“I am fat but I know how to rock my style” – Soumyasree

Posted: July 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
Black Resham-Gheecha from Baanshi by Aditi Sircar

Black Resham-Gheecha from Baanshi by Aditi Sircar

Fashion is not something I have ever written about in this blog but today I write about someone who’s constantly making a fashion statement rising above the negative comments and criticism that often come her way.

Soumyasree Chakraborty, a content writer by profession, has proved that to look good you don’t need to bow down to archaic social perceptions – the slim and fair kinds – all you need is oodles of confidence and a will to dress up.

What makes Soumyasree’s sartorial journey special is that she didn’t let other people’s perception of her body image come in the way of her fashion aspirations. When most of us are spending time on what suits us and what doesn’t and we are discussing crash diets to slim down in a jiffy for special occasions, Soumyasree is collecting accessories, clutches and shoes to ensure that she is impeccably turned out and in the rest of the time she is tossing up her favourite dishes (she is an amazing cook).

It’s because of this attitude of her’s and her lovely dress sense (each blouse of her’s is a fashion statement in itself) that she is in this post today.

PS : When I asked her if I can write “fat” in the headline or does she want me to write “plump”, her quick reply was, “fat” is just fine with me. I guess this attitude is what defines her.

She’s penned down her own thoughts for this blog. Over to Soumyasree:

When I discovered that Westside offers Plus Size clothing both in Indian and Western options, I was too excited and bought a couple of tops. This one is a single piece with a layered  look, teamed with an ankle-length jeans. To break the monotones, the turquoise necklace seemed to be a savior -- a gift from brother-in-law who got it from Darjeeling.

When I discovered that Westside offers Plus Size clothing both in Indian and Western options, I was too excited and bought a couple of tops. This one is a single piece with a layered look, teamed with an ankle-length jeans. To break the monochrome, the turquoise necklace is the saviour — a gift from brother-in-law who got it from Darjeeling.

When I was three years old the helper of my school bus named me “motu”.

When I was in my early teens a self proclaimed neighborhood macho man named me “moti bahenji”.

When I was 24, I got to try on western wear on myself for the first time.

Now that I am in my 30s I got featured in a Facebook page that has about 6500 followers, as cover girl to celebrate “women in all shapes, all forms everywhere in the world.”

As you can see, my sartorial journey has been an interesting one indeed! As I was growing up, it was a very natural thing for me to accept that whatever I would like in a shop, while shopping, would not come in my size; and this applied (and still does) to shoes as well. Sigh!

I was made to believe flab had to be covered under ill-fitting clothes

Whatever came in my size were for people decades older to me. So from a very young age I had to take to clothing that were not “in trend” for people my age. Added to that was the fact that my parents (and later on my in-laws) are pretty conservative in their approach. I was given an impression that flab was meant to be all covered up under loose (read: ill-fitted) clothing, and I started to believe in it. So much so, that when I set foot in the US, post marriage, I was sent off with a suitcase full of sarees and salwar suits to nearly sub-zero temperature, and I did not utter a word of protest.

So you see my experiments with clothing started out of necessity. I urgently needed to replenish my wardrobe with attires that would help me survive in that weather. By that time the husband too had warmed up a little with his new bride and suggested, “Why don’t you look for attires that would give you a shape instead of making you look dressed up in a sack?”

“What?” I exclaimed. “Don’t you know those stylish trendy stuff look good only on certain types of bodies? Flab should always be kept under cover.” But he eventually won. I started to explore options and eventually had a blast experimenting.

The US trip was the game changer

My husband is someone who could live in jeans all his life -- so matched up to him with my jeans and they say black is slimming, so is a natural favorite. Induced some color with beads from Nakshaa by Rijula Duttaroy. Belle shoes from Clarks.

My husband Sougata is someone, who could live in jeans all his life. So matched up to him with my jeans and they say black is slimming, so is a natural favorite. Induced some color with beads from Nakshaa by Rijula Duttaroy. Belle shoes from Clarks.

Being in the US, that houses a huge number of plus size people, made sure that there was an inventory of bigger sized clothing available for me to experiment with. Right from Walmart to J.C.Penny, from Macy’s to Saks Fifth Avenue – all had special sections for bigger women. Apart from that were brands like Lane Bryant and IGIGI that catered especially to larger women. I felt like a kid in a candy store. What I liked was finally available in my size. It made me aspire to transform how the world views beauty and fashion.

I have to work doubly hard to prove that plus-sized people can have a presence

Soon it became a favorite pet project of mine. Especially because being a plus size woman I have to work doubly hard to prove that we plus size women can have a nice presence too. You could be sexy, stylish, sophisticated in whatever shape and size you are in. The trick is not to hide the flab, but to accentuate the curves. The key is to find the right fit and apparels that would bring out the best in you and then accessorize properly to create a well coordinated ensemble. Once you start doing it, you shall start enjoying it too. It is like an art project; creating your own style board, each day, each time.

