15 Reasons Plus-Size Shopping Sucks

by Coupon Sherpa on 25 March 2010 50 comments
Photo: Maica

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.

1. Unfashionable

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.

9. Spanx

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.

This is a guest post by coupon sleuth and deal digger Coupon Sherpa. Visit CouponSherpa.com to find women's clothing coupons to stores like Kohl's and The Gap. Check out the Ask Coupon Sherpa blog for more money saving tips.

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Guest's picture
DivaJean

I have basically given up on shopping for clothing at the mall or local stores.

I instead search for clothes via eBay or online stores, but that's not an easy battle either.

I have recently been going thru the hell that is swimsuit shopping for large women. I love aquatard swimsuits- I feel better covered and comfortable in them. Junonia is where I ordered my last suit- and where I want to buy another. HOWEVER it has been a saga of several months. In the early fall last year, I ordered the $100 suit I wanted and was told it was on backorder. No problem- this is the one suit in the world I wanted so I could wait. Over the following 3 months, I got multiple emails questioning if I still wanted the suit- and was ultimately told that the company was no longer was making the one I wanted. But after the New Year, out came the new catalog- and there was the suit. I debated for a while- but called about a month ago rather than ordering online. The customer service rep was helpful, but told me that it would be sometime before these would be in stock. Here I am again, waiting my life away for the one swimsuit I want in the world. FRUSTRATING.

I also look at some of the fashions online and sew myself if its something easy enough, like skirts and such.

Guest's picture
Welmoed

I've been a Ready-to-wear size 16-18 for a long time, and rarely find clothing that fits properly. It's as if the manufacturers have decided that larger women do not deserve to wear anything but shapeless, drop-shouldered tent tops. Blech.
For the last eight years ago, I've been making my own clothes that fit properly and are styled the way I want them to, and without having to alter commercial patterns (which are also radically skewed against the plus-size woman). Hooray for pattern drafting software!! I use PatternMaster Boutique (www.wildginger.com) (I don't work for them; just a very satisfied user).
For those who say "I don't have time to sew!" Just think about how much time you waste slogging from store to store, only to settle on something you hate because it's the only thing you can find. I've made tops in as little as 45 minutes; a dress can take a day, but that can be spread out over several work sessions.
Learn to sew; you'll get the best possible fit without having to sacrifice style. And you'll look FABULOUS!!!

Guest's picture
Mac

First off, I have nothing against plus-size people. Anybody can take care of their body however they see fit, that's the American way, isn't it? However, why should designers cater to larger people? Why should society? Being large is bad for your health and each year a larger portion of the American population become obese. It is a huge epidemic as we become less active.

Instead of worrying about plus-size fashion, let's start calling for nation-wide fitness and healthy-eating programs. Get people more active. This will in turn decrease the risk of disease & hospital visits, thereby lowering the overall health insurance cost. Kind of a win-win.

Guest's picture
Guest

Designers should cater to larger people because there's an unfulfilled market; therefore, a significant profit to be made. One thing I've learned in many years of marketing is that you can't tell the market what they want.

Nationwide fitness and healthy eating information and programs are everywnere. The problem is, a portion of the population doesn't want to take the time or invest the energy in changing their habits. There are some people that are just not going to change not unlike alcohol, drugs, nicotine, or other addictions.

Guest's picture
Sarah

Mac,

I understand your view on this matter. I recognize that we live in a society that shouldn't have to cater to everyone and should be allowed to focus on a certain group of consumers.

I agree and identify with the points in this article as I am an overweight woman. I agree with the idea that it would be better if we worked at becoming more active to achieve a healthier weight. It is something I am striving for and working on every day.

However, in the meantime I am struggling to lose the weight while continuing to do all I can to improve my appearance and health. Having to deal with the lifestyle changes and slow progress, it is easy to become disenchanted. Our self-esteem is already low because we don't want to be like this.

So when we have to try finding clothes to wear while we strive to lose weight, it is another kick to our self-esteem when we can’t find fashionable and proper clothing to wear. It is easy for us to want to give up because we may have a hard time seeing the end in sight. We feel that no matter what we do, we will never meet society’s standards.

A society that emphasizes that looking like a toothpick is the norm but continues to increase serving sizes and convenience foods that help enable obesity. A society that says bigger is better in everything except for fashion and personal appearance. Sorry for my rant…I am not directing this to you but wanted to highlight what we plus-size people go through every day.

