Fat Grrl Shopping: Sizes 12-44August 20, 2007 at 11:19 pm | Posted in Acceptance, Body, Body Image, Clothes, Dress, Eating Disorders, Extended Plus Size, Fashion, Fat, Fat Acceptance, Fat Hatred, Figure, Grrls/Women, Kristin Bell, Pants, Plus Size, Shirt, Shopping, Supersize, Swim Suit, Weight, Weightloss, Weightloss Industry | 21 Comments
Let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of places to shop for clothes if you wear anything over size 12 and even fewer places to shop if you wear over size 28! So, I just wanted to talk about a few of the places that I have found for clothing and what I do and don’t like about those places. I hope this helps anyone who is looking for something to wear. I will mostly be talking about places that carry up to size 34/38/44.
I guess my all time favorite place to shop now is Ulla Popken (www.ullapopken.com). If you haven’t heard about this place, you should definitely check them out! They go up to a size 38 although most of the clothes only go up to size 34. They begin sizing at size 12. These are US sizes, so I don’t know what they translate to in other countries, but they do have websites for other countries, mostly in Europe. I don’t know if they have any retail outlets. I heard that they do in Germany, but I haven’t seen any around here. I always shop online.
For some reason their clothes just fit me almost perfectly! Sometimes the pants are a little long, but other than that they fit wonderfully well. They have a huge selection of clothes and they have a lot of very cute and stylish things. The only drawback is that they are a bit spendy, but they really make up for it in the quality of their garments. They use the best fabrics and the clothes are made really well. I give them a 10 out of 10 for quality that is for sure! I actually love shopping with Ulla Popken, because I start to feel like a normal person. I can find cute things and almost every kind of clothing type that I desire. They don’t have any gothic type or funky/rocker type gear though. I guess I’m more of a preppy dresser or something. Actually, I hadn’t really thought about it until this moment. But yeah, I’d say I dress sort of mainstream. Shirts, jeans, casual maybe with a nice jacket or sweater sometimes. Well, I pretty much dress in whatever clothes fit. Ulla Popken still has some weird old grandma type stuff too, but not as much as most of the other fat grrl shops. And, they have everything from swimsuits, to winter coats, to fancy dresses to t-shirts and everything in between. The photos to the left are examples of Ulla Popken clothes. As you can also see, their models are not all that big. They *might* be a size 12, but as you well know, most plus size models are still pretty skinny. So, you’ll have to sort of imagine how you might look in the clothing. Be sure to check your sizes against the measurements chart that they have online when ordering. I think their clothing is marked as slim fitting, full fitting or oversized fitting with most of it being full fitting which just means it is pretty close to the measurements but not as slim fitting as the slim fit. The oversized fit will give you a bit more room, probably close to a half or whole size more. Unlike Catherine’s and some of the other places, Ulla Popken clothes are all the same size-wise across the clothing styles, probably because they make their own clothes. This means when you find one shirt in size 5x it will be essentially the same fit as another shirt in a 5x. As you know if you’ve shopped with some of these other stores, sometimes one shirt in 5x is bigger than another style in 4x! There is none of that weirdness here, which is really nice. I would suggest that if you are going to shop with Ulla Popken that you get on their mailing list and email list, because they will then send you catalogs and emails with promotional discounts which can save you some money!
Another place that I get a catalog from is Woman Within (www.womanwithin.com). I don’t normally shop with them, but just recently I found a good sale and I found some cute pajamas that were like $10 each which is amazing for plus size clothing. I just double checked the website and they just have a new name. They used to be called Lane Bryant Catalog. Lane Bryant had two different websites, this one that is now Woman Within and the other one Lane Bryant (www.lanebryant.com). The difference between these two sites makes me kind of mad actually. The plain old Lane Bryant website offers clothes up to size 26/28 just like their stores. The clothes are cute, hip and trendy and well made. I used to love to shop there, but now their clothes don’t fit me. The OTHER Lane Bryant Catalog which is now Woman Within is the SAME company, but they offer clothes in sizes 12-44. This other Woman Within website and catalog has much lamer and more unfashionable clothes than the regular Lane Bryant. If you were ever fat back in the 1980’s you know how this works. The skinnier girls get the cute, fun, hip and trendy clothes and the fatties get stuck with the grandma tent dresses and totally lame clothing. Most of the clothes resemble a large sack. I have to admit, I have found some cute things at Woman Within, it is just that the stuff isn’t quite as cute or fun as at the regular Lane Bryant. Apparently cute and fun clothing is reserved for thin women and not fatties like me because we’d all rather dress in sacks because we hate ourselves! WHATEVER!
