Earlier this week I had the pleasure of communicating with a delightfully thoughtful and well-intentioned columnist over at the Daily Beast (Hi, Daily Beast readers! Comments here are moderated!) for a piece she was writing about plus-size fashion. The finished product – which I call unequivocally fantastic if only because it forgoes the compulsory “But of course, one day, all fat people will be DEAD” rhetoric – can be found here, for those who might otherwise miss it.
Unspurisingly, these recent conversations about the expansion/contraction of plus size collections have had me thinking about what they mean and what they contribute on a broader, cultural level, but not so much how they affect me individually. The simple fact of the matter is that I outsize most of these lines. I am too fat for any of the shops that took 16s and 18s out of their stores. I am too fat for Faith 21; I am too fat for Target’s Youth-Contemporary-Whatever-Collection (I swear this had an actual name at one point, site-menu notwithstanding, but I can’t remember it right now). I am often too fat for the well-meaning independent plus-size retailers who email this blog asking if they can send me samples for review. I am grateful I am no longer gutted by being sized out of things – I am actually well-wardrobed already, and have a few beloved resources to hit up for more if necessary – but I also feel a dark satisfaction in writing these companies back to say, that’s great, but I am too fat for your clothes.
See that photograph above? That’s me. Too fat for Faith 21; too fat for Target; too fat for Fashion Overdose; too fat for most of B & Lu (even the damnable small-running 5Xs); too fat for any of the numerous eBay shops and web boutiques that peddle those disposable trendy bits only up to a junior 3X; too fat for many department-store plus size lines, which generally stop at a 24 or, if I’m very lucky, a 26. While being shut out of a lot of these clothes doesn’t tremendously bug me, since they’re mostly not my style anyway, it does make it difficult to get excited about new developments from a personal perspective. Will anything from Beth Ditto’s Evans collection fit me? Some of it might. I’ll have to risk international shipping to find out.
But for the most part, my conversations about the evolving state of plus size fashion in the US are academic. I get cardigans from Torrid; I get dresses from eShakti (or, brick-and-mortar style, from Ross or AJ Wright); I will occasionally find something among the dull multitudes at One Stop Plus that I can salvage. It’s not always just about slaying a dragon; often there’s a bit of alchemy involved as well, a trick for combining and layering things that in isolation would make me cringe, but in concert make the statement I’m trying to express. What would I do if I had the broad array of resources so many of us fat-fashion bloggers are demanding? I have no idea. I suppose I’d need a new hobby.
On that subject, Full Figured Fashion Week, with its purpose of demonstrating the market for plus size apparel and generally showing off how amazing fat people can look, kicks off in NYC today, and our own femmetabulous Tara Shuai will be representing for fatshionista.com at some of the events and reporting back here. Check the FFFWeek website for more information on upcoming events over the next few days.
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