As a size 11M, I still have to struggle to find decent shoes but I can find them. For women that wear Wide Widths, it’s a much more difficult situation – so anything helps!
Honestly, the Fit Mom â€œwhatâ€™s your excuseâ€ meme never reached me. First off, Iâ€™m not a mother. Iâ€™m just a random fat lady. Second, people were pretty good about dissecting how making people feel bad about their bodies does not motivate them to adopt a fitness lifestyleâ€¦ quite the opposite, as research has revealed. (Also, fitness does not always negate fatness. Look at what they do, not at how they look.) But when it came across my news feed that the â€œcontroversyâ€ Maria Kangâ€™s arrogance generated wound up making a record sales day for Curvy Girl Lingerie I had to laugh â€“ and share.
Thereâ€™s been a lot of â€œfat people are terrible,â€ and â€œtheyâ€™re destroying the world.â€ Except â€¦ we arenâ€™t. Most of us arenâ€™t even sitting on our butts eating bon bons. Weâ€™re just fat. Maria Kang went looking for someone to pick on â€“ and it backfired. Sheâ€™ll just have to comfort herself by kissing her abs and thinking superior thoughts by herself.
- ‘Fit Mom’ Versus ‘Curvy Girl’: Can You Really Tell What A Person’s Health Is By Looking At Their Size?(plus-model-mag.com)
- Maria Kang, Fitness-Obsessed Mom, Temporarily Banned From Facebook For Bashing Curvy Girl Lingerie Campaign(medicaldaily.com)
- Fit Mom Banned From Facebook for Fat-Shaming Is ‘Sorry Not Sorry’(jezebel.com)
Melissa McCarthy’s Old Navy ad is far less creepy than Lana del Ray’s Blue Velvet ad of last year and way less disturbing than the whole racist/misogynist mannequins situation. Even so, here and there I’ve seen a few people in the fatosphere objecting to it. McCarthy is dressed as a frumpy housewife; it looks like she is not wearing a single Old Navy product.
On the one hand, yes, she is gorgeous. On the other hand, McCarthy is a fantastic comic – there’s a reasonable chance she concocted the character she’s playing in the ad herself, just because she really likes playing characters.
Old Navy has been a bit weird about the messages it sends to all its customers, and the message it sends to its plus size customers are so weird that I suspect the entire corporateÂ board needs therapy and medication.Â On the one hand, they relegated all their plus sizes above a 20 to online only. On the other hand, they are one of the few stores that aren’t dedicated to plus sizes only that offer a decent selection of clothing. On the other hand, it’s 50/50 whether the fit or quality is good. Some of my longest lasting pieces have come from Old Navy. So have some of my biggest disappointments. At least, however, they make returns as easy as they can – as long as you supply your own packing tape.
It does raise the question: McCarthy would certainly fit in their plus size clothing – so why not take the opportunity to show her off in one of the cable knit dresses? Why are they so afraid that their straight size customers will bail on the brand if they see their plus size customers dressed well? When in history has this ever happened?
As for McCarthy – I guess I’d have to know what her input into the ad was.
- ‘Mike & Molly’: Melissa McCarthy Squared Off Against An Exercise Ball And We All Won(stunningguidance.wordpress.com)
- 16 Women We’re Thankful For(refinery29.com)
- Million Dollar Baby Melissa McCarthy brings the funny for Old Navy’s Black …(adweek.com)
- Melissa McCarthy’s Maxi Coat is Better Than Yours…and Mine.(idiosyncracie.com)
So, after all of last summerâ€™s brouhaha last summer when the CEO said â€œnope, no fatties, never ever ever,â€ insisting a plus size line would damage their brand. I said at the time of the first announcement: â€œThis has of course been cared about by no one, ever â€“ except for the designers that seem hell bent on losing money.â€
The near immediate stock dip over the summer provided some of the best Schadenfreude in 2013.
