May 25, 2011

Fashion; For Thin Only

I am writing this blog today for my friend, "Patricia", who has spent over a month (maybe more) searching for an outfit suitable enough for the "mother of the bride". Yes, her daughter is getting married in a couple of months (maybe less) and Patricia has made it her mission to find something beautiful, fashionable....and in her size. She has visited more than one town and is still searching.....

When you google "fashion for the plus sized woman" this is what comes up. This woman represents the normal woman, not a "plus" sized.  No wonder larger woman are having such a hard time finding clothes.  When you google "fashion for the obese woman" you get nothing...just photos of overweight people wearing baggy clothes...interesting.
I have witnessed her periods of hope, frustration, and even despair over the cold hard truth that fashion is still for the thin people only. I guess there isn't enough creativity or talent within the world of fashion to be able to design clothes that fit the 14+ woman...well.  I'm not talking about the drapes and sacks you find in those "plus" stores (the titles also make me angry as the average woman in North America is a "plus" sized woman...which would make it a normal size and not a plus....wouldn't it?).  I'm talking a nice outfit like anyone else would expect to find in a clothing store. Why is it that fashion, in this day and age, continues to cater to the thin?

Seriously, I am a 5'9" woman that weighs approximately 163 lbs (I haven't stepped on a scale for months..so I'm ball parking) and a "normal" size 10.  However, I steer clear of many of the high end stores,  because I know that I will never be able to get a size 10 shirt over my head (let alone my arms through the tiny arm tubes that are suited for those with just bones and no meat).

Dove is very proud of itself with their "real beauty" campaign...but is it just smoke and mirrors? These women still represent the body ideal. True, they aren't sticks or see through, but they are roll-less women.  Show me a group of women with rolls of fat and I will believe that they mean what they say...right now it is a bullsh*t campaign to increase sales...not self esteem.
If there were any smart (fashion) business people out there, they would create a positive shopping experience for the 14+ woman. This would, not only, include clothes that fit well but clothes that represented the current fashion of the day.  This store would also offer tops with longer (looser) sleeves with materials that flowed well and use materials that relaxed on the body instead of encasing it like a sausage. Not only that, there would be photos of real women up on the walls or not at all. I would love to see pictures that included positive messages like "you are not your pant size" ....wouldn't that be great?! There would be real woman staffing this shop who would be able to assist with clothes that really flatter vs. those sales women who just repeat the mantra "that looks great!" to sell a shirt.
When I googled "What do real women look like?" I found this... the closest picture to real life yet. This woman is a size 16. Her "imperfections" are on display for the reader to see and her face suggests she is happy with her body. At least this appears to be a healthy body image advertisement for young girls.  Unfortunately, like so many starlets in Hollywood who state they are happy with their "curves" (and then turn around and represent Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig to lose it), is this self proclaimed happiness a mask for underlying self-loathing or desire to be thin? I'm hopeful this picture shows a truthful woman happy in her own skin.
With the average weight and size of the North American on the rise, and no sign it is going to go down, why the hell are we not seeing businesses such as these. Above all, why do stores continue to sell teeny tiny-wear without thinking of the untapped market of the 14+ woman??? Meanwhile, to all those women faced with Patricia's challenge of finding the perfect outfit for that special occasion...I am sorry you are having to work so hard at finding a decent outfit. There is no excuse for that and I find it disturbingly representative of a society that continues to focus on the thin. 

That's all I got.
K

18 comments:

  1. There is no doubt that fashion can easily be done by more thin girls. Such that they can choose any of the best dress and that can suit them very easily therefore this could make them to look more beautiful.

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  2. Thank you for adding your insights, Caty;

    Very good (yet frustrating) point! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    All the best!
    K

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  3. You sort of answered your own question along the way. The "rolls" you referred to several times explain this: you only get pictures of baggy clothes because anything you would otherwise consider "high fashion" would put those in display and accentuate on all the wrong body parts. So in a way, you're looking up to that fashion which is represented by sticks anyway, but sadly, different clothes match different people.
    Your friend isn't the only one with problems in this aspect. I'm 5'2, weigh less than 90 pounds, and all this works both ways. I live in the Netherlands (tallest nation on earth), so I have to shop for my clothes at the kids' corner.

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  4. That bottom picture is not a "healthy" woman. It's an overweight woman. She is probably well over her acceptabe BI and percentage of body fat. While I agree there should be more clothes for women of "real" sizes, a lot of people seem to suggest that since being overweight is the new American "norm," it should be acceptable to "embrace" that. Maybe, instead of looking for more designer clothes for "obese" women, obese people should be trying to get healthy. Not THIN. HEALTHY. I'm 5'2 and 132 pounds. I am not thin. I'm 31 and I wear a size 7 (I like juniors jeans better than traditional womens, and they are all in ODD sizes.) My role models are people like Bettie Page and Tura Satana, so you can see, I am not unrealistic about what women's sizes are.

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  5. Thank you for your post, AlienRedQueen;

    I believe you are refering to BMI (body mass index) when you say she's over her acceptable BI. You would think so if you believed what the medical community suggests, however, research (long term and large population studies) have shown over and over again that those in the "overweight" and even "obese" range of BMI are healthier and live longer than those in the "healthy" range. So, in fact, this woman is healthy.

