Someone Design These Women Some Clothes

Marisa Meltzer’s NYT piece on plus-sized bloggers is so, so great. In addition to highlighting some really awesome women, she reveals a huge HOLE  in the fashion industry that someone needs to JUMP ON. Basically: No one makes cool clothes for large people, and “trends can take as long as two years to trickle down to plus-size lines.” One reason Meltzer offers “is that plus-sizes are often considered a transient state, a shameful stop before heading back to smaller sizes,” so “shoppers are conditioned to buy only cheap clothing.”

ASOS and Forever 21 both have plus-sized divisions, but they are alone among national and international brands. Doesn’t it seem like it’d be SMART for established brands to get in the plus-sized fashion business, especially considering BMI trends in this country!?!? IT DOES! EXCEPT: SIZEISM. 

I shall share an ANECDOTE: I used to work in a clothing store and our shipments would include dozens of extra smalls and smalls, and just two or three larges and extra-larges. It made me furious, because the the larger sizes would sell immediately, and like, TOTALLY NORMAL SIZED GIRLS would fruitlessly paw through stacks of tween-sized clothes and all I could do was be like, “Um, I’d be happy to order it online for you?” For larger girls, even our largest sizes weren’t made for them. We had nothing that would fit them. Socks? A purse? Sure.

It bugged me that there was this whole segment of women who would have bought our clothes if we just stocked the larger sizes. I asked my boss about it,  and she said that all the ordering was done based on algorithms about what sold, blahblahblah. BUT HERE IS MY CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT I ACTUALLY THINK IS TRUE:  I think they stocked mostly small sizes because they wanted mostly small people wearing their clothes. I think it’s quite related to designer brands’ practice of destroying past seasons’ unsold clothes instead of donating them. A lower-class woman in a designer dress cheapens the brand, it is said, and as long as sizeism still rules, the brands believe a larger-size woman does the same thing. I think the bloggers Meltzer mentions go a long way in changing perceptions of larger women. New cool brands designing just for them would go even further.

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109 Comments / Post A Comment

Beans (#1,111)

I used to work at a trendy, expensive Canadian yoga/athletic clothing store (I won’t name it, but you get one guess) and I noticed the exact same thing. We only went up to size 12 (occasionally size 14 in some items) and there would only be 1-2 of them in any give shipment. This always bothered me, because the whole mission of the company was to get everyone to exercise and live healthier lives. We were only making clothes for small and medium-sized people to do so, however.

The company’s explanation for not making larger sizes was that they didn’t think the clothes they made would be “flattering” on sizes larger than a 12/14. Then start adding some more universally flattering designs into the mix, I wanted to say! I definitely agree with your suspicions they they didn’t want to “cheapen” the brand. (ugh.)

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Beans Given said brand used to include larger sizes until it went public, yup, definitely bullsh*t. A size 16ish yoga instructor I know used to be a tester for them before they stopped carrying her size.

Oh, and paying $100 for Canadian-designed and manufactured yoga pants was acceptable to me – not so when they offshored production and prices didn’t budge (well, not downward at least).

I’ll note they also stopped making more supportive sports bras in the last 2 years – my fave and decently cute sports bra which I love when trampolining (all the impact!!) no longer made. What they currently sell as a “high impact” sports bra I could use for yoga only.

Essentially, I now hate said unnamed company. And on a completely unrelated note: http://thegloss.com/sex-and-dating/advice-sex-and-dating/the-lululemon-manifesto-403/

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Beans Aaaahhhh I am so glad to hear this belief of mine (that stores only order like 2 size 12s and 600 size 0s) vindicated! If this isn’t true, WHY are there always eleventy billion small to x-tra small things on every sale rack everywhere, and ZERO larges or x-tra larges?? This drives me crazy so much. Oh, and my other favorite, “We don’t have that size in stock, but I can check the basement for you.” Why is my size 12, the average size of the average American woman, in the basement?? It should be on the damn rack so people can buy it. The 00, which practically no one one earth wears, should be in the basement.

http://www.nadiaaboulhosn.com/ this girl is mentioned in meltzer’s piece. SHE IS SUCH A BABE and she wears really cool clothes

@Logan Sachon her eyebrows are RIDICULOUSSSSS

@Anna Jayne@twitter in a good way

iffie (#1,911)

@Logan Sachon So in love with her!

wearitcounts (#772)

@Logan Sachon she is super hot and uuhhhhh i own the pair of shoes she’s wearing in the new york fashion week outfit.

life: MADE.

zou bisou (#1,637)

I’ve thought about this alot, because, as a business person, I too see a great deal of opportunity in the plus size market. And, I know I am going to get alot of heat for this, but I feel it would be immoral to start a plus size brand, because providing such a product is essentially promoting obesity. And I don’t believe in promoting a national health problem whose costs and social repurcussions are astounding.

