Passionate about plus size clothing and having clothes to fit all. Fat positive, body positive and generally a fan of loving the skin you're in.
Passionate about plus size clothing and having clothes to fit all. Fat positive, body positive and generally a fan of loving the skin you're in.
It can be hard to unlearn the things that we are taught about our body, but I assure you that you can get there. As a plus size woman one of the biggest rules we’re taught is that our clothing choices must be ‘flattering’. From teenage years we’re asked to compare our body shapes to pieces of fruit and use comparison to help us decide what type of clothing we should place on our bodies.
Hiding Our Bodies
When it comes to being taught the way we should dress, we’re basically told that we should make ourselves appear smaller. Avoid stripes, dress for our shape, stay away from bright colours and of course DRESS FLATTERING!
When someone says that something is flattering, what they’re saying is that it hides your body shape. It disguises the rolls of your stomach, makes your thighs look smaller or helps your bum look perkier. They’re saying that the clothing you have chosen to wear is good, because it changes your appearance.
Visible Belly Outline
VBO, Visible Belly Outline, tummy rolls… call them what you like, we’re told to hide them. Get a dress that nips you in at the waist and flows nicely over the stomach and apparently you’re onto a winner. But why? At the end of the day, my body is fat and whatever I wear – it is going to look fat! Why am I taught that it looks better if part of me is disguised? Now don’t get me wrong – I love vintage style dresses and these often have that shape and that is fine.
I’m not saying that you have to wear clingy clothing and show your belly rolls every single minute of the day but what I am saying is that don’t discount a dress just because it shows off the true shape of your body.
Learning To Love Yourself
As I said at the start, getting to the stage where you’re used to seeing clothing on your body that looks like this can be hard. However as myself and many of the She Might Be writers will tell you, you absolutely can get there – and believe me the feeling is great! I no longer have to discount an outfit because I fear it will show the shape of my body too much.
The truth is – your body is awesome, you are fantastic and all of you is worthy to wear exactly what you want, no matter your shape or size. Your body is more than whatever piece of fruit the fashion industry want to compare us to!
As someone who lives in a fat body, I am used to paying a fat tax for clothing. Generally speaking, larger sizes tend to cost more than standard sizes. There are several reasons for this – material, labour and also the fact they have a niche in the market so know that people are often willing to spend more money to get their hands on the items that they want. In general, I don’t usually mind paying a bit extra for clothing (within reason) because I do know that the costs for making items can be higher. However, this does mean that finding real budget pieces in plus sizes can be difficult.
That said, the task isn’t impossible – you just need to be a bit of a savvy shopper!
If your luck is anything like mine the sale will always come when you’re about 2 days away from pay day and living off the coins you have found down the back of the sofa. However, if you do have funds when a sale comes around it can be a great help! ASOS and New Look personally have some of the better sales I have found – I picked up 5 skater dresses from New Look for £45 which were delivered a few days ago. Yours Clothing, Simply Be and Lady V London are sales that I have been found to shop at on a regular basis to.
Everything 5 Pounds is a really great find for budget shopping, although if you’re above a size 26 sometimes the items can be a bit lacking. I did pick up a size 32 grey skater dresses from here for £5 the other day. The website holds old stock from a number of different brands, so you don’t know which retailer you are buying from before it arrives. It can be hard to judge sizes, but for a fiver you can’t really go wrong! I’m also a fan of Crazy Clearance, which stocks old Simply Be and Fashion World items for cheap! Fair enough, you’re not going to get the newest fashions with any of these websites, but they come with purse friendly price tags, which is always a good thing!
I feel like the supermarkets are overlooked when it comes to plus size ranges. The websites have some good pieces but if you can visit an actual store you’ll often find loads. I have found that Asda sizes in particular are generous, so if you shop in store you may find something that you can make work, even if it technically has a smaller size label.
Where do you go for your bargain pieces?
With The Curve Fashion Festival just around the corner, it has got me thinking about the plus size events I have attended in the past and how much they have benefited me. I have been lucky enough to attend a number of different events, but with each and every one I have gone home buzzing. There is something pretty special about being in a room of like-minded individuals that is really uplifting.
One of the nicest things about some events is the opportunity to discover new brands. At various events in the past I have had make overs, made perfume, tried on clothing I never would have previously and so much more. Think of it as a way to try before you buy. Brands love this interaction because at the end of the day it is their customer base that matters, so being able to meet so many people in one go is fantastic for them.
Meeting New People
Networking is also fantastic at places such as The Curve Fashion Festival, even if you are not a blogger. These days so many of us are social media influencers, even without trying. I really admire anyone who puts themselves out there on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook – so the chance to meet more of these and find even more plus size people to fill my social media feed with is even better!
See Old Friends
Of course, it goes without saying that seeing old friends is a real highlight. Blogging is great but you often make new friends that live so far away, you can’t simply hook up for lunch or go out for an after-work drink. Events like this are a fantastic excuse to get everyone together and have a proper catch up – which is absolutely lovely!
