While things are getting a bit better when it comes to fashion for fat folks, there is still a whole lot of nonsense that goes on, and most of it could stop immediately. Let’s talk about some examples:
The All Shapes and Sizes Lie
If your company does not actually fit all shapes and sizes, then it is absolutely not ok to say that you do. If you fit sizes 00-22, then say “Clothing for sizes 00-22” not “Clothing for every shape and size” or “Clothing for every body.” Not only is it a lie that induces people who don’t have a chance of finding clothes that fit them to waste their time on your website or in your store trying, it’s dehumanizing. If you fit through size 22, but you say “clothing for all shapes and sizes” then what you are saying is that you don’t think people who are over a 22 count as a shape or size. That negates any good that a brand is trying to do by offering at least some sizes that are larger than average.
Self- Congratulations without Introspection
Whenever I see the all shapes and sizes lie happening, I reach out to the brand. Some brands respond positively (for example, one lingerie brand changed the language in the social media post that I commented on, and reached out to me to discuss language, we’re still working on it) Other brands just get defensive, bragging about how they are offering more sizes than some companies so I should just be happy. That’s all well and good, but unless you are making clothing for literally all shapes and sizes (as companies like Smart Glamour do,) you still have work to do, and the least you can do is acknowledge that.
The inches+ Mess
Have you ever seen a size chart like this:
Wait, what? So the other sizes all have 2-3 inches of stretch, but the 4X is made out of some kind of magical infi-stretch material that fits literally anyone with a bust over 44 inches? Even those of us in the largest size deserve for you to take the fricking time to stretch the material and give us correct information, especially in a situation where we are paying for the garment, and for shipping, and if it doesn’t fit we have to pay for return shipping and don’t get the original shipping refunded, giving us the joy of paying money for a piece of clothing we’ll never wear.
Plus Size Model Who Aren’t Plus Size
If you are too small to fit in the clothes, then you have no business modeling them. The fashion industries desire not to see double chins leads to thin models being “padded out” to wear clothes that are larger than they are. There are plenty of actual plus size people out there who want to be models.
Models Who Make A Living Modeling Plus Size Clothes, But Don’t Want to Be Called Plus Size
Fuck. A. Whole. Bunch. Of. That. If you are so desperate to distance yourself from our community, then get your plus-size ass out of our clothes.
Unrealistic Clothing Portrayals
So this happened. Asos forgot to photoshop out the bulldog clips that they used on their model. This idea of “making the clothes look their best” like this, and then retouching the pictures so the buyer can’t see what was done is just false advertising and sets us up to get the clothing and then wonder why TF it doesn’t look like the picture. Considering we live in a world that encourages us to (incorrectly) blame our bodies if the clothes don’t look right, this contributes to poor body image which is the last thing anyone needs. If a brand doesn’t like the way their clothing hangs, they need to remake the clothing, not break out the binder clips.
If someone’s commitment to fashion is about what they like to wear, and they are clear that the ability to “create your own style” is a privilege and that the clothing that others want to wear may not be accessible to them due to money, availability, or other reasons – then that’s fine. But too often, even in plus-size communities, the concept of “fashion” is used as a tool of oppression by people who are still desperate to be at the cool kid’s table, and are willing to treat others badly to feel good about themselves. That truly has to stop. Caring about fashion (especially in terms of capital F Fashion, what’s “in season” or “on trend,”) is entirely optional, and caring about fashion doesn’t make someone better than those who couldn’t care less.
The Flattering Police
This is a subset of fashion bashing. These are the folks who insist that fat people have to dress to create an optical illusion to make us look as thin as possible. As a proud member of the Fuck Flattering Club, I’m here to say that this is bullshit. People can dress however they want, for whatever reason they want, and if we don’t like it, we have the option to look away.
Fashion is a complicated and fraught thing for fat people and, like with so many other things, our attention should be focused on making sure that everyone has access to the clothing they want, and then we should mind our own business about other people’s fashion choices.
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