Things That Need to Stop Happening in Fat Fashion

Biscuit doesn't care about flatteringWhile 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:
Bust Measurements:
XL: 38-41
2XL: 41-42
3XL: 43-45
4XL: 45+

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

The dress that caused the controversy is modelled without the clips

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.

Fashion Bashing

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.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at or on Instagram.

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

3 thoughts on “Things That Need to Stop Happening in Fat Fashion

  1. Seriously. This one seems to boil down to: A How dare you show yourself in public. B: How dare you think you have the right to wear fashionable clothing. C: You do not exist.

    There be attractive people, size 12 and under. Almost attractive people, you could be attractive if you lost just a little weight. And everybody else.

    PA-THETIC. My God the myopic mythology of the Hollywood world, where everyone is some version of thin, white, facially perfect and young and everyone else plays as comic relief, backdrop to the beautiful people living “Real Lives” or the examples of what not to be!

    Here’s an aside: Desperate for more British Mysteries here, but glad to be at the end of the Foyle’s War series where LITERALLY EVERY BULLY IS A FAT PERSON! EVERY! How the hell do they manage THAT profound lie? The directors and producers live under the thumb of battering, torturous fatties all they’re lives and this be payback?! Jesus! Enough already! You know, even their NAZI’s could be considered more attractive. That’s scary.

    Clothing may just be the fabric you pull over your body so you can walk around in public but it is a potent sign/result of class, access, allowance and expression. When all you find is bullet proof navy blue polyester house coats, you know who you are in this society. When “pretty” stops at a “size fourteen” (now size 6), they mean it. Rich fat women must be as mind boggling as they are rare. Contrary to the old world sentiment of rich-fat-well-fed land owner class, the modern concept of luxe is quite literally and figuratively anorexic. And that’s not just a load of goop…

    Pathetic, moronic and very Western. If you lived in small villages and out in the sticks of less “Improved” nations of the world where your entire wardrobe consists of two shits and a pair of shorts it’s a non-issue. Clothing wars are for nations that can afford them. Maybe global awareness feeds into the fight. We have to pretend we don’t have while showing off constantly that we do have. No wonder it feels schizophrenic.

    When your basic needs are met, I guess the fallout is the pathetic amount of time we get to spend on what is ultimately trivial crap. But then, if you don’t “fit in”, “look the part” you could very well find yourself “out”. Out of contention, out of friends, out of place, out of a job and on down the rung of social value.

    I don’t know if we are all that much better off than the hand to mouth so called Third World denizens. We seem to live in a state of tense, constant concern. How you present yourself really can be a life or death matter. It is more than just being able to find the right shirt. Maybe that is the hysteria that flows beneath the issue of clothes?

    Me, I love clothes. At 380 pounds I still care what I look like, dress well and never want to be “That fat slob over there! Oh my god look at her…” But you know, even if I am in the latest, and clean, pressed and polished, my size alone will put me in the unkempt and pathetic category. I think the first outfit we wear is our own skin, and apparently we are only supposed to have the smallest amount of that. Once you are past the danger zone for allotted epidermis your choice between silk and burlap is a non-issue. Almost. I have seen and heard people who get upset when you take, use, wear, show, own, something you are NOT entitled to. “She is so fat, she really shouldn’t.” “Oh my God, can you imagine someone that fat wearing?” “Jesus you are TOO FAT to wear such an such.” “This colour, style, length etc is for someone else…” Someone smaller, less, other, someone not you!

    And the responses you get to you chosen display. Be the fat blob wall flower: Pathetic, stay there, make an effort. Dress to the nines, wear make and jewelry like you have a right to even think you look nice: Who do you think you are OMG!?

    When you get far enough away from high school and old enough or have been in therapy successfully for say a decade, you can almost remove yourself from it completely. Having a philosophy and world view tat is broader than Madison Avenue and Hollywood helps too. Others people open or covert “OMG, what are yo thinking’s” become. your “Good grief, is this really that important to you?” “What I wear has that much impact for you?” Sorry, Not Sorry…

  2. Also, there should be a degree of universal sizing. I recently wrote a post on my WAH blog about how I bought a really cute pillow cover. Granted, it was supposed to be a t-shirt, but this supposed 3X (my usual size) wouldn’t even fit over my chest.

  3. Hi,

    I liked your post about fashion but I can understand not wanting to be called plus-size. I feel I am just a size whatever. Who decided what should be plus? why can’t I just be size 44? Being a plus just singles us out as not as good as the “regular” sizes. They don’t have minus sizes though they do have a double zero and how can someone be no size at all, never mind twice a no size?

    I know we currently label our stores “plus” so people like me at least know where we can shop but I find it so disheartening we can’t mainstream shop or go to clothing swaps. Our local thrift store had a 5$ bag sale for clothing and there were only 2 small bins for L to 3X.

    You are one of the lone voices in the wilderness and I appreciate knowing you are out there.

    Io from the Yukon

    Sent from Outlook


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.