shopping

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Wishing for My Christmas

Published December 12, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Well here’s something that I don’t get very often – tagged for a blog meme.  I think this is really sweet, and thank you to Tegan over at Musings of the Misguided for including me in a bit of fun.

I’m just going to have a bit of fun with this and put actual items/products I’d like rather than the big aspirational stuff, like dignity and respect for fat people, joy and happiness for all the wonderful people I know in the world (that includes you all) and a life of independent wealth.  Those are a given and I’m sure we’d all wish for those!

But if someone were to ask me what I would like Santa to bring me on Christmas morning, here’s my list:

  1. This Domino Dollhouse dress: red star skater dress
    I mean, isn’t it the most swoon-worthy dress EVER?  I have the bone skater dress from Domino Dollhouse which is the same basic shape but has a higher neckline and is in mint green with bones printed all over it, and I love it to bits, but this one just takes it up to 11.  Scoop neckline.  Bold red.  Stars.  SIGN ME UP!
  2. These Asos flatform sandals:
    Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 12.10.19 PMPerfect for summer, hot colours and print and they look seriously comfortable.
  3. This Erstwilder necklace (available online from Birdsnest):
    Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 12.23.25 PM
    It’s a whale!!  What more could a fab fatty want by way of accessories?  I already have several Erstwilder pieces (lots actually!) because they are mega cute, colourful and affordable.
  4. This Librarian bracelet from A Likely Story:Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 8.04.20 PMIsn’t it adorable?  And it’s bookish and librarian-y and I just love it.
  5. And finally, this dress from eShakti:Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 8.14.21 PMWhen are eShakti finally going to get it together and ship to Australia?  Their dresses are so beautiful it makes me cry.  I mean this one has OWLS on it for God’s sake!

So there you have my Christmas wish list.  Well, a tiny portion of it, there are so many awesome, beautiful, fabulous things out there, I just picked a few I really liked.

Now, who shall I tag… let me see… here are some fab ladies for you all to check out:

  1. Bek from Colourful Curves
  2. Olivia from Wait Until the Sunset
  3. Sarah from Radically Visible
  4. Bri from My Scarlett Heartt
  5. Rachele from The Nearsighted Owl

Ladies you are under no obligation, but I’d love to see your lists if you want to do them!

And if anyone else wants to have a go on their own blog, please do and share the link in the comments!

Outside the Margins – Fatshion and Fashion

Published December 2, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Hasn’t this week been a big one for the discussion of what has happened to fatshion?  This discussion is a very good thing, and mostly it has actually been discussion, rather than drama.

That said, there are two assumptions/perceptions that I really want to address today in this post:

1) That fatshion has been consumed by the corporate, that it has been branded and marketed out of all power.

2) That fatshion is inaccessible to people who do not have things like a fancy camera, access to designer brands, high profile status, the ability to travel, or influential contacts.

Before I address these two things, I want to acknowledge that high profile plus-size fashion visibility is most definitely white, smaller fat (14-18), young, cis-gender, heterosexual, able bodied and affluent.  Hell yes, the freebies, the plum gigs in the industry, the advertising money, and the popularity go to those with privilege.  We need more diversity in plus-size fashion.  We need more women of colour, we need more variety in size and shape of fat women in plus-size fashion, we need older women, we need variance of gender and sexuality, we need visibility of people with disabilities and indeed, most plus-size fashion is expensive and inaccessible to those without ready disposable income.  Absolutely.

But answer me this… isn’t ALL fashion guilty of these things?  Isn’t the entire fashion industry, regardless of size, guilty of these things at a base level?  Plus-size fashion companies are mirroring the EXACT thing that happens in straight-size fashion.  The entire industry needs revolutionising, for no other reason that like all of society, it favours the privileged.  A young, white size 16 woman in fashion may not be radical anymore, but it is radical that we have shifted the boundaries to the point that they are no longer considered radical.

What I believe, is that fatshion is not the same thing as the plus-size fashion industry.  They intersect of course, but the reality is that the plus-size fashion industry is not fully serving the fatshion community (or just the general fat community) to meet it’s need.  That brings me to my first point above:

1) That fatshion has been consumed by the corporate, that it has been branded and marketed out of all power.

We are seeing a slight shift in the world of plus-size fashion.  It’s not a radical one at all, but it is a shift.  Young, attractive women bloggers over a size 14 are starting to get noticed by the plus-size fashion industry.  In fact they’re starting to get noticed by the fashion industry in general.  Names like Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason are turning up in mainstream fashion arenas.  Models like Teer Wayde, Fulvia Lacerda and Lizzie Miller are being featured in mainstream magazines.  We are seeing an interest in women with bodies outside of the traditional modelling and fashion size range (which is obscenely narrow – pun not intended) across the board.

But that’s not the reality of fatshion for the vast majority.  Gabi, Nicolette, Teer, Fulvia, Lizzie and others like them are making amazing careers for themselves in an industry that until now has otherwise excluded them.  They are doing something that very few people get to do, and I believe should be celebrated for doing so.  But they are working in the fashion industry.  Fatshion is not about working in the fashion industry, it is about every day fat women engaging in dressing themselves with care and pride, despite a world that tells them they are not entitled to do so.  Yes, these women definitely do that, it is possible to engage in fatshion while working in the fashion industry.  But we should not be holding them as a standard that all fat women should aim for by engaging in fatshion.  Realistically, there is only ever going to be a tiny, elite few who get to do that.

Fatshion is not the same thing as the fashion industry.

