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The Plus-Sized Shopping Nightmare

Thursday, September 05, 2013

I was perusing the Internet, as I am wont to do, when I came across this amazing blog:


This brought back "wonderful" memories of clothes shopping when I was 268 pounds. And by "wonderful", I mean "nightmare-inducing dread".

Unless you go to a store specifically catering to the plus-sized crowd, 90% of what you find in Macy's, Kohl's, and Target are exactly like what this author describes: shapeless, ugly, "Old Grandma" clothes in drab colors. If you do go to a specialty store, be prepared to spend a good amount of money for a blouse (I've seen in excess of $60 a shirt!).

As a twenty-something, I wanted cute, fun clothes. I wanted to be like those women in the articles, flaunting curves and whatnot. I wanted to be like other women my age, able to find cute clothes for all sorts of events - fancy evenings, sporting events, a day at work, a movie with friends, whatever. Instead, I was stuck finding something that would fit across my body like a potato sack - lifeless and boring.

Now, I know I was fat and unhealthy. I wasn't eating right, I rarely exercised, and I wasn't getting good sleep. So obviously, I needed to lose weight, which "cured" the clothing problem.

But still, shouldn't plus-sized women get cute clothes too? What about women like Holley Mangold, US Female Heavy-Weight Champion?

This woman will be able to lift more weights than I can even dream up - should she be excluded from looking pretty because she can't fit into a size 16 and is over 200 pounds?

This is why HEALTH is so much more important than WEIGHT. Not every woman who is considered "overweight" or "obese" in the BMI range is actually unhealthy. (I was NOT one of those women, but not everyone is like me.) Not every woman who is considered "healthy" in the BMI range is actually healthy. And EVERY woman, regardless of her size, deserves to find clothes that make her feel sexy and awesome. Maybe if *I* had been able to find sexier clothes as a size Whatever, I wouldn't have had such a lack of respect for my body and would have been able to lose weight sooner.

So although I'm not plus-sized anymore, I still feel for every plus-sized woman who goes into the store dreading the experience and pretty sure she is going to come out empty handed. Hopefully, our stores and our clothing lines will wake up and start making cute, fashionable clothes for ladies that aren't in the 0 - 16 range.
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  • JENNA463
    good article.
    1675 days ago
  • JENNA463
    I am also plus size.
    1675 days ago
    great blog,....thanks
    1749 days ago
    There is a great Wall Street Journal article today about a Plus-Size designer who debuted at NY Fashion week this week. And her clothes are something all women want to wear, but she has figured out how to adjust the patterns for those of us size 12 and up. Beautiful clothes that fit - nice!

    1749 days ago
    Did you know that Holley Mangold is going to be on this season's "Biggest Loser"? She is from the Buckeye state (Ohio, for those of you uncertain).

    I agree that wearing tents does nothing for the pride and esteem of the oversized, of which I am one. And hiding the large size under my husband's t-shirts and otherwise "mom" clothes, as I call them, makes me feel like just another overweight mommy.

    I agree with Bunnykicks that if we do something about the way we look NOW (as in, "rock it"), we feel better about doing ANYTHING.

    Dressbarn sometimes has some good stuff in their plus-sized section, just FYI.

    Thanks for sharing!!!!
    1749 days ago

    What a good blog, I so agree! emoticon

    love, Ginger
    1749 days ago
    The sizing scheme is a nightmare indeed
    1749 days ago
    "Maybe if *I* had been able to find sexier clothes as a size Whatever, I wouldn't have had such a lack of respect for my body and would have been able to lose weight sooner. "

    OHHH I so totally relate to this. I had fallen into the habit of buying "whatever I could find that fit" which typically meant "unfashionable." I had given up on ever being able to look nice. One day I finally took some inspiration from a woman who got hired where I work. She, too, was plus size - but unlike me, SHE looked GREAT. Hair and makeup done, fashionable clothes that fit. I was in awe and decided that maybe "rocking my size with pride" was not so impossible. And I went out and invested in some nice pieces in Size 22. And I made it my mission to rock-it-at-the-size-i-was, make the best of it, ya know? Might be fat, don't need to be frumpy! This was revolutionary thinking in my brain. And i have to say, it was not cheap either - as many have noted, to get anything "decent" in plus-size will cost you dearly. But it was a worthwhile investment, as being able to dress well made me feel better, yes, it fed my self-esteem and self-respect and... well whaddya know, once I learned to take some pride in my appearance "at any size" - I was finally mentally able to take on the challenge of CHANGING my size.