Another site that has clothes from size 14 to 44 is Jessica London (www.jessicalondon.com). Pretty much all of these companies have printed catalogs as well if you’d prefer looking at those. Just request one and you’ll be sure to get a million! I don’t know if Jessica London is actually owned by Lane Bryant/Woman Within or not. They have very similar sites with similar checkouts and everything, so it might just be different branding but the same company. Jessica London tends to offer something more hip than Woman Within, but not as cool as Ulla Popken. I think the focus might be sort of business women attire. I’m not really sure. I don’t actually study these catalogs for long periods of time. hehe. The quality and price is about the same as the Woman Within site/catalog, which is to say that it is pretty good, but not the high quality and nice fabrics of Ulla Popken. However, the prices are generally lower than Ulla Popken.
Next on the list would be Catherine’s (www.catherines.com). Catherine’s is about the only physical store that I can go to, because it does carry really big clothes, however the larger plus sizes are few and far between and they tend to be pretty lame too. I’m not saying that I dress all that weird or flashy or hip or anything, it is just that I don’t want to walk around in a 50 color polyester blouse or some weird variation of a tent. And really, who does? I suppose if there is a choice between going naked or wearing some of this shite, then I would wear it, but I would like to think that I have a tiny bit of choice! You can often find really good deals at Catherine’s and in the past I have found good and even cute underwear and nightshirts. Just like when you are in Catherine’s stores, you need to search out the cute things that come in your right size as there isn’t that much. I guess that is why I don’t shop there as often and why I do shop with Ulla Popken. At Ulla Popken ALL of the clothes come in sizes up to 34 and they just started adding up to size 38 for some stuff. I don’t have to hunt and peck around for clothes that will be in my size with UP, because it is the same for every size. I get so irritated with these other stores, because most of the cuter stuff only goes to a 3x and the larger stuff is harder to find. Same old story.
Another fun store is Zaftique (www.zaftique.com). Zaftique carries sizes 12-38 and they don’t carry the normal ugly stuff. Some of their stuff might be ugly, but it is not normal ugly AND I have to say that some of their stuff is really cute! They tend toward things that are a bit almost Renaissance Fair-ish, but not quite that far into fantasy. I guess they could also be described as having some retro stuff. I bought a really wonderful velvet blazer from them that I LOVE and I also bought some pants and a couple of shirts. The shirts are wonderful even if they have a bit too much polyester in them. The pants didn’t really fit me right. I have to use suspenders with them, because they are too big in the waist. Zaftique clothes from what I’ve seen, are made really well, but they are also quite expensive. But I mean, how much do you expect to pay for a really nice velvet jacket though? Pricing is sort of relative. I still expect to find things for like $20, but I guess I am still living in the past. Now I am feeling like I would rather pay $80 for something that I would wear a lot than $20 for something that I would never wear or would hate to wear. I do like paying $20 for something that I love though! I am sort of a bargain hunter a bit I suppose, mostly because I don’t have a lot of money but I LOVE to buy new clothes! And yes, I do have too many clothes for my own good!
I should say that I like Zaftique because they do sometimes use heavier women. This next shop also uses real plus women and I think it is great. They are Big On Batik (www.bigonbatik.com) and they have sizes from 1x to 8x! I haven’t shopped a lot with them, but I do have some bathing suits from them and some bathing suit wraps that I absolutely LOVE! I got a great deal on the suits and wraps. They came together under one price when I bought them. The suits are nice and colorful but I think my favorite thing is the batik wrap. When I went to Hawaii I wore the wraps all the time to the pool. That way my fat ass wasn’t always hanging out, but I could still wear a bathing suit around. Sometimes in the heat of the summer I will throw on a bathing suit and hang out with my wrap on and it is really nice and cool. For those women who are more daring, they even have bikinis! I’ve never worn a bikini in my life, but maybe I will get one for fun someday!