What is amazing about these women is that they are pushing the boundaries of what the fashion industry means.  A mere two years ago, these women were struggling to be seen, to progress in their careers.  They’ve worked hard to get where they are and they have been propelled by fatshion, both directly and indirectly.  By engaging in fatshion themselves, they have become visible in an industry that almost always renders women over a very small size range invisible.  It has made them stand out in an industry that is pretty bland really.  However, fatshion in general has also had it’s role in propelling these women into an industry.  The snowball effect of more and more people engaging in fatshion and visibly interested in style, clothes, accessories and expressing ourselves through those things has meant that it empowers others to do so as well.  This then rolls on to the money spent in the fashion industry.  The fashion industry notices this change, and then responds by trying to make more money by cashing in on this expanding marketing.  It’s the nature of the beast.  The more visible those of us on the fringes are the more the boundaries are pushed.  The more we make it clear that we care about where we spend our money, and that we will spread word of mouth, both positive and negative, the more the fashion industry tries to cash in on us.

Fatshion has not been consumed, nor is it powerless.  The boundaries of the fashion industry have simply shifted slightly to include a tiny few more.  Fatshion’s job is not over, nor will it ever be.  Someone is always going to be marginalised, and it’s our power to use fatshion to constantly push, stretch and pull those margins to include more and more people.  Fatshion is powerful and valuable.  I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for fatshion, and my engaging in fatshion is often what opens the doors for people to come and investigate my activism.

This brings me nicely to the second point above:

2) That fatshion is inaccessible to people who do not have things like a fancy camera, access to designer brands, high profile status, the ability to travel, or influential contacts.

There seems to be this perception that the only people engaging in fatshion are those like the aforementioned high-profile women.  That fatshion is somehow closed to everyday people.  If you think that’s what fatshion is about, I say you’re not looking hard enough.  The vast majority of fatshion bloggers are people with everyday lives.  Jobs, families, commitments and restrictions are all present in most fatshion blogger’s lives.  Again, fatshion is not about being directly involved in the fashion industry.  Fatshion is about participating in something otherwise denied to fat women. It is about visibility, celebration and creativity.

The assumption that engaging in fatshion requires the best of everything, or the most privileged of people, is erroneous.  Otherwise I wouldn’t engage in it myself, at 40 years old and size 26AU and beyond, using my phone to take photos in the bathroom mirror at work, and shopping on a $25 per week clothing budget (sometimes less).  I’m not even a fatshion blogger, one doesn’t have to be to engage in fatshion.  I use my fatshion as one of the aspects of my activism, to change how people think about how fat women present themselves and how we should look.

When I look through my Fatshion folder in Google Reader, I see so much more than just a few high profile plus-size women in the fashion industry.  I see canny thrift shoppers, skillful re-stylers, talented crafters, and most practice a make-it-work philosophy.  I see a smattering small-time designers creating amazing things for women with bodies like their own.  I see photographs taken on smart phones, budget digital cameras, webcams and borrowed cameras.  I see single Mums, carers, women who work from home.  I see bloggers who work long hours in regular jobs, some who have several jobs.  I see some who have continued through illness, injury, unemployment and tragedy.  I see etsy hunters and eBay stalkers. I see swappers, sharers and sellers.  I see those who take fatshion to an artform, living their lives as works of art.  I see women of colour, women with disability, a rainbow of gender variations and sexualities.  I see women of all ages, from those fresh out of high school through to those with “advanced style”.  I see every size from 16 through to beyond what is available commercially in plus-sizes.  I see high fashion, high art and popular culture interspersed with alternative style, radical looks and vintage kitsch.  I seldom see high end designer pieces, but I see vintage, budget mass produced and hand-made all used with personal flair and creativity.

This is what fatshion means to me.  While I admire the few who have made it into the mainstream fashion industry and continue to push it’s boundaries, they’re not what I take my inspiration from.  They’re not why I take pleasure in fatshion myself, and not how I use fatshion as activism.

Fatshion is so much  more than mainstream fashion up-sized to fit a size 16 or 18.  Fatshion belongs to us, not to the fashion industry.  Fatshion will always be outside the margins, and will always be radical.  Fatshion belongs to here and now, not the past.  Fatshion is about finding your own style and rocking the hell out of it, flying in the face of a world that tells us we should never be seen.

Brisbane Fatshionistas – Fab Fatshion Fun is Forthcoming!

Published November 1, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I’m really, really excited.  “Why are you excited Kath?” I hear you ask.  Because we’re having another fab fatty fatshion event in Brisbane!

Yes, I am that excited.

The delightful Olivia from Wait Until the Sunset has been hard at work organising this pre-loved clothing fair, A Plus Size Wardrobe, for the 15th of December.  That’s just over a month away people!

So, here are the basic details:

For those of you who can’t see the image, you can find out more information on the Facebook page.

The idea is that instead of fiddling about with eBay, or using consignment stores, that we all get together and have a fab fatshion fair and sell all those awesome clothes that we pick up that just aren’t right for us.  That dress you wore once but didn’t feel comfortable in.  Those skirts you bought on sale without trying on and then got them home and didn’t fit.  You know the type of thing, I know many of you have them in your wardrobe.

I will be having a stall there, so there will be at least ONE stall representing size 24AU+ mega-fatshion.  I have things that are new with tags to sell!

To arrange a stall, email aplussizewardrobe@gmail.com and you will be sent all the info you need.

Otherwise, come along, hang out with all the local fab fatties and pick yourself up some bargains.  I believe there are going to be prizes and food and stuff too.  What fatty doesn’t like prizes and food??  Olivia has put the hard work in and found some sponsors and industry support.  Yay Olivia!

To all of you, wherever you are, please promote this event amongst the fab fatty community, as we are all at least six degrees of separation from a Brisbane (or nearby) fab fatty.  I will be sharing info on the Chub Republic Brisbane tumblr page (and my own) and here are a couple of .pdf files you can print out and stick up on noticeboards and stuff if you’re in the Brisbane area.  The more we promote it, the more fab fatshionistas will turn up.

See, I have every reason to be excited!

How NOT to Market to Fat Customers

Published October 27, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Can you believe it, I’m actually a little bit speechless.  I know, ME, speechless!  That almost never happens right!

