Friday, August 27, 2010

Intersections- Fat Fashion and money.

Pardon my silence lately. I have had an epic head/chest cold that knocked me flat on my ass for a week.

SO I'm back and I have some good news before I get to the entry.

Good news #1 I have new fiction being published sometime soon. Details when it happens.

Good news #2 Grown up author site is a go. And here my darlings is where you come in. I really want to promote and link to people I think are fucking awesome and you my homies are fucking awesome. Do not be shy. I want your links to what you're doing. Crafts, writing, etsy stores, websites, whatever your hustle is baby. Gimme it.

No seriously please.

Now it's not live yet so no links to see but it's happening. I'm also planning on trying to put up submission resources and other author resources as well.


A newer homie named Christy asked me via the form about my particular experience with modern fat fashion and wanted to know about the intersection of money, clothes and needs in my experience.

In my life size and cost have gone hand in hand to make shopping for even basics, I'm not even going to go into nice clothes or special occasional clothes just basic things, really difficult.

I'll touch a little bit on my personal aesthetic but let's talk bottom line stuff.

Right now I'm about a size 14/16ish usually. To give some scale, pants in a size 16 from Old Navy fit my hips and thighs, not my ass or my natural waist. Size 14 pants from Old navy fit my hips, thighs and ass very tightly and my natural waist but not my low waist which is where most of their pants hit.

So my size itself is not an exclusionary issue in general. I can if something is stretchy work it out in something a size L from a lot of places or an XL XXL etc. It depends.

Now when it comes to dresses and shirts I'm more comfortable in a roomier size 16 because I have the big boobies and big shoulders.

When it comes to plus size stores in particular, I'm not sized out. And (ugh I hate this term so hard)as an Imbetweenie I do have a privilege that means I can potentially shop in a lot more places than someone who is larger than I am.

Not good or bad as privilege is, it just is.

When it comes to plus size clothing my issue is price.

I quite simply cannot afford to shop at the vast majority of plus size specific retailers. It's not reasonable for me.

I'm pretty sure if I were say a size 26 I would be absolutely fucked.

A lot of the more popular plus size retailers are places that is't just not good common sense for me to shop. Yes, in theory it would be fabulous to save up say 60$ (probably plus shipping since I don't always have the time to gt out to physical stores, more on that in a bit) and buy this dress from Lane Bryant.

I use that dress because I do actually really love it and would probably wear it fairly often. But 60$.

Now it's not just 60 dollars. If I was to buy it in a store I would have to go on a weekend day. My partner and I don't have a car and use public transportation so we would have to ride at least three buses and spend about 3 hours getting to a physical store.

So factor in hours spent traveling, potentially not having the dress and having to go somewhere else or ask them to order one and then going back to that store to pick it up. Potentially that could be anywhere from 4-10 hours all told.

Or I could pay shipping, possibly have to return it because of size issues or have to alter the dress which would be at least a 4-6 hour investment.

All that for a dress.

Being that I can't afford that. I have to spend those hours scouring the internet for ideas as to what I might want, then trying to find things that a.) might fit me and b.) that I can afford.

Very often these two things do not line up.

For instance earlier today I saw a very cute black dress with a lovely wide neckline, cap sleeves, it would be about knee length on me for 25$. I'm not linking for a reason.

So even with shipping, I estimated that I could probably wear the dress for 3 seasons out of the year with variances in layers and it would look good on me, it fits my taste (a rarity right now) and I could afford it.

I was all set to purchase it next paycheck and remembered that I have to check the sizing and it turns out that not a single affordable item at this shop would fit me. This store does not offer plus sizes, they have a few manufacturers that they deal with who offer plus sizes but they are not going to sell them.


Given how much I thrift and scour etsy, ebay etc etc. Sometimes I just want to buy a new goddamn dress.

The intersections are where I get hung up and ultimately let down most of the time. Almost 80% of the time one of my three major requirements are not met. Or I just can't justify the cost if the cost factor is the one hanging me up.

This is also why I will get seriously pissed off for being taken to task for shopping at Walmart or Target.

As a matter of fact I just bought some basics at Target last week. I really like Target tshirts and tank tops. The Jrs and Plus size versions of these tops are all 10$ and under. If I wash them nicely they last for awhile. They are plain, well fitting and I am comfortable in them and I can afford them.

