I have been visiting different stores recently trying to find clothes that I like, that fit my style but will also make me look a little more professional that my recent student attire of yoga pants and hoodies. But, you see, I am one of those ladies that you call plus sized. For years I was on the cusp – able to shop the largest sizes at “normal” stores while also shopping the smallest sizes at plus stores. (Except those stores where the largest sizes were comparatively smaller – I’m looking at you Banana Republic – but agreeing on universal sizing is a whole other issue).
But no more. I am currently firmly embedded in the plus size world. There are some stores that carry a XXL that is still my friend, but more often than not things, frustratingly, do not fit.
But here’s the thing: I don’t believe it’s that difficult to increase the range of sizes you carry. You know, those of us who where larger sizes don’t want to be “special” with our own section at the back of the store with totally different clothes. Really we’d just like you to make exactly the same clothes a little bit bigger.
And when I say bigger… Look, I know there are all sorts of different body types, but you should really know that breasts tend to get bigger along with bodies. I’d like to own button down shirts sometimes.
I understand that we all want our niche markets, and that the niche markets most retailers want is the small, cute, 20 something girl and the teenager who aims to be her. The ones that fit into the image we’re all supposed to want to have. Except that some of us have realized that we don’t fit.
You see, my body shape fits more into the 50s ideal than today’s and it will no matter how much weight I lose. Even when I was a “normal” size buttons gaped, sleeves that went all the way to my wrists were hard to find. Skirts that covered my ass, pants that hit my ankles.
Already I’m seeing my daughter’s way forward. Already it’s hard to find pants that are long enough that aren’t way too big at the waist because someone decided kids of this age should be this size and that’s the only size they should be.
I understand that stores have their niches, that you can’t carry every size, all those arguments. But how about taking the actual, living average woman into account when you choose what you carry. (I don’t know about Canada, but the average American woman is a size 14, which puts her right on the cusp of plus-sized and leaves very little option about where to shop).
Really, retailers, the message here is this: I’m tall, I have long arms and big breasts, I have a small waist and wide hips, I carry extra pounds, and I want jeans that fit. I want to be able to wear cute t-shirts with slogans and not have to buy the men’s shirts when I want to support my sports team.
Because men’s shirts are boxy and I’m not at all.