Joe and I were having a talk about the stupidity of women’s sizing and the fashion industry today after I took the kid out shopping for some new clothes and also despairing at decline of plus size options despite, you know, reality.
So here I sit, looking on Amazon and I find a dress that’s maybe okay and lo and behold a size 3X is equivalent to a US size 14.
I looked it up. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the average American wearing wears a 16.
I have been a ‘plus size’ since I was a teenager. There was a point when I fit into my beloved Gap pants and then suddenly I couldn’t shop there and I never have been able to since.
A lot of stores these days promise ‘extended sizing’ but I went into Reitmans and found that they had a lot of XXS but I think I found a total of two items in 2X or 3X in the store. In the stores it can be a great little game of hide and seek, finding what they’ve actually got in store in those sizes. Generally, if you want those extended sizes you have to shop online, and guess at what the fit might be, and the texture of the fabric, the length, etc.
Then there are brands like Joe Fresh (who I don’t buy from anymore anyway, because) who do plus sizes but instead of just making regular clothing in larger sizes, tend to make decidedly ‘fat’ clothes. As though anyone who needs plus sizes should be hiding as much of themselves as possible. Despite the fact that *as discussed* on average, we all fall into the definition of plus size.
Joe mentions here that in Walmart, men’s plus sizes – or big and tall, or whatever euphemism men use for ‘curvy’ – are all crew neck t-shirts and sweatpants. Like once you hit a certain size, you don’t deserve to look nice, or they assume you’re just not trying to.
All of this isn’t helped by the fact that we’re “supposed” to fit straight sizes. Fashion industry sample sizes are 0-4, and I’ve seen designers on Project Runway throw minor fits when they have to dress anyone but their model because ew. But how are you going to be successful if you don’t want to dress real people?
I have despaired over the lack of plus-size choices in Canada and it seems to be getting worse, but the main thing that started this conversation for me was my kid. Clothes shopping with my tall, fit, healthy kid who is strong and powerful and beautiful and loves clothes. Soon they will have to learn that women’s sizes make no sense, that a 10 in this store might be an 8 in that one or even a 12 over there, but jeans come in inches and a small might be too small but a medium is way too big.
That sometimes you can buy the exact same pair of pants in a different colour and they will not fit the same.