Guest's picture
lynn

You know, people are different and come in all shapes and sizes. I'm so tired of the cliches you just regurgitated. There are healthy and larger people all over. If you look at a history book you would see that. Perhaps we should stop producing petite or tall clothing too. It's just fair to accommodate everyone. BTW, I think you do have 'something' against plus size people.

Guest's picture
Guest

Do you realize some stores only go up to 12 or 14? The average size of the American woman is 14, so the average American woman is not finding clothes. And just because you're a size 14 or 16 or whatever doesn't mean you're unhealthy. If you're going to use clothing size to gauge health, well then everyone should be a size 0!

Why do the department stores put the plus sized clothes so far away from the normal clothes? It's like they don't want us to shop there and if we do find our section, they don't want us to be seen. One time I went shopping they had even made the aisles in the plus section way smaller than the average sized clothes. WTH?

Guest's picture
Stefanie

This is not about "catering" to people who wear plus-sizes in clothes. Its about giving people who are fat all of the options for clothing that thin people have. This is a basic right and has nothing to do with health or anything else.

Do you really want to make an argument that basically states that people don't "deserve" clothes because you think they are too fat? This is completely bigoted and judgmental, despite your initial comment of having "nothing against plus size people." Get real dude, people need clothes no matter what their size, and they deserve to be treated respectfully no matter what.

Guest's picture
z.

Guess what? Not all larger people are inactive, eat poorly, or have health problems.

I eat right, I exercise regularly and I will NEVER be less than a size 12 unless I starve myself.

Thin does not equal healthy. "Large" doesn't necessarily equal unhealthy or obese.

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Guest

Are these comments moderated at all? Why are many of them left here? Logging off...

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Guest

After three surgeries (shattered leg and back in an accident) and ugly drugs, I'm heavier than I've ever been. I can finally work out and have always been a vegetarian, but it's taking time to lose the weight.

Before you look down your nose (and that's what you were doing), consider possible reasons for needing plus-size clothes.

I've lost 25 pounds so far. Could you do that?

Guest's picture
gt0163c

Mac

Not all large people are obese or unhealthy. Some people just have larger frames. Personally, I'm a woman who is and always has been built like a nice, big, sturdy, armoire. I'm healthy. I work out for about 90 minutes a day, five days a week at a moderate to high level of intensity (and have the comments and compliments from the fitness staff to prove it). I eat a balanced, healthy diet with 6-8 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, mostly lean protein, very few processed foods. My blood pressure, cholesterol and other health numbers are not just good, they are fantastic according to my doctor. And while I could stand to loose a few pounds (I also have a weakness for baked goods, particularly cookies), I'm never going to be less than a size 14 or 16. I'm just a big person.

To say that all people who are of large frames need to diet and exercise more so that they can achieve some sort of, for them, unattainable and/or unhealthy body size is not only uniformed and rude, it's also a good way to potentially drive people towards eating disorders.
A person's clothing size, in many instances, does not correlate with their level of health.

Guest's picture
Katharine

What online stores would you suggest? I am sick of wearing guy's clothes >.>

The only plus-size store I'd ever heard of was Lane Bryant. I am fashionably challenged. lol.

Guest's picture
Stefanie

Katherine - some online stores that have plus-size clothing (of various quality and styles)in addition to lane bryant: old navy, avenue, jessica london, one stop plus, ebay, torrid, j.jill, womanwithin, roaman's, alight, junonia, target, talbot's, ashley stewart, igigi, b and lu, kiyonna, catherine's, fashion bug, ulla popken.

Guest's picture
Guest

Mac - yes, it is healthier to lose weight, but what do you expect me to do in the meantime? Walk around in muumuus so that you can continue to feel superior? Why should designers cater to fat people? Because fat people need to buy clothes, designers need to sell clothes... it's called capitalism.

Guest's picture
M

"Because fat people need to buy clothes, designers need to sell clothes... it's called capitalism."

That's only part of capitalism. The HUGE part of capitalism that you're missing is that if you see a need not being fulfilled adequately (which obviously you have) then in a capitalistic society you can start your own company and profit from that need.

I'm on the heftier side and part of why I hate shopping is because of that, but companies can make what they want to and it's their gain or loss for doing so.

