Dear Tim Gunn, Does It REALLY Matter What Size Her Dress Is?

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Dear Mr. Gunn,

May I call you Tim?  You can call me Audrey.   I figure the less formal we are, the better chance I have of being able to convince you that there is a real person underneath the additional 200lbs I'm carrying, and worry less about what double-digit dress size I am.

Before we move any further though, please know that I'm not comfortable at all wearing my customized fat dress around.  Up until recently there were 150 additional pounds of flesh to be heaved here and there.  It's slow going, but the point is,  it's going going and soon to be gone!   While I am one of the many morbidly obese that you see walking around,  I'm not one of these ladies who choose to flaunt my flesh so-to-speak.   I'm starting to believe that the real beauty is what's inside and how I see myself.  I don't believe there's anything beautiful about being obese.  However, I also don't believe it's what people should focus on when meeting me for the first time, or basing their initial reaction to seeing me, on.   I don't believe it's OK that they gasp in shock and horror when imagining what size I wear.  Alas, they do.   The focus is the number . . . whether it's my weight or my dress size.

So, Tim, I happened to come across a couple of comments you recently made about Kirstie Alley's dress size.   Can we take a moment just to laud Kirstie's accomplishment of achieving a healthier weight?  Can we say a little prayer that this time she's able to keep it off and has dealt with whatever demons she was battling that caused her to balloon to an unhealthy weight and then yo-yo back and forth?   Maybe we can just sit here for a minute and admire the fact that for a 60 year old woman, she looks pretty damned amazing?   Actually let's forget the fact that she's 60, it's just another number! 

Kirstie Alley looks spectacular!

kirstie alley

Now that we've established in the affirmative that Kirstie looks insanely great, let's backtrack a little to what prompted me to get up on my [industrially reinforced] soapbox and direct my thoughts your way.

Back in the October 3rd issue of  the People Magazine interview with Kirstie Alley, she claimed to now be in a size 6 dress.  You argued that she probably wasn't actually a size 6, yet closer to an 8 or a 10.  Then after making a cutting comment like that, probably realizing you sounded like a condescending superficial fashionista, you added that you thought she "looked fabulous!"   You went on to state, "People are too size conscious."  And then followed it up with another zinger, "More importantly, how do you look in your clothes?"

Why did you feel it necessary to even argue Kirstie Alley's claims about what size she wears?   You live in world dominated by men and women who don't wear realistically sized clothing anyway!   Your world consists of women like this, and then labeling it 'haute couture' . . .

skinny model

While this might be the norm in your world, in the world I live in, I can't figure out whether she's got a role in a movie about third world starvation, or if the outfit she's modeling is being marketed to anyone larger than a premature infant?  Only a man in your world would make a comment like the one you did about Kirstie Alley's dress size and thenmention how fantastic she looks! 

Your world reinforces the notion  (a notion that millions of pre-teens and teenagers the world over think is the ultimate desire)  that the number on the label is the most important thing, only then followed by how great someone looks, and of course how great they look is a direct result of that number. 

Who cares what Kirstie Alley's actual dress size is?   For that matter,  you, more than anyone should know that the American women's sizing system is skewed beyond belief.   Your world is focused on fashion that the average American woman could not even get one leg into, let alone her whole body.    A Costume National, Dries Van Noten, or Alexander McQueen creation would not be marketable to the average American woman nor is it designed to.  Perhaps that's part of the problem.  A problem which you no doubt condone when you insist on focusing on a woman's size first, rather than who she actually is, inside that size.   

Incidentally, the three designers I picked above, would be who I'd choose to outfit me, if I were to ever get back down to my pre-pubescent weight.   While that's a pipe dream, and one I don't even harbor wishing for, there are millions of girls and women the world over, who do.   When you think about it, and consider what they're doing to themselves in the name of attaining that ideal, it's heartbreaking.

Going back to your comment, "People are too size conscious,"  let's ponder for a moment why that might be?   Could it perhaps be that the first thing out of your mouth when responding to Kirstie Alley's claims about her current size, were to doubt it?   Could it possibly have anything to do with some of the earlier points I mentioned?   You consistently reinforce the superficial and then condone the notion that the number matters first and foremost.  

Before we go any further, I did see your little guest stint on NBC's The Biggest Loser and for a brief moment was lulled into believing that maybe you weren't as superficial as you appear.   Then you went and made the pompous and patronizing remarks about Kirstie Alley's dress size and officially removed all doubt from my mind that you are in fact, as superficial as I've believed you to be.

Isn't it bad enough that anyone who isn't a perfectly proportioned woman, but who happens to be overweight, or obese, is relegated to fashion that has all the comfort and style of... oh wait, it's impossible to use the words "comfort and style" when describing plus-sized clothing because they don't exist!   Melissa McCarthy was right when she recently said, "Trying to find stuff that's still fashion-forward in my size is damn near impossible. It's either for like a 98-year-old woman or a 14-year-old hooker, and there is nothing in the middle."

I'm hopeful that even though I'm finally getting a handle on my personal demons - the things that led me to gain an outrageous amount of weight,  that I won't always be dependent on jeans that make me look like I have Redwood tree stumps for legs,  blouses that don't fit my proportions, bras that have so much wire in them I could probably fence my entire backyard with it, and dresses that make me look . . . well, every bit as fat as I am . . .

Image of me from July 2010 that was initially submitted with my Biggest Loser application process, that got me in the door and had that ball rolling...I swore I would never ever post this, but what have I got to lose?

I'm also hopeful that one day I'll live in world that isn't dominated by arrogant, judgmental, and dismissive individuals like you that contribute towards making the obese, or those that aren't model-perfect,  feel less-than because we are more-than what you consider ideal.

The focus of your comments to Kirstie Alley were dismissive.   Only after you made your point did you bother mentioning how breathtaking she looked.  Why couldn't you have just begun and then ended your comments with the positive rather than debating and emphasizing her size? 

Oh, that's right, because in your world, size is everything.   Size is the Diety that rules the fashion world. 

In my world, health is everything and I'll be damned if I'm going to let people like you make me feel like I'm unworthy because I'm not your version of idyllic.

Tim, if you  (or anyone else for that matter) still don't get it, then please feel free to kiss my plus-sized ass.  

**********

Original post can be found at my personal blog, Barking Mad!

 

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