Frugal Fatshion – For Fatties with Few Funds!

Published June 17, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

A couple of weeks ago I asked you where you found your budget fashion and beauty buys.  I had an ulterior motive for this question.  Muaahahaahaaahhaaaa!!

Ahem, yes, right.

In the years before my career got started properly, when I was young and working minimum wage jobs (or worse, unemployed!), one of the hardest things on my self esteem was not being able to afford nice clothes.  Of course, being of low self esteem, I always blamed my own fatness as the reason why I couldn’t have nice clothes.  Of course now, I do know better.

While the options are far more limited than for straight sized clothing, there IS plus-sized clothing out there if you have money.  If you’ve got a good solid income, you do have options, if nothing else you can afford to have clothes made for you.  That’s not to say that the fashion industry is fair to plus sized women, just that there are options available to those with money.

But if you only have limited room in your budget, that’s where it gets really difficult.  Not just to clothe yourselves in the basics, to keep your body covered, but to actually dress yourself with pleasure and style, to express your personality and to spend time grooming for your self esteem.  And because, if you are fat, you are more likely to have a lower income and have more financial responsibilities, and you can’t afford the kind of clothing you would need to create an impression of success, a spiral is created into which it gets harder and harder to shift out of.

So in the post I mentioned earlier, I asked you guys to contribute your tips for finding budget fashion and beauty.  Not just to make our dollars go further, but to offer up a resource here for anyone who does have a really limited budget and needs an idea of where to start.  Besides, you don’t have to be spending a fortune on clothing, makeup, shoes and accessories to look fabulous.

Let’s see what we came up with:

Thrift/Goodwill/Op Shops – Wendy, Lampdevil, Gloria and whykikiwhy all recommended thrift/op shops.  The Salvation Army came up as did St Vinnies (not sure if they’re outside of Australia).  whykikiwhy suggested that volunteering is a great way to pick up some gems, and besides, you’re giving yourself some good karma there too.  I’ve picked up great accessories at op shops and second hand stores.  We have a Lifeline shop local and a friend of mine finds some amazing pieces there for just a few dollars each.  As Lampdevil suggests though, you need to really dig around and scour through everything.  It’s worth it in the end.

eBay – Rachel and whykikiwhy have both had success with eBay, as have I.  I picked up a beautifully made top that I wore for AGES for just $7 on eBay a few years ago, that nobody else had one like.  You can also try makeup out at places like Myer, Sephora, Priceline etc and then go hunting for it on eBay at a fraction of the price.

Etsy Frances and Barbara suggested this one.  I’ve not bought anything on Etsy myself, but I’ve certainly surfed it plenty of times, and been amazed at not only the prices, but how unique and diverse the stuff you can find on there is.

Shoes – Zappos, Payless and Spendless, Rubi Shoes are all great places to find budget shoes.  I buy a lot from Rubi shoes – have picked them up as low as $5 a pair.  I’ve also bought from Target and Big W.  In fact, my absolute favourite shoes at the moment cost me $25 at Big W.  A cobbler once told me that Target have awesome shoes except they have crap soles on them, but getting them resoled usually  means they will last you a long time.  I had a pair of Target boots that I got 10 years of very hard wearing out of, just by resoling them.

Underwear and Lingerie – Rachel recommends Trashy Lingerie for pantyhose and thigh highs for the plus sized woman.  She also recommends Lane Bryant for underwear and lingerie – as do I.  The bras I got there when I was in the US lasted me for over two years – which is almost unheard of on my mammoth boobs!  I like Target knickers – I find they last really well and keep their shape, and they have some cute colours and prints.

TropicalChrome recommended Kohl’s.  I found a great pair of classic black pants when I was in the US for $12 on a sale rack.  I still have them three years later, and they’re still in good condition despite wearing them lots.

TropicalChrome also recommended Dollar Tree for makeup.  and Jen D recommended Avon – which has great prices (though sometimes their makeup can be a bit dodgy of quality).

Actually Jen D came up with a fantastic tip – wherever you can, join the stores loyalty club.  I’ve got some fantastic discounts from Priceline (which has great prices to start with and a wide range), and I picked up 11 items of clothing for $47 on a recent Autograph sale for club members – plus they gave me a free pair of pj’s that are WAY cute!  I noticed that City Chic have offered up to 80% off for their members as well.