Even so, they seem determined to make their plus sizes a thing â€“ although there is speculation it will backfire. Abercrombie & Fitch, in true douchebag style, has been horrible to just about everyone involved in their company somehow. In a twisted way, they may have done those of us that wear plus sizes a favor by rejecting us for so long. Because theyâ€™ve got some really bad corporate karma going on. Really bad.
Over at the investment site Motley Fool, Michael Carter names their sins:
â€œSome of the company’s issues have involved forcing employees to buy and wear Abercrombie clothing without reimbursement, the hiring practices of minorities, the mistreatment of customers, labor practices, controversial product themes and advertising, and more recently, the infamous 2011 push-up bra aimed at seven-year olds.â€
This may be an abbreviated list. Who knows what nonsense never makes its way back to OSHA or to state employment commissions.
In addition, it seems that misogyny is indeed part of Abercrombie & Fitchâ€™s branding. So you can guess what quality of design we might expect to receive. This gem, from Deborah Bass at the Decatur Herald Review, really highlights Abercrombie & Fitchâ€™s attitude towards their female customers:
â€œThe brand doesn’t offer XL or XXL women’s clothing or pants over a size 10 for women. However, the brand does offer XL and XXL clothing for men because Abercrombie & Fitch has said that it wanted to provide sizes for jocks but assumed that female athletes wouldn’t be larger than a standard large. For years, people grumbled but nothing changed.â€
A significant part of A&F branding has been to behave like jerks. They are often grouped in with Urban Outfitters (of no plus sizes and equally bad karma) and The Gap (of the Old Navy that relegates its plus sizes to online only.)Â While having more choices in the plus size sphere is always a relief, the attitude of A&F marketing/CEO and the way their closest competitors have treated their desired target market â€“ let alone us, the undesired but new target market â€“ fails to inspire confidence.
It seems like A&F is also taking a page from Old Navy and only offering their coming plus size clothing online. So, like the Gap/Old Navy, they want our money but want us swept out of sight â€“ thus protecting their â€œbrand.â€
Tony Posnanski of the Anti-Jared weight loss blog points out the most serious problem with Abercrombie & Fitch and their entire niche of the market:
â€œMany companies realize it after the controversy of their fat-shaming hurts their bottom line. These companies are calling people fat when they are not fat. Is wearing a size 12 fat? No. Many women run marathons who wear a size 12. Many women work out six days a week and eat clean and wear a size 12. Many women do CrossFit and wear a size 12. In my eyes, size 12 is not plus-size; it’s average.â€
As of December 3, Abercrombie and Fitch stock fell nearly 30%. I had joked about losing money, but I expected such a burn to go slower. Apparently investors tolerant of the other shenanigans have lost patience with the madness â€“ Abercrombie & Fitch is the cool kid no more. With such severe losses, they have to be willing to try anything â€“ and so they are grasping for the plus size customer they previously refused â€¦because in the minds of their CEO et. al, we fatties will take anything.
Abercrombie expects to release their extended sizes line in spring of 2014. Someone should tell them that Apple Bottoms beat them to printing â€œPhatâ€ across our asses.
- Abercrombie & Fitch Finally Launches Plus Size – About Time!(refinery29.com)
- Abercrombie & Fitch Opts To Keep CEO Mike Jeffries Another Year(stylecaster.com)
- A Recipe For A Coupe: Investor Wants Abercrombie To Replace CEO(thestyleofthecase.com)
- Abercrombie and Fitch to sell plus-sized clothing(kvue.com)
Ah yes, Cyber Monday. You could be working â€“ but itâ€™s Monday after a holiday and many people are still straggling in. So you might as well sneak in a little shopping from your cubicle, right? As for me, Iâ€™m recovering. My sweetie had a fever all last week â€¦and he had to finish the first draft on his thesis before Thanksgiving. I was, of course, mightily annoyed by this. So, here it is, a Cyber Monday listing just for you!
Shop ASOS.com and get 30% off everything with code GIMMEMORE. Includes full price and marked down items. Valid until 5am EST Wednesday, December 4th 2013. Valid on US orders only. Single use only. Max spend of $889. Exclusions apply.
