I agree with Tim Gunn. Recently, he commented on women’s fashion and how designers need to step up to the plate and start designing clothing for women who aren’t a size 2. He said that the average American woman these days is a size 16 to 18, but really there is no one trying to design clothing for these women. And that’s crazy, considering that women in the “plus size” range spend more money on clothing than their thinner counterparts!
You can watch his comments here.
As you probably know, I fall in to the “plus size” category. Depending on the clothing and where they come from, I may wear an 18 – 24 in tops and a 20-24 in bottoms. That alone should give us some pause – there is a FOUR SIZE differential in my shirts and a THREE SIZE differential in bottoms! Even at my absolute thinnest, I’m a size 10, not a size 2 or 4. Anything below a size 10 and I start to look anorexic (no joke; it’s really pitiful looking). Granted, as it is right now, I need to lose weight – there’s absolutely NO denying that. And I’ve been working on doing just that. But I couldn’t agree with Tim Gunn more. Designers need to stop ignoring a third of the population (and more than half of women) and step up their game.
Thing is – and this would really piss off designers – I don’t think they know HOW to design for a woman who isn’t a size 2. I don’t think that most of these designers have what it takes to design clothing for real women instead of the imaginary women that are in their heads. I’m not in to body shaming, and I don’t want this post to turn in to that, But if we can be honest for just one moment – how many women do you see on the street that look like a runway model? On an average day, do you see women who look like they can wear a 00 jeans? I’m not saying they don’t exist, and I’m not saying that every woman who can wear a very small size is anorexic. Some women are just naturally very small, and kudos to them. But why can’t fashion designers accept, if not embrace, the attitude of Viva la Difference? Why must they insist on cutting off their sizing at size 10 (and a lot of them do just that)?
A while back, I saw an advertisement for clothing that trumpeted the arrival of “plus size” clothing at a boutique. The “plus size” in question was a size 12. SIZE 12!!! The last time I wore a size 12 was before I got pregnant with my daughter, and trust me, I looked good. I looked so good, I was practically beating men off with a stick (ok, maybe not all the time, but sometimes that was true). No one accused me of being fat or plus sized back then. I had curves. But I still had trouble finding clothing that fit well even back then. If it was big enough for my hips, my waist just swam. If it was big enough for my boobs, it hung off me elsewhere.
I know that the days of custom fit clothing are in the past for most of us, but wouldn’t it be nice to walk in to a store and be able to find clothing that at least got close? Now that my biggest fitting issue isn’t, “Will the buttons gape at my breast apex?” I find that clothing shopping is depressing. Clothing for women who are larger than a size 12 looks terrible. It’s not stylish, it’s not flattering. It’s depressing, drab and disgusting.
Tim Gunn said that designers say they don’t like making clothes for plus size women because it’s too hard, and one woman who’s a size 16 is different from another size 16 woman. My response to that is, DUH! You can’t tell me for one moment that all size sixes are the same. It’s a cop out, and it’s ridiculous. No two women of the same size are exactly alike, regardless of what size that might be, so why do we accept such stupid, insulting comments from designers?
I don’t really have an answer to how to fix this problem, but I see more and more women learning to sew so that they can fit their bodies. So maybe that IS the answer – we have to start voting with our dollars, and stop spending money in places that aren’t willing to stock a wider range of sizes.