I strongly dislike the term plus sized. It implies that there’s an exclusive club for folks who are considered normal, and you aren’t in it if you wear clothes that are larger than what society has determined to be acceptable. You aren’t allowed through the doors of the clubhouse, so you press your face close to the front window, cupping your hands around your eyes so you can get a good look inside. Your breath fogs the glass and you have to continually wipe the condensation away in order to see inside clearly. The average world carries on with you as a mere spectator, wondering what it feels like to be a member.
The label in the back of my dress tells me that I’m a plus sized woman. Clothing manufacturers have decided that as such, I’m unworthy of their labels and they’d prefer I not sully their stores with my presence. Sure, I can go into an “average” department store and find things that fit, but they are generally made solely for function because a woman with extra meat on her bones shouldn’t concern herself with looking nice. She should thank her lucky stars that she has clothes at all. Her wardrobe consists of pieces that are the afterthought of some designer’s assistant, sewn using larger dimensions than clothing of their average sized counterparts, but not meant to flatter. If she does happen to find clothing made for her specifically, it is either hideous or costs her the equivalent of a newborn child. I’ve rifled through enough collared, beaded sweatshirts and elastic waist pants with creases sewn into them (I’m looking at you JC Penney, with your God-awful Alfred Dunner collection) to be thoroughly deflated.
I know what you’re asking: Why not just lose the weight? For the most part, I live a pretty healthy life. At least, I think so. I exercise, don’t eat a ton of processed crap, and I don’t smoke. But I’ll probably always be a curvy girl, and I’m okay with that. I’ve learned to love my body; I just wish designers weren’t so disdainful of my love for my body.
I went to Avenue recently, which is a store that sells clothing especially for those of us who are skinny jeans- challenged. Need pants that don’t give you muffin top? You got it. Bras that could be used for smuggling produce? You’re covered. What won’t be covered though, are your arms. Their button down shirts are fantastic, for the most part. The princess seams makes me feel like a million bucks, that is, until I reach the end of the sleeves. They aren’t meant to be three-quarter length, and it’s obvious when I try them on. With my arms fully extended, there is still a two-inch gap between the end of the sleeve and the beginning of my carpal bones. Apparently, I don’t fit the mold of what Avenue considers to be a standard plus sized woman, because my arms are longer than those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I just want a slightly longer sleeve, so I don’t look like I ran my clothes through the dishwasher on the sanitizing cycle. I don’t think I’m asking for much.
And don’t get me started on Lane Bryant. I love a lot of their stuff. I was over the moon when I learned that they’d be carrying Melissa McCarthy’s line. But why do I need to donate kidney in order to afford it? $98 for a pair of faux leather leggings? And don’t you dare fix your mouth to tell me that it’s because of all the extra fabric. We both know that’s hogwash. I think I am going to start a clothing line for women like me, who are interested in fashion, but not interested in dipping into our 401K’s to bring our dream wardrobes to fruition.