I have blogged about weight loss, my own weight, fat shaming, and related health stuff before. I get angry about the media portrayal of larger people and the way fashion dictates what plus size means. It makes me frustrated when people talk about the subject in specific ways (most recently, a woman saying that a plus size pole fitness group was not the place to talk about size 12* clothes, and that the people who were can’t be plus size because they haven’t experienced the same structural oppression as real plus size women).
I am currently really struggling with my weight. I’ve got arthritis in my hip and I know the extra weight I’m carrying will be, more than likely, contributing. It’s not really about the number on the scale, but on how uncomfortable I am with myself. That, and I have a surgeon who doesn’t even want to discuss my hip properly until I lose weight as I am too high risk to operate on. I’ve started a new job so I am now working in an office, and have to wear smarter clothes so gone are the days of being able to wear leggings and comfortable, stretchy clothes. I want to look smart, and I want to feel confident in myself (not easy when I’m not happy with the way I look). I’ve had to go shopping for new clothes. My bras needed replacing (don’t even get me started on the premium people pay for having larger than DD cups of their bra), I wanted to get some shirts, if possible, and some smart, tailored trousers. I’m not made of money so I can’t get made to measure, and I was struggling to go clothes shopping because, well, I hate it. There are two reasons for this (well, main ones):
- People – going shopping is horrible because of people meandering around, unaware of any of their surroundings.
- Changing rooms – hot, bad lighting, too small, the shame of handing back all the things you’ve tried on because none of them fit you.
An added reason for this was knowing that a lot of shops stop stocking their range at size 18, even if they sell bigger clothes. When did I start needing size 20 or size 22 clothes? Size 18 at a pinch. Oh, but then I’m still in size 16 at places. What is this all about? So, having ordered in a load of clothes to try, I found that there was absolutely no consistency in sizing between different shops, or even between different styles at the same shop. Or the fit of larger clothes was, well, awful. Then I’d browse the specific plus size ranges and get depressed pretty quickly because I’m not allowed fitted shirts if I need a size 18, and there is so much shapeless, boring clothing. I’m pretty happy to wear a lot of black, but I also want to wear things that look good on me, not just hide my body, which, being larger, is obviously hideous to the eye and I might as well wear a giant bin bag as a dress.
So what is this post really about? I suppose it’s my unhappiness that there is no set standard for clothes sizing in women’s clothing. I know that fabric has an effect on this, but I should not be able to wear size 16 in one thing from one shop but need a size 22 from somewhere else. I don’t want to buy clothes from a plus size range that on purposely makes a size 16 bigger so you can feel better, even though a 16 from the “normal” range in the shop won’t go over my head even. For me, although I don’t enjoy needing a size 20 in things, I want to be able to pick up a 20 in other clothes and other shops and be fairly sure it will fit, at least size wise, even if it isn’t flattering. Then there are the other issues of design, something that I know massively effects my roller derby friends. Jeans seem to think that you have no thighs until you hit size 16. I also remember the time when the bottoms of a pair of capri jeans were the same diameter in a size 14 and a size 20. Because calves never get any thicker when your waist does. And I want changing rooms to stop being a massively depressing place for me. Stop being too warm, too small, with the most unflattering lighting. The huge mirrors in there don’t exactly make me feel great as it is.
Sod it. Maybe I should find some one size fits most adjustable outfit of some type that I can tweak when I get larger or smaller. Get it in 7 different colours and then just forget about this whole nightmare that is buying clothes.
* US size 12, before you say size 12 isn’t plus size