Saturday, February 28, 2009

No Clothes For Plus Sizes

Time to jump on my soapbox for a bit, but it is fashion related. The LA Times had a great article by Emili Vesilind yesterday about the difficulty of the average size( read plus) american woman finding fashionable clothes. According to the piece the average U.S. woman, is 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14. She goes on to say that this woman is treated like an anomaly by the fashion industry and stores. You see proof of that all the time.

So, what gives?

Right now stores want sales more than ever and these women have money to spend. They want great , and yes fashionable clothes. A whole market of potential customers is being ignored.

The article goes on to say how the industry is afraid of the " fat " label and making clothes for a larger size. Really, a 14 isn't even that large. As pointed out it's average and there are a lot of 12s out there too. 12 is not plus size.

What are we to do in a time when a German designer says Heidi Klum, better know as "The Body" is too "fat" to walk runways and a columnist twittering about the Golden Globes said how lovely Kate Winslet looked for a full figured woman. Kate's what, maybe a 10? Sadly in Hollywood that's full figured. It's also part of the problem. I can be celeb crazed but I do not subscribe to Hollywoods standard of unrealistic body shape. It is , however, greatly influencing fashion and everyone who watches movies, and TV.

News alert- most women don't look like that . Those that do, starve, exercise 5 hours a day( I kid you not, I've read them say this) have trainers, chefs and plastic surgeons as well as photo retouching. Real life doesn't come with any of that and would we want it? I'm not interested in any plastic surgery, I don't even beleive in Botox. Ok I would take a chef, but I'd want more than salad prepared .Thats what Jennifer Aniston had her chef prepare for lunch with her Vogue interviewer. I recall Renee Zellweger saying in an older Vogue that she ate plenty and her normal lunch was salad with one slice of salmon and no dressing. Thats plenty, alright.

I obviously love fashion and when I need something fabulous to wear I have a time more often than not. Luckily I think I am pretty good at putting outfits together and I know to search high and low. I also believe strongly in the power of the accessory. Always have no matter what size smaller or larger I have been.

Plus size women have money to spend, and the lack of great clothes means often that the handbag ,jewelry and beauty companies get all our money. Bless them,they come in one size.

Again, the article states " With hardly any high-end resources at their disposal, full-figured women still spent $18.6 billion on apparel in stores and online from December 2007 to November 2008, according to NPD Group."

Imagine what would be spent if one could find more than crappy printed flutter tops. First lesson- fitted is better. No matter your size, floaty rarely works, less so on a larger size. Please someone stop making fluttery, empire tops. A fitted shirt works wonders. Nice fabrics would be good too. Fashionable types don't prefer polyester. No one should.

One dear friend who has been very overweight her whole life until having lap band surgery last year , said once that "fat is the last accepted prejudice " , and I think she may be right. Karl Lagerfeld, who ,ok, lives in a world truly his own, was overweight for a very long time. Now he is slim and hates fat people. He makes horrid comments on weight. Do you think anyone ever said that to him when he was head of Chanel but fat? I doubt it. I have been a fan of his designs going back to those fat days ,but really can someone who wears black fingerless gloves every single day make such pronouncements?

All women are beautful. Isn't it time we embraced that wholeheartedly ? It can embraced with gorgeous wool military coats, cashmere blend trousers, cocktail dresses (some with sleeves) that don't resemble ones for Mothers of the Bride , leather, tissue silk ,etc

All that said, I can say that Macys and Bloomingdales both have a really great plus size selection. In my opinion, the best you'll find. It could be better but it's not bad. Some really nice and fashionable items are in there. They carry plus size lines by Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, INC, Anne Klein, Calvin Klein.

Anne Klein's line is the go to. No matter what size, you'll get fabulous clothes.

About 8 years ago H&M had a plus size section that has disappeared. They were but one of the stores that refused to comment for the LA Times piece.

Kudos to the the LA Times for running this piece and for Fashion Week Daily for picking up the link. After all LA is land of breast enhanced size 4s it seems. Lets hope it's the start of maybe someone taking note.

If you'd like to read the whole article ( and please do, it's really informative) here's the link:

Thanks too, for reading all this way. There's little I like more to write than opinion pieces( except beauty). Some things really inspire and this did. Theres a frustrated columnist in me, so if you know anyone who's hiring ... :)

Both photos from plus size selection


theminx said...

Michael Michael Kors does plus size too.

But we need more!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! As a 5'9", size 14 woman (age 40), I may be considered overweight by some standards, but would still like to look nice and fashion-forward for both work and home life. I'm tired of sifting through racks of clothing that my mother wouldn't even wear! I am a midwesterner (and a farm wife, actually), so after reading the article in the LA Times, I would just like to say that we don't all enjoy dressing in stereotypical fashion. We just don't have many options for stylish clothing when there is a limited budget. New York and Company does have some halfway decent choices sometimes, but that is about it...

LyddieGal said...

Sometimes I feel like the fashion industry wants everyone who isn't a size zero to look horrible - or at least work twice as hard to find things that work, or having to put additional time or money into alterations.

When did the most desirable women shift from being somewhat round to being barely more than an outline of a person?

Beauty Alchemist said...

thanks for your comments everyone. Somehow we need to get the industry to take notice.
I appreciate the feedback as well.