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Welcome to Hell, I Mean, Clothes Shopping

October 11, 2013

This is our second introductory post from CherryBlossomKitty. After one more post, we will vote on her inclusion.

Fat Fashion

This afternoon I decided to check out one of those pop-up Halloween stores. I love Halloween, and I would like to perhaps get a new costume for this year. Yeah, right.

Bar Wench

Choice? Diversity? Creativity?
Nope, just a bar wench.

I did eventually find the “Plus” section, which contained all of about three different styles and took up half a rack. Not wanting to be a bar wench, Greek goddess or whatever was wearing the shapeless black robe, I left the store.

Leaving a store empty-handed is something I’ve become quite used to.

Earlier today, I went to a big box store that I shall not name, but I’m sure everyone knows which because it has a big red bullseye on the outside. So many lovely, stylish fall and winter clothes, so reasonably priced… all in S, M, or L only.

Oh, how stylish I would be if I weren’t a 3X!

But wait, you say. There are plenty of stylish plus-sized stores out there! And you would be right, except that apparently the clothes are either made out of 24-karat gold fibers, or fabric is reeeeeeally expensive once you get past a certain size, because everything in those stores is way. too. expensive.

With the above thoughts in mind, may I present to you:

A LETTER TO WOMEN’S CLOTHING STORES

DEAR “TRENDY” CLOTHING STORES (e.g., Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21):

  • There are women who are larger than a size L
  • There are women with bra sizes larger than 38 and cup sizes larger than DD.
  • There are women who wear shoes larger than size 10.
  • There are women who would really, REALLY like to wear your clothing, but can’t because you won’t make it in sizes that fit them.
  • And you might say, “Oh but we make plus-sizes too!” BULL. Your plus-size department is one rack and full of ugly crap. Or it’s online only. That’s just wrong.

DEAR MASS-MARKET CLOTHING STORES (Sears, JC Penney, Target, Kohl’s):

  • While we appreciate your feeble attempt to cater to more “average” sized women, we still notice that pretty much all your stylish, trendy clothing is only in the “Juniors” section. PUT SOME OF THAT STUFF IN OUR SIZES. WE WANT TO WEAR IT TOO.
  • See above on bra sizes, too. There really ARE women on this planet larger than a DD cup size. I know, I’m one of them.
  • Oh, and a special note: I think it really says something when YOUR DAMNED PLUS-SIZE SECTION IS SMALLER THAN YOUR MATERNITY SECTION.

DEAR SPECIALIZED “PLUS-SIZED” CLOTHING STORES (e.g., Lane Bryant, Avenue, Catherine’s):

  • Your clothes are bat-crap ugly and way over-priced. I want to look stylish, not like my grandmother in a muumuu, and I don’t want to spend 50 bucks on a t-shirt.
  • AND DAMNIT, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE A BRA WITH A CUP SIZE BIGGER THAN A DD THAT I CAN BUY IN A FREAKING STORE AND NOT ONLINE??????? BLAHAHAHAGARGRG
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18 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    October 11, 2013 1:13 pm

    Oh hell yes!!!! Clothes shopping in general is a pain the ass, but shopping for bras if you’re above a DD? Forget it, it ain’t happening in stores. You might find a DDD in Catherine’s, and they’re actually not bad, as far looks go, but anything above that – does not exist in stores. And online is just as bad. Oh, the sizes exist, rarely, up to a 56H, and sometimes cup sizes up to M (but the band sizes on anything above a H stop at about 46/48). But those bras are fugly as hell, the cups are made weirdly (they don’t fit properly, unless you like your boobs squished off to the sides), and they cost an arm, a leg, and your first-born child.
    I have 5 Goddess bras that the cups fit perfectly, but they’re so old that the wings are worn out (and Goddess doesn’t make those bras anymore, shame on them). So I’ve been buying cheap-ass bras in a 54H, cutting the wings off them and sewing those wings on my Goddess bras (after cutting the worn-out wings off them). It beats the hell out of buying a bra online, hoping it will fit the way I want, finding out it doesn’t, and then having to send it back, only to try all over again with another brand/size/style. I’ve spent enough money sending bras back that I could have a couple year’s supply of bras custom-made, if I could find anyone closer than 200 miles away from me to do that. I’d even make my own bras, if I could figure out how to make enough room for my sewing area downstairs. It’s not like I don’t have the ability, I just don’t have the spoons to climb those stairs to my sewing room several times a day in order to do that much sewing. :(

  2. October 11, 2013 3:31 pm

    Here’s what I want, for a long long time now … a DDD (or F) cup bra that does NOT cover me from bottom of sternum to an inch under my collar bone!! My Breasts still look *good* in a supportive – but sexy- bra. I wear a lot of V-neck tees or button shirts without the top two or three buttons done… I want a sexy bra that plunges in the front…
    No underwire. I repeat- NO underwire!! No side-wire, no wires at all.
    Also, I want wide bottom bands on bras…. and slightly wider straps, but they don’t need to look like Eric Clapton’s guitar strap for godssakes!! (and screw that maxi-pad strap look too!!)

