I’m so excited to introduce Angela as the next guest blogger on And Possibly Dinosaurs! We’ve only known each other for a few months and we live on opposite sides of the country, but we have united over our love of nonprofits, blogging, and hockey.
We got talking about an article Angela was reading about plus sized clothing and how difficult it can be to find flattering pieces of clothing. I have no experience with the subject, naturally being on the skinny-to-regular-size of the scale.
I typically wear anything between a size 6 and a 10, depending on the store, and I always go for the medium over the large or small. The only problem I have when shopping for clothes is when my size is sold out because it’s one of the most common.
I was really interested in the topic, but it would obviously be inappropriate for me to write about it, so I asked Angela to chime in on the subject. I know you guys will love what she has to say!
“36-24-36.. only if you’re 5’3″”
I’ll put $20 on the idea that the majority of people can identify what song that’s from in a matter of seconds.. and that it will subsequently be stuck in their heads the rest of the day. Enjoy, it’s my gift to you. /sarcasm
I happened upon this fantastic article in The New Yorker the other day, and while it was a longer read, I couldn’t stop reading it because it spoke to me, it put all my thoughts onto paper and it gave me hope. It was about clothing, the fashion industry and the reinvention of plus-size clothing.
Wait, about what?
If you’ve ever met me, you know that I’m a jeans, flip flops, and white tee kind of girl, so having someone like me talk about this doesn’t exactly make a lot of sense, but bear with me, we’ll get there.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m roughly 5′ 10,” I have shoulders that rival a linebacker and I’m one of those people who, outside of being a newborn, has never been small. As soon as I started growing, I GREW. When I finally capped out at my current height, I realized I would never be model thin, never be able to grab clothes off the shelf and buy them without trying them on first, and never feel all that comfortable when shopping in store.
– I’m not shaped like a box. I’m long, strong and down to – wait, we’re not going there
– I have long legs, a long torso and a waist.
– I don’t make enough money to buy half the items I want.
– I don’t want to pay $50 for a shirt that will fall to pieces in a few months – I like quality, thanks.
– There are very few places that dedicate their entire IN-STORE stock to anything over a size 12.
I am not a box with arms
I want to scream that mantra at the top of my lungs to plus-size buyers. I want my clothes to be tailored a bit, maybe some darts and a shape other than a box. I don’t have the “stereotypical” plus size body. I have height (5’10”), small boobs (40 or 42 B), a decently defined waist, hips and a decent butt. By measurements alone, I’m an hourglass, but that’s not my point.
I mean, I get these companies are making clothes for the masses, but seriously, can they at least be attractive? Box shaped, awkward patterns, itchy fabrics, no one wants these things!
I am not made of money
You know, in case you were wondering if I could be your Sugar Momma. I understand it costs more to create larger clothes, but that being said, WHY does it cost that much?!
I’m 28 years old, and I do not make enough money to shell out $200 minimum for an outfit. I spent $199 on three pairs of Pixie pants, and two tank tops (both on clearance and under $10 each) from Old Navy a couple weeks ago. I can’t do that all the time!
I can’t imagine what it’s like for parents of tall, large kids (sorry Mom!), a huge hit on the pocketbook is never all that fun, no matter how old you are. I know if I were using my money to buy clothes for someone else, I would want to make sure the amount I’m paying is getting me something worthwhile.
Ideally, spending more money means you’re getting something worth the price you’re paying, which leads me to my next point…
I am not cheap, my clothes shouldn’t be either
One of the WORST feelings is spending $50 or more on an ITEM of clothing and watching it quickly fall apart as you wear it. I’ve had this happen with sweaters, shirts, pants, shoes, bras (ugh, don’t even get me started on bras) and just about every type of clothing I can think of.
If I’m paying a hefty amount for something, I want to make sure it lasts. That reason alone is why we have Consumer Reports, review systems, development testing and all other types of things that help make products withhold stress. Why are clothes so lame?!
I am not a mannequin
Like most people, I need to try things on so I know an item will fit me because I’m horrible at actually returning things to a store. I don’t mind shopping online once I know something fits me, but the before process is the worst.
Awkwardly shaped, horribly lit, weird smelling, hot dressing rooms are THE WORST. Finding a store that carries my size (anywhere from a 16-24ish – depending on the store, the item, the season, whatever) is already hard enough, please don’t make it any more awkward.
