Banana Rompers And Prawn Patterns: The Joy Of Wearing Food-Themed Clothing

I hate that it took the approval of others to encourage me, but now I proudly run errands in my mushroom dress.
Put on a banana jumpsuit and watch how quickly you get some smiles.
Put on a banana jumpsuit and watch how quickly you get some smiles.

When my hot pink romper first arrived, I wore it only to walk the dog. The smart, tailored top, tempered in fanciness by the attached shorts, fit me perfectly, but the adorable bananas all over it gave me pause.

I am a fat lady, one who loves food personally and writes about it professionally. Wearing it all over my body seemed to be tempting the bullying voices that forever live in my head ― until something drowned them out: the voracious encouragement of nearly everyone strolling by.

Where I expected raised eyebrows and silent judgement, I instead saw spontaneous smiles. They appeared on the faces of people of all ages, sizes and genders. When they got close enough to see the bananas, it instantly brought them happiness ― and me compliments. Far fewer reactions than I feared ― none, in fact ― seemed tinged with the fatphobia for which I’d long honed a sensitive radar.

As a fat child and a fatter adult, I struggled to publicly own my love of food. Even when food became my profession, I worked to tamp down my unbridled passion for it, ashamed of living up to the “fat kid loves cake” stereotype. But I do love cake. And bananas, and mushrooms, and eggs, and noodles, and seafood towers ― all of which I now own articles of clothing bearing their likes.

Purchased amid the pandemic freedom from the agora of public opinion, my banana romper’s attention from passing pedestrians wiped away any last bits of self-consciousness, pushing me to release my inner Ms. Frizzle ― and, with her, an unexpected amount of joy.

Garnering all those smiles and compliments pushed me down a slippery slope into food-themed clothing. I hate that it took the approval of others to encourage me to own my personal panache, but now I proudly run errands in my mushroom dress and crave a two-piece prawn-patterned outfit.

I love food and take glee in sartorially immortalizing its beauty ― and the absurdity of putting it on my body, as well as my plate. But more than anything, I relish the unabashed grins that it brings to everyone’s face when they realize the patterns on my dress are actually fried eggs, or they read the caption on my “Send noods” sweatshirt ― doubling my own delight.

Some of my favorite food-themed clothes

Prawn Skirt and Top
Rachel Antonoff
My first foray into wearing my food came when I got tiny spot prawns painted on my fingernails the week that my seafood cookbook was released. Had I been post-epiphany, perhaps I would have paired them with this shrimptastic set from designer Rachel Antonoff, which remains my platonic ideal of culinary clothing. She also offers dresses for the toast and pasta lovers in your life.

Get the Rachel Antonoff Vinnie Skirt in Prawn Print for $250, and Antonia Top for $175.
Banana Jumpsuit
Nooworks’ uses limited edition prints and small runs of each style, which means they no longer sell the amazing romper I bought -- though this jumpsuit uses the same banana print. My 5-year-old convinced me to also purchase an egg dress, then pressured me into buying her the matching kid’s version, like some sort of modern-day Laura Ashely outfits, but on edibles.

Get the Nooworks Magic Suit Bananas for $148.
Shiitake Dress
At the same time I took my baby steps into wearing food-themed clothes outside, I met a friend for my first meal at a restaurant in more than a year. I admired the Zuri dress she wore, surprised because an endless series of Instagram ads never seemed to be my style. It looked great in person, though, which is basically the opposite of most Instagram purchases, and the subtlety of the pattern also makes it a good first foray into wearing your meals.

Get the Zuri "Oh, Shiitake!" Dress for $145.
Seafood Tower T-Shirt
Katie Kimmel
A friend who had seen Samin Nosrat wearing this shirt on Instagram knew I needed it and sent it as a gift. She was right. Katie Kimmel also has a bunch of other food shirts, plus some incredible baby outfits that I am considering buying for all new babies in my life.

Get the Katie Kimmel Seafood Tower T-Shirt for $25.
Send Noods Sweatshirt
Silk & Ivy
I owned this before my recent spate of purchases, but rarely wore it farther than picking up my kids. Still, it remains a favorite. I found it through Instagram ads, because I am a millennial and that’s how we do. But, like so many Instagram purchases, there were a few issues -- it charged me immediately and took forever to arrive, with seemingly no recourse for customer service. But now that I have it, it was worth the wait.

Get the Silk & Ivy "Send Noods" Sweatshirt for $34.
Men's Food Print Shirts
Old Navy
My personal style tends toward jumpsuits and dresses, because life is already too complicated without needing to find multiple articles of clothing each day. But for folks inclined to wear shirts and pants, the Instagram queen of food fashion, Alyse Whitney, offered a tip on Twitter last year: Check out the men’s section (after all, gender is a construct, etc.). The men’s shirts linked here have great food themes and come in large sizes at low prices.

Get the Lobster Shirt for $15.97 and the Watermelon Shirt for $17.97, both from Old Navy.

Craving more? Check out these lemon-printed items that are trending like crazy right now:

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