Quality Matters More When You’re Not a Size 2
This is a self-evident truth if you happen to not be a size 2 (or 4, or 6), but it’s been a while since I’ve been in that boat, and I had forgotten.
Now, before a bunch of you guys jump on me, I know that quality and fit are difficult to find (and precious) for everyone who shops off-the-rack. Pant legs and hemlines are either too long, or not long enough. Sizes are wonky. Everything is cheaply made in third world countries. This is true, and it is a pain, whether you’re a size XXS or XXL.
It just matters more if you’re on the larger end of the spectrum.
When it comes to fashion, skinny is still the ideal. Skinny can wear anything and everything; even on the worst day, it might look ridiculous or sloppy, but skinny will still look skinny – even if wearing the proverbial potato sack. You can conceal a lot of design and manufacturing flaws if you’re putting the clothes on someone who is a size 2. I know because I used to be a size 2 … and I rarely didn’t buy something because it looked terrible on me. It might have looked goofy, or even too big – but, hey, that’s sometimes a trend in itself.
I’m not a size 2 anymore. A few weeks ago, I went to the J. Crew Factory store (because they had a big sale, and I haven’t gone in ages, and don’t judge me, ok?), and tried on some skirts. In fact, the skirts I tried were skirts I used to own a couple of years (and sizes) ago – and loved. They used to look quite nice, considering the price point. I sized up to my current size, and … I hated the fit. The skirt rode up and wrinkled on me while I was standing in the changing room. I tried one size bigger, and then the size after that too. And those looked bad too, for other reasons. More importantly, I looked bad, wearing the skirt. I didn’t just look like I was wearing a poorly made garment; I looked to be in worse shape than I am. And I guess that’s where my body acceptance runs out, because I’d really rather not. (Which is a discussion for another day.)
So, if you care about conventional style rules – which are all about not looking bigger than you are, but ideally skinnier if possible – then quality is not just a “nice to have”; it’s a “must have”. The right fit, the right fabric, the right proportions: they make all the difference between a potato sack and a cute pencil skirt.
I Don’t Photoshop For the Blog
But maybe I should; all the cool kids are doing it.
Fran wrote an awesome post about the reasons why more and more fashion bloggers are succumbing to drastic Photoshopping. Skinny sells, yes? There are very few fashion bloggers who don’t blog for money (or aspire to). This is understandable, because who doesn’t want a hobby that pays for itself? The downside is that, sooner or later, everyone encounters ethical dilemmas, whether it’s shilling a sponsored product the blogger wouldn’t buy with her own money, or posting heavily edited photos to attract followers and sponsors. Of course, for some people, these are not really dilemmas at all and, for the most part, they are rewarded for their, ahem, pragmatism. Some of us may chuckle at parody Instagram accounts like We Photoshopped What, but the majority of the fashion blog-reading public is unaware of the behind-the-scenes manipulation … and left in admiring awe. So, Photochop is the new normal.
I’m too lazy, and not sufficiently invested in this whole blogging game, to bother with it. For the most part. Because here’s the thing: I’m still as vain as the next peacocking blogger. As much as I want to be honest with you guys, I have no desire to (intentionally) put unflattering photos of myself on the internet. Who would? Nobody, that’s who, and if someone tells you otherwise, they’re lying. So I’ll edit away blemishes, and slap on eleventy million Insta filters, because it only feels a little bit wrong. I try to be upfront about that as much as possible, because it’s important that you know that no one wakes up with perfect, pore-less looking skin, especially anyone over the age of 12. (And no cream, or powder, or foundation is ever gonna beat the magic of Instagram filters. Trust.)
There are also pictures that you will never get to see on the blog. For example, can you guess which one of these two made the cut?
This begs the question: is what I’m doing any different than what the Photoshop queens are doing? Lying by omission is not the same as being honest. But is it closer to it than this?
I don’t know. We could probably have an interesting debate about it. But I’ll leave you with this pearl of wisdom: never, ever assume that what you see on a blog is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.