Some facts to think about:
1) Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.
2) Obesity-related absenteeism costs employers as much as $6.4 billion a year, health economists led by Eric Finkelstein of Duke University calculated.
3) The very obese lose one month of productive work per year, costing employers an average of $3,792 per very obese male worker and $3,037 per female. Total annual cost of presenteeism due to obesity: $30 billion.
4) Reuters is reporting that obesity in America is now adding an astounding $190 billion to the annual national healthcare price tag, exceeding smoking as public health enemy number one when it comes to cost.

It’s not fat shaming; it’s flat out common sense: we need to stop applauding fat acceptance and realize that we are applauding a disease.

@zou bisou everyone knows that if you don’t provide fat people with clothes, they stop being fat, so this makes total sense.

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Anna Jayne@twitter You are my crush of the day.

MagnoliaQueen (#2,614)

@Anna Jayne@twitter Seriously! Are we all supposed to wear a smock of shame until we have an acceptable BMI?

zou bisou (#1,637)

@Anna Jayne@twitter Not directly, but by encouraging obese acceptance we are telling people it is okay to be a drain on society (the above examples are just a sliver of the costs associated with obesity), and frankly, it’s not.

@zou bisou real glad that you are being thin and trim for the good of society. that is 1 diet i had not tried.

@zou bisou I find it EXTREMELY immoral to tell people their bodies should not exist.

Some of the most horrific injustices in the world have been based on defining which kinds of bodies are valuable, important, and worth living in, and which are not – bodies with dark skin, bodies with uteruses, bodies with disabilities, bodies with chronic illnesses. Bodies with fat. You can tell yourself “it’s for their heaallllth” as much as you like, but two things will stil be true:
1) it’s all part of the same toxic bullshit
2) no one else’s health is any of your fucking business

honey cowl (#1,510)

@zou bisou Oh girl. You gotta keep that to yourself.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@zou bisou Even assuming this rant had any basis in reality (which it does not), size 12-14 is not obese, unless you’re shorter than 4’9″, which most people aren’t, so what’s the excuse for not stocking those sizes?

@zou bisou Even taking your argument at face value, the logic is ridiculous. It’s like saying that selling comfortable crutches encourages people to break their legs.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@stuffisthings You gotta encourage people to mend their bones faster!

Blondsak (#2,299)

@zou bisou I’m a pretty big fatty, and I do agree with you that, statistically speaking, the numbers show that obesity is generally 1) a serious detriment to an individual’s holistic well-being and 2) a major drain on the economy. Our society does need to address this.

HOWEVER, I don’t believe that your solution (to not cater to the needs of obese people because it promotes a certain lifestyle that believes being obese is okay) is any solution at all.

You see, most people who are large today were never given any tools or advantages to being skinny to begin with. Generally, we were born to people with mid-level to large BMIs. Then, from the get-go (just like our parents) we were fed cheap, genetically modified food full of government subsidized products rich in carbs, fat, sugar, starch and other things terrible for our bodies. Related: statistically speaking, many of us were born in the low-to-middle class range, meaning that instead of having time to exercise our growing asses in high school and beyond we were holding down part-time jobs at fast food restaurants, malls and cinemas so that our families could eat said crap food and pay the bills.

So, what can we do with this data? We can attack the actual origins, rather than the symptoms. First, we can get rid of government subsidies that promote – and some would argue require – unhealthy eating in order to survive financially. Second, we can put more money into exercise and nutrition education, especially in schools but also importantly in family learning and development programs. Third, our country could get serious about the pervasive poverty issues which do not allow lifestyles that promote any sort of well-being.

In any case, I can safely assure you that making a clothing line catering to the obese is NOT going to stop OR promote this trend. Leaving us to only be able to wear sweats only further shames us, in a society that already sees us as being less than.

zou bisou (#1,637)

@Lorelei@twitter It becomes my business when their obesity is inflicting detrimental costs: to employers, to our healthcare system, and to the environment. If you’ll notice, nowhere did I argue for their “heallllth”. I noted in very clear and quanitifiable terms why none of us should encourage obesity. I can’t change the color of my skin or the origins of my family, but weight is, in large part, changeable.

@Logan Sachon perhaps you should.

@zou bisou I’m using my employer’s time to respond to you. How does that make you feel?