  3. Nof permalink
    October 11, 2013 4:01 pm

    As a 42DD, I have a (relatively) easy time finding bras–those seem to be the highest most stores carry, so at least I can find a couple. My problem has always been that the only styles I can find are “minimizers”. I don’t want to minimize my boobs. I want them pushed up into everyone’s faces. My boobs are incredible and I want a bra that honors them, not one that smothers them behind that awful itchy fabric that big bras are invariably made of.

  4. October 11, 2013 5:47 pm

    Yes, the band thing. It’s okay to be a 44F as long as you are actually a size 2 also. I actually had a fitting from a UK brand that is supposed to specialise in ‘curvy’ lingerie. They didn’t have my size and actually tried to convince me I didn’t know my own size. I tried on the ones they suggested and they cut into me so deeply it brought tears to my eyes. ‘There,’ said the girl, ‘see, isn’t that better. I told you were a 38D.’

  5. October 11, 2013 7:59 pm

    Ooh…is this where I can rant about the impossibility of finding a bathing suit to fit my ample proportions, because that is beyond frustrating. Every suit I see comes in one of two formats – a one piece with a flattering skirt on the bottom, or a two piece (halter top with a bottom that – you guessed it – has a skirt). Guess what, neither one of those are conducive to doing aquafitness. The skirts get caught in your legs as you’re jumping and the tops ride up and you risk a wardrobe malfunction with every move. Then you look online and find the perfect one piece – no frills attached – bathing suit only to realise that your bathing suit size (26) will only support a DD cup. What the hell, bathing suit people?! Some of us who wear a 26 actually have a bra size well beyond DD cup. Ugh. Short of getting one custom made somewhere, I am pretty much left unable to buy one off the rack or on the web. It’s disheartening more than anything else.

  6. Amber permalink
    October 12, 2013 9:26 am

    Word.

    I once had a Lane Bryant clerk measure me (over my sweater) and proclaim me a 46C. After spending considerable time testing fit, I did buy a couple bras… In 42DD.

    • October 12, 2013 3:47 pm

      I was measured at a LB store once as well, and she told me I was a D cup. LMAO. I don’t think they know how to measure over there. I was re-measured at Soma as a 40G, which is much more accurate. But of COURSE that particular store did not carry that size.

  7. October 12, 2013 11:26 am

    I would enjoy a store that sold a large band size with a small cup size, a.k.a. a 44 A-B. Because apparently there’s no way you’re a B if you’re above a 36, and even LB B cups are massive.

  8. lifeonfats permalink
    October 12, 2013 3:48 pm

    I totally agree about Halloween costumes. Most plus sizes only go to a 22 (I wear anywhere from a 24 to a 32 depending on the cut) and almost everything is either a sexy version of something. Which is fine for those that want to be that but I’m not interested in being a sexy plumber/fairy/cop/bar wench/referee/nurse. This year I’m going to a Halloween dance and decided to be a 50’s bobbysoxer. I did a net search for plus size poodle skirts and found a place through Etsy in Utah called The 50’s Hip Hop Shop. I ordered a set that includes a poodle skirt (in size 3X/4X) in my color of choice, bobby socks, a scarf and cat eye glasses for $43.00, and I added a cinch belt. The clothes are handmade in the US and I’m excited to see what it looks like and how it will fit, which I think it will. If it works out, I’ll post pictures and do a review. This is the time of year when knowing how to sew really comes in handy!

    • October 13, 2013 10:23 am

      lifeonfats; That sounds awesome!! I hope you’ll share some pics! :-)

  9. October 13, 2013 10:24 am

    Huh. I really liked Avenue when it still existed. Not that I went shopping very much, because I was out of work so much over the last six years.

    The only Lane Bryant stuff I own came from used clothing stores, but it’s nice enough. I actually wanted to check out one of their stores last week out in Big Box Store-land, but despite having a big banner saying “Open Fall 2013″ it actually was still closed. :/ Our local Fred Meyer had a decent selection of larger sizes and I actually came away with four really nice pairs of pants. (Thank You, Gloria Vanderbilt!)

  10. Jessica permalink
    October 14, 2013 5:40 am

    As a 40GG/42G (UK sizes) depending on band firmness, I feel your pain. I have ordered and returned tons of odd bras, but I might be able to help on the swimsuit issue: Elomi swim bra. I bought one and cut the built-in cups out of my suit. So much support!