Fewer stores are carrying a decent selection of plus size clothing. Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, JC Penney, Target and a handful of other stores have either phased out their plus sized line, scaled it back, or started carrying their products online only. How is this helpful?! There aren’t that many options anyway so now you’re going to limit them even more?! No thank you.
I’ve gone from being an insecure kid, to a very, VERY insecure teenager and young adult to a relatively confident and outspoken 28 year old, something I’m very proud of.
However, the inability to feel comfortable in a store, to buy decent clothing, and to feel like I am allowed in stores is something that I wish I could do more about.
I might be on the lower- to middle-end of the plus sized range, but this is still an issue for many people, women and men alike. There are retailers that openly prefer thinner clients (I’m throwin’ shade your way, Abercrombie) while others make it seem that way without saying a word.
When you’re trying to adjust to the body you inhabit, the last thing that should make you feel even more awkward is your clothing.
Finding clothing that fits properly, is relatively stylish and is within an affordable price point is much more difficult than people realize if you’re over a size 12.
PLEASE do not take that as skinny shaming in any way. It’s not their fault and it’s not our fault, that’s just how it is.
Retailers sell what will make them money quickly so they can move out old products and bring in the new shiny stuff. There are plenty of reasons why someone is larger than “what their body should be” but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to things they want or need.
Sure, there are much worse and detrimental things than ill-fitting and ugly clothing, but from a woman who used to be a teenager, sometimes, the wrong pants can ruin EVERYTHING.
Angela Morales is a Communication Studies graduate from Long Beach State University. Along with actively writing more on her own blog, she’s also in the midst of starting her own bakery!
Carmel & Shawn says
Great discussion, Angela. I can definitely relate – long legs, short torso, big chest and pretty much always size 12+. I need defined lines! Otherwise almost everything looks like a muu-muu on me. It’s frustrating because I already struggle with body image, but sticking a big bag over my head and calling it a dress makes it even worse.
“I already struggle with body image, but sticking a big bag over my head and calling it a dress makes it even worse.”
Eloquent as usual, Carmel! That’s exactly it. Just because we aren’t “standard” sizes, doesn’t mean we can’t have clothes that fit properly. Let’s start a revolution, okay?
Fantastic job! I really enjoyed reading this and can relate on so many levels. The problem I continually run into is that companies are changing the lengths on their jeans, meaning they’re making “short” jeans longer. I wear jeans until I can’t wear them anymore and this is problem because a “short” inseam that was once 29 inches and the perfect length for me, seemingly doesn’t exist anymore. I so wish they sized women’s jeans like they do men’s.
Your visual about the dressing rooms made me cringe. The only thing worse than the experience you described, in my opinion, is the overly friendly but highly judgmental salespeople who want to know your whole life story but once you tell them the size you need their eyes widen.
Thank you so much! haha, I have the opposite problem! Jeans and pants seem to get shorter for me! “Tall” jeans seem to be just the right length.. barely. I totally agree, I wish women’s clothes were either sized more like men’s or that we followed Euro sizing because then we could actually have some consistency!
Yes!! Those salespeople are THE WORST. Ugh, I hate it. Just let me try on clothes and give me an honest opinion when something looks dumb, don’t just try to make the sale, throw shade my way, or act like I don’t exist. Dressing rooms are the worst, and they all seem to smell awful too.
Thanks again! <3
Jen Lowery says
Angela, this is brilliant. I can’t relate to the struggle of finding plus-size clothing that is affordable and quality, but I absolutely understand the restrictions for those of us with certain body types. I’m 5’4 and ‘skinny’ by society’s standards, but my body shape is not typical. I have lean legs due to years of swimming and dance, NO butt (it’s seriously so small it’s not there), no hips, my tummy is what I consider my problem area (if I put on weight, that’s where it goes), large boobs (34D), and scrawny arms. It is IMPOSSIBLE to order clothes online or without trying them on. Finding pants that look okay and fit me without making me self conscious about my muffin top or how flat my butt is is ALWAYS a struggle. I often find myself wishing that these designers and manufacturing companies would take into account that we are WOMEN. We have different shapes, sizes, and body types and THAT IS OKAY. Give us some diversity, man! Like you said- we aren’t mannequins!
Body shapes are so varied and weird, I wish manufacturers would get that into their heads. It’s insane how easily you can be forced into self-image issues based on clothing options.
Thank you for reading!