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Wearing crop tops doesn’t empower me as a plus-size woman

With the recent empowerment of plus-size women coming to the forefront during the #rockthecrop movement, I felt a stirring inside me.

If you aren’t familiar, there was a blurb in O, The Oprah Magazine, that said that only women with flat stomachs should wear crop tops. The web went wild and with due reason. It’s 2015, have magazines not learned anything? The fashion “rules” like this have long been buried and women of all shapes, sizes and ages are doing and wearing what they want. My colleagues stampeded to their laptops and furiously rebutted the magazine’s statement. “Anyone can wear a crop top. We’ll show you!”

It isn’t that I disagree with women wearing crop tops. I firmly believe that one should wear what one wants. Plus-size women and all women should be able to show whatever body parts they want to. I am all for a body positive revolution, but there are just certain things that aren’t for me. It’s almost like being a member of an organized religion; there are just certain doctrines that aren’t my vibe. That said, I whole-heartedly support those who choose to wear crop tops.

More: Why I won’t teach my kids the word ‘fat’

And as a confident representative for curvy women everywhere, shouldn’t I be first in line to champion a trend like crop tops and loving your body and wearing what you want? I am! But when it comes to pushing the envelope with trends that I’ve long avoided, I am slow to change. This struggle proved real as my counterparts posted picture after picture baring their belly skin. I dug through my archives and found one. Victory! No skin shows, but I am wearing a crop top in it. I posted the picture on my Instagram in solidarity with my Rubenesque sisters.

Plus size fashion mogul wearing crop top

Then, in an exercise in what I thought was extreme confidence, I took a chance on a crop top and let me tell you, standing up… I looked amazing. I loved the look I had put together and felt fab, but this was before an hour-long drive to my event where my crop top had rolled up to my underwire exposing my entire belly to every car on the highway. This was not comfortable or empowering; it was incredibly uncomfortable and made me pray that the event I was heading to was standing room only. I felt worried and was unhappy with my choice.

Once I got to the event, it was standing room only and I walked confidently without tugging on my crop too much. I was wearing a crop top, in public, and I was OK! Memories of rules from growing up flooded my mind, but I carried on and held my head high. I chose this outfit and I am proud of my choice. It was a true challenge for me and I am glad I did it.

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But what I learned from my little experiment is that when my curvy counterparts are excessively praising a trend, I don’t have to jump on the bandwagon. I have the choice to not #rockthecrop. Crop tops aren’t for me and that doesn’t make me a body shamer or even dull my confidence; it may just mean I am over 30 and OK with covering up my stretch marks and belly fat. I don’t have to feel empowered by the same things that make other tastemakers in my world empowered. I get to be comfortable in my own skin, and that doesn’t have to mean literally showing my skin.

Has there ever been a trend you’ve been shy to embrace? How did you handle it?

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