One of the things I hate the most about having put on weight is how much harder it is to find clothing.
I went from a women’s medium to large to a women’s extra large to 2X in most stores. Old Navy tells me that means my waistline is somewhere between 34 and 39 inches, which is accurate – my waist is about 38 inches.
I’ll get back to major retailers in a minute, because nowadays some of them still have potential to carry clothing I can wear. Right now what I want to talk about is small and indy stores.
Here’s the trouble – a great many indy stores only carry up to size L, or numerically either 12 or 14. I’ve heard a handful of excuses about why they stop there – the margin isn’t as good on larger clothes because of fabric costs, you have to re-design things to fit plus sized people, plus sized people have more variety in body shape than ‘straight’ sized people, and plus sized people simply don’t want the kind of clothes they carry.
Right, let’s look at these one at a time:
1) More fabric is more expensive. Strange how this problem can’t be cured by charging slightly more for larger sizes. I can see how that might be difficult for big retailers, but for independent shops, they’re probably hand pricing everything anyhow, so it seems like little trouble to make the price different.
2) You have to re-design the clothing. I’m not entirely sure why this is supposed to be true, unless it’s connected to #3. Fat people are just as likely to want the trendy shapes and patterns as thin people, so it’s not like they need to be stylistically different. Are we saying that the shape of the pattern has to change? Anyone who has used clothing patterns will tell you that the shape of the pattern changes between straight sizes, too. This sounds an awful lot like a straw man argument to me.
3) Fat people have a greater diversity of body shapes, so clothing designed for any one shape will fit fewer people. That doesn’t make much sense, does it? Thinner people still have a huge variety of shape. When I was thin, I had an enormous bust (which meant few things fit). My measurements were 34G-24-32. People aren’t shaped the same way just because they are similar in size; likewise, being one size rather than another does not change the range of diversity in shape. This is why we have things like swimsuits where you buy separates – many people don’t entirely fit into one size or another. That doesn’t change as you go up or down in size!
4) Fat people don’t want trendy clothes. Wow. No, fat people have gotten used to the fact that no one wants to carry clothes for them. If you want to start carrying plus sizes, advertise and believe me, they will come!
Now, I’ll admit, the thing that’s bringing up today’s topic was personal. I was on a website and I saw an advertisement for http://www.modcloth.com. I wanted the dresses I saw SO BAD, only to find out that they don’t make my size. Modcloth theoretically covers sizes up to 3X, but their 3X has a 35 inch waist. For reference, Old Navy’s 3X fits up to a 48 3/4 inch waist.
If you’re going to have plus sizes, have REAL plus sizes. Not these silly tiny sizes that get our hopes up because the size should be right, only to find the measurement is wrong.
Until then, dresses like this http://www.modcloth.com/store/ModCloth/Holiday+Gift+Guides+2009/Big+Spender/Hotel+Particulier+Dress will just have to wait. …oh how I wish I could wear that dress.