Body positive: 9 women wearing what they want and pushing back against harmful advice.

"That's not very flattering."

It's a phrase so many women are used to reading, hearing, and even thinking when it comes to the ways we dress, style our hair, wear (or don't wear) makeup, and a whole lot more.

Just for fun, I googled the words "fashion magazine advice: flatter," and here were the top six results:


  1. How to Dress 10 Pounds Thinner
  2. Fashion for Petite Women: Top 5 List of Styles for You
  3. How to Dress a Short Torso
  4. Fashion Tips For Body Types
  5. Be Fashionable After 60: Clothing Advice for Older Women
  6. Tips to Flatter Your Size 14 Figure

Sigh.

Mallorie Dunn is pretty much over women being told what they "should" and "should not" wear.

She's a fashion designer and the woman behind the clothing brand SmartGlamour. Her clothing company, which launched almost two years ago, is about more than just clothes — way more.

"SmartGlamour is a body positive clothing line of customizable, ethically made pieces from XXS to 6X and beyond," Dunn tells me in an email interview. "We promote self acceptance and empowerment for women!"

How?

"We use models (experienced and not) of every size, shape, age, height, weight, ethnicity, ability, and identity to wear our clothing, and we never Photoshop them."

In one of her blog posts, Dunn wrote about the word "flattering" and "society's contextual definition of it."

All photos provided by Mallorie Dunn. Shared with permission.

The responses she got inspired her to push back against the negative messages women hear all too often by launching a social media campaign about what "flattering" really means.

In her blog post, Dunn asked women to share their experiences of when someone else decided they knew more about the women's bodies than the women knew themselves.

"So many responses rolled in!" Dunn says.

The blog post and the responses to it were the inspiration Dunn's latest project, #ImFlattered, in which she pulled together a diverse group of women and designed custom pieces from SmartGlamour's collection to highlight — rather than hide — the things people told them were "unflattering" to their body types.

"The process was cathartic, joyful, and empowering for all!" she says.

Here are nine of the models pushing back against unwanted advice they were given about how to dress in a "flattering" way and totally rocking Dunn's designs.

Check them out!

1. Marcy

"Big girls shouldn't wear prints."

2. Wendy

"Sorry to tell you, but don't you think that's a bit too tight and short for a woman your age!!!"

3. Mikaela

"Put the 'girls' away!"

4. Celia

"Your shoulders are too broad to wear halter tops."

5. Mara

"You're too old to go sleeveless!!"

6. Linni

"Hide your arms. They're a problem."

7. Liz

"Nobody wants to look at that."

8. Bethany

"You're too widefor sparkles."

9. Nikki

"You should only show your stomach when you have the body for it."


I'd say confidence is the most flattering look of all.

And the women in this campaign have it.

"Women are constantly told to be smaller, younger, thinner, whiter, quieter. This campaign is all about allowing women to be exactly who they are and want to be — and celebrating it!" Dunn says. "I am hoping to not only prove the 'experts' wrong about their 'advice' but also to firmly plant the message that your happiness, presentation, worth, beauty, and confidence are up to you and you alone."

Can I get an amen?!

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

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Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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