2. Hi, I’m Kristin. I’d like to talk about something that stresses a lot of people out: having a visible belly outline (when your tummy rolls are visible through your clothes).
3. While it’s become socially acceptable to have fat deposits in your ass and boobs, it’s a (mostly) unspoken rule that you must do your best to hide your belly fat.
And businesses know that women of all sizes worry about this — it’s why Spanx is a billion-dollar company.
4. So what would happen if I challenged myself to come up with SEVEN DAYS OF FUN OUTFITS where my belly was on display?
Many women (with admittedly greater fashion chops) have done it before, so why not me?
Would I buy a lot of things I would never wear again? Would people still take me seriously? Would I stop myself from rejecting clothes because seeing belly fat is against the rules? Would people get hot and bothered about this in the comments (lol, probably)? WE’LL SEE!
5. First, I went shopping to buy a lot of skirts and dresses that I assumed I would have a series of one-night stands with and then never call again.
When it comes to clothes, I’m on team A-line skirt. Anything else (tight skirts, body-con dresses, and pants) I avoid like that one bathroom stall with the unflushed toilet. Hey, those are the rules, and deprogramming yourself of the rules is tough business. I vaguely wonder if I am going to end up in detention for this.
6. Day 1: I seriously overestimated how visible my belly would be in this dress.
When I bought this dress, I thought to myself, OH YEAH, horizontal stripes + shift dress = SET PHASERS TO GARBAGE. This here is a slam dunk for shit that is going to make my front look lumpy. However, when I tried to photograph this outfit, I was actually having a really tough time getting my belly to prominently show up — this was about the best I could do.
7. Finally, I ended up literally having to gather this dress in the back with a hair tie in order to get my stomach to really pop.
I really hate when people can see my belly button — it’s like I’ve revealed my third psychic eye. So, if you asked me how scared I was on a scale of one to pooping at work, this is about a 4. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to know that if I wore the dress again without unnecessarily giving myself a tail in the back, it’s something I’d actually like!
8. Day 2: I set out to really torture myself, but ended up having a good time, because life is a nonsensical hayride.
Before this, I would have never bought a skirt like this. I wouldn’t have even looked at a skirt like this for longer than three seconds before laughing and awkwardly moonwalking out of the store, possibly the state.
YEAH! I thought when putting on this skirt. YEAH! THIS IS THE WORST! But then I take a billion pictures in it, and I have trouble picking my favorite. It’s a skirt I would have been forced to wear shapewear with as a teen, but if anything, I feel happier because my middle section isn’t being hugged to death by a cruel pair of bike shorts.
9. Day 3: I got a little overconfident and wore a body-con dress.
I realize that body-con dresses are judgmental socks sent from the planet I Know What You Did Last Pizza Party. I also know that I promised to ignore this fact for the internet’s benefit, so here we are.
Anyway, I was a fearful dummy, so I cheated and tied a shirt around the middle because it’s 2016 and I’ve been around long enough that my middle school insecurity hacks are back in style.
10. However, I forgot that my body is sort of a weird optical illusion, so I went back and took additional pics from the side so it’s clear I’m not cheating:
“Yeaaaaaaah,” I tell a friend after I look at these photos. “Hoookay. Not gonna wear this dress again.” She kind of gives me a sad look and replies. “Maybe it’s because I’m taller than you, but I feel like I’m not seeing this dress as badly as you’re seeing it.”
She has a point. You might see photos like this and think, Ugh, girl, no, I’m sorry, but no, you shouldn’t do that. But why do you think that? And do your reasons for thinking that have anything to do with who I am and the work I do and the friend and partner I am?
I’m not saying these biases don’t exist in the world and that I can just jiggle walk them away, but the least we can do is quietly acknowledge that, the world we live in aside — our worrying that something is “not cute” is a really stupid reason to not do something.
11. Day 4: I wore a skort and realized how much I have trained myself to try and look my best in photos:
When we were initially trying to take this photo, I could not for the life of me make it so you could see my stomach. We tried lots of lots of things: different light, different positions. TEAM WHITE SKORT!
Then, I realized that every time a photo was snapped, I would reflexively snap into a position where I sucked everything in and stood up straight — without even thinking about it, I was constantly trying to edit myself.
And shit, it was really, really hard to stop doing that.
12. And even though the picture on the left is how it turned out, the one on the right is how I definitely see it.
13. Day 5: I do pants, my most dreaded of enemies.
I ended up having to go back to the store to buy pants, so I decided to pick the experiment back up at the New York office of BuzzFeed. Which is great, because it is full of humans I have never met before, and thusly I will only have a limited number of chances to seal their mental images of me.
And while I hate pants, I have to really slouch to get my stomach to really pop in this photo. So yeah, it’s there definitely there, but probably not there to the gigantic degree that I am picturing it.
14. I also gave a presentation for some BuzzFeed humans, so that I could really make sure my belly was at eye level.
Have I mentioned that these pants are comfortable as shit? I realize that this makes me a traitor to the International Knights Against Pants-Wearing, but whatever, they’ll get over it.
Also, one of my 478,563 work crushes told me without any sort of prompting that I looked cute, which is a lie, but whatever, lie to me, I can take it. (And yes, I realize there are only 1,300 BuzzFeed employees. IT’S BECAUSE I HAVE APPROXIMATELY 368 CRUSHES ON ALL OF YOU.)
15. Day 6: I had no idea how to style these motorcycle pants, so I just threw on a giraffe shirt.
Again, I would have never bought these pants, and I was pretty sure they were going straight to closet jail right after this. And while at first I was feeling a little bit like a very lumpy zoo, I’m sort of embracing the fun ways my body fills out these pants. Getting out of your fashion ruts is a lot like flipping your mattress: They are both things you definitely need to do.
16. Day 7: I maybe went a bit overboard with my tightest pants.
I wanted to come up with something ~athleisuresque~ for my last day. So I decided to wear some workout pants that I had worn previously for another post, which a lot of people had insisted were not flattering.
In continuing with my zoo theme from yesterday, these were a little heavy on the camel toe. But when I posted this on Instagram, people wanted to know where I got the pants, of all things. In fact, “Hey, where did you get that [clothing item]?” was a REALLY common theme this entire week with my social interactions, and pretty soon many of these outfits made it into my regular rotation.
17. So, after the week was over, what did I end up learning?
1. I was wrong about never wearing any of this stuff again — a couple of these things have made it into my regular rotation.
2. It doesn’t make sense to not even try on a trend you like just because you’re worried about your stomach — there might be a better than good chance that you feel more comfortable in your clothes than you think.
3. Dressing so that no one can see any belly lumps is a rule because we allow it to be a rule. Nothing novel is OK at first, but the more people see it, the more they realize that it doesn’t matter and it doesn’t hurt them. People used to complain about seeing ankles, too.
4. Life is short. Wear shit you like. Love people for doing the same. And believe your work crushes if they give you compliments.