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# flattering
This plus sized designer's 'unflattering' dress has caused a fuss online
Alysse Dalessandro’s ‘cupcake dress’ has started a discussion about plus size fashion.

ALYSSE DALESSANDRO IS a fashion designer behind the “body positive apparel and accessory brand” Ready To Stare.

The brand’s ethos is simple: throw rules about what is and isn’t “flattering” out the window and wear whatever the hell you like.

Ready to Stare believes in fashion as an act of empowerment and the name itself was inspired by designer Alysse Dalessandro’s own experience being fat shamed, harassed, cat-called and bullied for the way she dressed. Dalessandro wanted to create a brand that treated clothing and accessories as armor that makes you ready to face the stares and policing that come when you dress for yourself instead of following so-called rules of fashion.

Last week, Dalessandro launched her Christmas collection and one item in particular sparked a discussion online: this “cupcake dress”.

The dress was shared on Plus Model Magazine’s Instagram and some commenters immediately dismissed it as being unflattering.

Here is a small sampling of some of the comments…




Dalessandro called out her critics on Twitter.

And wrote an impassioned piece about the myriad reactions, good and bad, to the dress.

Let’s be clear that the design of this dress was intentional. It was designed to be both a dress that I personally really wanted to wear and also as a dress that makes a statement against the idea that plus size women can only wear things that are deemed ‘flattering’ by society’s standards. Fashion is not a privilege. Fashion is for everyone.

She also explained why she believes that the word “flattering” needs to be removed from discussions about fashion.

Flattering implies that someone is actively looking less fat than they actually are because being fat is bad. But as an activist who works to dismantle the idea being fat equates to being bad, flattering is one way that we continue to de-value fat bodies.

More than anything, however, she explained that she wants plus size women to have the same options as other women.

And my inspiration for this cupcake dress was Rihanna’s Grammy dress. I remember her getting mixed reactions when she wore it too but overall it was positive and I certainly don’t remember anyone trying to fire the designer or say that she was setting fashion back. If this dress is viewed simply as a bold choice in straight size fashion then plus size fashion shouldn’t be subject to a different set of standards.

And, as she pointed out, fat bodies shouldn’t be disguised as there’s nothing wrong with them.

The whole thing has prompted a discussion online about plus size fashion and its “rules”.

Writing for Dazed and Confused, Bethany Rutter wrote that plus size fashion has become a “joyless enterprise”.

It’s a sorry state of affairs that fashion, that’s meant to be fun, experimental and a way for people to express their personality, has, for fat women, become merely an exercise in (self-)deception. Instead of saying “what do I want to wear today?” or “What excites me?” the question is “How do I most efficiently pretend my body is what it’s not?” It’s a joyless enterprise, and fat women deserve better.

This morning, Dalessandro wrote, “We won’t move forward in plus fashion unless we stop letting clothes have the power to control how we feel about our bodies.”

You have the same body in whatever you wear so you sure as hell better wear what you love.

Preach, sister.

Debra Messing was sent an unsolicited dick pic and absolutely called it out on Twitter >

Here’s why you should stop worrying about wearing ‘flattering’ clothes >

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