Hello fashion world- I would just like to vent to you for 5 seconds. In your eyes all women are exactly the same and need to look exactly the same. (or if they’re different. It is the same way of looking different). Want some fashion advice? Check out this post.
I’ve seen the look of horror on your face at the fashion shows when you meet a plus size women. How can you possibly be expected to design for such an atrocious creature? On Project Runway the designers panic and run for the exits when given a ‘real woman’ challenge. It makes me wonder what type of woman are they designing for- the fake woman? They might as well be for how many women fit into their clothes.
In a great article in the Los Angeles Times Emili Vesilind calls plus size women “Fashion’s invisible woman”. Despite 14 being the AVERAGE size for women in America most designers would rather cater to their ideal woman, deluding themselves that they are somehow encouraging those fatties to get in line. Here is a quote:
“ When Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who spent most of his adult life battling a serious weight problem, created a capsule collection for H&M in 2004, the newly svelte designer was incensed that the retailer manufactured the collection in larger sizes. “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people,” he said. And in an interview in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar, he sniffed, “The body has to be impeccable . . . if it’s not, buy small sizes and less food.”
Another ‘fashion editor’ from Australia criticized the use of plus size models because they encouraged such laziness and disgusting body-types.
“While these women might make us feel better about our bulging butts and guts, the truth is, few women over a size 14 are in a healthy weight range. And many need encouragement to lose weight instead of being told to feel good about being overweight. Seeing big girls might give us healthier self-esteem, but it might not encourage us to lead healthier lives.”
Did it ever cross your mind that maybe these women need both- they need to feel good about their body and be encouraged? Why are the two mutually exclusive? It truly makes me crazy.
Some may counter that the market speaks and plus size doesn’t sell. I find that hard to believe when again it is the AVERAGE size of women in America. Surely there is a market to tap into there but the fashion industry doesn’t want to pander to fatties? How do you explain the huge success of plus size chains such as Lane Bryant and Torrid? I think the fashion industry wants to promote a particular type of woman and those that don’t fit can be left with their mumu’s and fast food at home.
Even if you buy their idiotic views- here’s the rub- try to find athletic gear in plus sizes and you will have a tough road on your hand. Think you can roll into Big 5, Sports Authority, Cabellas and find plus size active wear- not so much. What about target or Lane Bryant- nope. It is practically impossible to find active wear for plus size women.
The only way is to turn to the internet and even that, on occasion, fails me. In order to find something as simple as a sports bra I had to dig through websites until finally I found one on Old Navy.com. Sometimes I am forced to buy men’s active wear (not with teh sports bra, of course!) but that is usually very unsatisfying and like a cloud around my body.
After much digging I finally found a plus size active wear bathing suit on Lands End and even though it was expensive I bought it because there was no other choice. Socks, running shirts, yoga pants, workout tanks, anything ‘gym chic’, are all nearly impossible to find in plus size.
Which leads me to my next question- how do you, fashion designer, expect us to ‘lead healthier lives’ if nobody sells clothing to help us do just that? Are we supposed to stay in hiding until we magically come out of the cocoon of fatness? Then you will adorn us with your precious athletic wear. It really makes me crazy!
What has gotten me particularly fumed about this topic is I have been working for weeks trying to swim in the 1 mile open water race at Deer Creek Reservoir. My swim times are good, my training has been intense but you know what could stop me from swimming- clothing! That’s right stupid clothing. Normally beginning swimmers use a triathlon wetsuit which is slick on the outside and breaths more than a traditional wetsuit. The water is pretty cold and having a wetsuit helps your legs from freezing up and your arms from feeling heavy.
Unfortunately the stupid wetsuit manufacturers only make a woman’s size up to 160 lbs. 160 lbs!! I still can’t believe that is their biggest. It will probably take me 2-3 more years before I am close to 160 lbs. I have to admit the whole incident was very discouraging. Its one thing to not be able to do something because you are out of shape, but I’m in shape. I can do the stupid race! To be stopped by something as dumb as clothing makes me nuts. I cried and cried when I first found out.
Even the man’s size was too small (particularly for my bust, there’s a shocker!). So, my friends I am going to attempt to swim the race without a wetsuit. We will see how my trial run goes tomorrow. Its going to be hard but all I can do is my best. I can’t control the stupid wetsuit situation but I can give it my all in that cold water.
Hear is my plea- PLEASE put out some athletic wear that we can actually use to help us lose the weight you find so unsettling. PLEASE put out socks that fit, running shirts, sports bras that support, high performance products and even a few cute gym outfits. I know I would buy it- what about all of you? For goodness sakes I was willing to spend over $300 for my wetsuit but no. Nobody makes one even close to what I need. Nobody wants my money!
Maybe if enough of us could show interest we could do some type of petition to the major athletic wear labels? It would certainly be nice to be able to compete when we’ve actually done the training and not be thwarted due to improper clothes! So please make a comment, send this post to friends, twitter it and let’s see if we can get something done.
I will let you know how my trial run goes tomorrow. Let’s hope I can brave the cold!
Freelance Ent. writer - Reviews of current films also for ventsmagazine.com ~ Proud member of Online Assoc. of Female Film Critics ~ Opinions from just the 3 of us..me, myself & I . Equal parts witty & sarcastic. Ratings scale: A = Oscar-worthy; B = Above average; C = Average; D = Not recommended; F = Skip it entirely (+ or - gives it an edge up or down)