15 Reasons Plus-Size Shopping Sucks
Calling all thin-prejudiced clothing merchants: Plus-size customers are begging you to make better clothes. Please study everything from Old Navy to Donna Karan and sell the same clothes in all sizes. Granted, Old Navy's clothes fall apart at the drop of a price tag while DK is addicted to black, but both create identical clothes for all sizes.
In short, give the thick-wasted and thunder-thighed a break. Larger ladies and gents have money, just like stick-thin teenagers. Make your stores a comfortable place to shop, don't hire weight-snob staff, and take your customer's complaints seriously.
While I have your attention, here are 15 more reasons shopping for plus-size clothing is a nightmare.
Without a doubt, this is the most common complaint from larger ladies and gentlemen. Plus-size outfits tend to be dowdy and frumpy with acres and acres of polyester. (For some reason designers think larger people want to dress like their grandparents.) Fortunately, the e-commerce world has woken up to this audience and plus-size merchants have blossomed in recent years. You can even find plus-size clothing online coupons and discount gift cards. If you do shop online, however, make sure you know your measurements and body shape. Learn the merchant's return and exchange policy so, if the item doesn't fit, you don't have to pay a high restocking and shipping fee. Free shipping deals can help keep costs down.
2. Fashion Week
For years the Thin Nazis of fashion populated their runways with literally starving models, setting the standard for clothiers from Sax Fifth Avenue to Target. Then last fall Canadian designer Mark Fast dared to put his skimpy knits on larger women. In protest, Fast's stylist walked out. God bless the designer, however. In an interview Fast said, "There's such beauty out there and it's unfortunate that it's only representative in one size...so it's just a new celebration of all women."
3. Patronizing Stores
It can be humiliating walking into a plus-size section of a store. You feel like everyone is looking and judging, so you work your way through the normal size section while sidling towards plus-size land. Worse still is walking directly into a plus-size store. First of all, the cutesy names — like Figuresque and Torrid — are enough to make you gag. Secondly, the clothes on window mannequins are all pulled back tight with clamps so the fashions don't look as large. The message that sends is just appalling!
4. It Sucks for Men, Too
Why in heaven's name would a plus-size store for men call itself "The Casual Male," as if a large man spends all his time lounging around, watching sports? Stylists need to show a little creativity and offer something besides reproductions of grandpa's wardrobe.
5. Men vs. Women
That said, larger men have it much easier than women. In a typical department store you have to tear apart the racks to find an Esprit shirt in a size 16, while t-shirts across the aisle in the young men's department are as big as tents. Men get to wear nice baggy clothes while women's wear is body hugging and uncomfortable. Just take a look at the summer Olympics. Men's volleyball and basketball players get to wear knee-length baggy shorts while the women's uniforms reveal so much flesh full-body waxing must be a priority.
6. Plus-Size = Plus Cost
Presumably, merchants charge more for plus-size clothes because they use more fabric. Following this logic, however, men's clothes should cost much more than women's. The argument that larger bodies are shaped differently is sort of over-hyped and is often used by stores and designers as an excuse to charge more for lazy and shapeless designs.
7. In-between Limbo
Teen sizes tend to top out at 10 or 12 and it's rare to find sizes above 14 in the women's section. Yet size 1x can hang like an elephant's skin on some women. There's a big limbo in-between these two departments that merchants should consider.
8. Teen Hell
Of all the different plus-size merchants, teen stores consistently set off fat-Apocalypse alarms. After all, hot skinny chicks are our most precious national resources. Without them, America's reality shows and porn industry would collapse.
Oprah isn't always right. Spanx "body shapers" may help hold things together but they're just as uncomfortable and difficult as traditional girdles. Plus Spanx are much more expensive. Someone needs to invent a truly good "girdle," but you can bet it won't be a man.
10. Low-rise Jeans
Thank heavens low-rise pants are on their way out. For awhile there you couldn't find jeans that fit anywhere close to the waist. Why would anyone want to wear jeans that reveal a muffin top? Get real, fashionistas.
11. Bathing Suits
Few women can wear a bathing suit without constant tugging and discomfort. They're unflattering, particularly when viewed in the harsh light of a fitting room. Papparazi make it even worse for women by sneaking photos of celebrities on the beach that are splashed on the front pages of supermarket magazines. Notice the vast majority of these unflattering shots are of women? Hmmmm.
12. Plus-Sized and Pregnant
It's not totally shocking cute shops like Mimi Maternity and Pea in the Pod rarely offer clothes above a size 12, but it really sucks that larger stores like Macy's, JCPenny, Sears, and Target also ignore the plus-size pregnant woman. Sure you can find tops but comfortable and non-polyester pants are nearly impossible to find. God bless the ladies of Ingrid & Isabel, who created the Bella Band. This stretchy piece of fabric holds up your pants when they start to get too tight to button. Layered under a shirt, the Bella Band looks just like the bottom of a camisole.
13. Excess Cleavage
Modern fashion dictates tops be cut on the low side. Only problem is, larger ladies tend to have big-time cleavage, making it difficult to dress professionally without multiple layers and lots of tugging upwards. No doubt the fashion cycle will shift soon to higher necklines but, until then, a lot of ladies are walking around with distractingly deep décolletage.
14. Formal Wear
If larger women like actress Gabourey Sidibe of "Precious" want to blow a couple thousand on a dress — say when they're nominated for a friggin' Oscar — the option of dressing to the same level as stick-thin actresses doesn't exist. Plus-size designer gowns are as rare as hens' teeth, so forget about showing up at charity events and the opera in anything other than off-the-rack dresses that look like your bridesmaid's dress.
15. Kirstie Alley
This bigger-than-life actress keeps going on public diets, which she then publicly falls off. Someday this lovely woman will accept her body, stop with the reality shows and use her creativity to develop a realistic, plus-size clothing line.