I completely ignore criticism which is not constructive

The more you experiment the more you’d discover what can bring out the best in you. Oh and you also have to learn to ignore criticisms that are not constructive in nature! I get it all the time! Especially since I love cooking and my Social Media feeds have photographs of my culinary experiments, people gleefully attribute my cooking to be the culprit that makes me obese. (As if, I cooked and ate at will when I was three years old, or thirteen, as a matter of fact.)

Then there are people who label me a narcissist for uploading my dressed-up pictures on my own timeline. (Get a life! It is my timeline – you always have the option to unfollow, unfriend or even block!)

But when you are happy the way you are, you become an expert in dodging anything that can mar your happiness. After all you get only so many years in one life, and you better fill them up with happiness and positivity!

Dyed Tussar with Cross Stitch Embroidery pink from Sanskriti by Lalia Duttagupta. Accessories include a matching clutch and a simple necklace.

Dyed Tussar with Cross Stitch Embroidery pink from Sanskriti by Lalia Duttagupta. Accessories include a matching clutch and a simple necklace and ring.

I have teamed bright colours and played with my hair. I salute weavers of Bengal in  a matka silk saree from Angachaya by Nisupta Bhattacharya.

I have teamed up bright colours and played with my hair. I salute weavers of Bengal in a matka silk saree from Angachaya by Nisupta Bhattacharya.

I dress up for each occasion

Layered dressing when done right looks good on plus-sized people. I also avoid tops that have snug necklines. Seen here in Jeans from Alto Moda (the Plus Size section of Pantaloons), Top is from San Francisco based plus size brand IGIGI. Jacket from Lane Bryant, a plus size American brand.

Layered dressing when done right looks good on plus-sized people. I also avoid tops that have snug necklines. Seen here in Jeans from Alto Moda (the Plus Size section of Pantaloons), Top is from San Francisco based plus size brand IGIGI. Jacket from Lane Bryant, a plus size American brand.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not someone who believes that only the West can churn out fashionable clothing. I am still equally comfortable in my sarees and salwar suits. It is just that I would no more wear them for say a pool party or for a picnic; just as I would not wear jeans to a family wedding or a traditional religious ceremony. In fact those who know me can swear by my obsession for sarees. But then that is another story altogether!

I am now settled in my skin

By the time we relocated back to India the plus size fashion scenario saw a little shift in gear, albeit a very slow one. Departmental stores like Pantaloons and Westside today host a separate section for plus sized women. There are brands like Mustard Fashions and Amydus that specialize in plus size clothing. Apart from that designers too have become less snooty about designing for bigger people – this gives you the option to get tailor made trendy clothing according to your taste and budget! No, the struggle isn’t over yet. People still stare if they see a plus sized woman wearing a Sundress or let’s say a pair of Capri or a pair of Bermuda. But as you feel settled in your skin, you shall start feeling happy about your experiments, and all the positivity would make you ignore the naysayers with grace and élan.

Handloom from Cupraa by Sarmishtha Som

Handloom from Cupraa by Sarmishtha Som

Batik on tussar from Angachaya by Nisupta Bhattacharya

Batik on tussar from Angachaya by Nisupta Bhattacharya

The highlight of this attire is the specially designed blouse.

The highlight of this attire is the specially designed blouse.

Anshu's Rongeen Collection by Pritha Mukherjee. Notice the Bengal special jamdani in the pallu. Necklace: Tantra by Meher Dasgupta. Bracelet: Nakshaa by Rijula Duttaroy

Anshu’s Rongeen Collection by Pritha Mukherjee. Notice the Bengal special jamdani in the pallu. Necklace: Tantra by Meher Dasgupta. Bracelet: Nakshaa by Rijula Duttaroy

A different take on the Bengali fave red and white saree. Saree and the unique blouse are both creations of Nextile by Suchismita Dasgupta. Jewelry: RuHH by Debarpita Sen

A different take on the Bengali fave red and white saree. Saree and the unique blouse are both creations of Nextile by Suchismita Dasgupta. Jewelry: RuHH by Debarpita Sen

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Comments
  1. Mohua Chstterji says:

    cngratulations Soumyasree,u r a courageous lady,feeling so proud of you,people r alwez thre to pass irrelevnt n bakwaas comments,I ve also faced the same prblem when I ws young,I didnt care too,its a kind of humiliation,and people njoy cracking filthy jokes,hats off to u,and yr attires r really great.

  2. Bobby Chakraborty says:

    Delightful read! Flabulous!!

