Ahhh, Ed Sheeran. He melts my heart with his beautiful lyrics and lush melodies. The fact that he reminds me of my brother makes me love him even more. I heard his two long-awaited new songs for the first time this week and immediately fell head over heels, as I do with all of his music.
His new release ‘Shape Of You’ is a catchy little number. One of the lyrics repeated in the song is ‘I’m in love with the shape of you’, and I found myself wondering, could you love a zigzag Ed? Because that’s what shape I am.
If you google ‘female body types’ you’ll find several standard descriptions, such as ‘apple’, ‘hourglass’ or ‘pear’. There are literally hundreds of sites advising which styles to avoid, the outfits that will flatter you most, and which items you need to remove from your wardrobe and burn.
These sites cover do’s and dont’s for conventional body types, but they haven’t quite ventured into the tricky realms of dressing a physical deformity. So, helpful as Helpy Helperton, the worlds most helpful Norwegian, I decided to do a spot of research on t’internet to locate some fashion guidelines for the zigzag body shape.
Here are some of the golden nuggets that I unearthed on a website for scoliosis patients:
Now, any self-respecting female knows that this is terrible advice. If you go out for dinner in a dress that you cannot eat in, and also makes you struggle for breath, the chances are you look fabulous. Most zigzags spend our teenage years strapped into some kind of back brace, or encased in a plaster cast prison. We laugh in the face of a binding frock. Dressing comfortably is for pansies.
If I was sceptical before, I’m now positively perturbed. They want us in baggy clothes AND flats? What’s next, a make up ban?
I can feel a bit frumpy at the best of times with my thick waist and short torso. Lengthening my legs with some killer heels is the only fun I get. I don’t know much about fashion, but I do know that a life in flats will make you vair vair sad. Put some nice heels on and cheer yourself up.
Pair a tunic with leggings
Well…I don’t even know where to start with this. A tunic? Aren’t they from the olden days? The website states that ‘a long, loose tunic over stretchy pants provides the ultimate comfort for scoliosis patients.’ This may be true, but never has a sentence been less glamourous. Must the tunic be long and loose? I can give it a try but I’m pretty sure I’ll look like a sack of potatoes.
Now we’re talking! I can definitely get excited about accessorising. Maybe they’ve suggested a lovely big pair of hoops to draw attention to your face. Or a chunky necklace that really brings out your cleavage.
Alas, no. They’ve let us down again. Apparently ‘carrying a large bag can help balance out your hips, and a scarf can assist with masking uneven shoulders.’ So now I need to carry a bloody great big bag around with me? The only large bag I have in the house is a bag for life, so that’ll have to do.
As for the scarf, I generally only wear them outside, in winter, like the rest of the population. If I’m going to disguise my wonky shoulders I’ll need to adapt to wearing a scarf indoors, which will be a bit inconvenient, but then I’ll save on my heating bill, so swings and roundabouts.
They start out well here. Jackets and blazers are mentioned which is a fashion tip I think works well for the zigzag body type. Unfortunately, they let themselves down immediately after with the baffling suggestion, ‘For hot days, try a lightweight vest over a tank top.’
I’m sorry, is this 1970? I’m genuinely perplexed, not only by the mention of a tank top, but that a vest should go over it. How would that work exactly? I’m pretty sure my family would consider this some kind of retro cry for help and put me in a home.
It would appear that relatable fashion tips for my body shape are few and far between. I’m sure they mean well, but it actually made me sad that some of the advice given to people with scoliosis is to ‘disguise’ or ‘mask’ our bodies, as if we should be ashamed of them. There are young people out there who are vulnerable and already feel like they don’t fit in. Telling them to hide themselves is the last thing we should be doing. You’re all perfect to me my little zigzags, don’t you dare be ashamed. Embrace the way you look and wear whatever makes you happy.
In your honour, I’ve decided to take all the flat shoes, baggy clothes, tunics and tank tops I can lay my hands on and have myself a nice, unfashionable bonfire. And I’m going to dance around it for you (in heels).