As for designers, design is half commercial, half art. Since it's half art, and many designers consider themselves artists, they're going to design things that they like and are interested in. Like sexy skinny fit clothes for sexy skinny fit models.

Guest's picture
Guest

Or you could just lose weight instead to be out of the plus-size range. Problem solved.

Guest's picture
Quill

Sure, losing weight is generally a good thing. But what about the people whose metabolisms are screwed up by the medication they need to stay healthy? What about those whose body types are naturally larger than whatever the general public has decided is the correct size? What about those who are physically incapable of weight-reducing exercise due to illness, injury, or medical problems? Not every plus-sized person is that size because they "choose" to be so.

The clothing industry has an extremely distorted view of the market as it is. Don't encourage it to get worse.

Guest's picture
skshell

I'm working on losing weight. HOWEVER....if we are supposed to work out and exercise to lose weight, where is the company that sells (at a reasonable price) workout gear for plus sized women. I'm fat and I get really hot and sweaty. Where is my underarmour?
Where is my sports bra that actually holds it in without making me so hot I feel like I'm going to die.

Someone start a big woman's workout gear store...please.

sss

Guest's picture
Guest

The fabrics... and the sleeves. Why can't larger women (I'm a 14 which I don't consider huge) wear natural fabrics? I sometimes shop at Avenue, where they have cute styles, but most of them in plastic-fabric. And those huge flapping sleeves... I may have a thick waist, but my arms are more or less normal-sized. And the shapeless shirts -- I do not have football shoulders or ape-arms. And... and... and... Torrid reeks, as does Lane Bryant. About time somebody wrote this article. Thanks.

jesinalbuquerque

Guest's picture
Ginny

Do the moralizers just lurk around sites waiting for their chance to pounce? Here's a tip: When you've lived your life all the way to the end, facing everything that gets thrown at you without any sort of failure, Then and only Then do you get to feel superior and give advice to other people.

Guest's picture
Jasileet

Not trying to be a hater here, but it's genuinely easier (and more rewarding) to loose weight and spend 3 min grabbing something off the racks than to create a new line for bigger people. Chances are you're still not gonna like how you look anyway.

If it's superior to be fit, blame biology not society.

Guest's picture
Tyg

I was overweight my whole life (from age 6 to age 31). At my heaviest I was a women's size 30 (which is pretty much only sold online, - I bought most of my ugly shapeless clothes in the men's department). It took me 3 years, but I lost the weight and started wearing "normal sized" clothing. However I eventually got down to the point where I am having trouble finding clothing again, this time because cheap retailers only carry stuff like jeans in a size 6 and up and I need a size 4. Everything below a 6 is in the teen section and is low cut and styled way too young for me. I think that the point of the article should be that clothing retailers have a target audience and don't want to deviate from that, and as a result people at both ends of the weight spectrum lose out.

Guest's picture
Lisa Roberts

I see all this from a different angle. When did we as Americans abdicate our responsibility to do things for ourselves? Why in fact are we complaining about the market, as if that was the only way to solve the problem? I have the exact same problem, I feel that womens clothes especially plus size clothes are poorly made, expensive and crap. I no longer support a market that is not supporting me. I sew most of my own clothes. My clothes cost much less, fit well and are very well made.

Now I know this won't work for every problem, obviously if I cant find a computer with features I like, I cannot go out and make my own, but it certainly works in this situation. If you dont want to take the time to learn to sew or you have no interest, find a local seamstress, it will be much more affordable and you will get exactly what you want, made to fit you.

Think about learning to sew, it isnt anywhere near as hard as you think and it can be very, very rewarding.

Guest's picture
Katharine

Lisa, I can make my own computer but can't sew my own clothes. Making your own computer is a one time thing, 6 hours of work will last me 2-3 years. Sewing my own clothing? Not so much.

Guest's picture
Greg

"Wow... You really don't "get it" do you Greg? Clueless and arrogant.

Oh, I get it, Mr/Ms nameless Guest! I get it very well.

I completely understand how demand driven markets work. I lived in an Eastern European socialist country for 19 years of my life, I know what it's like when government plans decide on manufacturing quotas and prices instead of market demand. I lived through it when you had to wait 8 years in line to be able to buy a car. I experienced empty shelves in stores because there was nothing to buy. I went to school in outfits that were the exact replica of my class mates' outfit because that is all the stores had. You people just don't get it how good we have it.

