A Catch-22 Plus-Sized Shopping Guide

This is a totally satirical, anecdotally-inspired, and deeply frustrated criticism of the so-called plus-sized fashion industry. Caution, snark abounds. Also, this is mainly addressing women’s fashion, as female-identifying folks are disproportionately affected by this tomfoolery.

Are you what the fashion industry considers a plus-sized person (anything above a ladies’ size 12, by the way)!? Do you know someone who is!? Are you interested in learning about the unique hell that is shopping for clothes as a fat person!? Look no further! I have assembled here a handy-dandy guide to shopping in the plus section! Let’s get to it.

1. Prepare yourself emotionally!

Heading to the mall with some straight-size-wearing pals? Be prepared to return home empty-handed and feeling bad about yourself! Also, get ready to hold a lot of purses. Chances are, if you’re the only plus-sized person in your party, you’ll be hard pressed to find clothes that fit in the beloved stores your friends may want to hit up. Have your best good-natured smile and apologetic nod ready for hours of standing around awkwardly, sighing at racks of clothing, and dodging rude salespeople. A word of caution; don’t look too closely at specific garments, lest you fall in love with it and then spend the rest of the day wishing it would fit you.

2. Keep those eyes peeled!

Luckily for us plus shoppers, well-loved mall standards like H&M and Forever 21 have added plus lines to their regular stock, which can be found online and in a handful of stores. If you’re starting to feel hopeless on your shopping excursion, be sure to dig deep into the far corners of stores such as these and you might find something in your size! The designers of these plus sized lines have clearly just augmented standard sizes without considering at all the actual shape of real life fat people, so if you’re shaped like a Kardashian, these stores want your business (author’s note: true story, I bought a pair of pants from H&M this summer that were a full four sizes bigger than what I normally take)! These designers also seem to think that fat people only buy clothes that are animal print or some sort of spandex-body-con-neon monstrosity. The following Venn diagram accurately sums up this problem:

Courtesty of wtfplus.tumblr.com
Courtesty of wtfplus.tumblr.com

Hold onto hope though; once you sift through piles of shoddily assembled crop tops and sheer, cheetah print dresses, you’ll find a gem that’ll only set you back like $50-$70. Really, it’s like treasure-hunting!

3. Hit up Plus-Specific stores!

Shops like Pennington’s and Addition Elle (or Torrid and Lane Bryant if you’re in the US) are your friends and allies, plus-shopper. Catering to sizes 14+, you’ll be sure to find something that makes you feel fabulous. Just be prepared to drop a lot of cash and repeat the process again in six months when the inner thighs of your jeans wear out, rendering those super cute dark wash skinnies useless.

4. Go home and online shop instead!

If you’ve made it through a shopping excursion by this point without crying or wanting to cry, congratulations! It’s now time to head home and drool over the bountiful plus-sized styles available to you through the magic of the internet. Online vendors are leagues ahead of physical retail chains and spare you the pain and embarrassment of navigating the desolate, unfriendly shopping centre. Instead, guess how a garment might fit you by comparing your body shape to that of the model on your screen who might not even be plus-sized at all (seriously, this is a thing that happens)! Act quickly and be sure to have reconciled how much money you’re about to spend, because chances are whatever you had your eye on will run out of stock in your size only. Then, shell out an obscene amount of money for both the item and shipping to have it conveniently delivered right to your door. Stay in and shop and spare yourself the horror of shopping with others!

If you’ve read this post and think I’m hyperbolizing, I’m really not. At all. Plus-sized fashion, and really the industry as a whole, is broken. No one deserves to feel awful when they go shopping, nor should it be such a massive undertaking for plus-sized shoppers to find clothing that they can afford and feel great wearing. Although I’ve picked at online shopping above, I think that Modcloth has the right idea. A favourite of mine, online retailer Modcloth has begun integrating extended sizes with their regular line and are making strides for body acceptance in the fashion world. On the other hand, Old Navy charges more for their online-only women’s plus line (and not for extended men’s sizes, interestingly enough) and has no intention of adjusting their prices. So there’s that.

Less tears, more cute outfits! Let the revolution begin!


Sharing the Struggle: Relocation, New Starts, and Therapy

Hello blog-viewers! It’s been a good long while since I’ve posted anything, and now that I’m over a hellish week of due dates, I finally feel like updating the ol’ blog.

The last month(ish) has been a whirlwind of a time. I moved across the province to Ottawa, started at a new university, and jumped right into my new church home. School is a lot of fun and my program is delightful. I get to see my partner every day and no longer have to rely on poor Skype connections to spend quality time with him. I’m leading a Bible study. I had the privilege to see my friend Eliot have their gender and name change affirmed by our church and diocese (check out their awesome blogpost on the service here) and on the SAME Sunday, had the privilege to sponsor my partner for baptism. I also started therapy last week.

Although there are a great many wonderful things happening in my life, I still feel pretty shitty. In fact, I’ve felt shitty for the last three years (give or take a few consecutive weeks where I was sort of feeling pleasant). I struggle with feelings of anxiety and inferiority. I’ve forgotten completely periods of time that were my darkest. I’ve made regrettable decisions that have harmed my relationship with my partner and feel grateful every day that he is still a part of my life. These feelings compounded while I was a Bible college and caused huge personal setbacks in my growth as a person and my faith in God. And I was rather content to ignore these things until a scary incident this summer.

This is painfully accurate.
This is painfully accurate.

I’m grateful this Thanksgiving for many things, but mostly for a new school environment that values and goes out of its way to meet the emotional and psychological needs of its students. This was grossly lacking at Bible college, where there seemed to be more in the student guidebook about disciplinary action than about student health services. Despite my own stubbornness and with great encouragement from Davis, I’ve scheduled appointments to meet with a registered psychotherapist to help start down the road of progress and recovery. I’ve decided to share this information with the internet and track along in my progress (surely without sharing the gory details of sessions with my therapist) because I have this nasty little habit of internalizing every single emotion I feel. Regardless if people read or pay attention, this is really more of a cathartic exercise to help me clear out my headspace and feel better. So if you follow this blog/this interests you, thank you for being a part of my process and allowing me this platform. If anyone wants to discuss or whatever, I’m almost always available to chat.

So yeah. This is the return of the Bible College Dropout. I hope to update more frequently again now that I have my feet on the ground in my new home. Stay tuned for next week, when I address the really, really f***ed up plus size fashion industry!