If you haven’t been to any events yet, I know they are nerve wracking but I promise you they’re worth it!
If you see me at one, please come and say hi!
Ultimately everyone will have their own idea of how they want to be treated, so please take this as only the way I like my friendships to be. You know your friends better than anyone else, so you’ll know which of these will work and which won’t.
I think it comes to knowing what someone wants out of a friendship and where you fit in on this. This really isn’t any different to any standard friendship. As someone you care about, I am sure you’ll want to know what you can do to be a good friend – this is not different when you are friends with a fat person. Ask them what you can do better and what they may need from you. Don’t shy away from the subject, but instead ask them anything you want to know
It took some of my friends a while to get used to me using the word fat so easily, and that’s OK – it took me a while to get there too. However, as a friend, you should be wary of erasing someone’s identity if they use the word fat and you refuse to. Remember, it is their body they are describing so they get to decide the words that are used to describe themselves. Respect them and go along with their decision – it probably took them a while to decide it too.
Sometimes when we are out and about, strangers in the street will say something about my size or how I look. Whilst I am not saying this is OK, I will mostly ignore it. Generally making a scene makes things worse for me, so I would rather not let it affect me. If and when I choose to make an argument out of it, that is my decision. It is nice when loved ones want to stick up for us but it is not needed.
I love my friends because they don’t deny me being fat and they also are prepared. I have told this story many times but once more won’t hurt. One of my best friends once asked me to be bridesmaid. She’s very thin and so are most of the people I knew she would ask to be in the bridal party. As such, as soon as she asked me I text back, thanking her but declining. I simply said that that a dress in my size would not be available in the other girls’ sizes and I didn’t want to be a burden. Turns out she had ALREADY looked into this and found someone who would make everyone’s dresses. She didn’t have to do that, but she did and to this day it means so much to me!
We all love social media and these days it is so easy to click a link and share interesting articles with our friends. It’s really important to remain aware of who can see what is shared and try to limit what you share to anything that isn’t damaging to others.
Ultimately it comes down to being a thoughtful, decent person – easy, right?
I asked some of my gal pals at She Might Be for their opinions on this topic and the huge variety in the answers proves that this is definitely something that everybody is going to have a different experience of. We would love to hear your thoughts!
Georgina and Sophie mentioned that the constant talk about diets and size can be really difficult to handle. Georgina went on to say “I remember conversations about food/weight making me feel really uncomfortable“, with Sophie adding “Talk about weight and food is almost constant in every social circle I’m in except this one“. This includes comments on portion sizes, and how fat you ‘feel’ having eaten something. Once more for the people in the back: fat is not a feeling!
Daisy agreed with the ‘don’t tell me I’m not fat‘ rule above, and also made it clear that she doesn’t want any comment on her clothing – “I actually don’t care whether YOU think something is flattering” – or her eating habits. Agreeing with Sophie and Georgina’s comment about diet speak, it was important to her to be able to avoid hearing whether you think a food choice is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Finally, she asked that you be respectful and do not make jokes which body shame in any way.
Shopping trips with straight sized friends and family was difficult for many members of the group. Sophie mentioned the feeling of dread she felt before shopping trips: there are no clothes that fit her, going to plus size stores are ‘extra hassle’ which causes her to feel guilty, and when thin friends try on their clothes and ask her if they are managing to hide various ‘flaws’ in their bodies it makes her feel incredibly uncomfortable. Katy elaborated on this, cringing at the mention of her straight sized friends telling her she COULD wear an item of clothing if it weren’t for her large chest, for example.
Emily simply asked that you acknowledge that she is bigger than you, sharing that at times she would be seated in the middle seat of a car or have to squeeze in around a table, because it was almost as if her family and friends were in denial about her size. Living in denial suggests that you are embarrassed, but consider how much more embarrassing it is for your fat friend who doesn’t fit in the seat next to you.
Finally, Kitty insisted that the use of ‘fat’ as a negative word needs to stop. This includes the use of the word to put yourself down, particularly when you are actually a thin person, and using the word as an insult towards others – it only makes your fat friend consider your true feelings about them.
You’ll have to excuse the tone of this post a little, it’s going to be a bit ranty! I’m not going to apologise, because my anger is definitely justified but this definitely isn’t going to be a light-hearted post like normal.
At first glance it looks great doesn’t it? Unfortunately Boohoo have a history of poor choice posts including fat shaming memes, so I dared to hope that this might be a turning point. After all, these days brands have first hand contact with so many of their customer base – you’d assume they would listen to them.
And then… I clicked onto the website!
Even if we ignore the fact that the film excludes so many bodies (transgender, non binary, disabled, fat) the range literally leaves me with despair. When you click onto their website and view the range it stops at a size 16/18!!
Now, don’t get me wrong – they have no obligation to make clothes for me and my body – in fact they never, ever have. However, I don’t see why or how they can use a campaign that apparently includes everyone, yet excludes so many people!
Boohoo are definitely not the only brand guilty of this, but today really did capture anger within me. They made such a big deal of the range being “For All Girls” yet they exclude so many. Even, if you give them some grace and say they do have a plus size range, even this stops at a size 26.