ETA: And now I’m going to take a smoke break. Thank god there are SOME companies unscrupulous enough to pander to my poor health choices.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@zou bisou “Weight is, in large part, changeable.” Evidence, please.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@stuffisthings Smoking keeps you thin, so it’s ok.

zou bisou (#1,637)

@LO I think your point of view was very well argued. And I agree with you that attacking the origins will clearly have the largest multiplier affect. I (very respectfully) disagree, however, that obesity won’t be further encouraged through expanding this market and thereby making it fashionable to be obese. But who knows.

themegnapkin (#444)

@zou bisou I don’t think making people feel bad about themselves for being overweight (which is what you’re advocating, right? By limiting their clothing options?) has ever been an effective and healthy strategy for losing weight.

Dancercise (#94)

@zou bisou
I am 5’10″ with very broad shoulders, a wide frame, super long arms, and a large bust. I am a dancer, I eat well most of the time, and I am fit and healthy. I am a size 14/16.

“I can’t change the color of my skin or the origins of my family…” you said. Well, I can’t change my German ancestry that makes me tall and wide. I’m never, ever going to be smaller than a size 12 or 14. But too bad. I guess I shouldn’t be allowed to find cute, affordable, flattering clothes.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Dancercise Yup yup yup. Fellow big boned German fraulein here. Eat salad every day for lunch, elliptical every other day, pilates on the non-elliptical days. Walk a ton. Don’t eat sugar and hardly any bread. In short, this is the size I am while following a healthy eating and exercise plan. Guess what, it’s a size 12. My shoulders are wider than a lot of men’s, so any shirt size under “large” is not going to fit me. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do about that, wear only ponchos because fat-shamers think my shoulders should be a more “standard” size or this will “encourage” me to go back in time and select thinner ancestors? Screw that.

@zou bisou Please never start a clothing line, whether straight-sized or plus-sized, because you clearly hate people’s bodies! Would not want you dressing my size-2 frame.

wearitcounts (#772)

@Dancercise @WaityKatie I HAVE FOUND MY PEOPLE

Blondsak (#2,299)

@WaityKatie @Dancercise @wearitcounts PREACH IT.

melis (#42)

“Hi, Gordon? Yeah, it’s Seth…fine, thanks, yeah. Listen, I wanted to let you know I won’t be able to make it into work; I’m too fat to manage projects today. Hmm? I don’t know, I guess mark it down as “obesity-related absenteeism” or something?…I don’t know when, Gordon, whenever I’m feeling svelte enough to update the spreadsheet. Look, I gotta go. My dialing wand is here.”

@melis HOW DID HE CALL IN WITHOUT HIS DIALING WAND HMM? Oh Seth, you malingerer you.

@zou bisou What about all the health problems caused by anorexia/bulimia? And the employer costs/life-balance-issues/general creepiness of someone who feels they need to workout/do yoga for 4 hours a day because if they put on a little extra weight they’re a drain on society?

I have so many things to say about this that have mostly already been said, but I wanted to say first of all that I love almost everyone in this thread, and also that:

1. We acknowledge that people can be naturally skinny, but not naturally fat. What’s up with that? (rhetorical – I know what’s up with that)
2. Obesity and health problems are often correlated, which I guess means obesity causes health problems? (spoiler: it does not necessarily mean that!)
3. As @LO said above, we have been asking our bodies to deal with a lot over the last several generations – not just shitty food, but toxins and pollutants and all kinds of fun shit. I’m no scientician, but it seems to me entirely possible that that could have just a little something to do with rising rates of those health issues that are correlated with obesity.
4. I’m fat, and I haven’t missed a day of work (except for vacation) in over a year and a half. So.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@SarcasticFringehead Plus there’s all the recent studies indicating that people in the “slightly overweight” category by BMI actually live longer than those in the “average” category. I guess the theory behind shaming people in the slightly overweight category then becomes that we might be encouraged to start going on rampaging binges, thinking that fat is beautiful so we must become fatter? None of this makes any sense at all.

corfay (#2,188)

@zou bisou What you are saying is so offensive and wrong. There are tons of people who have high BMIs and are still perfectly healthy, functional, contributing members of society who don’t just skip out on work all the time and try to rack doctor’s bills. Wtf even is obesity related absenteeism? Being too fat to go to work?? Is that a thing? What about the cost of eating disorder related treatments to the health care system and to employers? And the cars burning extra fuel to drive to and from treatment centers!!

pissy elliott (#844)

@zou bisou If I can’t have clothes I hope you don’t mind that I’m showing my big fat naked body everywhere until you try CBT or whatever it is that is supposed to fix Skinny Moralizing Syndrome, which contributes over 1 million tons of shade being thrown in my direction for living.

corfay (#2,188)

@zou bisou (and everyone else)this post and comments are totally worth reading

http://lovelivegrow.com/2012/10/21-things-to-stop-saying-unless-you-hate-fat-people/

EM (#1,012)

@zou bisou Health issues are not moral issues. North America has this weird obsession with making medical topics into moral issues (you beat cancer because you have a beautiful warrior spirit/you are a smoker because you are a bad person) but that’s kind of a lot of bullshit. As mentioned there are a lot of institutional and socio-economic factors are work in obesity. Most obesity begins in childhood, and there is a very clever mathematician (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/science/a-mathematical-challenge-to-obesity.html?_r=0) who can explain why it’s extremely difficult to lose weight permanently.