    If only it didn't require taking out a second mortgage to harness this effect. emoticon

    1749 days ago
    yes, yes, yes! since I'm short, plus-size clothes don't fit, 'regular' clothes ether - if I can find petite clothing it's better, they are rare, but they mostly only go up to a 14 (in Canada). For the woman who mentioned catalogues, some of us are not blessed with the ability to guess what will work on our body from a photo - I am constantly picking things up to try on only to realize that style is super unflattering to me - lol!
    Cute things, in a store that plus size women can actually walk into and shop at. you'd think it would be a huge financial success???
    1749 days ago
    Sooooooooooooo true! when you are big you don't find cute clothes and the few I used to find where extremely expansive! But now recently in Malta opened a New Look boutique not far away from where I live and it has a plus size section with very fashionable clothes it has jeans and long beach dresses and even shoes for wider feet! I left the shop feeling very happy for those women that I ones was like them and knew how it felt to find nothing that fits you well!
    1749 days ago
    Ditto! I couldn't agree with you more! I am not a 20-something, but I still want beautiful clothes that help me feel professional, sexy, and confident, and you just can't find them in plus-sized clothes. I think it's even worse for middle-aged women like me, because the specialty stores tend to cater to the plus-sized twenty-something. So we are torn between "grandma" clothes and clothes that are too revealing / young for people our age. I especially hate that they charge more for plus size clothes, especially since they don't charge less for petite clothes. Nice blog!
    1750 days ago
    loved the article you linked to! it's so true. I LOVE Target, but their plus size clothing leaves a lot to be desired (my local store's plus size section is so small, you blink & miss it!)
    Love it- thanks for sharing!!
    1750 days ago
    Makes me wonder if Australia lacks catalogs. When I was big, I ordered a lot of stuff from Silhouettes, Woman Within, and Jessica London.

    I can identify with Lofllama's comment about even thin clothes not fitting. I made my opinions heard loud and clear about skinny leg pants that were all the rage this summer. I am a definite pear shape with heavier legs and large, muscular calves. Skinny-leg pants are terribly uncomfortable and unflattering on me, but it was murder to find just...plain...pants. No crops. No ankle length (not with my ankles). No skinny legs. No waists that hit about the top of my pubic bone if I'm lucky. Pants.
    1750 days ago
    I have an interview for a job in a couple weeks... I am DREADING shopping to find something to wear for it. UGH! While I can generally find some cute things, a lot of times i can't! Can't wait to get smaller!
    1750 days ago
    Thanks soo much for sharing! and sooo true! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1750 days ago
    So true! High school was YEARS ago, but I still remember being the fat-and-unhealthy kid, the one who was shy and picked on and felt like nothing and nobody. There was another girl who was popular, fun to be around, was on dance team and a cheerleader, and she was the same size as me..but she was FIT.

    If I knew THEN what I know NOW, I would have made every effort to get off my butt and stop being sorry for myself. The difference between her and I back then was that she made an effort, and I did not.

    I am so happy to have moved past that mentality, and am now focusing on my fitness and ability, rather than just a number on a scale. I will take every victory along the way, but I am not about to let my weight rule my life anymore. It's about the total package!
    1750 days ago
    It's not just plus sized. I have VERY long legs and a large waist even though I am thin. The clothes manufacturers ASSUME I must have a big butt too! I have jeans from 7-13 that all fit EXACTLY the same. Our idiot society makes me feel fat if I admit I wear a 13, but I am SO skinny in a size 7???? Even a 7 is HUGE...tho since I'm 5'9" I KNOW better than to take THAT on! I think we should start putting our own labels in clothes! HA!
    1750 days ago
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