September 27, 2010

Why do we clothe the fit and leave the rest to fend for themselves???

So I was all ready to write about something completely different this morning until I came into the office.   The subject for today's post relates to the fashion industry and physical activity. We have clothing stores for the great outdoors, the fitness center, cycling, running, and whatever else you can think of. Sportswear is a very lucrative business and one that is only growing bigger. But what about those that don't fit into a size 10?

My story begins when I sat down to my desk this morning and one of my favorite administrators started talking about her weekend of shopping. Her initial assignment (should she have accepted it) was to find a swim suit so we could start pool running (get ready for those posts). She started by searching for rain gear to continue her walking program into those months of horizontal rain.  To her disappointment, the women's largest sizes did not fit comfortably So she went over to the men's side and, to her dismay, the men's largest size didn't fit her either. This was the start of a very hurtful afternoon. My friend is not obese or extraordinarily large, she represents the average women in North America and I'm sure her story of shopping torture mirrors that of many women. At the end of her tale she looked defeated as she admitted to feeling close to tears as she walked out of the store. Forget even shopping for the swim suit; the human spirit can only take so much beating for one day.

All I could do was sprout wellies and give her a hug, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to open up a store for normal women and not refer to it as "plus" size.  Why the hell don't we have these stores???? For all the business savy people out there why do we not have clothing stores where all sizes are represented and represented well. I don't mean ordering in a ton of sized 0-9 and limited 10 - whatever. I mean all sizes.

This is one of the biggest barriers to physical activity among people who may not fit the mold of "health" or "normal" . If one cannot find sports gear that fits comfortably or at least makes them feel good, why would they become more active? Sure, they could pull on some big clown pants with a tent top for the sake of coverage, but in a society where looks are more important than health....would YOU? Why do those under a size 10 deserve to look good in their windbreakers and others don't? Shame on those outdoor clothing stores that don't meet the needs of everyone. Shame on those running stores that only sell spandex. This is yet another example of the fit getting fitter and the rest staying at home watching the Biggest (frickin) Looser.

Someone out there has got to see the potential for business here. If not for the money, for those that end up walking out with tears in their eyes because they can't find nice clothes that fit. It breaks my heart and I just want to say sorry to everyone who goes through this.

That's all I got.

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