Was listening to Simon Doonan’s interview with Renee Montagne this morning, discussing the discussion (how meta!) of Michelle Obama’s inauguration gown. I’m saying she’ll probably go with Narciso Rodriguez –as she did on election night– or Oscar de la Renta (although I wouldn’t rule out Armani or Reem Acra) and it’ll be lovely and tasteful and probably just interesting enough to be, well, interesting without evoking liberal guilt or alienating the folks in Ioway.
Honestly, I don’t care. What I do care about is this little tidbit from Doonan.
“I remember years ago I interviewed Hardy Amies who designed for the Queen of England. He gave the Queen of England her iconic look, that sort of frumpy dress with the matching coat and the hat and the purse. And I said to him ‘How did you come up with this iconic look for the Queen?’ which was for many years criticized, how she could look chic-er if she let Parisian designers design her and blah blah blah.Hardy Amies looked at me through glasses with great withering contempt.
He said ‘Young man, the Queen of England must always appear to be friendly and appealing, and if she were to look chic she would become unfriendly and unappealing because there is an unkindness to chic.‘”
And then it hit me.
Is THAT why so many big girls avoid chic? Because they want to look friendly?
It’s undeniable. There is something unapproachable, something extremely, unapologetically “F*** You” about being truly chic.
I mean it makes sense. So many women, especially women who were chubby as girls, have this compulsion to appear friendly and nice at all times. Non-threatening. As if it’s our duty to make up for the sin of fatness by being extra-pleasant and extra-unassuming so maybe people will like us. Avoiding chicness is a way to say “yes, I know my place. I won’t get above my station.”
I think the gift of being a singularly unpleasant child –which, make no mistake, I was– was that I knew people weren’t going to like me. Outré or meek, the result would be the same, and outré was much more fun. Eventually I became a halfway decent person (only just) but I still don’t see the need for “dressing friendly.”
Do you know how I let people know I’m friendly? By being friendly. Not by being the grown damn woman in a Pooh sweatshirt and novelty socks.
So my question today is a little tough-love to the big girl who knows she doesn’t dress her best. It’s not a place for excuses (it’s not my lifestyle/I have kids/I’m broke) but an honest question and maybe a chance for some self-evaluation.
Today Plumcake wants to know:
Hey! You un-chic dressers! What are you afraid of?