I mean, if you want to maintain a consistent position, what right to disabled people (non-contributors!) have to health care or education or social support? What about the immunocompromised? Do HIV/AIDS+ people not deserve medical care because they made a (moral) choice to have sex or inject drugs? This is a weird slippery slope.

While we are making moral arguments, providing obese people (who are 30% of the population, aka millions of people) high-quality, non-sweatshop-made clothing would be better for the world than forcing them to shop at shitty fast fashion outlets.

EM (#1,012)

@zou bisou PS what is your medical background? As a medical researcher I’m curious where you got your data on evil fatties.

AmandaA (#936)

@zou bisou et al.

Guys, Zou Bisou is an asshole and a bad person. There’s no point replying to it — it hates everyone it considers to be lesser than itself. And any of us who disagree with it are, to it, either jealous or stupid. There’s literally nothing we can say to convince it — it is not coming here from a place of compassion or an interest in making the world a happier place.

Let it be. Eventually all of us fatties will have eaten Zou Bisou and its brethren off the planet and then we can live in peace.

zou bisou (#1,637)

@Michelle @ Melis I didn’t make up the figures. You can find many in this article via Reuters, which references Duke and the CDC.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/30/us-obesity-idUSBRE83T0C820120430

@AmandaA, Resorting to name calling is so laughable. There are many intelligent comments made above which I appreciated reading (though I continue to disagree with them), whose example it would serve you well to follow.

@ Pissy Elliot- get naked if you want to. I’d be the kindest of observers if you did so, I can assure you.

EM (#1,012)

@zou bisou I’m not saying you made up the figures, but your interpretation of the evidence (obesity is immoral) is unjustified. Especially given the abundant evidence that obesity isn’t an individual health choice, but rather a societal consequence of food overproduction and intractable physiology.

AmandaA (#936)

@zou bisou Wait. It would serve me well to be reasoned and polite to someone who believes I am INHERENTLY LESSER THAN THEM?

I understand that, in general, it is good to be kind in arguments. But there’s nothing we can say that will make you think that our bodies are fine, right? You believe I am worse than you — that all the ills of society are to be blamed on my hips — and there is nothing I can say to change that. You believe that until I fit your standard of health and beauty I DO NOT DESERVE CLOTHING.

Why should I be nice to you? Are you being nice to me?

sockhopbop (#764)

Ahhh that makes me so mad! And I think you are dead-on, Logan.

Also, I mostly like the article and I’m all for body acceptance and awesome fashions for women of all shapes and sizes. But I feel like it is kind of wrong about media acceptance for “plus size” women:

“It has been noted that plus-size women are having a moment in the spotlight… Stars a few dress sizes shy of plus-size, like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling, have become known for their proudly curvy physiques, and Lady Gaga has unapologetically put on a few pounds.”

But… Dunham, Kaling, and Gaga aren’t actually plus size? So they don’t make a ton of sense as examples. I don’t think they even prove that medium-sized women are having a moment, since everyone talks about their weight all the time, which doesn’t seem like a sign of broad acceptance, but rather a way of (unintentionally) reaffirming the status quo (“Look at these women who are exceptions to the rule! So brave, to be a size 8!”).

Same for plus size actresses like Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy. There are few articles about them that don’t mention their weight at least in passing, and most coverage tends to focus on their bodies. Whereas what makes the bloggers in the article so awesome is that they’re focusing on what makes them feel beautiful and stylish, rather than constantly comparing themselves to women who wear smaller sizes–which seems like a much more proactive way to go about actually changing beauty standards.