I buy a lot of pieces from Big W.  They are SUPER cheap and these days do a lot of the seasonal trends.  I have dresses from Big W that cost me $15, tops for $7, pants for $6.  They last reasonably well too, for budget items.

Target has great mark down sales regularly.  Watch your junk mail or sign up for their newsletter online, and hit them up when they have a sale.  Target are getting better for plus-sized clothing, but they’ve always been good for standard pieces like cardigans, plain pants and jeans, t-shirts and polo shirts and cargo pants.

For accessories, try Diva, Rubi Shoes, Groove (who also have budget makeup), Equip, Claire’s in the US.  You can take any boring outfit somewhere awesome with a few fun accessories.  I have a plain black dress that I bought from Target, I wear it with coloured cardigans and tights, and a crapload of accessories that I bought from Diva for about $20 for the lot.  I have scarves and $5 watches from Rubi Shoes, purses from Groove, hair accessories from Equip.

I know it’s hard to dress fashionable, fun and modern when your budget is tight.  It’s not that long ago that I was in that place myself, and it really does wear on your self esteem.   But if we pool our budget fatshion resources, share finds and tips and tricks, we can start to create ways to help our fat friends on a budget find their fabulousness and build their self esteem, which is the BEST way to look good.

Because when you FEEL good about yourself, you look great!

12 comments on “Frugal Fatshion – For Fatties with Few Funds!

  • This is a great post. One thing to add, I buy a heap of stuff at Evans and they currently have up to 50% off. I find they have good basics and lots of nice wide shoes that I can never find in Australia. I also like their cotton bra 2 packs that go up to a 50H and sell for 16 pounds – $28ish dollars.

  • My problem is what the heck is with the no bright colors for fatties bull going on?! I can not fight a cute, well-fitting, well-priced colorful or even light colored top to save my life. I was at Ross with my mom yesterday and we were like “They show the plus size models on TV, but they don’t actually mean they have clothes for fatties… let alone cute ones.” To be fair I did find a cute summer dress there. But only one.

    I really can’t wait to go visit my boyfriend in England so I can shop at Evans, seeing as there’s one only 4 minutes away from him in Banbury. I’m totally going to be walking there every other day. Hehe!

    Thanks for the tips! <3<3<3

    • I hear you LexieDi!

      I use a base of black, grey and chocolate brown and add colour to that where I can. If I find coloured pieces, I jump on them, but usually with accessories I can get some colour in. We Love Colors (www.welovecolors.com) tights are the best way in winter.

  • Thanks for this post! Some familiar names, and some I’ll follow up on (am in the States at the moment, so keen to check out a few places while I’m here). While I love to wear black, and wear it a LOT (like the totally stereotypical Melbournite and former teenage goth that I am), the lack of bright colours that has traditionally been offered in plus size clothing has always pissed me off. I’m glad that’s starting to change a little.

  • Whew I’m a bit late on this wagon, but I had no computer for a week!

    This is a great post, we fatties can indeed be both thrifty and fashionable at the same time!

    Another one I wasn’t aware of is Fashion Bug– they don’t have any stores in my area but I stopped in when I went to visit my sister because she had a $10 coupon from her local Valpak mailer. I got a nice pair of leopard-print flats for $7 and zebra-stripe fishnet tights (in size 3X!) for only $2!

    I also recently did well with Target’s sale rack, the one by me is very nice and they have some kind of new plus size line aimed at a younger crowd, that has a 1-2-3-4-5 sizing similar to Torrid’s. I got a lovely grass green V-neck top that’s perfect for both work and casual wear, for only $6.

  • Great tip on the target shoes. I’d have never thought of getting them resoled. I haven’t been to Big W in a while but I even had one of the shop assistants at City Chic tell me to go there and check out their stuff because their plus size clothing has really gotten alot more funky.

    • About how much does it cost to get shoes re-soled? If it’s not too expensive, I might look into it for the cheaper shoes I picked up at Fashion Bug and off eBay and whatnot; my poor feet were in agony the other day! Especially since I live in a major walking city.

      • I think I paid about $25 the last time I had it done, but it has been some time. I don’t know how prevalent cobblers are where you are, but every shopping centre has one here, so if you can, just pop in and ask.

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