Every time the topic of clothing comes up in the fatosphere, there is a response that's beginning (IMO) to fall into a pattern:
1. No one can find affordable clothes that fit short people
2. No one can find affordable clothes that fit short fat people
3. No one can find affordable clothes that fit tall people
4. No one can find affordable clothes that fit tall fat people
5. No one can find affordable clothes that fit long-waisted people
6. No one can find affordable clothes that fit short-waisted people
7. No one can find affordable clothes that fit pear-shaped people
8. No one can find affordable clothes that fit apple-shaped people
9. No one can find affordable clothes that fit women with large breasts
10. No one can find affordable clothes that fit women with small breasts
In every case, there's a rant about the designer's assumptions (i.e. that all designers assume fat women are amazons/large-breasted/short legged/big-thighed/small-thighed/etc.
Basically, I'm starting to think that affordable clothing is made to fit mannequins. 5'6" mannequins with socially acceptable proportions. In other words, the reason why it's cheap is because it's mass produced for a median range of height/weight/proportion. If you're outside of that height/weight/proportion, you'll have trouble finding stuff that fits unless you're handy with a needle. It isn't a conspiracy against short/tall/apple/pear/long-legged/small breasted people; anyone outside that median, in any direction, is going to have trouble finding stuff that fits.
Personally? I'm 6'2". I can tell you that affordable clothes are NOT made for "Amazons" (a term I personally hate. Just because I'm tall doesn't mean I want to chop off a breast and go frothing-at-the-mouth into war). Skirts designed for ankle-length hit me at a very unflattering mid-calf. Skirts designed to hit at the knee are, on me, inappropriate for the office. I have a long torso (making the hunt for tunic-length shirts my raison d'etre in shopping). I have a high waist and large belly that turns any empire-waisted top into a "8th month maternity" look (this season's dresses are a nightmare). I have a smaller butt and thighs that means any jeans that fit at the waist will be baggy everywhere else, and solid Viking-peasantry calves that mean I have to look for boot cut or flare jeans (which works, since I'm a hippie at heart). My longer arms mean that there is no such thing as long-sleeve shirts or jackets; they all hit behind the wrist, and so get shortened to 3/4 sleeves so that it at least looks deliberate.
I'm also definitely not rich. My definition of affordable clothing is no single piece over $20, and hunt the clearance racks for those great "under $10" finds. Given that, and that I do have reasonably good taste, I have two options; make with the needle and look for the stuff that's on clearance because of fixable issues (i.e. that awful neon shirt is a good cut and can be dyed darker; that fringe can be removed; that collar can be altered; that skirt can be sized down).
Yeah, that's work. But I'm not a clothes-hound and don't buy "trendy" stuff that won't be viable in a few years. I could probably afford (a piece at a time) to build a really kickass wardrobe from Igigi or something, but beyond the fact that empire waists are popular at the moment (grit teeth and wait it out) I have much better things to spend $100 on than a piece of clothing. I could landscape my front yard or finish my attic or tile my kitchen and bathroom for what they charge for a dress. For two outfits I could buy a close-contact saddle or a nice sheepskin saddle pad. That kickass wardrobe would buy me floor-to-ceiling bookcases for my increasingly enormous epidemic collection of books.
The point? Don't assume that anyone (taller, shorter, thinner, fatter, etc.) has an easier time finding clothing to fit their own style. I have one friend who's a size 10 with perfect classical proportions that looks really good in a lot of cuts and styles that I'd love to wear. Despite that, I still see her get frustrated over clothes outside her size range, or designed for women without hips, or that end up too baggy in the bustline. Everyone has trouble finding clothes that fit and look good on them, because everyone looks good in something different. Don't expect every brand to cater to you; the Old Navy stuff that you complain is cut too long is a blessing for those of us that need it and can't find it anywhere else. The Lane Bryant dress shirts that are way too short on me would look really sharp on a woman with a shorter waist. Until I can afford a private tailor, I'll have to learn to compromise.
And learn to not grit my teeth when someone complains how the "amazons" have it so easy in the fashion world.
I really do hate that term. Why not Valkyries? I'm Irish, not Brazilian. Or Leprechauns? ("and was that not the biggest joke of the Irish, for the leprechauns in their day were the tallest of the mound folk" -American Gods)
Fat news through 4/27 - As always, thanks to Tante Terri for penning these write-ups (I’m just the editor). Let’s begin. Fall 2015: Lucy Aphramor writes about the use of mindful e...
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