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Meet J Aprileo of Comfy Fat: The Lifestyle Blogger Ungendering Plus Size Fashion
Written by: Alysse Dalessandro
The plus-size community is still likely to be an afterthought of mainstream fashion coverage. When we do see plus-size fashion in the media, it’s often still enforcing the gender binary of being either ultra-feminine or hyper-masculine, while ignoring that gender expression is a much broader spectrum than simply male or female. That’s why the work of J Aprileo is so important. J’s blog, Comfy Fat, chronicles their experience as a size 28/30 non-binary person navigating the world of fashion, travel and accessibility from a place that is both vulnerable and authentic.
J (who uses they/them pronouns) describes their style as queer, masculine and comfy. They are fine identifying as plus-size but feel most empowered by the word “fat” as a descriptor. J says their gender identity does contribute to their style but stresses that being non-binary does not mean dressing exclusively masculine or androgynous.
“It’s all about what makes you feel most authentically yourself,” says J. “So, I feel most authentically myself, as a non-binary babe and with minimal dysphoria, when I present my style in a more masculine sense.”
When it comes to shopping, J shops exclusively online but not by choice. Stores don’t carry options in their size so they often find themselves forced to playing the guessing game online. This is further complicated by being 5’2” and shopping for certain items at both men’s (shirts/jackets) and women’s (pants/shorts) retailers.
J’s experience is a strong call to action to the few brands that do offer gender neutral options: make options that are less masculine and available in sizes beyond an XL. J also highlights the hypocrisy of queer fashion brands not including larger-bodied folks.
“Queer fashion is so deeply rooted in activism,” says J. “Queer creators put out product intending on being bold, making a difference and giving access to marginalized people. I firmly believe that if your activism isn’t inclusive of or accessible to fat folks, it is not revolutionary.”
Through sharing their experience being on the fringe of fashion, J highlights how far we still have to go to make fashion truly inclusive for all.