As a brand their range definitely isn’t good enough, but when you consider this campaign, they have failed so many people it’s unbelievable.
It Really Isn’t Hard
I think for me, I don’t understand why brands find it so difficult to get body positivity right. They literally have free access to so many people talking about this on a regular basis so why aren’t they using this? Social media is packed full of people of all shapes, sizes, genders, colours and abilities – we’re practically dong their research for them.
Brands – Do Better.
Have a look at #WeAreAllGirls – a kick back to the Boohoo campaign with lots of gorgeous faces joining in!
I love blogs, I love bloggers – I adore Instagram and I am always on Twitter. I’m a big fan of anyone who wants to put themselves out there on public platforms and read a lot of content from people of all shapes and sizes. However when it comes to relating to content and blogs that are important to me, those above a size 26 have a special place in my heart! I think when it comes to reading content from influencers online reading content from people who you can relate to, is super important. I love hundreds of bloggers, but here’s a selection of my favourite above a size 26!
Who are your favourite bloggers?
As someone who lives in a fat body, we’re often guided towards the fact that we should take up less space. If you have had experiences like mine you’ve been tutted at on trains and sighed at on busses just for taking up room. I’ve been barged out of the way in shops and looked up and down when sitting on a bench – all because I take up room.
To me it is such an odd concept when people are angry that I take up room. For starters, we all do – every single person on this planet takes up space and that is perfectly acceptable. When you think about it; it’s strange for people to be angry at someone else just for existing. I understand that not everyone wants to be fat, and that is perfectly fine, but I find the concept of being annoyed at someone else’s body such a strange one – I really struggle to get my head around it!
Taking Up Space
It goes without saying that if you are a fat person, you will take up more space than someone who is smaller. But then so do tall people, broad people and those with hundreds of shopping bags. You have EVERY right to take up just as much space as you need and not an inch less.
I know that public transport is one of the places where we’re most reminded that people are resentful of the space that we take up. In the past I have been tempted to squash myself again the window of the bus and make myself as small as possible. It’s fruitless and pointless but I think most of us have tried to be there – conditioned to try and take up the least amount of space possible.
Stop Blaming Yourself
However – remember that it is the companies that make these modes of transport that choose the seat sizes. They choose to have passengers packed so tightly together that if someone needs to take up a little more space for any reason it becomes awkward – that is not your fault!
You and your body are just as entitled to anyone else to go on a bus, take a train journey, fly on a plane, walk down the street and anything else that you desire. Remind yourself that you are ABSOLUTELY allowed to take up space and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise!
These days we’re in the ‘lucky’ position that there are more plus size ranges than ever – so clothing choices are vast and varied which can only be a good thing. Whilst this is great news, if you are a size 26 or above then you are often left disappointed. So often we see brands and celebrity collaborations that launch brand new plus size ranges – only for them to stop at a size 24! I don’t know why this seems to be the ‘magic number’ for so many, but it does.
With so many brands excluding the upper end of plus size, it can be easy to assume that you just don’t have clothing choices – but I promise you that is not the case! There is an entire world of fashion beyond a size 26. I am a size 32 and I have 2 wardrobes bursting with beautiful dresses. Here’s where you can shop if you want to give your wardrobe a 26+ makeover!
High Street Ranges
I call these ‘high street’ ranges, but sadly more often than not you’ll need to shop online. However, they are the ranges that you would shop on the high street for your everyday clothing and the odd night out dress.
New Look Curves have re-launched their range recently and have a decent range up to a size 32.
ASOS offer up to a 30, although most items stop at a 28 – that said I can generally fit their items, so they’re well worth a try!
Lovedrobe also have up to a size 32, although sizes do vary so they are worth trying on!
One of the things I craved most a few years ago was vintage style clothing, which seemed to be so lacking in the world of plus size fashion. Thankfully Lady Voluptuous came to the rescue and I think I have more of their dresses than any other brand – all of their dresses go up to a size 32!
Something A Little Different…
At first glance Carolina Dress Room might not seem like the best option, as on paper they only go up to a size 26 BUT I wore this Beauty and the Beast dress of theirs and it fits perfectly. I have even suggested that they change the size labels to reach a bigger audience (no pun intended). They have some amazingly unique dresses (Alice in Wonderland, Labyrinth and Disney Princess prints for example) so well worth a try!
Even More Options!
Plus Equals have been causing a bit of a stir on social media and rightly so! Their brave, bold and bright prints are unlike anything else we have seen on the plus size scene before. On top of that they offer up to a size 42 as standard on their website and promise to custom make any other sizes if they are ordered – how amazing is that!?
To be honest with you, I could go on forever (well nearly) about clothing options for plus size ladies who are size 26 and above – Evans, Topsy Curvy, Nicky Rockets T-Shirts, Apples and Pears and so many others have clothes that fit our bodies. If you’re above a size 26 and thought you had no clothing options get yourself window shopping online, you’ll be there forever!