I also get how people get fat and what it takes to revert it. I actually didn't get that for 15+ years living in a fat body until 5 months ago when I really started to get it and made a change!

I think I have the right to be arrogant about it because I want to blame someone for my fatness! I want to blame our society for letting me become what I became over 15 years by providing me with abundant crap food choices for pennies. I want to blame society for letting me buy 3XL pants and shirts that fit me giving me no incentive to lose any of it. But guess what? The only person I could blame for my fatness was me. I became fat because I ate crap and did nothing about it.

And I finally turned it around 5 moths ago and now I'm starting to face the other end of the spectrum. I'm still 177lbs at 22% body fat! I'm still overweight! And I'm buying Meidum size clothes! I'm only one step away from Small and I'm not even in the normal range of fat percentage, a measurement that is not set up by society but by medical standards! How will I shop for clothes once I'm down to normal? I don't know and I don't care. I'll just make do. Maybe start shopping in Europe. But I certainly won't lobby the internet for petitioning manufacturers for smaller clothes.

And now there are people here lobbying for even bigger clothes? I was OBESE! And I could buy clothes just fine without ever having to set foot in a big and tall store. Just how big are these people? I was OBESE for crying out loud! OBESE is XXL-XXXL. If you run out of Xs maybe it's time to reconsider yourself and take a look in the mirror.

Guest's picture
Malory

Greg, Some people have to take steroids or other medication. It causes them to gain weight no matter what they eat. Really.

Guest's picture
Greg

I am able to buy pants and shorts in "normal sizes" but due to no fault of my own other than genetics I have DDD breasts.

Define "normal sizes". My wife has 38C breasts and on her small frame all tops feel tight and has to buy a one size up on shirts. Not a big deal. She's 5'3" weighing in under 130lbs. I find natural DDD breasts hard to believe on someone who's not overweight. A Size 12 is not "normal size". Under 25% body fat for a woman is approaching normal size.

Greg, Some people have to take steroids or other medication. It causes them to gain weight no matter what they eat. Really.

My wife is also on thyroid medication due to having Hashimoto's Disease or something very similar. She's still a normal person and average weight with average fat percentage. So really, it's the abundance and overeating of cheap refined food is the problem. I guarantee you that any woman eating 1,400 calories in a day would lose weight no matter what they ate as long as it was 1,400 calories or less thyroid problem or not. I'm willing to bet money on this one actually!

When you see someone in walmart in a rascal who is obese, it's likely because of a genetic problem rather than work ethic. Just because they continue to eat unhealthy foods doesn't mean its the cause: rather, they have resigned themselves to their genetic fate (which isn't their fault) and are enjoying what they can

Another copout. God, genetic fate, big boned, thyroid problem. I have heard it all. These don't exist. Feeding your kids sugary cereals for breakfast, mac&cheese for lunch and pizza for dinner with 3 servings of caffeinated soft drinks is not a genetic problem.

I'm willing to bet money on that I could provide any of these people "with terrible genetic fate that they had succumbed to" with a food and exercise plan that they could and would follow they would all lose fat. Has any of you not seen the Biggest Loser? Those people are EXTREME! And their changes are EXTREME! And some of them lost less weight on the show than I have on my own in 5 months with no help from doctors, nutritionists or personal trainers. I don't even have a gym membership!

We realized she was disposed to obesity genetically because she constantly wanted sweets, candies and fats, and in our household we give our children what they want as otherwise would be to ideologically shackle them.

No comment. If you can't see the forest from this big fat tree (no pun) then no one can help you.

Don't assume larger people are fatter people. I an overweight now, but when I was younger I was normal weight. I am 5'9" woman with broad shoulders and long arms and legs.

You are a minority and the people I'm picketing against are not you. Or at least not the younger you. It is a valid point but I wouldn't expect large companies to tailor for such minorities. Folks like that, just like little people, have problems with the supply of clothing or pretty much anything that would be specific to their needs. But to expect someone to be forced to or even demand special support for them is ridiculous.

Before you look down your nose (and that's what you were doing), consider possible reasons for needing plus-size clothes.

I've lost 25 pounds so far. Could you do that?

Considering I have lost 60 lbs in 5 months I think I have the right to "look down my nose". I certainly speak of personal experience. It's not the case of "I knew someone who's done it". I AM someone who's done it!