@sockhopbop yeah i totally agree wit you that the “moment” thing is largely bullshit. oh there are two plus-sized actresses who are able to get work? oh cool. and really, they are comedians,, which is a whole other thing, right — their weight is part of their comedy. i also think the nomenclature is dumb. like, what does “plus sized” mean? i’m looking at a site now that says it’s size 10 and up. i wear a 10 or a 12, so that’s me i guess. and lena dunham, i don’t know how “large” she is, but i do know that it’s awesome to see someone on TV who doesn’t look “PERFECT” and “TINY.” the scene where she and adam are running and she’s got her shorts pulled up and this terrible tshirt on, i could have kissed her. no one looks hot working out. (okay some people do, but i don’t.) she owned that.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@Logan Sachon I think it might make you happy to know that for whatever unknown reason, I always picture Lena when I am reading your articles and comments? I don’t know how this association was made but it is STUCK, even after watching that short holiday movie video.

wearitcounts (#772)

@Logan Sachon there is nothing “plus” about a 10-12. shit is bogus.

@bgprincipessa I WILL TAKE IT

sockhopbop (#764)

@Logan Sachon Fair point on Lena!! The way she’s using her body on the show is legit awesome — that running scene made me get hearts in my eyes too. It’s the way the popular media tends to portray her weight that bothers me. It kind of reminds me of the way, when Renee Zellweger gained weight for Bridget Jones years ago, the media was all OMG LOOK HOW UNUSUAL SHE LOOKS SHE’S SO CURVY AND ZAFTIG UNLIKE EVERYBODY ELSE LOOK LOOK and then she dropped a ton of weight really fast… It seemed like the single-minded focus on her size (even if it wasn’t necessarily negative attention) created a lot of pressure for her to prove she could fit back into the Hollywood beauty standard at lightning speed.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@sockhopbop I also hated all the interviews she gave saying how she had to eat donuts all day every day to get up to that size, what was it, 10? I mean, I get it, she’s naturally thin and it’s hard for her to gain weight, but why then couldn’t they just cast an actress who was already the size BJ was supposed to be? I’m sure they exist!

Lily Rowan (#70)

@wearitcounts Plus size models are size 10, because “average” size models are size 0.

wearitcounts (#772)

@Lily Rowan i know this; i just vehemently disagree with the nomenclature.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@wearitcounts Oh, sure, of course. It just took me a shockingly long time to realize that there is some logic behind it — if you think using the skinniest people as models is logical.

wearitcounts (#772)

@Lily Rowan the whole thing is just toxic. the original intention of the stick-thin model, in high fashion, was that the girl wasn’t supposed to be looked at — she was simply a hanger, and any kind of curve or secondary sexual characteristic visible would distract the viewer from the cut of the clothing. which, messed up in a lot of ways in and of itself. however, something went horribly wrong, that figure became “ideal,” and here we are. 10-12 being called “plus.” ridiculous.

Flora Poste (#2,586)

I think you’re right about the protection of the brand thing, especially with regard to more “fashionable” shops, where Urban Outfitters and Topshop spring to mind.
I can’t help but feel that the idea that plus-size shoppers are “conditioned to only buy cheap clothing” is wrong. The fact is, shops that sell clothes at lower price points are generally less concerned about who they sell to. The volume of clothes they need to sell to make a profit means that the “pile em high, sell it cheap” merchants need to appeal to as many people as possible, and they can’t afford to be snobby about the massive plus-size market. New Look is a case in point, they have a separate plus-size range, and they always seem to have a lot of the bigger sizes.

Flora Poste (#2,586)

@Flora Poste Also, I love the Arched Eyebrow blog, (that lady loves the New Look) and I have that shirt with the stag print!

Logan, having read several articles about how image-conscious the dude leading that company you used to work for is, your theory for why they don’t carry larger sizes sounds dead on.

I wish the people who ran that company weren’t such douches!1

1This applies to both the company in question as well as URBN & American Apparel

I’ve noticed this too and it’s crazy! Why are you leaving money on the table, stupid companies?

It happens in guy’s clothes too, though not as egregiously. I’m not “plus sized” enough to not be able to wear a L or sometimes M shirt but I definitely notice a ton more stuff in S and XS. And I have trouble finding my pants size (which is the one above the most common size) at places like Uniqlo or H&M. When are these brands going to top fighting over a diminishing pool of skinny guys and gals and make stuff for the actually existing population of American fatties?

Megano! (#124)

As a plus size woman, THE best place to buy plus size clothing has been eShakti. EVERYTHING comes in up to a size…I think it’s 36 now? (They recently expanded their sizes pretty significantly). And the customization is so great if it’s hard to fit in straight sizes. And unlike ASOS — NO POLYESTER.
Also it is so weird that H&M has a plus line in Europe, but not North America.

wearitcounts (#772)

@Megano! THIS SITE HAS DESCRIPTIONS OF HEIGHT AND PROPORTION AND COMES IN REGS SIZING TOO OH MAN THANKS FOR SHARING OFF TO SPEND TONS OF MONEY

Blondsak (#2,299)

@Megano! Seconded. eShakti makes me look stylish (and for a good price), every day.

