This article really resonated with me as I went shopping last week to buy some new summer clothes. I’ve tried for years to find summer clothes that cover up my arms, which are muscular as opposed to fat, but I have always felt are still “too big” to be exposed to the public. Intellectually I realise that if other people don’t like them that’s their problem, but emotionally I cringe whenever my flesh is exposed: one of the many reasons why I love winter since I can cover up and not sweat.
This year I decided to be brave and thought what the hell I’m going to buy some sleeveless tops and bugger what everyone else thinks. So I went to my local KMart and browsed among the racks. I was able to find some in my clothes in my size and that was lovely (mostly Australian 18, but sometimes tipping over to a 20 if the clothes are small, I don’t know what that is in other countries). But, and it is a big but, there was usually only one or two items in that size on the rack. There would easily have been about ten of each of the smaller sizes (especially 10-14). This is always the case (unless I shop in the fat lady plus size section of the shop). Why is it so? Is it that there are lots of size 18 people who came to Kmart before me and bought them all OR is it that the manufacturers and the people who place orders for clothes only order a few in the larger sizes. I honestly don’t know the answer. BUT what I do know (from having owned a shop myself) is that the stock in the shop should match the needs of the customer, not the prejudices of society. What other industry knowingly stops people from buying their products by limiting the number available for sale? Are they trying to shame us into dieting so we can fit into the sizes that are available in the shop? It makes no commercial sense not to cater to the needs and preferences of your customers, so why do they do it?
By Maeve Marsden
“Summer brings with it so many delights: mangos, festivals, my birthday, mangos and long evenings of slow sunsets. But the rising mercury heralds a minefield of distress for many a larger lass. Trips to the beach can yield anxiety and judgment, summer fashions don’t always come above a 14, Christmas brings tactless relatives asking if you really need that second helping, and don’t get me started on the CHUB RUB. So, as we count down to December, my festive contribution to my plus size pals is a little something I like to call: A Fat Lady’s Guide to Summer.
Yeah, you read that title right. Fatshion. People love to talk about what clothes are ‘flattering’ on larger bodies, but flattering isn’t always easy and breezy in 40 degree heat. Fatties are told we should cover our arms with sleeves, cover our stomachs with layers and cover our legs with stockings or maxi dresses. Basically, we’re told to cover up, which is the last thing I want to do in summer.
The volume of fatphobic fashion commentary online breaks my heart. Along with judgmental memes and fashion tips, I came across so many sad posts to forums or advice columns asking what a woman should wear to hide her “muffin top”, “love hate handles” and “thighs <shudder>”. No woman’s body should inspire shudders or hate, and all women should be able to dress in styles to match their personality, not hide it…”