    I get tired of clothes shopping. It seems like every time a plus size store advertises something cute, it sells out before I can get it. So please add “Make enough to meet reasonable demand” to your list.

  11. Pyctsi permalink
    October 14, 2013 4:38 pm

    I buy most of my clothes online from a catalogue (fashionworld.co.uk) that specialises in larger sizes. I can actually get a choice of bras in a 42 L (UK) as well as knowing that the sizes will be roughly the same across most of the range of clothes.

    They have even started doing clothes that are designed for people who are bigger in one area, eg. fitted tops for busty women, trousers that have more room if you have a big bum, or more space if your thighs are larger. It’s just a small section atm but the prices aren’t bad, the quality is good and the clothes look good. I’m hoping this takes off as I could do with a jacket that doesn’t make my shoulder hunch because I need 2 sizes larger to get my boobs in.

    Going back to the bra range they do a reasonable range of back sizes and cup sizes including large back small cup and smaller back large cup – it’s not as wide as I’d like but better than most places I’ve tried and although you’ll pay for delivery (if you can’t get an offer) returns are free, so you could order a couple to find the right fit for you and return the others.

    The only thing I’ve had to return as not fitting at all was comfort tops which were definitely not designed for the more busty woman.

  12. Trates permalink
    October 14, 2013 11:13 pm

    It’s matter of cost and resource management. They could have a lot of racks of plus-sized clothing but why? The goal is to have the maximum number of customers get catered to with a rack and plus-sized clothing does not net as much bang.

    It’s why plus-sized specific stores are costly. You don’t really get enough traffic to cover bills so costs must go up to balance it out.

    Really with few exceptions online is the better option. Better selection and a wider range of sizes. That’s pretty much what you’ll have to do to get bigger more specific styles.

    • Amber permalink
      October 15, 2013 8:24 am

      The average American woman is a size 14. This means more than half of the female populace wears a “plus size” (12 and up, maybe 14 and up depending on the store). “Misses” ranges rarely go above a size 18, but will regularly carry down to a size 2. If you want to make the most money possible, you would want to carry product that fits the majority of potential customers. What the current marketing strategy does is cover slightly more than half the bell curve of potential customers.

      That’s not to say there isn’t some merit to the “limited rack space” argument, but there is a LOT more to it than that. Otherwise more stores would carry sizes 6 to 20, instead of 0 to 16.

      Online is good for what it is, but many people require the ability to try clothes on before purchasing, for a variety of reasons. There’s also the issue of going shopping being a social event and the stigmatizing effects of being constantly excluded from participation.

      • Trates permalink
        October 15, 2013 11:16 pm

        Not all plus sizes are created equal. The fact is that while the general population is fat not all of them can wear the same.

        Wally-World is fine for me for shirts and sweats but I need to head elsewhere for slacks and suits. Shoes are not stocked by any store. Feet are too wide.

        The larger it gets the more limited it becomes.

        As for social stuff find an alternative.

  13. October 15, 2013 11:27 am

    Welcome to the personal hell that is bra-shopping. I’m at the point where I’m considering wear a breast binder instead of a bra because they are reasonably inexpensive and they actually, you know, hold you in place. A really good bra costs $60+ dollars (money I don’t have) and bras that you can afford start fraying after one wash and they lose their elastic after about a week. And please, don’t get me started on elastic bras. With few exceptions, I find that soft cups without underwire just don’t work for breasts larger than a C (your mileage may vary, of course). I thought for a while that I was a DD, now I find out that I’m more like a J. Yikes!

  14. October 19, 2013 12:55 pm

    My personal plus-size clothing complaints:

    First, plus-size stores, while I commend you for stocking larger sizes (26/28 and sometimes larger), PLEASE STOCK MORE THAN 1 OR 2 OF THESE SIZES. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a plus-sized store, found something cute, and realized that they had 50 of that item in a size 16/18, but NONE LEFT in the size 26/28. Argh! Know your customer base! Most in-between sizes shop at regular stores! Your clientele is going to have a larger proportion of women in the upper range of sizes, not the lower range! Augh!

    Second, don’t just take a design made for a smaller size and randomly add 5 inches everywhere. That means that the neckline is way too big (meaning my bra straps are constantly showing) and the arm holes are often too large (halfway to my waist, and I don’t have small arms at all).

    Third, please make more non-underwire large-sized bras. While underwires should be available for those who want them, most large-busted women find underwires to be an exercise in torture. But even in LB, my non-underwire choices are pretty much limited to one or two bra types/styles. I need more choice.

    I could go on, but those are my top three for today.

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