Megano! (#124)

@wearitcounts They seriously should be giving me free dresses I recommend them to so many people.

wearitcounts (#772)

@Megano! you’ve changed my life.

DickensianCat (#971)

@Megano! I’ve given up on H&M for everything but accessories. Not that I ever remember going in and seeing an abundance of anything above a size 14 in their clothing, but it seems like now even a size 12 is a rare unicorn, while dozens of 2′s, 4′s, and even 8′s and 10′s sit on the racks. It really irks me.

Megano! (#124)

@DickensianCat Here in Canada their sizes don’t even go higher than a 12! And shirts only go up a large.

Blondsak (#2,299)

@Megano! They go to at least size 16 in the states, but like @DisckensianCat said, those are some rare unicorns.

@Megano! I hope they don’t sell men’s clothes too or else the social acceptance might cause me to have an uncontrollable urge to get fatter.

cherrispryte (#19)

@Megano! eShakti is pretty much my favorite. Word of warning, though, I have yet to buy anything from them that wasn’t delayed by at least a week, and sometimes three, in the shipping time. Order your christmas dresses NOW, ladies.

Megano! (#124)

@cherrispryte Oh, I did in the summer, but I just ordered some dresses a couple of weeks ago and got them today!

cherrispryte (#19)

@Megano! Exciting!

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Megano! Can I just say that I went to this site full of cynicism in my heart about “they’re not going to have my size-wasteland 12-14 sizes, nobody ever has those, this is going to disappoint me once again, blahblahblahblah” and…oh my god I want all of these clothes! You can customize the hem and arm length, whaaattt??? They tell you what body type it fits, whatttttt????? I’m buying everything they have, that is it, I am broke forever now.

wearitcounts (#772)

@WaityKatie I KNOW RIGHT

Blondsak (#2,299)

@wearitcounts I’m wearing this dress to a wedding next weekend. I was so excited at how sexy it made me feel when I tried it on that I went ahead and splurged on a hair appointment and red lipstick for the event. I am going to be so hot.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@wearitcounts Which kind of defeats the reason why I read The Billfold, but whatever! Dresses!

wearitcounts (#772)

@WaityKatie I KNOW RIGHT x 1000000000

@LO aaaaahhhhh things I cannot deal with: 1. How gorgeous that dress is; 2. How gorgeous you will look in it; 3. How hard it is to comment with my iphone

themegnapkin (#444)

I remember an article in Slate a few years ago (can’t find it now, maybe it was on the now-defunct Double X?) about the dearth of quality plus size clothing. It’s actually really expensive to size up smaller sizes for plus sizes because there are so many more variables in how they will fit. At one extreme, there are a finite number of ways someone can be an 0, because there are not a ton of places that a woman can carry weight if she’s a size 0, and because the proportions are unlikely to be too extreme. But the variation among women at the other extreme can be enormous – for example, in waist-to-hip ratio, size and placement of bust, size of armholes, etc. For non-fitted or stretchy garments – flowy peasant blouses, maxi dresses, tights, etc. – the variation doesn’t matter, but if you’re trying to make fitted clothes that look great on larger sizes, it takes a lot of work, and your target market isn’t going to be all size 18 women, it’s going to be the subset of size 18 women who carry their weight in the way that you have designed for. A lot of designers have made the cost/benefit analysis that it is not profitable to spend the extra time and money to design for this smaller market.
I find this super fascinating. Obviously plus sizes deserve awesome clothes. As demographics change, designers may change their cost/benefit analysis, and the ones who figure out how to capitalize on this market hole will make a lot of money.

themegnapkin (#444)

@themegnapkin sorry for the book, I didn’t mean to go on for so long.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@themegnapkin I definitely found this to be true when I gained a bunch of weight recently. I gained it all in my stomach and arms (yes, it was lovely) and discovered that basically clothing manufacturers “size up” by making things bigger in the butt and hips and keeping everything else the same size. Super frustrating because nothing in any size would fit me, so I ended up wandering around in flapping loose pants that made me look even bigger and feel 100x worse. Sucks. I think this could be solved by making alterations, maybe, but I couldn’t figure out how to tell a tailor to take something in at the hips and let it out at the waist, or if that was even possible, so I just pretty much despaired and hated myself.

wearitcounts (#772)

@themegnapkin actually i think everything you said is super interesting and relevant. i’m about a size 12 and 5’8″ but often have issues with clothes because i’m large-chested but have slim hips and legs, and find that usually off-the-rack clothing assumes the opposite proportions. buying up and tailoring is a way to fix that, but to spend all that extra money and time — ugh.

wearitcounts (#772)

@WaityKatie yeah exactly. i do not have big hips; i do, however, have some serious shoulders.