Shop Cyber Monday at Catherines! 40% off site wide + 50% & 60% off select styles + extra 40% off clearance + free shipping on all orders + check back for extra savings throughout the day! Online only at Catherines! Use promo code CYBERCA at checkout.
Free Shipping on all orders over Â£50 at Forever 21
Long Tall Sally
25% Off Tops
Marks and Spencer
20% off â€“ One Day Only
Sealed with a Kiss Designs
Holiday Gift from SWAKDesigns: 20% off ALL orders (min order of $50)
Use Code SGIFT20
Cyber Monday Sale! 30% Off All Regular Price and 50% Off All Clearance With Code CMX2013 on 12/2 at Torrid.com!
Swim and Sport
Cyber Monday Sale Event! Get 30% Off Sitewide with Coupon Code cyber30
DHC Cyber Monday Only: 10% off on any order!
JuiceBeauty.com Cyber Monday Sale!
The Twin Cities Â H&M boasts two Â locations: one in the Mall of America and one in Calhoun Square in a Minneapolis neighborhood we call Uptown. (Bears no resemblance to New York City’s Uptown. More like Brooklyn, with lakes.)
I have visited the Uptown location – and while the H&M + line is still difficult to find in the store, it at least can be spotted with minimal effort. It’s also displayed to the best of store management’s ability. Along with the single store rack a few pieces are faced out on walls; it’s nicely done. While the banishment of plus sizes is done to a back corner, the presence of the clothing seems to be treated by management with a small degree of respect.
The Mall of America store, on the other hand, displays an active contempt for the plus size offerings I haven’t witnessed since Â the Goodwill Incident of 2012. Â The rack is shoved in a far back corner. Clothing is crammed on pell-mell with no attempt at sorting or order. Nothing is allowed to grace the walls. The sign identifying H&M+ is in thin, sans serif font, in contrast to the thicker, easy-to-read signs on the other clothing racks. The indication, based on the store’s placement, is one of Â “we don’t really have room for this.”
It was hard to do the photos in a surreptitious way – once you get close to the racks it’s all quite crammed on. You actually can’t pull a piece of clothing to look at it without knocking three pieces or more off the rack.
It’s bullshit of course. The store is quadruple the size of Uptown’s location – they can certainly move their more repetitive straight size stock around to allow for a decent display of their plus offerings. Uptown, even while following the “hide it from potential customers” edict has found a way to make the H&M+ line in it infinite limitation available and appealing. So the appalling display at the Mall of America has got to be a conscious, ill-intended act on the part of that store’s management.
I haven’t bought a piece from H&M yet to test for quality. But based on the attitude toward customers – if I buy anything, I’ll probably do it in Uptown.
Learn more on the Appalatch Kickstarter page.
B. Resale in Minneapolis sits on Nicollet Ave, down the streets from the famed Glam Doll Doughnuts. It’s got that thrifty-hipster vibe, but none of the consequent smell. It also happens to have a few – very few – plus size pieces. The owner gave me her card. She wants more.
When I went digging I found a cami that I couldn’t quite justify buying, but did buy a men’s polo style shirt.
So if you’re looking for a place to bring some plus size duds, add this to your list.
Plus size designers, thatâ€™s who. For years â€œdenim leggingsâ€ had been available to the larger lovely who did not want the discomfort of traditional blue jeans. Some were plain, others had stitching like regular jeans, and some even belt loops and mock fly fronts.
Manufacturers and designers have caught on to the fact that plus size clothing designs, are comfortable and cheap to manufacture. At Full Figured Fashion Week in 2010 among the swag was black rayon long vest that fell around my body in becoming folds. It was the first I had seen of this garment. Now, they are everywhere. Plus sized women have been wearing â€œflyawayâ€ cardigans, tunics and babydoll tops for years. Now, so is everyone else. Who knew, rather than frumpy, we are in the fashion vanguard?