But I’ve got a doozy for you folks.  You may have seen a campaign going around the fatosphere and fatshion world calling for support and funding for a Kickstarter loan for a new company called Cabiria Style.  A new “plus-size” startup fashion company, really pushing hard for people to donate to their Kickstarter and promote their new company.  Now I’ve had a busy week, so I saw the tweets and stuff and thought “Cool, I’ll have a look at that later, always good to see new plus-size brands starting up.”   I finally got a chance to have a look today and was disappointed to see that the person behind this company only intends to cater up to size 24US – I take a 28-30-32US depending on the brand.  Happens all the time, gives me the shits, but yeah, I’m used to it.  I saw that someone had asked if they intended to extend their sizes in the future so I retweeted the question and said that it was important:

I made it clear that it isn’t fair to ask me to support or promote a company that excludes me, especially when they promote themselves as an “inclusive” line.  I expected to get the usual line about how “we hope to expand our sizes in the future”.  At least it’s an acknowledgement that they don’t go up to the higher sizes, even if it is a bit of a fob off, right?  I mean, indie designer, baby steps, fair enough.

What I didn’t expect was a whole lot of hostile attitude about how it’s too difficult/expensive to do higher sizes and that our questions as to whether we were included in the sizing were “criticism” of the company/range.  Apparently, simply ASKING if the sizes will be expanded is a “personal attack”.

Oh boy, there is some really fucking entitled bullshit that has come from this woman.  I’ll let the tweets do the talking (she has blocked me because you know, calling her out on shitty marketing and excluding people in an “inclusive” range is such a horrible thing to do – so I have to copy and paste):

@fatheffalump there is an entire section on why to donate if you’re not plus size. Many of the donors are not plus size.

Umm… I’m not plus-size because I’m over a size 24US?  What the fuck am I then?  I’m “too big” to be considered “plus-size” but you still expect me to donate and promote your range?

@fatheffalump I’m making higher quality options than most. Pretty different in another parameter.

This is her response to how she is not doing anything new and different by only doing to size 24US.  What use to me is “higher quality” if you won’t include me in the sizing?  What kind of logic is this?

@fatheffalump if you look at the photos you may notice I shop in the plus section myself, and not everything fits.

This is supposed to justify that NOTHING fucking fits in her range for me or any other person over a size 24US.  So I’m supposed to consider this justification for excluding anyone over a size 24US to the range.

@Fatheffalump The options are to buy the clothes or not. Same as everyone else. Buy this apple.Don’t buy that pear. Options.

What fucking options?  Buy WHAT clothes?  You’re not providing them in my size!  Where the fuck is the logic here?  “Buy this apple, but if you’re a pear, fuck off we don’t cater to you – there, you have options now”.

Look, I know it’s not easy to start up as a company.  I’ve done it myself.  There’s a reason I’m no longer self employed.  But there’s one thing you need to remember.  If you want people to give you their money for your goods or services, you’d better fucking include them.  How difficult is that to comprehend?  If you don’t cater to them (and hey, not every business does, such as life),  DON’T EXPECT THEM TO GIVE YOU MONEY OR PROMOTE YOU!

And if you are a company selling size 12-24, don’t call yourself inclusive, don’t promote to the fatshion/fatosphere and don’t call yourself “plus-size”.  You are an inbetweenie company.  Go market to them.

So I’m doing the opposite of promoting this company.  I am urging you, my somewhat considerable following of thousands of awesome fat people here on Fat Heffalump and on my social media platforms, DO NOT spend your money with Cabiria.  In fact, if you have pledged a donation through Kickstarter – go cancel it.  Never shop with them, ever.  Withdraw your funds whatever size you are and show this person that if they want to be a success, perhaps they should invest in some marketing training before anything else.

Instead, I would like you to go buy some brilliant clothes from the following small companies:

  1. Domino Dollhouse – when DD first started I asked Tracy about catering to larger sizes, she told me she was working on expanding that in the future.  It took a little while, but she did, and she is now doing AWESOME things.  Hat tip to Tracy and Domino Dollhouse.  I hope you’re raking in the $$ Tracy!
  2. LucieLu – they go to 5X and are a really gorgeous quality.
  3. No Xceptions – Up to size 32AU.  Small range, but HOT prices and excellent customer service.  Extra points for being an Aussie company.
  4. Sweetooth Couture – Up to 6X.  Gorgeous.
  5. eShakti – yeah not exactly small and they don’t ship to Australia yet, but hey, they do gorgeous clothes in good quality and have no size limit (costs about $7.50 extra to get custom sizing – less than 8 bucks to get custom sizing – how awesome is that?!)
  6. Cult of California – up to 5x.

Give these companies your money.  Buy their products, promote the crap out of them and let them know they’re doing something right.  If you know any other small companies that do past size 24AU, please leave them in the comments.  Let’s show these companies that they are asking for our money and custom, they do not have the right to demand it.

And if you’re looking to start a plus-size clothing business, here’s a few hot tips for you:

  1. Size 12-24US is not special any more.  Don’t label yourself as unique or inclusive if this is all you do.
  2. Market up to your customers, not down to them.  If you want their custom and their money, treat them as valuable and they will reciprocate.
  3. Stick your neck out.  Don’t start at a 12 or a 1X.  If you can only afford a size range of 3 sizes, how about starting at size 3X and going to 6X and then expanding down later.  After all, it’s a bloody captive market, there’s FAR less competition out there for you if you do that than the 12/1x – 24/3x range.
  4. If you get questions or feedback, answer the questions, be honest and don’t take it personally.  If you turn it into a “You’re picking on me!” when people ask if you’re intending to expand your size range or say that they’re not willing to support a company that doesn’t cater to you, then you’ll lose ALL of your customers, not just the ones you are ignoring.  A simple “We are currently only offering to size 24″ would have been annoying, but fair enough.  “We are currently only offering to size 24, but hope to expand in the future.” would have been lovely.
  5. You are not doing anything new or offering options to someone you do not cater to.  Don’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining.