A few people remarked snarkily about me giving Target money and you know what I say?

Fuck you.

I am not going to go without basic items because a corporation did something stupid and ugly. I just can't afford it. I can't afford to go instead to Fred Meyer's where for what I paid for all the stuff I got at Target I might be able to get two items.

It's not practical and I'm not going without.

So if you are someone who engages in boycotting whatever stores don't give people who aren't shit if you don't know the situation.

In a nutshell, the intersections of economics, availability and size all too often cause me to get angry. Yes I got angry when Torrid's prices started going up. Yes I got angry when they stopped carrying the bulk of things I liked and could afford.

I got angry when Lane Bryant stopped carrying items I could afford.

I get angry when people say just buy X thing at this shop. If I say affordable and specify that no I can't spend 50$ on a shirt, I can't spend 50$ on a shirt and yes I'm going to be pissed off.

One of the tricky things when you're talking fashion is to keep in mind your own privilege. If you can spend 300$ a shopping trip anytime you feel like it that's great and I ain't mad at ya but remember that not everyone has that option. Sometimes it's size, sometimes it's availability, sometimes it's price.

While I'm on the subject. I have to say that I find it disheartening when people dismiss fashion as not being important on the FA spectrum.

I think that's a rather narrow view. Fashion intersects with body politics at so many points. From the ones I've talked about today to how green fashion, to fashion design, marketing how these things in turn have an effect on us the consumers.

I also find it disheartening because I believe that a HUGE part of not only Fat Acceptance but any body politics issues are changing the normative views.

When a lot of people think street style, buying guides, style inspiration the visuals are not fat people. Not because there are no fat people doing these things but because of the way fatness is viewed and perceived.

How anyone can say that these things don't matter in the larger scheme of Fat Acceptance I will never know.

Okay it's time for more theraflu and then some tea. be nice to each other my homies.

This weekend if I'm feeling up to it I'll show y'all some of how I work with my tastes, size and finances to make my wardrobe make me happy.

So remember, give me your links, love each other, love yourselves and please do a little dance and I'll be with you in spirit.

Homo Out.


Rebecca said...

I dig what you are saying.

Also, you mentioned wanting links... so if you'd like to link to my blog and/or etsy site, that would be rad.
(plus size vintage clothing)

Amber Rhea said...

People can fuck off w/ the snark about Target. I LOVE the clothing selection and prices at Target. I buy all my clothes at Target or Old Navy. (With the VERY rare exception of somewhere else.) I bought a really great T-shirt at Target a few weeks ago that I can wear both to work and on weekends, and now I'm regretting not buying like 5 or 6 of them!

Anonymous said...

I hear you on Target/Wal-Mart. I'm one as well that can't afford to not shop there.

I use Wal-Mart for groceries and household goods and Target for personal items, hardly clothes. But the last time I was in Target, my mom found a black button down cardigan on clearance for me to the tune of $11. Sometimes it's hard to find a staple piece like that in a 26/28 and I can use it for causal and dress. People who want to get on my case for giving them my money can stick it.

Rachel said...

This is totally why I'm an ebay addict. I go to Lane Bryant for bras because I literally can't find my size anywhere else; it'd be nice if I could afford to go to independent specialty shops but I can't afford $60 on a Goddess bra when I could get 3 at LB for that much...but LB's clothes are totally overpriced and I hate all the new cuts. Torrid used to be great 10 years ago when they were just an extension of Hot Topic's plus-sized section (when THEY used to sell plus sizes, I lived on their clearance rack.) but now it's just overpriced ugly floral prints and stuff I'd never wear; they only put out maybe 2-3 cool things per production cycle now. And yes, it's easy for all my skinny friends to say "just shop at thrift stores!" but not all thrift shops carry a lot of plus-size stuff period, let alone things that I'd like to wear/could easily DIY up. Hence I've had great luck on ebay with finding things in my size and are affordable, that I like or could easily jazz up.

beatfreak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I make more than average, which is definitely privilege. I'm in software, so I don't need dress-up clothes for work, which is definitely privilege.

I'm too big for the clothes in most stores, which isn't a privilege.

Thanks to the web, catalogs that carry my size are easier to find than they were in the 90s. That, and having access to the web, is a privilege.

Another privilege? I wear the same size I did ten years ago. Having a steady size means I'm not having to replace things as much.

Subscribe To My Podcast