I’m Listening: What You Want

Published October 17, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Well, I’m so thrilled with the response I have got to + Plus-Size Plus +!  I’ve already had 60 people sign up to the page on Facebook in just a few days.   On Friday, after seeing some people had already done so, I asked people to post the top 3 things they’d like to see improved in plus-sized clothing retail in Australia.  I’ve got some great responses which I’d like to share with you here, and invite you to add any more you might have.

I will condense those together who have asked for the same thing so that we’ll keep this post as concise as possible.  I know you’re all very patient with my long posts!

1.  Better fabrics.  More natural fabrics.  Better quality fabrics.  Most folks are sick of polyester and it’s cousins nylon and rayon.  Thicker fabrics.  Especially around knits – some available now are so thin that you can push your finger through them, and they’re so thin they cling to your undergarments or body in just the most irritating way.  Fabrics that don’t pill or snag.

2.  Options with sleeves.  Some folks like baring their arms.  Others wish to feel the comfort/warmth of having sleeves.  Most plus-sized fashion seems to be either sleeveless or have 3/4 sleeves.  How about  full length sleeves, or elbow length, or cap sleeves as options.  And for the sleeveless tops and dresses – make those armholes the proper size.  Not huge gaping holes that expose the bra, ribs and sides of bodies.

3.  Colour.  Black, navy, white, chocolate and beige are all well and good as “anchor” pieces for an outfit, but how about some colour?  ALL colour, not just one or two.  Bright colours, pastels, nudes, neons, the works.

4. Palatable prints.  Not “jolly fat lady” big florals.  Not Nanna prints.  Not “let’s camouflage the wobbly bits” big bands of dark colour.  Prints that are pretty, striking, fun, iconic, feminine, mod, stylish and so on.

5.  Tailoring/shape.  No more mu-mus.  Clothes with waists, busts, hips, style shaped into them.  No more boxy or baggy “hide the body” shapes.  But shape that actually fits a body, not random sticky-out bits added for “interest”.  When stretch knits are used, they need shape too, so they’re not saggy baggy or so tight that they look forced on.

6. Bust lines that fit large breasts.  Straps/bodices that fit a bra that a plus-sized and large breasted woman needs to wear to support her breasts.

7.  Accessories that fit and are attractive.  Belts made to fit a larger waist.  Bangles that go over larger hands, necklaces that are the right length and don’t choke larger necks.  Rings that fit larger fingers.  Tights, stockings, thigh highs and fishnets that fit larger sizes properly (and aren’t assuming that fat women are amazon tall women).

8.  Attractive underwear.  Bras that are practical, comfortable AND pretty.  Knickers that are cute, pretty, sexy, fun, modern.  Fat women don’t all want to wear beige cottontails.

9.  For those retailers that are department stores, how about some more floorspace, and some more prominent floorspace.  We’re sick of a tiny percentage of the overall clothing space down the back near the fire escape or the elevator or the staff entrance being our zone.  How about expanding the amount of stock, the space it’s displayed in (no more stacking it all in sideways so that you have to pull it out to look at it, because fat lady clothes shouldn’t be displayed outwardly like the straight sizes) and the location to somewhere more inclusive.

And the final one for today, the one that I find the most important and that was repeated by several people:

10.  The same things that are offered in straight sized ranges.  Yep, we want all the variety and the fashion of the straight sizes, just made to fit bigger bodies.

So that’s what some of you have left on the Facebook page as what you want from plus-sized retailers.  Can you think of any others?  Either leave them in the comments below, or pop on over to the Facebook page.

And may I ask you to please share http://www.facebook.com/PlusSizesPlus with any other plus-sized ladies you know.  Collectively we will make a change!

16 comments on “I’m Listening: What You Want

  • Please please please please LONGER LEGS. You can take up pants, or buy “short leg”, but you can’t bloomin’ well take them DOWN. I’m a size 16-18 and need outer leg length over 102cm and it just doesn’t seem to exist.

    Stockings are like a no-go area for me. They are either too big in the waist or too short in the leg. How about making an extra-tall stocking or pant that actually has an outer leg measurement? Seeing as I normally can’t try stockings on before buying?