I bet the moralizers are thinking of plus-size women, not men.

I actually criticize men and women equally. And considering the types of message boards I visit I criticize and see a lot more fat guys than gals.

Until recently, I never knew so many of us average sized people were so violently opposed to obesity. It seems like a creepy obsession.

So, there are some health/cost issues that society has to deal with. Societal costs occur with most poor personal decisions. Why the fire and brimstone for this one in particular?

I, personally, am not going to turn this into a political debate, but obesity is not the only thing I have issues with in terms of societal costs. It's just one of many. And with the health care bill just about to pass I think my incentive to turn people around just got real. Very real!

I guess we disagree then. Unlike you, I don't insist anyone do anything other than keep their hands off my property and don't physically harm me. Otherwise, they're free to do whatever they want to do whether it's a bad decision or not. They can believe Jesus is coming over the next hill or that their thyroid doesn't work as well as mine. It's not my business.

Ditto! Live and let live! As long as it doesn't cost me a red cent you can do whatever the hell you want for all I care!

Guest's picture
Jimmy

I actually mostly agree with Greg despite his harshness. I think time would be better spent informing yourself on how to exercise and eat right for health instead of this. It seems lately since Gabby won the oscar everyone is praising to accept yourself as an overweight person when in fact that is not the direction that we need to be taking.

Guest's picture
Guest

There are people who are naturally overweight...God given and nothing they can do about it. Now, I know some people use this as an excuse and I am not saying that it is ok to be unhealthy and fat...but it is TRUE that they are people who are heavier set, who happen to be healthy, who must deal with the social standands that are FORCED upon them.

Women have a tougher role than men when it comes to what is socially acceptable with appearance.

And I am not some overweight, bleeding heart feminist either...its the truth.

Guest's picture
Ron

"Its about giving people who are fat all of the options for clothing that thin people have. This is a basic right and has nothing to do with health or anything else."
- Catering

Is this really what our society has come to? Others should not only feel obligated, but be required to make clothing for you? When people speak of a growing entitlement mentality in our society, I couldn't have thought of a better example than the quote above. Come on people! Regardless of whether you are talking about plus-sized clothing or the newest infomercial product, if you see a void in the marketplace, either do something about it or stop complaining. It is no one's responsibility but your own. I congratulate all those commentors who have taken it upon themselves to find a way to meet their own needs that were not being met in the marketplace.

Guest's picture
Elizabeth

I am a small person (size 4) and I get disgusted looks and weird comments from people who assume I get to wear whatever I want. Newsflash: The most common size to find are mediums and size 6 to 12.

I do not intend to grow into these sizes and probably couldn't do it if I tried. But I would appreciate it if larger people would stop making rude comments about how easy I have it.

I understand your need and the difficulty to shop for your size (my mom is plus-sized) so please be so kind as to recognize that you are not the only ones. Yes, my mom identified with my struggle as well as hers.

Guest's picture
Jimmy

Elizabeth,

Good point on the other side of the equation. I have this same exact problem when shopping for clothes. I am on the smaller side for an adult male and it is an exercise in pain-assery to find clothes that actually fit me that look halfway decent as well.

Guest's picture
Guest

Just shines through in most comment threads, doesn't it.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have 66% body fat but I love shopping

Guest's picture
Guest

I am able to buy pants and shorts in "normal sizes" but due to no fault of my own other than genetics I have DDD breasts. Shopping for tops and dresses almost always leaves me near tears.

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Guest

I see a lot of hate on this internet forum for obese and drastically overweight people, mainly based on the mistaken assumption that these people are lazy. That's a vile lie. The real cause of obesity is genetics and thyroid conditions, of which people can't control. 90% of obese people are obese because of this.

I think this forum should collectively apologize to the obese community for the continuance and propagation of the myth of laziness causing obesity. What you have done is shame those who don't deserve it. When you see someone in walmart in a rascal who is obese, it's likely because of a genetic problem rather than work ethic. Just because they continue to eat unhealthy foods doesn't mean its the cause: rather, they have resigned themselves to their genetic fate (which isn't their fault) and are enjoying what they can.