Megano! (#124)

@themegnapkin I still call bullshit on that because still, more people are shaped “weird” than not, so suck it up and figure it out.

Blondsak (#2,299)

@WaityKatie This happened to me this weekend, shopping at the mall. I went to H&M first and found a bunch of adorable dresses listed in my size. When I went to try them on, lo and behold they fit great on my butt and thighs, but the sleeves could only go just a bit past my elbows before getting halted by my arm fat firewall. I can deal with a stomach pooch hanging out a bit, but not being able to even get the sleeves all the way on without tearing them open? Hells no am I buying that crap.

Then I went to Lane Bryant, found out they had a 1/2-off sale, teared up a bit in glee and bought all sorts of adorable clothes. The end.

wearitcounts (#772)

@LO “arm fat firewall” bahahaha i think i love you

Dancercise (#94)

@wearitcounts
I have the exact same issue. I’m a size larger in tops than pants because of my large shoulders/bust and narrow(er) hips. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this about myself until a couple of years ago, so I spent lots of time in baggy-seat pants. I’m so sorry, everyone in college who walked to class behind me.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@LO ARM FAT FIREWALL forever! I can never get jackets to fit across my shoulders/backs/arm fat firewall and it is super frustrating. Dresses are hopeless too, unless they are stretchy. Anything that zips in the back is not going to fit. It’s so frustrating!

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@WaityKatie That should be “back,” not “backs,” obviously. Although it feels like multiple backs sometimes.

wearitcounts (#772)

@WaityKatie @Dancercise @LO let’s all go shopping together.

themegnapkin (#444)

@themegnapkin I found the article (alas I do not know how to hyperlink):
http://www.doublex.com/section/life/real-reason-ann-taylor-hates-plus-sizes

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Dancercise I have yet to find any pants that aren’t baggy in the seat! Except sweat pants. Wonderful, wonderful sweat pants…

themegnapkin (#444)

@themegnapkin and I didn’t remember it completely accurately.

Dancercise (#94)

This is exactly why I hate Victoria’s Secret. So many woman above a 38DD would LOVE to buy their bras. Too bad for them!

@Dancercise Does Victoria’s Secret make sizes that actually fit anybody? I feel like most of their bras are out there in the wild, gaping and/or digging into people who don’t know their bra size. Their stuff is either too big or too small for every person I know.

@cuminafterall I really love the mental image you gave me of a VS bra as Alien facehugger, leaping off one lady’s chest to ferociously glom on to another’s.

cherrispryte (#19)

I have a lot of feelings about this topic! And because I’m trying to be less of a cunt, I’m not even going to engage the fat-shaming basic bitch up there in the earlier comments.

What I would like to point out, however, is that Forever 21′s plus size line is 1) not carried in most of their stores and 2)stops at a size 20. So that’s, what, 3 more whole sizes? I happen to work right about a Forever 21 that DOES have the plus size department, and their plus size stuff is way less cute and on-trend than their straight sizes.

50% of women wear above a size 14. Half the women in this country are shopping in plus sizes. It is an enormous (ha, rite?!) untapped market, and your conspiracy theory is totally true.

The article you link to is interesting, because the “plus-size fashion bloggers” they link to and focus on are really on the small end of plus size, or not at all – at a size 10/12, you’re not even an inbetweenie. A size 18 girl in a bikini?! Quelle horreur! Black Cat Bikinis and Ester Williams both make sexy-as-hell bikinis up to a size 26, and people are buying them and wearing them. Using Lena fucking Dunham and Mindy Kaling as examples of fat acceptance is incredibly insulting to people who are legitimately fat in the real world, and face the sort of size-based discrimination those two women couldn’t even begin to comprehend. There’s no plot line on Girls in which Lena Dunham is forced to buy a second airplane seat, you know?

How anyone in their right mind could write about plus-size fashion blogging and not mention Lesley Kinzel and Marianne Kirby, both pioneers in the field who started out talking about fatshion and have moved on to fat acceptance in general, or hell, without talking about the fatshionista livejournal group, has either not done their research or is deliberately shying away from fat fashion bloggers who are, you know, actually fat.

Also, not to shamelessly self-promote, but perhaps someone intimately familiar with this issue has written about it in a humorous way, on, say, your sister site?

Blondsak (#2,299)

@cherrispryte

You might not want to shamelessly self-promote, but I will shamelessly post the link here. Everyone, READ NOW.

http://thehairpin.com/2012/03/choose-your-own-fatventure-interview-clothes

Blondsak (#2,299)

@cherrispryte Srsly though, this article unlocked the sexy beast in me.

cherrispryte (#19)

@LO <3 also I realized that most of the links in there are for no-longer available clothes, but oh well.

