Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Plus Size Clothes Shopping

I went shopping today at one of my old, favorite stores.  I needed to return some items that were too small.  I noticed there were other middle aged and older women coming into the store to do the same thing.  This happens every time I shop there.  I used to be able to count on their merchandise when I needed well-made, basic clothing.  It was so convenient since the "color ways" were kept the same season after season so it was easy to keep adding trendier pieces as the years went by.  I amassed quite a wardrobe during those years and still wear most of it.  Times have changed and so has their merchandise.  The white blouses and tops were made of such thin fabric that I could read the price tags through them.  Unless something was lined at the shoulder I could see the wood of the coat hanger through the fabric.  The shoes are colorful but have no support so they are painful to wear.  The colors are no longer basic and neutral.  Instead they either look like cotton candy or fruit loops.  The last few things I purchased have shrunk even though I laundered them in cold water and hung them up to dry.

I left that store and drove a few miles to a store that caters to plus size women.  The fabrics were again a big disappointment because they were so thin and limp.  I imagine it's like trying to wear plastic wrap in the summer heat and humidity.  Are cotton, linen, rayon and silk so hard to come by?  Would we not want to pay a little extra for clothing that doesn't cling?  I felt a challenge coming on so I started digging, literally, through the stuffed racks.  In the first place, why so many garments crammed onto the racks?  It's impossible to find a size that way.  I managed to find only two dresses that were made of natural fabric with a pleasant "drape."  That means they will skim the body rather than adhere to every place a woman would prefer no one look.  I was impressed by the size and scale of the jewelry.  Plus size women need to wear larger pieces and longer necklaces.  Proportion and scale are very important.  I notice it more when petite women wear jackets that are too long in the torso and sleeves.  The women I know work hard at jobs or taking care of others.  I know it must be very frustrating when they have just a little bit of time to shop for clothes and it's a disappointing experience.

I get angry when I overhear people talking about a plus size woman behind her back but usually within ear shot.  First of all it is extremely rude!  I wish just one time a woman would turn around and make fun of the guy's big belly hanging over his belt.  All she has to say is "I guess it takes one to know one!"  I've witnessed elderly women making fun of what others choose to order in restaurants. They come from a different generation.  In their time a woman had no power so she had to keep herself "nice and trim" in order to get and keep a "good provider."  Now that women earn their own way they no longer have to starve themselves to keep a man in their lives.  How many metabolisms and hearts have been damaged by "Yo-Yo" dieting?   Real women do not starve or purge themselves and need attractive clothing in natural fabrics to get them through their long days.  The manufacturers need feedback from the women who wear their clothes.  I encourage you to E-mail your favorite clothing stores and let them know how you feel about what they sell.  If enough women do this it may make a difference in what you see in the stores in the future.

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