as a young american woman, simply being "plus sized" can be plenty horrific on its own. having to SHOP as one is utterly humiliating.
it doesn’t matter which camp you’re in – whether you think “big is beautiful” or that being overweight completely sucks – the clothes-shopping experience is downright insulting.
first of all, as a marketer and as a human being, i do not understand the reasoning behind department stores separating plus-size clothing from normal-size clothing. why is this? is it because the clothes are so differently styled? or is it just a matter of space? because either way, i still don’t get it.
if it’s style – why? why not offer the “normal” clothes in larger sizes…and on the same racks? why offer those adorable pants in sizes 0-14, but then offer only the ugliest, most unflattering, pleated-front-tapered-leg-balloon pants for sizes 14 on up?
who decided that women over a certain size have no fashion sense, no careers, and no social life? because let me tell you, the clothes i have to choose from are offensive. they are matronly and flowered. they are saggy and baggy and pastel in the wrong way. the few lines that try to be “hip” are terribly ill-conceived.
so where are the pants that flare? where are the skirts that are a-lined and above the knee? where are the summer shirts or undershirts that aren’t sleeveless? (why are all the shirts sleeveless?) where are the clothes for the office? where are the selections for a night on the town? i won’t even bother to ask where the sleepwear or lingerie options are.
as far as i can tell, instead of being designed to flatter, plus-sized clothes are designed to allow heaps of excess fat to billow beneath their tent-like sheath. they offer, essentially, trussed up versions of muumuus.
but see, here’s the thing: i’m a size 16, not jabba the hut. i’m also young and active. i am not a grandmother (i’m not even a mother), i’m not a school marm from 4 decades ago, and i’m not living in a fashion vacuum. just because i’m overweight doesn’t mean i don’t care how i look.
i’m not dumpy or frumpy and i don’t want to be made to feel like i am.
and it’s not just the styles that make my shopping experience depressing, but where they’re offered. i always feel a little bit slapped in the face when i see that the plus-size clothing is in a completely different zone from the rest of women’s clothing: Women’s Clothing – Floor Three; Woman’s World (Sizes 14 and up) – The Cellar. (and when did "woman" become synonymous with plus-size? ?)
yes, there is a macy's in connecticut where the plus-size department is located on the bottom floor. in the basement. in a corner. next to the bedding. (i always thought maybe they should just combine departments since half of what was offered already looked like bedspreads.)
what sort of message are these stores getting at? please, i already feel marginalized enough. you don’t have to send me down three escalators and hide me away to let me know that i am not the preferred body type for designers, retailers, or merchandisers (or most men, or employers, or hollywood…). trust me, i know.
thank you for taking my money anyway.