    I agree with you that if she were sedentary and lacking in veggies and all the healthy foods, she would be unhealthy..but you cannot judge her based upon her weight.

    Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to make this point again. I know it will take a very long time before the medical community and popular believes to catch up..but the research is the research. I highly recommend you read more on this (i.e. "google scholar") if you would like more information. OR...there are many posts here relating to obesity and overweight that may help.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Totally appreciate it!

    K

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  6. What determines whether or not the fat you carry is a healthy fat is where you carry it, more than how much you weigh. If you carry it around your middle (as I do) you need to get it off. When it's on your middle it goes around your internal organs and raises the risk for all sorts of diseases. There is a basic formula that I believe is fir the most part fairly accurate. If your waist is more than half your height, you are carrying excess weight around your middle. By excess I mean unhealthy weight.

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  7. The woman in the last picture think her butt is big!! Lol

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  8. I appreciate the time it took for you to compile your personal, albeit ignorant and judgemental, insight. As you may guess, by reading this and many other articles on this blog, I do not take kindly to insults or uneducated comments regarding others.

    However, instead of deleting this comment, I find using them as teachable moments more rewarding. If you chose to insult others may I suggest you review the basics of grammer.

    Perhaps you may consider chosing a more healthy option and become a part of the solution rather than a big part of the problem.

    Finally, may you never experience the hurt and shame being on the recieving end of such a comment. It is comments like these that breed stigma, shame, anger, and hatred towards people of size. Next time, take a second and think twice about how you are contributing to the world.

    Just a suggestion..

    K

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    Replies
    1. Sorry I didn't mean to come off as mean or hurtful. That quote in the picture just threw me off lol, but there is nothing wrong with her body. Clearly she loves it and I'm not knocking that.
      I only said she "thinks* her butt is big". Is my comment really that bad?
      You don't need a big butt to be beautiful
      I have been on the recieving end of mean comments especially when I was "plus" sized...ha I'm still not skinny. I'm about 5'2, 150lbs and happy with myself
      I too, think your over reacting. Relax

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    2. Hey MrsEazy-E; Thank you for coming back and commenting further. I appreciate your comments and further insights.

      Any comment refering to one's size (especially when "big" or "fat" or "obese" or whatever judgement you chose) is loaded with stigma and a belief that someone larger is less. I understand that people of all sizes can be beautiful, but our society hasn't gotten there yet. It's not a "bad" comment if it is your opinion, it is just important to understand that it does come with underlying assumptions about the person.

      I don't want my response to mislead you into thinking I'm insulting you or showing disrespect, it is the comment, not the person, I was noting.

      As far as my relaxation is concerned, I couldn't be more relaxed and at ease with my initial response. Funny thing, if this was about racism and you had left a racial slur or racist joke on this site, i doubt I would have recieved the comments to relax.

      The point is well made that making fun or having fun at larger people's expense is still acceptable. I am aware that my intitial response was hard, but I believe it is completely neccessary to take a stand when you believe in something.

      Finally, if I appear (the opposite of relaxed) to you or anyone reading this, it is my blog and I created it for the sole purpose of venting, educating, and creating a venue through which others can do the same. If I become spazzy doing it, so be it.

      Thanks again for your time and consideration.I appreciated this comment a ton!
      k

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  9. The real teachable moment is in the over-reaction, not the original comment. Consider:

    "Your hair is green."
    "Stop calling me ugly!"

    Who is really displaying an unhealthy attitude here?

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  10. I was wondering about the fashion related content. It was awesoeme to see this fab post. I like the efforts you made to continue for this purpose.
    It is a great place to know more about fashion. I hope i will be back and bookmark this page.
    Cheers!

    Pakistan Magazine news
    women's latest fashion
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  11. Hello, She Style;
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope you do come back and visit.
    All the best!
    Kathi

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  12. Well I have been struggling with my weight after having 4 children (4 c-sections) I am 5'5" and 300 pounds... But also, for medical reasons, I was on perscribed steroids for 2 years before having children. so I did put on muscle & fat over those years. Unfortunately, I am now a size 22 and am eager to be a size 16. I personally was glad to see (last picture) an actual female size 16 instead of the models they stick on the internet. Yes im fat, but I am working towards my goal and having that inspiration and ideal goal to visually see(bottom pic)! That's bad ass! Although, I do want a little extra junk in my trunk, but this pic is still an inspiration for me! Thank You real Life Health! I saved this pic to my phone over a month ago, and I look at it every time I need that boost of inspiration. I have lost 15 pounds over the past month! I switched phones and lost the picture, so when I searched through Google again, I happened to run across the blog attached to this picture! Although I don't plan on trying to get fashionable and buying clothes for a size 22 (too frustrating!!) I am going to lose the weight and go all out!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi "Unknown"
      Thank you so much for your honesty and your time writing this comment. I appreciate your positive attitude and commitment to your goals. Yes...that pic is totally "bad ass"! I love that. Isn't that too bad you can't find nice clothes to fit any size??? That completely sucks. Perhaps it will change soon.
      Thanks again for your sharing your story. Please do not hesitate to keep me posted on how you are doing.
      All the best for your health!!!
      Kathi

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