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My clothes are wearing out. They are pilled, stretched, faded, misshapen. They have lost buttons. Hems are fallen and seams are torn. My t-shirts inexplicably developed pin-holes in weird places. My pants completely explicably developed tears in the inner-thighs. I have babied my clothes, repaired them, dyed them, and patched them but I can only delay the inevitable disintegration for so long.
In other words, it’s time to shop. And that’s where the frustration starts, because Spring 2009 Trends? I am just not that into you. I wasn’t that into your older sibling, Spring 2008 Trends, either. The year before that? That was my Magical Year of Shopping While Fat. Unfortunately, because I’m fat, and because plus-size, high-quality, timeless pieces designed to last more than one season are the Unicorns of the Fashion World, my clothes are wearing slam out, as some of my country relatives would say.
Dear dingy, pilling Target dress, hang in with me for one more year and then I will give you the royal send off you deserve for three years of loyal service, which is two and a half more years than you were created to offer.
Of course, some retailers do make clothes that I love. I have a life-long, tragically unrequited love affair with Anthropologie. Back when I could wear their clothes, I couldn’t afford them. And now that I can afford them? They have decided that I am Too Fat. And don’t even get me started on Ann Taylor, which used to be my never-fail go-to for professional clothes. They are selling clothes that I love, but they are not selling clothes that I can wear. The retailers that are selling clothes in my size are stuck in this whirlpool of Boho-animal print-polyester-bedazzled-South Beach colored horribleness that is to my personal aesthetic what right-wing evangelism is to my political leanings.
And so Twistie’s post here spoke to me, right to my fat, discontented heart. Twistie calls us all to action:
People, it’s time for a revolution. Not a dreary one nor a bloody one. We need a revolution of fabulousness. I want each and every one of you to stand up and do something about this. We are not a tiny minority. We are a mighty community and we are not being served.
I want every person reading this blog – fat or thin, tall or short, male or female, every color of the rainbow and all stops in between – to refuse to be invisible. Write to a retailer or manufacturer and say that you want clothes in your size. Wear something down the street that makes people stop and stare in wonder. Laugh in the face of someone who tries to shame you into ’slimming’ colors or ‘weight appropriate’ cuts.
We. Deserve. Nice. Clothes.
And she’s totally right. And so I wrote to two retailers – Anthropologie and Ann Taylor, natch – and not only told them that I want clothes in my size, I provided them with a sample order of what I would purchase, today, as I sit here on my lunch hour, from each of them. And friends, it’s a significant amount of money. An amount of money that I am extremely privileged to have at my disposal were those stores far-thinking enough to offer anything in a women’s size 20. An amount of money that instead will stay comfortably tucked away in my checking account, patiently awaiting the clothing trends that plus-size retailers are willing to embrace to come back around to my way of thinking.
After the cut, I’ll provide you with the text of the letter I sent to the corporate office of Anthropologie so you can use it as a template for the letter you write to the retailer of your choice.
I read somewhere (maybe Fatshionista, or Fatshionista, I can’t remember – ETA: It was in the comments of this great post by my pal the Pretty Pear) that a number of mail-order purveyors of women’s plus size clothing, such as The Catalogs, insist on using straight-size models, despite the fact that doing so often makes their clothes look ridiculous, out of some misinformed notion that fat women won’t buy clothes that other fat women are wearing. And, you know what? Fine. Whatever. Go ahead, pin those 12Ws to hell and back on a size 6 model. These retailers are usually so fashion tone deaf anyway that getting them to jump on the Fat Pride bandwagon by using fat women to model their plus-sized clothes is akin to teaching a puppy to drive a car before you even train it to stop peeing in the house.
So it’s not the fact that Chadwick’s is using a straight-sized model to display its plus-sized dresses that bothers me. It’s the fact that they are manipulating the photos of these straight-sized women to turn them into impossibly spindly, spaghetti-shaped, wire hangers, like so:
If either of those two models are naturally that shape and size, I will not only buy that dress, I will also eat it.