My daughter has a genetic condition that predisposes her to obesity, so that's why she gets to ride in the carriage even though she could walk. I know she is genetically predisposed to obesity, even if modern science doesn't (the doctor said her thyroid was "fine" and everything was normal when she was young, but obviously this doctor is very old fashioned and doesn't understand). We realized she was disposed to obesity genetically because she constantly wanted sweets, candies and fats, and in our household we give our children what they want as otherwise would be to ideologically shackle them. Therefore as she only likes sweets and fats for every meal we can conclude that her obesity is genetic, no matter what the doctors say (I have seen several doctors who say it my fault and my wifes that she is obese, and that the tests show no disposition towards obesity, but that is obviously cold and false.)

Guest's picture
Kathy F

Don't assume larger people are fatter people. I an overweight now, but when I was younger I was normal weight. I am 5'9" woman with broad shoulders and long arms and legs. I had to start making some of my clothes in high school (normal weight 130-140 pounds) because I could not find blouses and dresses to fit me. Waists on dresses were too high, sleeves too short, shoulders too small. I wore men's jeans which I could buy by waist size and inseam length. In college, I wore mem's clothes, jeans, flannel shirts, even men's socks (I have large feet). I wear a size 10.5 shoe, which no one makes because the half sizes stop at size 10. So for years I have jammed my feet in to size 10 shoe, but recently starting wearing size 11.

As I got older, I gained weight, then it was easier for me to fit in the women's plus size clothes, although pants too short are still a problem. If I lost weight, I would be back to the same old problems. I still sew some clothes and alter some store bought clothes.

I think it hard for manufacturers to make plus size clothes for all overweight women, because when people gain weight they gain size in different areas depending where their fat cells are. For example, all my excess weight is around my middle. Other women gain it in their hips, thighs, breasts, or arms etc. Most of the plus size clothes are too large for me in the armholes and thighs. Sewing is time consuming, but can be rewarding in getting things to fit. Or maybe you can have a dressmaker or seamstress make you some good looking, well fitting clothes.

I don't understand the comments about feeling self conscious about shopping in "Plus Size" area. I am happy to have all the bigger sizes easy for me to find in a separate area or store and not have to wade through lots of other sizes of clothes to find what I need. If you are self conscious about your weight, being seen in "Plus Size" area of store is the least of your problems. People can just look at you anywhere and see how big you are and judge you. For some reason, even thought I am now 100 lbs overweight, mentally I still think of myself as thin, so the body image does not bother me as much. I get jolted into reality however, when trying on clothes in the fitting room with a mirror!

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Anonymous

If the "plus sized" options are not appealing for the overweight customer, one might come to the conclusion that he or she should simply lose the weight to fit into clothes they prefer. The concept of an obese person actually being as healthy or healthier than someone with averag bodyfat percentages is a myth, just like the notion that someone is "naturally" a size 16. Sure, we all have different bone structures, some larger and some smaller, and we all have different metabolic rates predisposing us toward greater percentages of macronutrients stored in lipid form but genetic predisposition toward carrying a few percentages more bodyfat is not an excuse to walk around morbidly obese. Not only does (morbid) obesity vastly limit one's ability to function but it poses a huge health risk and an exponentially greater chance of early death onset by cardiovascular disease, Type II Diabetes, etc. Even those who genuinely suffer from hypothyroidism do not have an excuse to sit on the couch all day and eat excess calories, in fact, they have more of a reason to exercise and pay attention to diet. Losing weight is not rocket science, and the #1 reason that people do not get around to doing it is sheer laziness. Exercise more and eat less is all it takes. Changing your own body is a much healthier and realistic plan of action than complaining about the clothing options marketed towards those that are actively killing themselves.

Guest's picture
Guest

I bet the moralizers are thinking of plus-size women, not men.

How many time have you heard over-sized men with large beer bellies making nasty comments about even slightly larger women? "What a cow!" "I'd never do her." There's a major gender bias, which is why men's clothes in XXL are sold along with S, M and L.

As to size 12 being overweight, I'm 5'11 and wore a size 12 for most of my adult life. My doctor kept encouraging me to gain weight because he felt I was unhealthily skinny.

Guest's picture
zyzz

if you stop being fat it is easier to shop for clothes

Guest's picture
Brian

Until recently, I never knew so many of us average sized people were so violently opposed to obesity. It seems like a creepy obsession.

So, there are some health/cost issues that society has to deal with. Societal costs occur with most poor personal decisions. Why the fire and brimstone for this one in particular?