  3. theonlysup says:

    brilliant stuff. amrita. so good to see your blog after a long time . im your huge fan from the day 1 i read your post .
    so w.r.t this blog again i liked it the way your friend showed her confidence. beauty is not just being slim , if we feel we are good looking, if we love the way we are , and happy about it then it makes a huge difference to our personality.
    great message conveyed
    cheers

  4. Thanks a lot for all the kind words and encouragement. Humbled. Thanks Amrita di.

  5. Gauri Jayaram says:

    Amrita / Soumyasree,

    This is like Dejavu !! I’m a plus sized woman and it seems like Soumyasree has penned down my thoughts, my fears, my questions and answered them too.
    I so completely agree with her, we need to break the stereotypes…. I also feel the men in our lives play a great role in boosting our confidence. Ss a teen i had stopped wearing westerns, it was only in my mid twenties that my then boyfriend (husband now) literally hand holded me to a store to buy a pair of jeans…..
    I love your attitude Soumyasree !! Great going girl !! All the best !!

  6. Taru says:

    Nice read. Love the accessories too!

  7. Kanchan says:

    Hi Soumyasree,

    My name is Kanchan and i have been in your shoes all throughout my life. I have tried loosing weight, had been successful but it all comes back after sometime. I have succumbed to emotional eating because of the criticism,comments,failure to keep the weight away. I love wearing sarees but i keep hearing from family that it won’t suit you, you have huge tummy and the usual gyaan that they give. I have joined sadee saree and #100 saree pact just because of my love for sarees but sadly i have nothing to contribute to them as i do not wear what i like. I fail because i have no courage to accept myself the way Iam and always keep cursing myself that why can’t i look like others, why do i have to be fat always? There are so many thoughts that keep pondering me but after reading this blog I thank you for putting it aptly for everyone who does not fit the non fat category. I know that there is someone who has felt the same way as i have on numerous occasions and can truly understand. Thank you. Love you for the motivation and encouragement.

  8. Gourab Neogi says:

    I have known the author in question since we both were teenagers in school and I can vouch for each and everything she has written. She may have been fat from her childhood (trust me, am fat too), but she always had an impeccable dressing sense and an amazing idea of colours. This made her stand out in each and every gathering and what she has so candidly portrayed here is her incredible journey to self-realization wherein she has nurtured her amazing confidence in making her figure and style a statement in itself. The Western World, especially the US of A has long woken up to the fact that only skinny and size-zero women do not look “cool”, and it is only such conservative and idiotic society such as ours which makes people think that being plump or fat is bad. Plus, we have all sorts of out-of-work doctors drilling this fact into people’s minds that if you are fat, you may die anytime of all sorts of diseases. Yes, that may be correct but you need to a complete couch-potato and mortally obese to be in that category. A woman (and a man too) – can be fat, so what! She can be charming, pretty, witty, intelligent, smart, attractive and a real gem of a person. Soumyasree here is a real example, and if you want more – there’s my wife Anasua as well! Lastly, thank you Soumyasree for writing such a nice article and also Amritadi for gifting us this wonderful platform to read and share it! All the very best to two of the best human beings I have the privilege, nay pleasure to count as my friends…..

  9. Anuradha says:

    Great inspiration Soumyasree.Love the fact that you’re wearing some of my favourite designers. While ive never been overweight in my life, as a forty something woman i do see my ever changing shape as a new opportunity to break away from my old style of dressing. Good to see the emphasis on accessories.

  10. Mimi says:

    Excellent write up ! Stay fit, never mind being fat.

  11. Medha says:

    Babes….you rock !!!!!!.just love your attitude and confidence

  12. rama says:

    You are beautiful, and that’s what matters.

  13. Samrajni Sengupta says:

    just love the attitude… thank you Amrita for such a lovely story.

  14. Debarati Singha says:

    Great write up Soumyashree…..quite inspiring and food for thought…..u truly rock…keep it up !!!

  15. Rashmi says:

    I applaud your attitude!

  16. Anita Jha says:

    Soumyasree
    Impressed by your confidence… What of Indian attire you look lovely in western outfits… Keep it up..👍🏻

  17. Janki Parwal says:

    A very evoking article.i appreciate your confidence in following the trends and fashions despite of so many hurdles.

  18. Prema says:

    I have been an ardent admirer of Soumyashree since I first saw her on SA. And believe me, I completely support her because I too am in the same boat. But I daresay I carry off sarees with a panache and style that always turns heads. Am likewise as comfortable in plus sized western wear and like to look well turned out at all times ! The key to such confidence is to believe in yourself and hold yourself high. There are always idiotic naysayers in society but I care a damn ! On the contrary, I’d cock a snook at them and say look at me…I rock ! So, Soumyashree a big hats off to ya gal ♡

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