How to Wear

Fat girl’s guide to having fun with fashion

The Spy star didn’t want to dress like a "hooker or a grandmother". So she got busy

  • Actor, comic and star of Spy, Melissa McCarthy describes pretty much every plus-sized woman’s choices at a clothes store, in this interview with Refinery29: “It was always kind of like a grandmother or a 14-year-old hooker-type look, and I just thought, ‘Where are the clothes for me?’” McCarthy spied a business idea that has proved surprisingly hard to crack for most designers: fashion for the fat girl.

    Flustered by the challenge of designing for the larger woman, most designers just shroud her in black, like they’re trying to edit her out of the picture, or they rely too much on cleavage to be workplace-friendly. McCarthy’s label Seven7 doesn’t shy away from big prints and flirty fabrics, and there’s a joyousness to the whole debut line, which will retail in American department stores including Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

    Flip through for Melissa McCarthy’s rules on having fun in the fat girl section

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  • Empire line FTW. It’s the reason the anarkali will never go out of circulation in India: tops that cinch under your bust and then flare out—even if very subtly—make you feel sexy and let you eat pizza for lunch.

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  • Commit to the sleeve. Long sleeves don’t have to be apologetic: get dramatic with cuffs in contrasting colours. For more casual affairs, you can’t go wrong with three-fourths. 

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  • High-waisted two-button jeans. McCarthy claims to have cracked code blue. “I was really reluctant to go into so much denim stuff. It never fits great, and they’re not that comfortable. By the end of the day, my knees and the seat of my pants are baggy, and I want to go home and rip them off. But [making them] changed the way I feel about it — I made them a little higher, I have a second button so they don’t push on a weird pressure point. The fabric doesn’t sag. I’m weirdly in jeans like four days a week now. I get what the fuss is about.”

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  • Heels are hell on your arches? No problem, layers are another way to create the illusion of height. Bonus: a fringed cardigan sweater in a nice gets-along-with-everything camel colour can lift even the most basic outfit. 

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  • Red lips, pencil skirt, high-necked blouse. You could run the world wearing this.

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  • Prints please! Don’t wear all-black, don’t blend in, don’t minimise. This is your body, you don’t need anyone’s permission to have some fun with it.

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