Guest's picture
Q

Brian, I don't have a problem with obese people - I have a problem with anyone spouting made up facts and statistics to excuse their lifestyle. I have a problem with the prevalent feeling in the US that we are entitled to everything and accountable for nothing. In my entire life, including my year-long attendance at Weight Watchers, I never once met an obese person who believed their weight problem was completely out of their control. The suggestion is simply insane.

I have nothing against the people who battle every day against terrible odds to defeat this problem. People like Greg are my heroes. But why should we have any tolerance for someone who claims they cannot help being obese than for the alcoholic who comes from a family of drunks? We don't just accept that they are going to be drunk for life - we insist they get help for the debilitating problem they are, unfortunately, predisposed to.

Myscha Theriault's picture

So . .. back to the actual topic . . .

Eddie Bauer has clothing in plus sizes, as does Travel Smith. While Lane Bryant has some style issues to work out in numerous areas, they are getting better about keeping a few classic styles in the line from season to season. Jeans, smoother camisoles, decent tee shirts, etc. For a few years there, they were totally off the rails but things seem to be improving again.

Without getting sucked in to the above debate (really people, how much free time can you possibly have to devote to weight bashing), I would like to point out that I've been at both ends of this spectrum, wearing from a size three up to a size eighteen. I point that out because (and this is probably WAY too much information) even at the teenier end of the spectrum, I always had to purchase larger tops. The women in my family are stacked and packed, if you know what I'm saying. Larger breasts just don't fit into teeny little tops. That's all there is to it.

 

You can also follow me on Twitter and Trek Hound.

Guest's picture
Brian

I guess we disagree then. Unlike you, I don't insist anyone do anything other than keep their hands off my property and don't physically harm me. Otherwise, they're free to do whatever they want to do whether it's a bad decision or not. They can believe Jesus is coming over the next hill or that their thyroid doesn't work as well as mine. It's not my business.

Guest's picture
SteathSwimmer

I agree completely with the article. I am always embarressed when I shop for plus size cloths,
so I am always shopping in a way you can't detect.

Guest's picture
Forge

Are you aware that there are people in this world that have a severe medical condition which causes them to be that way? My mother for instance is one of those people. She is a truck driver that has bad knees and a bad back from driving the truck but you probably do not care about that case either. Oh well I am not one of those people I am 6'4" 245lbs and I exercise every day. I would love to see you say something like to my mother in front of me. Probably never happen though you are probably just an internet tough guy. I doubt very seriously you would say that to someones face. Just my thought.What do you think. Oh I am sorry you probably do not have a brain. I on the other hand will be happy to buy you a plane ticket to come here and see if you have the nerve to say that to someone I know.

Guest's picture
Guest

"Are you aware that there are people in this world that have a severe medical condition which causes them to be that way? My mother for instance is one of those people. She is a truck driver that has bad knees and a bad back from driving the truck but you probably do not care about that case either."

Calories out > calories in and she will lose weight. Bad knees and a bad back make her eat more than she should?

If she does not exert herself physically as much as other people, she does not need to eat as much as other people.

Guest's picture
Q

I am very sorry to hear that your mother is in pain. However, losing weight would likely help her joint and back pain by reducing the pressure on these areas. I understand she can't get up and go running - I can't either, due to two bad knees. Restricted movement does not have to equal obesity, it simply means she cannot consume as many calories as she would were she more active.

I would be more than happy to speak to your mother about ways she could improve her health and well being. It's sad that you think this is some sort of insult. Is it an insult to tell someone they have cancer and need treatment?

Will Chen's picture
Will Chen

Hi guys,

Thank you to those of you discussing this topic in good faith. There are reasonable arguments on both sides. I'm proud to see that our regular readers are able to talk about this sensitive topic with reason and sensitivity.

However, an outside forum has linked to this post and that forum is asking its members to ridicule the people in this thread. They are posting attacks calling people "fatties" and "idiots" faster than I can delete them. So I'm afraid I have to close down this thread.

To be clear, I'm not just closing the thread because I disagree with one side. Mac (Madsaver) has been pretty respectful in the way he expressed his opinions and he's not the reason why I'm closing this thread. I'm glad he shared his opinion and it is great that people from both sides are discussing his ideas seriously. The comments I'm deleting are a lot more hurtful. I'm going to read this thread more carefully and delete any comment that makes a personal attack.

Thank you for your patience.

Will