When I shop for clothes, it’s easy to find my size; I just follow the path to indignity. I am one of those robust gals who shops for “Women’s Sizes,” the department that is invariably found adjacent to the Petite Department or, worse, next to the maternity clothes. It is painful for me to shop, big butt to little butt, next to the likes of Kelly Rippa and Barbie in the Petite Department. And it’s just so darned tempting to shop in close proximity to the Maternity Department, where the clothes look so comfortable with all that elastic and ruching and pleats. Believe me, maternity clothes are a lot trendier than anything you’ll find in the plus sizes.
I have some theories about designers of plus size clothes:
- They are skinny bitches who want you to know that no way, no how are you ever going to look as good as they do. We provide the ample bosoms, batwing arms, and heavy hips, and they’ll finish the job by designing spaghetti strapped tank tops, spandex leggings, and mini-skirts in plus sizes. Unsuspecting fat women are tricked into thinking that they too can be cute in such fashions. But they’re not cute, not cute at all. You’ve seen these women, their bottoms spilling over bus seats, their cleavages suffocating small children.
- They are skinny chicks who don’t really associate with their larger sisters. Their concept of large women is shaped by the famously fleshy like Rosemary Clooney, Delta Burke, and Aunt Bea. When they design my clothes, they’re conjuring images of women who have antimacassars, many fat cats, and soft laps. These designers mean well, they really do, but they have this notion that fat fashions should have rhinestones, kitty cat appliqués, large plaids, or daisies. The chest of a t-shirt might be emblazoned with a bold statement, like “Rock Star,” or a pithy phrase, like “Live Each Day,” written in curlicue script.
- They are Democrats who have succumbed to the Obama Effect. Michelle Obama, that is, who ruined everything for women like me when she pranced into the Capitol for the State of the Union Address six years ago– in January— wearing a sleeveless dress. Now everyone–actresses and news anchors and Kathy Lee Gifford–has skewed the entire seasonal dress code. Suddenly bare arms are de rigueur year round, and those of us with upper appendages designed for cap sleeves and shrugs and sweater sets and shawls are now overexposed.
- They are heterosexual men. They are clueless.
I think I’m okay with the “Women” designation of my size. There are “Juniors” and “Misses” and then “Women.” Doesn’t being a “Woman” sound like a progression, all grown up and proud? Even wearing a “Plus Size” doesn’t sound so bad. I mean, on infomercials, it’s a good thing when the salesman says you get one 10-inch Ginsu knife PLUS a paring knife, a grater, and a cutting board, right? But the googled definition of “plus size” is a bit ouchy: noun. an extra-large size category of clothing; a garment or person of this size.
So what would I like to find in the Big Girl Department? Something realistic – tops that cover my wide bra straps; bottoms that conceal my generous bloomers. Something tasteful—forget spandex and sleeveless; polka dots and kitty cats; skirts cut up to here and shirts cut down to there. And something respectful of the women who have grown into this size—no horizontal stripes or Monet’s garden on the bum. I challenge designers to find the dignity in our abundance.
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