Becoming yourself is really hard and confusing. And it’s a process. I’ve had my share of hard. And I’ve had my share of confusion. It has sucked me dry, ready only to be refilled with a sense of who I am – as deserving and different as anyone I share this planet with.

My gender, the size of my waist or breasts or hips or arms or thighs, the colour of my skin, the presence or absence or length of my hair – on my body or head, the symmetry of my nose or teeth, have no bearing on how good I look or feel, one very possibly determining the other.

Clients come to me in all shapes and sizes. They also come with a lot of insecurities and diffidence. I dress them up to defeat those.

This afternoon, Cynthia walked into my boutique to browse through a couple of outfit samples. Crestfallen and embarrassed, she moaned, “I’m fat. I’m never going to carry off any of these trends. I mean look at this jumpsuit! I love it. But it’s obviously designed for a woman half my size!”

“Oh come on Cynthia! Thin is not the rent you pay to exist in the world. You want to wear a jumpsuit and I can put you in one. You’ll rock it when you wear it because we’ll work with the look. All trends are for all bodies. You just have to be sure you want to pull it off! That’s all!”, I insisted.

“There’s just too many ‘shamers’ around Kari. And fat people are their favourite targets! I’ve never had the courage to step out in anything besides trousers and a top!”

“So, make that jump! Into a suit. Haters gonna hate, Cynthia. You can’t let them keep you from wearing what you love. Fat is really not the worst thing a human being can be. It’s not worse at all. This is your body. And it’s amazing. And you can dress it however you want. It’s my job to ensure it’s chic and elegant and classy. So, now if you’ll let me…I’ll pull out some accessories?”

Cynthia was still hesitant. I turned to piece together an ensemble for her in any case. Just then, Pari rushed in, exclaiming, “Kari! I bumped into an annoying aunt a few blocks away and the first thing she said to me was, ‘Pari, you’re looking healthy!’ What the hell is ‘healthy’?! Just say fat, you pavement superintendent! Am I even going to get into that outfit now?”

She was here for a fitting. Her jumpsuit for a brunch party she has to attend was all set.

“Oh it’ll fit you fine. You look beautiful. Ignore that pesky aunt of yours!”, I fumed.

Pari. Strong, lean, athletic and pretty Pari gets called fat by a big mouthed aunt on the street. How long did it take her to pass her supreme judgment? 2 seconds? Well Pari’s probably going to be fussing over her weight for the next two weeks. Until she feels a little lighter.

Cynthia turned to her, befuddled, “Wait a minute, you got called fat?! Kari, what’re they going to say to me?!”

“Oh they’ll say things either way!”, I shot back, “The question is, does what they say matter? If yes, why? Look! You’re going to be told off by someone or the other irrespective of what you do, wear, feel; how you look and seem. That can’t and shouldn’t stop you from wearing your jumpsuit.”

“Yeah!,”, cried a revived Pari, “You wear what you want. The body shaming army has one mission: Hate till you destroy all self-esteem. They think it’s their birthright to pass judgment; be scornful; to ridicule. We can’t let them win!”

She then tried on her blue multi jumpsuit. The changing hues of the sky looked so refreshing on her. And she fit splendidly into it.

A wind of change and Cynthia asks for a pink one. It’ll be flowy and comfy, paired with a body chain, casual sandals and chunky bracelets. I’ll give her the option to throw a flannel shirt over it too.

“Shamers” be damned! Cynthia will have her jumpsuit. And she’ll own it!



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