’s mind when designers, editors and stylists are making the choices about what’s going to come in and out of style. That means that a lot of the time, I feel kind of excluded from the whole fashion experience in a way that I don’t really love.

Since my options for dressing my chunky bod are limited already, I don’t let myself make arbitrary rules about whether I can pull an outfit off. If I see something, try it on, and love it, I don’t consider things like whether I’m too old, too young, too mom-ish, not edgy enough, not free-spirited enough or whatever other highly-specific and irrelevant things I could use to talk myself out of something I really want to wear.

If an outfit is on my body and I like it, I am pulling it off. End of story.

Of course, choosing to wear whatever the heck you want might come with criticism. Some people are so wrapped up in the “rules” and so entrenched in diet culture that they still think people have an obligation to cover or camouflage any part of their body that doesn’t fit the cultural idea of perfection. You might get a stare, a whisper, or a sideways comment from a miserable loser who doesn’t have the confidence to say “to heck with it!” and wear whatever they freaking want.

I say forget ‘em. Why should their opinion factor more heavily into what you put on your body than your own? You’re the boss here, and when you feel good, you look good. Period.

Stop asking yourself if you can pull it off and start asking yourself if you want to pull it off. Life is way too short to miss the chance to wear that sparkly boob shirt.