To paaaaaaaaaaaaarty. Okay, not quite.
Hi, I’m Nicole. And if you read this blog regularly, you might have noticed that according to standards set forth by our society, that I am “morbidly obese”. And you know what? Despite this, regardless of what size we are, we all deserve to find and wear clothing that we like and enjoy. If that clothing is not available? We have the right to demand it.
As a consumer, we have two ways to let us be heard. Feedback and purchasing power. Even before I started this blog, I let companies know what I wanted. More often than not my feedback was met with the following excuses:
“We tried that, nobody bought it.”
And my favorite?
“Sorry, we’re not interested in doing that at this time.”
Since I was a child, I’ve always been at the top of what is the “currently available size range”. I’m sure part of this is because finding larger was also impossible to find and there were times when I probably wore things that were too small because that is what was available. Right now, I’m a 26/28, sometimes 30. And yes, there has always been a cap of what size is publicly available.
Ten years ago, there was nothing more in my surrounding area than Lane Bryant and Avenue that went to size 26/28. Outside of those stores, you couldn’t find anything above an 18/20. When I wore an 18, Old Navy brought XXL/20 into stores, department store brands started carrying 1X, etc. and it has increased over time. These days you can walk into Sears, Target and JC Penny to find plus lines going up to a size 24/26. Things have changed.
Sending feedback to companies to extend sizing, provide more accurate size charts, bigger models, better quality, more fashionable clothing, and more, is all helpful. The world is slowly changing. More companies, even high fashion, are starting to notice that plus size fashion is something… popular, wanted or even – necessary.
At one point, I figured it wasn’t worth it to send feedback. Would they listen to me? Probably not. But there are strength in numbers. I’d like to think that all of the e-mails I’ve sent to plus size retailers will some day benefit myself and others. I make conscious decisions about which companies I do and do not purchase from. Sure, I’m only one person but as a group, we are more powerful.
I try to be optimistic about the state of the plus size clothing industry. Providing positive feedback when things are done right, when companies start taking steps forward, but time and time again you see the same thing. Plus lines that stop short – at a 18/20/22/24. The same types of clothing. Trends popping up seasons behind. Shapeless clothing. When is enough, enough?
With the “ZOMG OBESITY EPEDEMIC” and the fat acceptance movement, I see these companies on tender footing. They are trying to please multiple groups – those that love their bodies, those who do not and are concerned about their company “image”. These companies make tentative steps forward – releasing capsule collections, extending sizing a little bit. Done right, these ventures are successful. Hello, ASOS Curve, anyone? But ASOS is one of those companies who has said, “We are not interested in extending our size range.”
Since ASOS Curve released I’ve sent an e-mail every couple of months, letting them know that if they extended their sizing, I’d be there to buy. Towards the end of the first season, I purchased a few pieces – some that fit and others were too small and it made me realize something. Regardless of how cute/amazing their (or another company) clothing is, I refuse to squeeze myself into clothing made by a company that does not want to cater to my size.
And while I’ve successfully resisted buying or even trying their clothing for over a year… I recently caved in and bought skirts and a dress with a couple of bags that I bought for school – which is why you’ve seen an influx of ASOS Curve stuff on my blog. ;) Nobody is perfect!
Part of me thinks that these companies are neglecting the upper part of this market intentionally. Because making clothing, fashionable clothing for the fatties is promoting obesity in the minds of some.
There is an unfortunate trend lately of companies cutting back their larger sizes, if they offer them at all. The above reasons and more have been offered as reasons why. Sadly, I think there is a little more to it. Because of the language used, I have a sinking feeling these companies don’t want to provide the fashionable clothing we yearn for because it is socially unacceptable to be publicly fat and proud. Catering to these larger sizes makes these companies look like they are “promoting” obesity. Sure, I might be (okay, am) a bitter fat girl, so my opinion is obviously biased.
I find “promoting obesity” a hilarious subject because I hardly think that fashionable clothing available to plus sizes is enough to make anyone want to be fat. Particularly when we live in a world where it is just fine, or even socially acceptable to villainize fat bodies. Where it is the norm to criticize yourself and your body, regardless of size.
There is a super awesome post over on Kath’s blog – A Fat Heffalump, on similar issues in the plus size clothing industry, with an added call to action! She inspired me to dig up this post (almost a year old, yikes!) and finish it. If you’re interested in helping change the status of the plus industry – go participate in her new Facebook group, Super Sizes!
Do you provide feedback to companies? Do you make conscious decisions about where you make your purchases? What are your feelings on the status of the plus size clothing industry?