We interrupt your regularly scheduled Catholic tomfoolery to bring you a short rant from the writer of this, your favorite blog. Why? Because this writer is getting sick and tired of the double standards of clothing these days, and how clothing companies see “plus-sized” women.
Let’s start with the fact that yes, I’m kinda chubby. I’m about a size 16-18, depending on brand, and I’m 5 feet, 11 inches tall. That doesn’t bother me as much as it used to, really. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten used to my size, though not entirely proud of it as some people manage to be. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome prevents me from any useful amounts of exercise, so I focus on eating healthy, appropriately-portioned food and sustaining, if not slowly losing, my weight. I still manage to have friends who love me, family who love me, hobbies and responsibilities and talents like any other person. I am a confident, competent, happy person who also happens to like dressing up.
Sadly, it seems as though I’m a unicorn in the eyes of the fashion industry. A plus-sized woman with actual confidence in herself? That’s nigh unthinkable. We all know that all plus sized women (and their clothes!) fall into two categories at the extreme opposites of a spectrum.
This woman is fat and therefore terrified of her body. So she must hide it at all costs. How do we cater to that? We provide shapeless, rectangular clothes that mask every curve, every inch of her body. There is no flattery here, just concealment. This starts even in the lower sizes, in the tens and twelves, which are completely natural sizes for healthy women. But in sizes sixteen and above, it just gets worse and worse. Obviously, being overweight, or even just having curves and being otherwise healthy, is such a shameful thing that the poor woman must just want to melt into the background in shapeless, bland clothing. Go to any major clothing store (I have the most experience with Khols and Sears) and you’ll find racks and racks of shapeless, formless, frumpy clothes that tell women they should be ashamed of their bodies.
Here is the other extreme. Clothes for this woman are sexy almost to the point of the obscene. Plunging necklines, tight skirts and pants that leave nothing to the imagination, loud colors and prints that scream for attention. This woman operates under the delusion that being sexy is the same as being confident, that having her breasts popping out of her top equates to her being poised and self-reliant. Corset tops push up and leggings stick to every line, proclaiming pride in every curve. But is that really confidence? Or is that just hiding behind another mask? A mask that proclaims that sexiness is this woman’s only asset, that her brain and her talents are meaningless because her curves, and only her curves, validate her value as a person. She is and must be the center of attention because of her size. Again, go to any clothing store, and there will be racks of these clothes.
So what do we need?
We need clothes that fit. Please. Fashion industry workers, give us jeans that neither leave us swimming in fabric, nor cling to us so tightly that we can’t do the work that jeans were made for. Give us tops that are work-appropriate, that don’t cover us in a mess of mauve and don’t force us to flash our coworkers when we drop a pen. Give us casual clothes that are cut to fit us, not hide or overexpose us. Design clothes for real women and their needs, not what you think women are and want. Cause this woman, for one, is really tired of the exhaustion it takes to find clothes, and I’d bet a lot of other gals are, too.
From the coziness of the actually fitting capris that took weeks to find (and don’t get me started on finding long pants) –
Love to all!