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A Red Gingham Dress and Eating in Public

Wearing  ✶   ASOS Curve red gingham dress {also available in the main range and maternity}  ✶  Jeepers Peepers pink round sunglasses  ✶  Last summer’s d’orsay flats {similar in wide widths here and also here}  ✶  Brit Stitch Half Pint red leather satchel  ✶  With Lavender and Lace blush pink velvet hair bow {similar here

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A few things occurred to me the day I wore my new red gingham dress to go to a cute cafe and indulge in cappuccinos and chocolate cake.

One: You can never be too old for a good hair bow. Especially if it is velvet. I’m wearing a hair bow at 32 and I’ll wear one at 64.

Two: Red and pink is a dream combination for all things cute, romantic and retro. You can’t go overboard with red and pink because it’s already there. You can only make it greater and better. I went the classic route with this ASOS Curve red gingham dress and added touches of pink and more red everywhere else. (Red gingham for summer, how original etc.!)

Three: This dress is massive. I mean I love massive but this is too big even for my preferences. I generally wear a 18-20 at ASOS, this is a Curve 20. I had to get this dress hemmed by about 3 inches so it wasn’t swamping me. If you have your eye on this piece, sizing down would probably be a good idea.

And four: I’m a ridiculously dressed fatty eating chocolate cake all by myself at a cafe while my photographer snaps photos of this event. This is what living my best life looks like. And I don’t mean that in a self deprecating way. Outfits that verge on the ridiculous are my jam. Cake is my favourite food of all time. When the two meet, I’m in heaven. As a fat person, however, I’ve had my share of anxieties about eating in public. It’s hard to enjoy your food when you can feel the scrutiny every time you take a bite.

It’s taken me a great deal of time, above anything else, to feel comfortable with and actually enjoy eating in public. Apart from that, here’s what also helped: having supportive friends with whom I could go out for a meal without being judged for my food choices. This is so very important. For women, especially, diet talk at the table is pretty much inescapable. But don’t give in to the pressure to participate! Let your friends and family know why you aren’t comfortable going out to dinner with them. And if you don’t have anyone you’re comfortable eating with, go out for a meal on your own. This might sound terrifying thanks to all the lonely fatty tropes but it really is surprisingly liberating.

Several years ago when I was at University in the UK I got into the habit of taking myself out to dinner maybe once a month. Being my hermity self, I didn’t really know anyone there, so I’d just go out on my own. Browse the bookstores, have a walk around town, get myself a bite to eat. And those are some of my fondest memories from that time - spending a peaceful few hours by myself in the company of good food and a good book.

If you’re fat, there’s a certain species of person that’ll always judge you no matter whether you’re eating salad or cake. They judge us for daring to exist in their field of vision - there’s no winning with this lot. Rather, the only way to win is by ignoring their garbage opinions and living your best life anyway. Revenge is a life well-lived, so eat the salad and the cake with joy!

All photos by Taha Zaidi.