Let’s Go Shopping

Published September 4, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Before I get into the meat and veg of this post, I’d like to say hello to the lovely young woman I met in Target today.  I was wandering around aimlessly (as I am wont to do in my lunch break) when she asked me if I was Kath and told me she read my blog and thought I was doing an awesome job.  I was so tickled I forgot to ask her name and properly make her acquaintance.  You made my day, lovely Target shopper!  You know, that’s the third time someone has stopped me in the Myer Centre Target to tell me they read my blog and praise my work.  It’s no wonder I hang around there so much!

So anyway, because the last few posts have been so intense, I wanted to have a bit of fun tonight and just post a bunch of pretty stuff because I like it.

I have been shopping quite a bit lately, because I got my tax refund back and promised myself that I was going to enjoy all of it on luxury stuff, since I had been a good girl all year long!

First thing I bought was this coral blazer from Autograph Fashion:

I actually went and gazed at it longingly, tried it on and then put it back on the shelf.  Slept on it overnight and rushed back to buy it the next day at lunch time!

Also from Autograph, I got this gorgeous lace edged kaftan:

It also comes in a deep eggplant purple, which I am tempted to go and buy too!

Today I picked up two pairs of flats at Target, first pair were these bold orange ones:

And I also got these lovely soft pink ones:

And lo and behold, Target had a plus-size garment I actually liked!  I got this little white cropped cardigan, it’s on sale this week:

I’m all about cropped cardigans over dresses at the moment.  Speaking of dresses, I got TWO gorgeous Leona+ dresses from Myer for $35 each!  Considering they’re normally $149 each, I couldn’t leave them behind.  You’ll have to excuse my very amateur photographs of them, I can’t find good ones online.

The bottom one is black with purpley-blue and red in the print, and I love the V-neckline with collar.  I do love me a Leona frock.  There are some really gorgeous ones in the new stock, I have my eye on a bold purple 60′s kind of print one at the moment.

Now how about some stuff that’s on my wish list?  Just for fun?

Well, while we’re on the subject, this bird print dress from Anna Scholz makes me drool:

As far as I’m concerned “put a bird on it” is a valid fashion option!  And that colour is so lush.

It’s no secret I’m fond of animal print, but this snake print tunic, also from Anna Scholz is just delicious.  That colour is gorgeous.

While we’re on colour, how about this Neopolitan Maxi Dress from Virtu?

I saw a pair of lemon coloured wedges today that would work perfectly with this dress.

And this skirt – well, leopard print.  Enough said:

I’d wear it with a whole lot of bold, bright colours though, cos I embrace my inner tacky.

File this one under “Things I love that don’t come in my size.”  How gorgeous is this peplum dress from Dorothy Perkins (not linking cos they don’t cater to my size!)

Of course, then there’s eShakti, who DO cater to my size (I’m about a 4X, but they go up to 6X, yay eShakti!) but don’t ship to Australia.  Sob!  If they did, I would buy this dress in a heartbeat:

Anyone in the US want to hook an Aussie up with a supply of eShakti dresses?  Especially this dress!

This skirt, also from eShakti is gorgeous too:

Oh, speaking of things I can’t have, I’m REALLY kicking myself that I didn’t buy this dress from Domino Dollhouse when I had the opportunity:

I actually had it in my shopping basket and went right through to the checkout process and then caved.  Then when I decided I really did want it, it was sold out.  DAMMIT!

How about we end with something that is a total lust object that I dream to own someday?  Can you guess what it is?

Yes, it’s Fluevog shoes!  Look at them.  Look at how gorgeous they are!

Or if you’re feeling really brave (like I am), how about this pair:

So what have you bought lately?  Or what is on your wish list (or perhaps dream list)?  Let’s have some fun, do some virtual shopping and share some pretties.  We’ve all earned a break.

It’s All About Colour… Unless You’re Fat.

Published August 15, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I’m feeling really disheartened at the moment.  I went into my local Target yesterday, as a friend had told me that they had all this stock with amazing colours at the moment, and being the colour fan, I’m in!

But I came away so depressed, so disheartened.  But the difference this time is, I decided to take some action about it, and I took a bunch of photos on my phone (apologies in advance for the low quality of images, I was in a hurry on my lunch break, and was just grabbing shots on my phone, but I think they do illustrate my point) to share here.

I walked in to the store, and you betcha, there is colour splashed everywhere in the women’s wear.  It’s awesome.  They also have these little signs up on quite a few of the racks:

Weee! Colour!!

There are neon brights, loads of prints, lace, crochet, jewel tones, sportswear, you name it… all in the most glorious of colours.  So I took myself off to the plus-size section, which is at the back corner of the store, facing the shoes, you know, like they’re ashamed of it (they should be) looking for some fab coloured clothes for fatties.

Sorry, no fatties, you get this…

Zzzzzzzzz

Or you can have this:

Perfect… for my Grandma.

Ooh, wait is that a little blue I see?

Oh great, navy… tradesman checks.

Hang on, there’s a bit of colour behind here…

That’s a bit better, at least it’s not black, navy or grey.

Ok, that’s a bit of colour, I’ll give them that one, it also comes in a deep blue as well.  Not too bad.  Bit casual though, let’s see if there’s anything by way of colour for non-casual occasions (work, going out etc)…

Oh just, no.

Ugly print, again with the dark/muted colours, looks like something my Grandma would love.  I’m a successful woman in the prime of my life who loves fashion, has a career and a full social life.  I do not want to dress like my Grandma.

What about a frock?  Frocks are much more likely to work for a wider age group, and are more likely to have a bit of fashion about them, let’s try the frocks…

Oh look. Black. Grey. Beige. I think I need some No-Doze.

