Sometimes I match the worst villains in all of space and time.
There have been worse sartorial decisions.
In Lesley Kinzel’s article about what clothes she’d like for fall, she mentioned in the comments that shopping for clothes and enjoying fashion is “basically time-consuming enough that I consider it a pretty involved hobby and not just the normal shopping other people do.” This is absolute gospel truth.
I’ve met thin people before who have great style, and when I compliment them, they confide in me: “Oh, I hate shopping. My sister buys clothes for me.” or “Oh, I can’t stand to shop, I just buy whatever is easy.” And I am baffled. Because if you’re fat and you say those things, you’re likely to end up in whatever is easy to find- which is likely the opposite of chic and stylish.
Every once in a while, I wander into a store like H&M, or I go to the mall. And suddenly these women’s offhand distaste of shopping while looking stylish makes sense. The sheer volume of clothes available to people from sizes 0-14 in one location is baffling to me. Not to mention the prices are downright confusing! Camisoles in my size are often priced at 15-20 bucks each. Underwear that isn’t on supersale from Lane Bryant or in a plastic package is $10-15 a pair. This is at least partially due to a captive market, and I salivate over the idea of easy to find $10 jeans and $15 dresses.
If a new store opens up catering to people sized 0-14, they advertise. They put their clothes on models and take pictures. They run ads. They host events. If a store expands their sizes into plus sizes, they expect plus size people to magically intuit it, like we have psychic links to places that we’ve never bought clothes before. ”I feel a disturbance, I think Forever 21 has put four t-shirts on a rack that might fit me!” And when we don’t buy those four t-shirts, because they’re nothing like the rest of the clothes a store offers (see WTFPlus for examples), they often throw their hands up in the air, exclaiming things like “Plus size people must not want fashion,” and “We tried.” And if we’re lucky, they banish plus sizes to their website, like fat people have leprosy or something, and we shouldn’t be allowed in the stores.
Because of this, I’ve been looking for close to 10 years, and I still haven’t found The Right Tall Boots with a (very) wide calf, because there is so little stock out there, and I refuse to compromise. Situations are improving, but not quickly. So as Lesley said, it can be like an involved hobby to continue finding clothes that you like.
Fat folks are often put down for looking frumpy and like they don’t care, but that seems like most of what options we have available to us. I just can’t fault anyone who sees plus-size offerings and says screw it. Buying clothes for comfort and bare minimum social requirements is a perfectly reasonable response to a difficult, mind-numbing, frustrating, and expensive commercial situation. So when I post about fun new clothes, never, ever, ever feel like you are obligated to care one whit.