In addition to Francesca’s comments from yesterday, dear readers I would like you to witness this:
Yeah. That’s a “fat” girl hanging out with a bag of meatballs. Nice one, NYT.
Francesca’s right. That plus size line is going to go the way of the dodo. Even if we DID want to wear them, we’d have to wade through the maternity clothing, past the power tools to the little wedge of retail space afforded to the big girl, conveniently located next to the wrench sets and the irregular sweatsocks. THEN they’d complain “the market wasn’t supporting us.” You know what I say? GOOD.
The market SHOULDN’T support them. You know who we should be supporting? Boutiques and dressmakers WHO ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT PLUS SIZE WOMEN and give us quality products.
“But they’re expeeeeeensive” you say.
Yeah? Really? Well guess what?
Good clothes cost good money. If we’re not willing to put down the proverbial meatballs and open our pocketbooks and show designers with our just-as-green money that yes, they CAN make money off a girl with a gut, then what should we expect? They’re not making us clothes as a favor; they want money. So if we accept the lowest common denominator fashion –the stuff that costs them the fewest pennies to produce– then why should they give us anything else?
They think, and rightly so, most big girls don’t have the discipline to save up for one good garment, so they’ll happily sell us cheap and cheerful garbage. After all, everyone knows if we had self-discipline we wouldn’t be fat, right? We should be grateful they’re even making us clothes at all.
Well you know what? I’m tired of it.
AND I’m tired of big girls complaining about how it’s impossible to find good plus size clothes. It’s not. It’s dead easy to find good plus size clothes. It’s just not cheap, and it’s not satisfying in the short term. It takes discipline.
Do you know how many articles of clothing (excluding gowns and unmentionables) I own?
Exactly twenty two.
That’s a dozen dresses, one pair of jeans, one pair of trousers, a pullover, three cardigan/shrug-type things, three vintage tuxedo jackets and my grandfather’s old Harvard t-shirt which is thoroughly unwearable and held together by nothing but prayer.
Since dresses are my uniform, every single dress I buy must fit the following rules: I need to be able to wear it for at least 3 seasons and in 3 ways: at work, at cocktails, and on a Sunday morning. It needs to require no inordinately special care, be well-constructed and –most important of all– I need to LOVE it.
If it makes it past all those marks I then ask myself “would this have been chic (not fashionable or trendy; chic) 40 years ago, 30? 20? 10?”
If the answer is yes, I buy it. If the answer is anything but; it goes back on the rack.
As a result, I don’t have very many satisfying shopping trips. Also as a result, I’m the best dressed person most people know.
And here’s another secret: deep down in the black eel-filled recesses of my heart, I am cheap. If I’m going to buy something I want to buy it once. My soul recoils at the idea of buying something that is designed to be unwearable in a year. A friend of mine who worked at Old Navy told me that most of their clothing is constructed to last two seasons of regular wear. I thought I was going to stroke out.
I paid $130 on sale for the Melissa Masse dress I’m wearing today. It’s cream acetate with large, tight-set black polka dots. The straight skirt hits just below the knees and has bracelet sleeves and a surplice bust. I can –and do– wear it in a variety of ways, twice a month all year long.
The conservative guess as to the average lifespan of one of my dresses is 6 years. so it stands to reason that by the time Daniel Craig tears it off me in a fit of passion sometime in the spring of 2012, my cost-per-wear will have dropped to $1.35, making it a better value than the $20 Old Navy top, which –when worn with the same regularity through its predicted lifespan– would be $1.67 per wear.
So not only are boutique clothes better looking, they’re less expensive in the long run.
Now I know I’m going to get the same pushback that I always do. Blah blah blah not my lifestyle, blah blah I have kids, blah blah whatever. And you know? That’s fine. There is nothing saying you have to wear nice clothes. If you’re comfortable conveying the messages a fat girl in cheap clothes sends (and they DO send a message) that’s no skin off my nose, but just as the Walmart shopper doesn’t get to complain that the “mom and pops” are going under; the girl who doesn’t support higher end plus-size designers doesn’t get to gripe when they’re being offered nothing but cheap trash.
So let’s prove those dreckmerchants wrong. Let’s show them that fat girls care about quality and refuse to be treated like we’re less worthy of nice clothes than our slim sisters. Instead of buying that cheap and cheerful cotton frock that’ll be ripped by September, put $10 aside every week and –come fall– buy a beautiful silk sundress you’ll have for years.
They think we spend all day wearing Pooh t-shirts and shoving cake in our mouths? Well guess what? We can put our money there too. Starting now.