Can you see why I am depressed?  Everything is so bland, so boring, so OLD.

So I went back to the straight sizes.  I want to know, where are these clothes for me?  I mean look at this:

I would wear the hell out of these print pants!

Where are the fabulous prints and bold colours for plus sizes?  Wear are the funky separates to mix and match for women like me?

I want this shirt.  Exactly like this, in a size 26 to fit me.  I don’t want a version with a hanky hem and weird sleeves added to “flatter” my arms, I don’t want it in muted colours, I don’t want it in some kind of nanna print.  I want it just like this, but bigger.

Piping Hot Activewear

See all this casual/activewear?  I want a whole bunch of that in my size too.  In these colours and prints.  Target hardly even have activewear for plus-sizes, it’s like four or five pieces, all as dull as dishwater.

T-shirts anyone?

Look at all these t-shirts.  In a rainbow of colours, with a bunch of variations in sleeve and neckline.  Where are these for plus-sizes?  Why do we only get muted colours, and the only variations we see in design are those that I like to call “fat lady uniform” – shark bite or hanky hems, weird sleeves, ugly prints like that purple shirt above or with “bling” on the bust.  All things that are supposed to “flatter” but just mark us as “different”.

Prefer prints?

Want prints?  Look at that – all on trend styles, colours and prints.  Acres of them.  But not for the fatties, no, you can’t have cute, fashionable pieces like this!

What about the young women?  Let’s have a look what is on offer for them in straight sizes:

Where are these clothes for the young plus-size customer?  In fact, not just the young ones – I’d wear a few of these things myself if they came in my size.  That stripey shirt with the pink sleeves on the right is AWESOME, as is the rainbow leopard print top there.  Nope, fatties can’t have anything funky and fun like this.

What about something a little more dressy?  A little more suitable for work or a night out?

Yet another garment I would love, exactly as it is, no changes to style or shape, except sized to fit me.  But no, instead I get those bland things pictured above.

Or this one:

Seriously cute!

I would absolutely kill for this dress, exactly like this, in my size.  I would rock the hell out of it, people would say “Cute dress, where did you get it?” and I’d reply proudly “I bought it at Target, isn’t it awesome?”

It is so disheartening, so depressing to see that straight sizes have all these fabulous choices, and yet we plus-sized women get this tiny section of frumpy, unfashionable, boring clothes.

Look, don’t get me wrong, some women want dark colours and conservative styles.  Hell my Grandma needs clothes as much as I do, I don’t want Target to get rid of the selection they have.  But I want them to treat me the same as they do their straight size customers.  They’re doing FANTASTIC fashion for straight sizes at the moment.  All these great things I’ve posted here are just a tiny drop in the ocean of choice they offer in size 8-18.  There’s something for every taste and style in their straight sizes – they have acres of it in my local store.  And it’s well priced, well made and readily available to most Australians.

But I’m tired of being treated like I’m not worth the same amount of choice and quality as the rest of their customers.  I’ve talked before about the power of fashion, about how it’s more than just putting on a pretty outfit, about fashion.  It’s about being part of society, and about being able to participate with your peers.  And yes, as a fat woman, not-fat women ARE my peers.  We are just as valuable and worthy as any not-fat woman.  Our money is just as worthy as any not-fat woman.  Our requirements for clothing and style are just as worthy as any not-fat woman.  We have as much right to participate in society as any not-fat woman.

So why am I not offered the same options, the same range, the same products as not-fat women?  In fact, when Target’s own company website says in their “about us” section, and I quote:

Target Australia is a mid-market department store renowned for delivering to its customers great quality and great value apparel and homewares. As one of Australia’s most successful retailers our aim is to make stylish living affordable and available to all Australians.

Now the last time I looked, I’m an Australian… so why is stylish living not available to me and other women like me?  If you look at the straight sized options in the photos above, and then those in plus-sizes, do you think we’re being offered the same “stylish living” as their straight sized customers?  If you don’t believe me just from these photos, go to their online store and look at what is offered to straight sized women, compared to the Moda range.

I’m tired of excuses.  I’m tired of being told that fashionable clothes “don’t sell” in plus-sizes.  Of course they don’t, when they’re shoved on the back side of the shop floor like you’re ashamed of them, never marketed properly and of course, are never there.  Perhaps instead of blaming the market, perhaps it’s time to look at how you’re approaching it.  Perhaps it’s time to make a splash and say “Check out our hot new clothes for plus-sizes!  Shop your heart out, you deserve nice things too!” and watch just how things change with what sells and what doesn’t.  How about looking at how you market to plus-sized women, and instead of selling them “flattering”, sell them fun, sell them fashion, sell them empowerment.

You worry about providing fab clothes for plus-sizes, and let us worry about making sure fat women feel confident and strong enough to wear them.  I’ll promote the hell out of you if you do, and encourage every fat woman I know to get themselves into your gear.  You have my word on that.

Dear My Size… NO.

Published August 2, 2012 by sleepydumpling

**Update** My Size have blocked me from commenting on their Facebook page.  It seems that instead of addressing criticism about their marketing, they just shut any of their target audience that dares speak up out.  They will never get another penny of my money, and I will continue to  monitor their marketing and publicly criticise it if it continues to be as bad as it has been of late.

I just opened my Facebook to see this post from Australian plus-size clothing retailer My Size*:

[image description: cartoon of two children, a girl and a boy, and the boy is whispering in the girl's ear "Dear Girls, Dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure. Yes you'll get attention, but mostly from pigs. Sincerely, Real Men."]

 

And I’m gobsmacked.  I mean, who is writing their social media PR, Tony Abbott?  Rush Limbaugh?  This is beyond a joke.  Not only is the cartoon really douchey, but look at the comment from My Size under it:

Styles come and go but class stays forever!  Wen you’re putting your outfit together, make sure that you feel comfortable, not too much is on show and that everything fits well.

