I’m not skinny, haven’t been my entire adult life. I have many memories of shopping for hours and coming home with nothing because the clothes I liked were not in my size and the ones in my size were HIDEOUS. Clothes have come a long way, but I still choose clothes, more specifically shirts, that hide my stomach. It is the least favorite part of my body by far, but I have learned to accept it and appreciate that underneath the skin there is a strong core that holds me when I weight lift weights or do yoga.
So when I saw the article titled “For Every Woman Who Hates Her Stomach” (, I had to dive in. It was written by Kelsey Miller, and part of the story I could totally relate to, such as, “There is only one rule to plus-size fashion: Show the good stuff, hide everything else. Play up the boobs, show off those lower legs, and for God’s sake, put a tent over the rest of it. And, above all, hide that belly.” But then the story took a turn, when Ms. Miller “…saw a phrase that changed everything: visible belly outline (or VBO).” VBO is what occurs when wearing clothes that hug your belly curves. She includes eight pictures of herself wearing outfits displaying her VBO, and I have to say, she looks great. And I applaud her bravery and her stance that we need to let shit go, “I don’t like my belly, but it’s just not that big a deal. It doesn’t define who I am. It’s not so big and horrible that it cancels out the rest of me, body and soul. It’s a part of me, and I like me.” Amen.
But for me THERE IS NO WAY ON THE F’ING PLANET THAT I WILL WEAR ANYTHING THAT DISPLAYS MY VBO. And I am OK with that. I briefly contemplated the “fatkini” (a despicable word in my opinion) but just couldn’t do it. I have spent the better part of 30+ years crafting outfits that look good on me and make me feel good wearing them. Confidence is everything. I just wouldn’t feel confident with my belly showing in a swimsuit or VBO in a shirt or dress. I have my own style, I own it, and when wearing it keep my head high and a smile on my face.
It wasn’t always easy. As a teenager, the styles didn’t always mesh with my body type, and finding cute/cool clothes in my size could result in visiting other cities. My aunt made my prom dress. As I got older, things got better. The internet opened up a whole world of possibilities to search sites, get recommendations, watch videos and read blogs. And SOME manufacturers got hip to the fact that you could make the SAME clothes, just in larger sizes. QVC was my main source of clothes for a long time because just about every piece of clothing came in a size 2-28 or XXS to 3X. Old Navy has done this well too I think, although sometimes they succumb to the larger must mean taller trap. Why should my size 1X dress be any longer than a L or XL? I am wider, not taller!!
Two areas I see need for improvement – workout gear and sports’ team clothes. Apparently larger women like track suits, because that is what makes up the majority of the athletic section. And if there are tank tops and t’s , they are in bright colors. Per my VBO comment above, I want dark colored tops. Appropriately sized. I have to buy them in a 2x or 3x so they aren’t clinging. Yoga clothes? Forget it. I haven’t found any in larger sizes. Team wear is also greatly lacking. All team wear tops for women are shrunken or ribbed. HELLO! I should not have to buy men’s Reds or Packers top to fit me. Don’t plus size women like sports? I can definitely tell you yes, and we want clothes that fit REAL women. Do these areas realize how much money they could rake in by offering realistic women’s wear? Apparently not. I hope they do – soon. It’s Packer season after all.
To Kelsey Miller and others who are don’t mind VBO, I say go for it. You look amazing. I will never judge someone for their choice in clothes, and sometimes I wish I was that brave. For now I am excited to break out my tunics, leggings and riding boots for the fall. And look damn good wearing them.

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