Out of Shape

Why is it so tricky and unpleasant to find clothes that fit properly? How has pop culture taught us to size ourselves up? And how does the clothing of the past help us get dressed today?

I explore these questions and more in Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit, a book of literary non-fiction exploring the histories and cultures of clothing fit and size. Contracted to Affirm Press, it's published in June 2013.

Out of Shape seeks to cut through the often confused discussions in the Australian and international media over whether we’re in an ‘obesity crisis’; issues of body image and self-esteem; suspicions of exclusionary fashion marketing tactics; and the contemporary passion for all things ‘vintage’ and ‘retro’.

Framed as a lively, accessible work of investigative journalism, Out of Shape is geared to a general audience who don’t necessarily identify as fashion-conscious, and who struggle to feel good about buying and wearing clothes. It represents a unique and exciting investigation into a daily practice everyone participates in, which has a fascinating, sometimes bizarre relationship to commerce and culture.

"Illuminating, fascinating and utterly necessary" – Benjamin Law

"Original, witty and thought-provoking…you'll never look at a rack of clothes the same way again." – Monica Dux

"A lively and personal waltz through the history and culture of clothing size and fit … illuminating and enjoyable." – Portia Lindsay, Books+Publishing

"This is exactly the type of writing that I love – intellectually charged, feminist and smart." – Jessica Au, Readings

"A smart, meticulous and well-researched examination of clothes and society. It is a book that will inspire readers to think about their own relationship with what they wear" – Kylie Mason, Newtown Review of Books

"Out of Shape has slapped me in the face. Fashion doesn't mean just talking about the way things look. What about how things feel? … Mel slices up the broad topic of 'fashion and fit' with anecdotes, research and insight." – Marissa Shirbin, Three Thousand

"Smart, sassy and honest … a timely plea for acceptance of idiosyncrasy and individual flair over narrow and mindless assumptions about the body beautiful." – Fiona Capp, The Age/Sydney Morning Herald

"Out of Shape offers a fresh angle on an old topic, and Campbell has the smarts, the pop culture knowledge, the literary nous, the wit and the counterbalancing gravitas to set herself apart" – Stephanie Convery, Overland

"A fitting book for anyone who wants an intelligent, witty insight into the fashion industry without the ‘on trend’ and ‘directional’ speak." – Bridie McAlister, Time Out Melbourne

"Her direct, personable style puts together interviews, observations and personal experiences that open a whole new wardrobe." – Helene Sobolewski, Adelaide Advertiser

"The research is fastidious, the analysis cogent, the tone incisive and witty … the relationship between these bigger industrial and cultural histories and our own love–hate relationships with clothes becomes strikingly and satisfyingly clear." – Dion Kagan, Australian Book Review

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