I mean seriously!  Let’s break this down and have a look at exactly why this whole post is just disgusting  We’ll start with the cartoon itself.

  1. My Size sells plus-size women’s clothing.  “Dear Girls” is incredibly infantilising.  Your customers are not girls who need instruction on how to behave.  We are women.
  2. Dressing immodestly?  Who chooses what is modest and what is immodest?  I work with people who consider pants “immodest”.  Some people consider women exposing their hair “immodest”.  “Modesty” is a completely arbitrary measure.
  3. This is slut shaming.  It basically says that girls should be “modest” if they want to be treated with respect.  That the only attention “immodest” girls (which suggests women who are sexual, or show any of their flesh) is from “pigs”.
  4. So dressing “immodestly” is like rolling around in manure.  Are you suggesting that women who don’t dress to some standard of “modesty” look like shit My Size?
  5. And the signature – “Sincerely, Real Men”.  Who gets to decide which men are “real”?  What if men like women who dress sexy?  Does that mean they are by default pigs?
  6. I don’t know about most of you, but I don’t get up in the morning and decide what to wear based on how “Real Men” (whatever that is) will judge my outfit.  I dress for ME and how men, real or otherwise, feel about my outfit is irrelevant.

But the caption written by the My Size staffer is a whole new level of judgemental bullshit.

  1. The whole style vs class thing.   Again, who decides what is stylish and what is classy?  Does classy mean expensive?  Or “modest”?  Yet another arbitrary judgement of what is acceptable and what isn’t.
  2. “Make sure you feel comfortable and that everything fits well” – yep, I’m with you there.  Comfort and clothes that fit you so that you are comfortable and not pulling, tugging and adjusting is a great idea.
  3. But “not too much is on show”.  Excuse me, are you selling me clothes My Size or are you caring for my immortal soul?  Who gets to decide what is “too much”.  Is my cleavage, or my legs, or my arms, or whatever other flesh I choose to show “too offensive” because I’m fat or just because I’m a woman?    What happens if I show “too much”?  Oh that’s right, I look like shit and only get attention from pigs.

Look, I don’t care how people choose to dress.  Covered from neck to ankle, or with their flesh exposed all over the place, that’s their choice, their bodies and their lives.  But I do care when a business that is supposed to be selling me fashionable plus-sized clothing for my fat body starts preaching about modesty, “real men” and class.  It’s not your job My Size to tell women how to dress, it’s your job to provide options to your customers,  so that they may choose for themselves how they wish to dress.  But if you as a business are not a fan of revealing clothes, then simply don’t offer them in your product lines – those who want something more sexy or revealing will go elsewhere, or they’ll doctor your products (wear a top as a dress anyone?)  After all, what products you wish to offer are yours to decide, and in turn any customers/potential customers will make their own choice as to whether or not they wish to spend their money with you.

I also care when a business engages in misogyny, fat shaming and slut shaming.  I care when a business suggests that my role is to dress to please “real men”, or to earn respect from people other than “pigs”.  I care when a business suggests that somehow if a woman is “immodest” that she isn’t “classy”.  I care when a business suggests that my body should be covered as if it is something to be ashamed of.

This kind of post is not acceptable on social media (or anywhere else) from a business, especially not one aimed at plus-sized women.  Bad form My Size, very bad form.  You won’t be getting any of my money in the near future.

*not linking to them, you can use your Google Fu to find them, right now I don’t want to promote them positively in any way.  And as of publication, the image I took a screen shot of and posted above is still live, with several people echoing my sentiments at how douchey the post is.

Product Review: Simply Be

Published May 23, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Recently I was contacted by Simply Be, a UK plus-size clothing retailer to ask if I’d like to review some of their product here on Fat Heffalump.  Always keen to try out new plus-size options on the market and share whether they’re any good, I said yes!

They sent me two dresses out of a selection of pieces that I liked the look of on their website.  The first was this cute teal skater dress, from the Angels and Ribbons label:

I teamed mine with pale blue tights from We Love Colors, the grey suede booties that Autograph Fashion gave me after wearing them in the Women’s Weekly fashion shoot, and a pair of cute long earrings in an antique gold look with pale blue “stones” that I’ve had for ages.  The first thing that I noticed about this dress was the fabric.  It’s thick, soft and solid.  It looks like it will last for ages.  The dress is actually more teal than this photo shows.  It is well made, has good facing around the neckline to make it sit nicely and has lots of shape cut into it with that kind of princess style around the bust.  I can see myself wearing it with pants or leggings as well as tights.  It is definitely a winter dress for here in Brisbane though – I think I’d swelter in it during our summer.

They also sent me this Angel Sleeve Jersey Tunic dress, which has a really cute floral:

Excuse the very dorky photograph of me!  I teamed this one with a cardigan from Target Australia, We Love Colors leggings and my Autograph black riding boots.  Oh and some big old earrings I have from Diva I think.

This dress isn’t made of as high grade fabric as the skater dress, but it’s such a fab print, bright and colourful and something that could be mixed and matched with all colours and shapes.  It’s very soft on, and has the prettiest fluttery sleeves (sadly which are covered by my cardie).  I think I’ll wear this one a lot.  I’m not sure it will last as long as the teal one though.

They stock from size 12UK – 32UK.  In both cases, I got a UK32 in size, which fit me generously and I’m normally a size 26AU.

I found quite a few garments on the website that I really liked.  They also stock Anna Scholz and Zandra Rhodes among other labels.

The only disappointing thing is, it doesn’t seem that Simply Be ship to Australia.  But they have affiliate sites for the US and Europe.

Anyone else had experience with Simply Be?  Share in the comments!