Blondsak (#2,299)

@cherrispryte I wouldn’t worry about that. The clothing websites you link to in there continue to be priceless oases in the desert that is plus-size shopping. Though I must admit, I do love Lane Bryant. But my basic style is to dress like a grandma for everything that isn’t centered around sexy times, so.

swingdancefan (#2,630)

It’s funny. I am 5’2 and about 100 lbs, generally a size 0/2. I worked in a petite clothing store for a few years, and we only got 2-4 of each item in extra small. AT A PETITE STORE! Whenever I shop, the extra-smalls are gone by the time I get there.

I am not saying this to threadjack, but I believe sizeism goes both ways. There *are* plus size stores, such as Lane Bryant, Dress Barn Woman, etc. (A rant for another time–at 48, good career, mother of three, am I not a woman, too?), but since Petite Sophisticate tanked, there are no stores dedicated to petites. Many petite departments start at size 4, and the wares they have often feature polyester and elastic waistbands. The school at which I teach ordered staff shirts from a vendor who did not offer extra-small, and I look rather ridiculous in my tent. I know, my size is offered in the juniors department, but I don’t want to look like my students, and my body is not shaped like a junior’s (see “three kids” above).

The women’s clothing industry, as a whole, is not friendly to those of us at either end of the spectrum, be we tiny or not-so-tiny.

cherrispryte (#19)

@swingdancefan It’s not the same issue. AT. ALL. When the First Lady starts a campaign dedicated to eliminating the scourge of people who look like you, when there’s a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to making people taller, come back to me and explain how sizeism goes both ways.

Even within the fashion industry alone, the petite offerings at department stores are considerably more fashionable than plus size – the two departments are usually right next to each other, and if I had a dollar for every time I saw something fashionable, thinking it was plus size, but no, it was over the line in the petite section, I’d be quite well off.

I’m not saying petite people don’t have challenges in finding clothes, I’m just saying it’s not at all the same level of discrimination that fat people face, and also is not the point of this post.

I would suggest that the women’s clothing industry as a whole is not friendly to women, regardless of their size.

wearitcounts (#772)

@cherrispryte PREACH.

EM (#1,012)

@swingdancefan Do you shop online? There are a lot of Korean and Japanese clothing companies that ship internationally for cheap and they design clothes for slim, petite ladies.

sony_b (#225)

@cherrispryte A little late to this party, but I totally agree. Petite people can have clothes taken in. Yes, it’s more expensive, but they can still buy off the rack and have something fitted to their bodies for $20-$30. I am a professional who works out regularly, has no health issues, and am a size 24 due to a lot of factors (not gonna get into the good fattie/bad fattie shit here). I think there’s also something more insidious going on. Yes I can wear the mostly cheap and disposable from Lane Bryant – but they look cheap and disposable. I think one of the pervasive ideas that society has about fat people being sloppy/slovenly has to do with the fact that I cannot buy a professional wardrobe to equal my thinner peers at any price. Just can’t do it. Most of the more on trend/quality brands that you might find at Macy’s or Nordstrom stop at 22. I end up spending a ton of money at boutique stores that cater to large women (but most of those clothes are designed for my mother’s demo) and then having them tailored to fit. I am extremely lucky (and work my ass off) to have the income to be able to afford this option. Most fat women can’t, and most will never be able to afford it, because you can’t get promoted into a position with a serious salary without looking the part. IMHO it’s a major reason why well educated fat women still earn significantly less than their peers.

EM (#1,012)

“The conventional wisdom of 3,500 calories less is what it takes to lose a pound of weight is wrong. The body changes as you lose. Interestingly, we also found that the fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight. An extra 10 calories a day puts more weight onto an obese person than on a thinner one.

Also, there’s a time constant that’s an important factor in weight loss. That’s because if you reduce your caloric intake, after a while, your body reaches equilibrium. It actually takes about three years for a dieter to reach their new “steady state.” Our model predicts that if you eat 100 calories fewer a day, in three years you will, on average, lose 10 pounds — if you don’t cheat.

Another finding: Huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. This is because a person’s body will respond slowly to the food intake.”

This article is an excellent primer on why obesity is not actually an individual-level problem, and why “eat less/move more” doesn’t actually make a lot of sense.

pearl (#153)

Once, while browsing Opening Ceremony’s fashionably sparse racks in LA, I heard a salesperson say to another, “Do you think the sizes we put out are too aspirational”? Many chuckles were had by my friend and me.

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