Monday, March 8, 2010

i heart Big Girls

Big is not beautiful in clothes shops

The great irony of fat girl clothes is that the bigger you are and the more flesh you need to cover, the less there is available. To describe the choices for anyone above a size 16 as diabolical is to put it mildly.

Seriously, have any of you non-fats ever accidentally walked into a specialist fat girl store found in most malls? Before you backed out hastily praying no one you know saw you, did your eye quickly pass over the glaring colours and the synthetic fibres? Did you swiftly scuttle across the way to Witchery to put the hideousness of plus-sized sequin dresses out of your mind?

For the average girl who isn't going for the cheap look, the selection at these ''specialist'' stores is pretty limiting, leaving professional women who want a few work wardrobe basics without much to choose from.

The problem is the fashion industry thinks we should be happy that such businesses even exist. How nice for the fashionistas to throw us chubbsters a bone. Yes, yes, very nice indeed.

But why is it assumed that a size 16-plus girl doesn't want to wear the soothing tones of Country Road, or a nice pair of tailored Saba trousers? We aren't all going to the races every weekend to be seen in some flimsy looking halterneck dress with a plastic belt cinched around our non-existent waists - a look that some stores for the larger lady seem to specialise in.

And I must admit, I am on the fence about Sportsgirl's decision last year to start stocking size 16s. After learning this interesting piece of information I did indeed troop to my local branch to check if this was just a myth, but sure enough, there were some size 16 skinny jeans there for the taking.

But herein lies the problem. Just because they're in our size doesn't mean we should wear them. Skinny jeans that a big girl can actually do up only leaves one place for the fat to go, and that is up into the muffin top. It is one thing to stock a size 16, another thing altogether to design for one.

Fashion designers hear my cry: we are not that different to the skinny girls! If the tailors letting our dresses out prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle our fleshy sides, do we not laugh? If you poison us with your death glares for browsing in your stores, do we not die of shame? And if you wrong us, shall we not seek passive-aggressive revenge in newspaper columns?

Christina Sexton

Credit: The Age

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