Fab Fat Fashion Feedback Session

Published February 20, 2012 by sleepydumpling

I am a very lucky fatty.  I do know that.  I was invited again by Autograph Fashion to spend some time in my local store reviewing their new product lines and giving them some feedback.  Of course I leapt at the chance – what’s more fun than trying on clothes and playing with fashion?  Not to mention getting to share them with you all once I have too.

The kind folks at Autograph gave me a list of garments they wanted me to try on, and then let me go nuts with whatever else in store interested me.

I tried on a LOT of stuff.  I lost count with how many.  We didn’t photograph all of them, but here are the ones we did.  The first item they asked me to try on was this half sleeve foil print top.  I knew before I even put it on that it wasn’t my cup of tea, but the girls gave me a pair of jeggings (also not my cup of tea) and I had a go anyway:

Definitely not me.  I’m not one for slogans or anything on tops, and I wear almost no t-shirts at all.  It was made of a really soft fabric though.  The same goes for the jeggings – well made and a nice fabric, but not my cup of tea.  I felt really naff and uncomfortable in this outfit.

I then went on to try a floral print button through top that I had been eyeing off online for a bit.  I love a floral print, and anything loose and breezy has my vote in summer:

I found it super cute, but it just didn’t fit me at all.  It was kind of loose around the armpits, but sat weird on my hips and tummy.  A pity, because I just love that print.

Another outfit that the folks at Autograph asked me to try were the snakeskin print leggings and this frill hem voile tunic.

This top fit WAY better, but I wasn’t fussed on that hemline – it just hung all weird.  It’s a gorgeous colour though and a lovely soft, cool fabric.  But I can’t tell you how much I love those leggings.  They’re awesome!  Soft and comfortable and breath well, and y’all know how I love snakeskin print.  Those went on the “Yes” pile straight away.

I also tried on this black shirt:

It wasn’t really my cup of tea – it’s a bit plain for me.  But again, another great fabric, and if you’re looking for a wardrobe basic, it would be a good one.

Then it was time to try on some dresses.  This one jumped out at me straight away because of it’s blue print – blue is one of my favourite colours to wear:

But sadly, it didn’t work.  It looked frumpy and bland once I put it on, and the slip underneath was actually longer than the dress.  It’s a pity because I do love blue.

The ladies in store asked me to try this mono print one on, as they wanted to see it on a body rather than just on the hanger.  The print didn’t appeal to me at all (a bit old lady feeling for me) on the hanger, but it was better when I put it on:

It hung really nicely and was beautifully soft as well.  I think if it had been a different print I would like it a lot more.

Another one of the garments the Autograph folk asked me to try was this peplum dress:

I love it!  I love it!  I love it!  I’m going to change the belt up for one in red or bright yellow, to bring some colour into it.  I would LOVE one in the same blue as the top on the wall behind me in this photo, and I’d wear that with a yellow belt too.  Or red would be awesome.  Or purple.  I put this one on the “Yes” pile even though I have a dozen plain black dresses.   It’s such a cute style.

There was also this zip detail dress, which I really liked on the hanger:

I really liked the look of it, but it just wouldn’t sit right on me.  I think I would spend all my time adjusting it – and you know how annoying that is.  But I love the style and the print.

Now you know I’m not so much of a corporate wear kind of woman, but I thought I would give this dress a try (no longer on website):

How cute is that dress??  I love the just on the knee length, and the splash of colour in the top half.  It’s made of a beautiful weighty knit in the skirt and a light viscose in the bodice.  Since the dress was such a hit, I thought I would try a couple more of the garments from the workwear range.  There was this lace print tunic:

Love it.  I think I will go back for this one.  I love the soft peach colour and the pretty lace print.  I wear a lot of tunics and leggings, so this one would integrate into my wardrobe just nicely.

I also tried on this fluttery bow print top, and liked it so  much, it came home with me!  I wore it to work today, check out how I wore it:

Yes, I did have a hair cut over the weekend!

And this apricot spot top (with grey maxi skirt):

Despite the squinchy face I’m pulling, I really did like it.  I may also go back for that maxi skirt, I love that it’s straight through, no tiers or frills or fuss.

Leaving the skirt on, I tried this pretty floral top:

Which I really did love (I’m a sucker for a floral), and this gather neck print top:

Which didn’t quite work for me, though I love the colours in it.  Looking at that maxi skirt again, I REALLY like it.  I think I’m going to have to invest in that one!

Finally, I tried on a few more tops, from this rust coloured stripe top:

Which to be honest, I didn’t feel at all comfortable in – you can probably tell by the photograph!  I don’t really do t-shirts, but this colour and the stripe really called my name.

Then to this red and grey top:

Which really didn’t work for me at all (it felt like a pajama top) and finally, to this striped top with pockets:

Which I absolutely loved to bits, so much that it also came home with me!  It’s so soft and comfy and I love the pockets.  I am such a sucker for stripes too.

Finally, there was this awesome zigzag print tunic, which also came home with me, and I wore it to work on Friday (pre hair cut!).  Check it out:

I think that’s my favourite piece of the whole day.

There were a WHOLE lot of other things I did try on, but for several reasons they were rejected.  Some were just sold out in my size, some didn’t quite fit, some I didn’t like the fabric and some just weren’t my taste at all.

But overall I’m really impressed with how far Autograph have come in the past year or so.  I always find something I love, there is always something in on-trend colours, there is now some really good variety and mostly, it fits, even my size 26AU super fatty body.

1. In the interest of openness, Autograph Fashion gifted me 5 garments of my choice, but all opinions are my own and are not influenced by this gift.
2. Thanks to Lauren Gurrieri who took all of the in store shots for me.

 

Fa(t)shion February

Published February 11, 2012 by sleepydumpling

It’s February, and you know what that means?  The second annual Fa(t)shion February!  For those of you who haven’t encountered Fa(t)shion February, it started on Tumblr, simply fat people posting their clothing choices for the month of February.  Pretty straight forward huh?