Another place that I know of, but that I’ve never actually purchased clothes from is Making It Big! (www.makingitbig.com). They have a nice range of clothing in sizes 2x-7x. I guess I just haven’t found anything that really wow-ed me that I was willing to spend so much money on. I think they are pretty expensive, but it looks like their quality is pretty good. I don’t know. I do like that they use real plus size models for the most part and that their models are fairly ethnically diverse. I’m sure I will buy something from them eventually, just because I do like some of their stuff and I am glad they are out there, so I should support them if I can. And, I think it is important that we who are larger sized do our best to support whatever clothing stores we can. I mean it is silly to say that. They are just taking our money for clothes, right? Well, the more we make it known that we are out here and we do shop and like nice things, the more we will be taken seriously and the more options will be available to us. If people think they can make money, they tend to care less and less about actively discriminating against huge markets of people. Well, one would think so at least. The fashion industry is completely notorious for excluding fat women despite the fact that fat women do shop and spend money. I guess if they think our money isn’t good enough, then they don’t need to have it! Also, I have to say that I would hope that some of you out there who are size 12 or 14 would be willing to shop at some of these sites/stores that carry the extended plus size clothing, just to show you support shops that carry larger sizes. I am sure it is easy when you are size 12 to forget about people who are size 38 or 44, but when you are willing to use your power through money to buy at shops that offer the extended larger sizes, you are actually supporting much more than just being able to buy a size 12, but you are also supporting size acceptance and stores/sites that support that.
Also, I’d like to say, and I don’t know if any skinny people have made it down this far in the article, but if you are out there, there is a lot you can do to support your larger size friends. The next time you go into a clothing store, you could tell them that you’d really love to spend more money in there, but you’d like to bring your plus size friends with you and seeing as how they don’t have plus size clothes in their shop, you can’t really spend too much time in their store. If more thin or regular sized people would take the time to consider their larger sized friends and loved ones and put pressure on clothing stores to carry larger sizes, the world would just be easier and more friendly. The truth is that it is NOT impossible to make larger sized garments, these companies just choose not to. And the excuse that there are just not enough larger sized people to make a profit is absurd. Really, how many size zero people are actually out there to make a profit off of? Yet, the stores still carry size zero, don’t they? Yes they do. Just to make everyone try to squash their asses into the smallest size possible. What if every size person could shop in the same stores? It would really be revolutionary. No more shame for having to go over to the plus size shops or the shame that comes with knowing you don’t even fit into the plus size shops anymore!
The second to last place that I will talk about is Junonia (www.junonia.com). I have only purchased one thing from Junonia and I actually sent it back, because I thought the quality was too low. That is actually the only time I’ve ever done that. I don’t even remember what the item was or why I thought it was so bad, but for some reason it was bad. That is why I never shop there. However, I have read some stuff online from people who have said that they do like their stuff and that it is good quality, so maybe I just had a random bad experience. I don’t know for sure. They carry sizes 14/16 to 38/40 so there is a pretty good selection of sizes. Their stuff tends to be more sporty/active wear oriented too and they have a lot of work out wear which is nice if you need some athletic clothing. Well, I am going to break my streak of not shopping at Junonia right now. I’m going to try out their aquatard which is like a leotard pretty much but for the water. I’ll put a photo up here of the one that I am getting. It sure is expensive, but if it works and it wears well, then I think it will be worth it! I love the idea of an aquatard too. It seems like it would be way better than a regular suit, because it can cover up your butt and legs a little more. I’ll let you know in an update how the stuff from Junonia works out. I really hope it is okay quality, because I hate having to package everything up and send it back and wait for the refund! Speaking of the refund, Junonia did take my purchase back without a problem and I received my full refund, so they do have good customer service.
And, finally, last but not least (and I’m sure there are more out there, but I’m tired of writing) is Love Your Peaches (www.loveyourpeaches.com). I *just* ordered something from Love Your Peaches and I have never ordered from there before, mostly because of price and partially because of style. I like the site and some of the clothes look cute, but a lot of them are a bit too drapey for my style. You know, just free flowing fabric with no structure. Well, I did just find this really cute dress on LYP so I decided to spend the money and give it a try. I will put a picture of the dress here. It has a cute retro dot print with nice black finishing on the trim and waist. I’m not really too fond of sleeveless things, but I can always wear a sweater or something. What I love already about LYP is that it is a small company and the owner seems really nice and genuinely interested in providing quality clothes in larger sizes and I think that rocks! The sizes for LYP range from 14/16 to 34/36.
Well, now that I have talked about all of those places, I have to say that I too am ignorant about places that offer sizes larger than the ones that I have listed, so if you are out there and reading this and you know of places that carry larger sizes, please let me know. There are other places out there too, but I don’t have the time right now to list every place I know of. These are just what came to me off the top of my head. If you find a great place to shop, please let me know and I will post it on my site! Thanks for reading and have fun shopping!