The thing about being a full-time writer and domestic slave to too many children, is that it means the only work clothes you own are sweats and pyjamas. Which can be a problem when you get invited to fly to another city to do a book thing at your old university. Somehow, I didn’t think that a 20yr old high school sweatshirt and the Hot Man’s very comfy trackpants were going to go down very well at Victoria University. So what’s a fashion clueless and kinda overly luscious
fat woman to do?
Consult with the fashionista maestro for larger sized woman everywhere – Oprah.
According to the experts at the Oprah website, there are a few essentials when trying to look your bestest. The first is something like this.
(Why is it that the women who model these things are always skinny already anyway?)
1. A “body shaper.” Otherwise known as a fat-squeezing, stomach-sucking, air-defying, pain-inducing, hallucination-causing instrument of torture. If the experts are to be believed, then every skinny woman you’ve ever seen in Hollywood, is secretly wearing stuff like this underneath her skimpy, skin-revealing dress. (And all the loopy smiling and plastic waving they do must be caused by the shortage of blood flow to the brain.) Oh, and you must make sure that the body shaper helps your assets to defy gravity and raises them up to hi heaven. I quote from one pair of experts on YouTube, “It’s very important that a larger woman wear a well-fitted bra that really lifts ‘the girls’ up. The skinniest part of your body is directly underneath ‘the girls’ and so you need to accentuate it with a great boosty bra.” (My fashion research is teaching me new biological terminology. Who knew one’s assets were referred to in fashionable New York circles, as ‘the girls’? Not I.)
2. A very sleek black pencil skirt. Black of course. Because anyone with half a brain knows that black is a slimming colour. Indeed, for maximum slenderizing effect, one should wear all-black. Like Goths. Bats. And ravens. Vampires. (Real ones, not the sparkly variety.) And sky-scrapers.
3. High heels and sheer stockings. If you want to look sleeker and have a kind of vertical optical illusionary impact, then stunning heels are the way to go. You know, it makes people look up and down. As opposed to side ways…blobby blubbery tire sideways.
My exhaustive research dictated that I should combine all these things with a killer confident attitude and then I would be guaranteed to look NOTHING like myself at all. I would be transformed into this Goddess Author of Chic Elegance. And NOBODY would know that I was nervous. Freakin out. Or that I ate Doritos in between writing every paragraph of my book. And celebrated every new page with donuts.
So how did it go then? When I left my house that morning, I was
stupidly convinced sure that I looked like “The Shizz.” I strode thru Auckland Airport slaying people left and right with my glamourous shizz-ness. Our departure gate was really really really far away. By the time I got to my seat on the plane, my new shoes were a little uncomfortable. Sitting scrunched on those silly airplane seats that only Barbie dolls could be comfortable in was making my body shaper a little bit uncomfortable too. But I was a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance so it didn’t matter.
My Dad had come all the way from Samoa to go with me. ( And to make sure that I didn’t embarass the family by crying, fainting, vomiting or getting mad at anyone who dared to say bad things about my book.) We flew to Wellington. We walked a really really long way outside the airport to the taxi stand. We got to Victoria Univ three hours before the book party was supposed to begin. I had to carry bags. And a box of books. We sat in a cafe to relax over hot chocolate for a while. Which is when I began to realize that “body shapers” and “relaxing” don’t go together. I couldn’t breathe properly. I couldnt sit properly. I couldnt even eat a muffin properly dammnit, because my salubrious stomach was so squished. I started to get very anxious. Not about my book speech. But about whether or not pieces of my innards were going to start seeping out my ears.
It was time to walk up the hill and up loads and loads and loads of stairs to the Univ library. I realized that buying a new pair of black high heeled ankle boots THE DAY BEFORE I had to wear them for seven hours straight – was a really dumb thing to do. Every step felt like I was shoving my feet into jagged rusty herring cans. And in spite of the rain and the fog and the Wellington wind, I was getting really sweaty. And out of breath. And I remembered why I was a skinny lissome thing when I was a student at Victoria Univ. Because of all those *@^#&$% hills and stairs everywhere. By the time we got the library, I was gasping for air. Which is very difficult to do when one is squeezed into a steamroller squish-shaper garment. There was imaginary blood seeping out of my stupid shoes.
Which is when I decided to accept the facts. I’m NOT a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance. I’m just me. The fat chick who wears sweats and pyjamas all day. So what did I do?
I went to the ladies’ room and stripped off the body shaper. Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. The sweet relief as air reacquainted itself with my lungs. As fat molecules dispersed and did a happy dance.
Back in the lobby, I took off the shoes. Aaaaaaaahhhhhh. Feet rejoiced. Crushed toes uncurled and realigned.
My Dad frowned. “I don’t think you should take your shoes off. Your mother wouldn’t like it.”
But I was beyond caring. Even the threat of my Vogue magazine mother’s disapproval did not faze me. By the time Telesa readers had arrived and the panel discussion had well and truly begun – I was barefoot, shapeless, sloppity and slouchy.
I had a blast. Even though I wasn’t a Goddess Author of Chic Elegance.The Telesa book panellists were witty, funny, incisive and insightful. The discussion and questions from the audience were interesting and enjoyable. Meeting with readers afterwards was the highlight. The Pacific Studies organizing team did an amazing job. Thank you all so much!
My next book trip is to Brisbane at the end of April. There’s a very real possibility that I will wear sweats. Or pyjamas.
Strategical cropping of the photo so you can’t see the shoe-less evidence…