Though it doesn’t necessarily have to be an outfit one gets dressed up in – it can also be the things you wear every day to do the stuff you do.  Your PJ’s.  Your exercise gear.  The stuff you wear while doing chores.  Doesn’t matter – it’s all just to share the clothes we fatties wear with each other.  It’s really up to you to show whatever you like to of what you wear.

Now if you’re not someone who is interested in fatshion, who prefers to dress totally for practicality, that’s ok.  Not everyone does, it’s a personal choice.  You can come back next post if you’re not interested, I won’t mind you skipping this one, really!

I didn’t really get into Fa(t)shion February last year, other than to enjoy watching other people’s posts, to see what other fab fatties were wearing and to see bodies like mine.  But through the year last year I got more into posting my outfits of the day (OOTD’s) to the Fatshionista Flickr group, and sharing them with friends on Facebook.  Plus for the first time in my life, I’m enjoying partaking in fashion.  Thanks to the generosity of Autograph Fashion, who gifted me a lot of clothes over the past year in return for a whole lot of work around giving them constructive feedback, I’ve been able to play with my style and fashion far more in the past year than I had the whole of my life.  Not only did I get to build my wardrobe up, but it also has taught me to look at the clothes I already had, and the way that I wear them, with a whole lot more confidence and personal flair.

When it comes to fashion, I personally believe it’s about far more than what the fashion industry presents to us as “fashion”.  Fashion is about self expression, fun, style, self love and care, and community.  There is nothing quite like the connection that sharing our personal style and tastes can create between people.  I know myself I’ve met loads of people through my own personal fashion.  From the woman in the line at the movies with the Lego minifig earrings that I got chatting to, to Brisbane’s own Marilyn Monroe who I always trade compliments with on our outfits/accessories when we encounter each other around town, to the fatshion blogs I follow online, all of those have brought me fantastic new relationships in my life.  It’s a great ice-breaker and a great way to connect with someone you already know.

Recently, s.e. smith wrote an excellent piece on fat positive shopping that really spoke to me.  In it, ou says:

Fat-positive shopping isn’t just about having a rack of clothes that fit, or even a whole store of clothes that fit. It’s also about creating an environment that is positive for the customers, that embraces the full range of expressions and styles. Just as people of other sizes don’t dress uniformly, fat folks don’t have a single fashion sense, nor do they want to march around in lockstep wearing the same kinds of garments. Some people want to wear torn leggings, sparkle sweaters, and rainbow skirts. Others want sharp business suits. Some people want fabulous wrap maxidresses, others want tunics to layer over jeans.

That’s what I love about fatshion – it allows people to express themselves far more than mainstream fashion does.  I find that really powerful and certainly far more fun than being restricted to what the fashion industry tells us we should be wearing.  I love how creative we are with fatshion and our own personal style.  It sucks that we have had to be that way because we have had such limited resources available to us, but it really is one of our strengths – we’ve evolved so much more creativity and personal style, and a solid sense of community around that creativity and style.

The other thing I think that fatshion has over mainstream fashion is that we’re far more embracing towards diversity.  We are usually (not always, but usually) far more open minded to how other people dress and express themselves.  We’re far more open in trying new things ourselves.  And we’re generally a whole lot less critical about other people’s bodies and style choice, and we’re not focused on youth, thinness and whiteness like mainstream fashion.  I think this piece by Fatty Unbound really illustrates that.

To me, fashion is about following an industry, but fatshion is about us collectively leading an expressive community.  Whether  you’re hitting up the thrift stores and big box retailers, or making designer stuff work for you, or anywhere in between, fatshion is about finding your personal style and rocking the hell out of it.

So, have I been contributing to Fa(t)shion February?  Yes I have, and I’ll share the first few outfits with you here.  I’ve not been documenting every day, but I have had a few to share already.  I hope to do more as the month progresses.  Let’s see:

Paper bag dress. 1/2/12

I found this “paper bag” dress at Big W of all places.  It’s not something I would normally wear being a real neutral, but I loved the almost silk feel of the fabric, and it’s SUPER cool.  We’ve had some stinking hot weather, so cool is important.  Of course, at work I cover up my tattoo (partially, just the naked lady’s boobs really), so I have to have a shrug over a sleeveless top like this one.  The shrug is actually a coppery, sparkly knit from Autograph Fashion that I picked up on sale.  And I’ve got that old staple of leggings (Big W) and ballet flats (Rubi Shoes) underneath.

Leopard Print and Lycra. 3/2/12

I was being photographed that day for an article that I believe is due to be in tomorrow’s Sun Herald (Sydney – I’ll share it if I can find it online!) and I wanted something funky and fun.  So I decided to go with leopard print and Lycra.  The leopard print shirt is from Autograph Fashion (one they gave me), the cami is from Evans Clothing, skirt is from Target, tights are from We Love Colors (gold) and the leopard print Converse are ones my friend Kylie found for me in Scotland.

Snakeskin With Sparkles 7/2/12

I got this dress on sale for $20 from Autograph.  It is currently my absolute favourite dress, and I am encouraging them to make more in different prints and colours!  Here it is without the sparkly shrug (also picked up on sale at Autograph).  The pink sparkly ballet flats are from Diana Ferrari, I got those on sale out at DFO a while back.

Autumn Tones - 9/2/12

Another top picked up on sale at Autograph – I love the scalloped lace around the neckline and that apricot/terracotta colour is everywhere at the moment.  I’m standing kind of weird and one of my shoes is hidden, but the khaki wide-legged pants are from Target – I got those for TEN BUCKS!  Damn I love a bargain!  And the shoes are from Rivers.

So there you have my first four Fatshion February outfits.  I’m looking forward to doing more as the month progresses, and I’ll definitely share them here when I do.

Are you doing Fa(t)shion February this year?  Do you think you’re a creative person when it comes to fatshion?  What makes you feel good about fatshion?

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