The Plus Sized Debate
Monday, April 28, 2014
The term "Plus Size" is used in a very broad spectrum of sizes from a size 8 (fashion industry considers anything above a size 4 a plus size) to anyone above a size 14. I have read numerous articles lately arguing about the definition of "plus sized" and find it a very negative conversation.
While I continue to see a movement toward self love and accepting ourselves for how we are built, the fact that there is labeling and argument for or against plus sized models makes it continue to be a negative environment for those that need to shop in plus sized clothing stores and departments.
Yesterday I was in Target and popped over to the Women's Department to see if I could find a medium weight jacket. Everything I own is either too big, too heavy/warm or has my work logo on it. I figured this time of the year I might be able to find something new for the Spring or something on clearance from last fall. But I didn't find either. In fact, I didn't find ANYTHING at all.
Nothing. Zip. Zero
I have had issues with Target for some time now and how they promote/don't promote their women's clothing. I have gone into numerous Target stores in different towns only to discover the same thing - a section of limited options shoved in a back corner of the store away from the traffic and "normal" shoppers.
Part of the problem is that Target represents a small population of affordable plus sized clothing. Stores like Torrid and Catherine's are expensive options and on-line it's not much better with web-only retailers. Web retailers like JUNO, JustFab, and SWAK offer plus sized style at a very high price. It's like I am being punished for being bigger; that if I want to look decent and not have to go to work in sweats I am going to really PAY for it.
I understand and acknowledge that I am sensitive to how plus sized/women's clothing is promoted, represented and sold to women who need to wear it. But Target is blatant about their lack of interest in providing a decent shopping experience and options to a LARGE population of their customers. And by large I don't mean the size of the person, I mean the number of shoppers.
Now, understand that I am wearing an XL in most clothing and could probably find a jacket in the men's section or the athletic department, but it is habit for me to first go to the women's section and regardless of what size I am I am offended by their continued disregard to women's plus sized clothing.
There is one last thing that is on my mind right now, if clothing for women who are larger is called "plus sized" what are all the other sizes called? "Normal" sized? "Regular" sized? "Less" sized?
Years ago there was a women's clothing store that racked all the sizes together - in many styles you could find everything from a size 4 to a size 24 on the same rack. I loved shopping in the store because women of all shapes and sizes would be mixed and mingled together, all wanting to find that perfect piece that fit and looked good.
But then again maybe that is why they are not around anymore. Truth is, some clothes cut for plus sized women are not cut well for others and vice versa.
I don't care what size I am or where I land in the spectrum when I have lost all my weight, I will always advocate for change in how WOW (Women Of Weight) are represented in the fashion industry and retail stores.
And on a side note - I would rather be labeled a "Plus" or a "Queen" over "Normal, Regular or Standard" any day. How boring it sounds to be like "everyone" else. :)