For one thing, the bonuses for those who actually manufacture the clothes are the lack of buttons and proliferation of economical materials. Calling fabrics â€œtissue cottonâ€ and â€œwhisper-lightâ€ are euphemisms for â€œflimsy, thin and cheap.â€
For another, these drapey garments are universally flattering. Heavy women have been wearing capes, ponchos and cover-ups for as long as memory serves. Now women from size 0 to 12 are also swanning about town in flowing robes.
It is not necessarily because Americans are getting heavier. Strolling the streets of Manhattan, one observes a great many thin women wearing fluid rayon tops, swirling open-front hip-length â€œcardigansâ€ with strategic folds and ruffles, and jeggings. Victoriaâ€™s Secret, that bastion of body-con, has fluttering â€œcardisâ€ (a nauseating term).
Photograph courtesy of Victoria’s Secret
Going higher up the fashion food chain, one sees that designers are also not averse to billowing fabric, albeit higher quality. The models under them are also â€œwhisper-thin.â€
Designs from Martin Grant – photos courtesy of GoRunway.com.
Last year, there was the announcement of the â€œperfect dress,â€ that made women look even slimmer! What was it?
A dress with black side panels and a solid colored front and back. What plus-size woman hadnâ€™t seen that style for years?
Itâ€™s time the fashion industry gave back and made clothes adapted from â€œmissesâ€ sizes. How about some waistlines that are at the waist, for a change??
- The funny math of clothing sizes(heraldonline.com)
- Plus Size Fashion Shopping Via Twitter(fullfigureplus.com)
Itâ€™s rare for an office holder below President, Prime-Minister or Supreme Dictator to gain recognition in the United States. Even now, itâ€™s just barely â€“ I canâ€™t even name the current Prime Minister of the UK (going to check) since the last one I heard lots about was Tony Blair. Ah, OK, David Cameron. Didnâ€™t vote for him â€“ Iâ€™m a US citizen â€“ have no opinions on him. I do, however, have a fascination with a certain Parliament Member: one Joe Swinson, junior Equalities minister (along with a few other titles.)
Why am I so enamored of her? Well, the feminism is nice, as are her protests against tokenism.Â Her objections to product overpackaging â€“ using chocolate Easter eggs as an annual example â€“ please my environmentalist heart.Â Whatâ€™s really got my attention? Her overt activism for a more body positive British Isles. Most recently she put out a call for store mannequins to beef it up to more realistic proportions. This is good timing, since larger mannequins are becoming more readily available.Â In her call for this, Swinson said, â€œâ€œThe images we see are all pretty much the same â€“ itâ€™s as if thereâ€™s only one way of being beautiful.â€
Swinson started a Campaign for Body Confidence back in 2010. Three years later, she appears genuinely dedicated to the cause.Â Earlier this year, in an open letter to the press, she chided magazines for promoting miracle diets and continuing to push the idea of aspirational bodies that received a great deal of reaction from the press.
Her comments read:
â€œSurely by now weâ€™re all aware that there are no miracle diets or if there are, they are miracles that come with a cost. Given that most diets fail within a very short time, it is irresponsible for magazines to offer â€˜tipsâ€™ â€˜tricksâ€™ and â€˜simple stepsâ€™ so that people can be thin.Â Not healthy or vibrant, just thin.Â
One resolution that is actually worth making, for all of us, is to resolve with friends, family, and colleagues to challenge the default setting of self-criticism, and help each other to do so.â€Â
â€œIt is extraordinarily significant that MPs understand the importance of challenging the hurt and damage caused by industries that purport to help. In holding an awards ceremony this week on the Commons terrace and inviting key players from fashion, beauty, education and media who have bravely struck out against the virus of body hatred, they not only commended those who are developing antigens. In condemning the commercialisation of the body, MPs were taking a political and an ethical stance. They were insisting on the importance of transforming the circumstances that are robbing our children of their childhoods.â€
Swinson is that rarest of rare â€“ a person in politics that Fat Chic can rightly call awesome. When she continued to pop up in my news feeds I knew I had to include her in the series.