    And as for Target’s mythical “long length”, I have shopped in Target for YEARS and I only saw ONE pair the other day. Guess what? They weren’t long enough!

    I am not super-tall (173cm) I just need leg length. Is that too much to ask?

    • Thanks princessnowhere. I think the key is variety and accurate size/measurements in leg length. There seems to be nothing for either the shorter or the taller leg lengths. We need both options as well as some for in the middle too!

  • Thank you for doing this. Really, thankyouthankyouthankyou. I’m not in Australia but I really appreciate this effort and I’ll go have a look at the Facebook group as well.

    • You’re welcome Stacey. And you’re welcome to use any of the stuff to petition and write to your own retailers. Down the track I hope to produce some letters and petitions and stuff that people can use no matter where they are in the world.

  • I’d like to see more styles designed for apple shaped figures. I search all over for skirts that will fit right and forget about slacks (unless I want alter the hip allowance).

    • As a fellow apple, I have trouble too. Jeans I can get to work, but trousers/shorts/pants of other kinds always have either mind-bogglingly long crotches, or they are down around my pubic bone. Why the extremes? At least with skirts I can work it a bit, but pants are just weird in plus-sizes.

  • Properly scaled necklines! In 4x/5x sizes, necklines are almost always ridiculously deep and wide; they show cleavage when you sit and reveal bra straps and shoulder/bust stretch marks. And they constantly fall off the hangers into crumpled heaps on the floor. Please, clothes-makers, learn how to properly up-scale a pattern, and don’t assume that fat women want to show off their chests as some sort of patriarchal exchange for being permitted to exist in public. We want clothes which are just as modest, respectable, and practical as men’s clothes are!

    • Oh yes, necklines that sit where they should be, rather than gaping open or sliding off your shoulder when they’re not meant to. I know what you mean about not staying on the hangers either. I hate those little ribbon loop things that they put in tops/dresses to keep them on hangers, but I can’t cut them out because the garment wouldn’t stay on the hanger otherwise.

      I find that even when things are a more modest/body covering style, they’re still not shaped right, or they’re so restrictive that you spend all day adjusting and tugging to try to get it sit nicely. Necklines either expose my boobs for the whole world to see, or they choke me. There’s no happy medium.

      Variety is the key here – everyone has different needs and tastes, if we can get some variety in (with good cuts/fabrics), we’ll all be made happy!

  • Thanks for posting this. Even though I’m not in Australia, it sounds like things are the same everywhere :(.

    One thing I’d like to see more of: advertising. I get all kinds of department store ads showing cute outfits in smaller sizes, and maybe, just maybe, if I’m lucky, on page 2 or 5 or way in the back there will be a couple of teeny pictures featuring some women’s sized garment. Why don’t the stores show me what they have so I can be inspired to come buy it?

    I can’t remember the last time I saw an ad from a plus size retailer.

    • TropicalChrome I think it’s stuff we can share across the world to take to our own retailers. My focus is on my own country, but please feel free to use any of the tips, tricks and feedback for your own market.

      And you’re bang on the nail about the advertising/marketing!

  • I’m not from Australia, but it seems like you folks have a lot of the same problems with plus-sized fashion that we have in the USA, so I hope you don’t mind me sharing some of my issues here. Even if you don’t use them now, maybe they can be used on a future Plus-Size Plus International site or something.

    Anyway, things I would like to see:
    – More variety in the types of styles available.
    – More options for folks above size 24 (I’m a 26/28 now, and there isn’t much that upsets and depresses me more than finding a shop that sells a ton of clothes I like…but stops at size 24. I know some shops run bigger than others but really, when I typically take a 28 and the biggest they offer is 24 I’m not terribly willing to even try shopping there).
    – Clothes designed for and modeled by people with body shapes other than hourglass.

    And of course I echo pretty much everything you mentioned above. This is the short version of my thoughts, though, so if you want more detail let me know.

    I’m really looking forward to the time when you post some tips on writing letters, too. I want to write letters to some places here in the US, but I don’t really know where to begin (it feels like there is JUST SO MUCH that needs to be addressed) and it seems like you know how to write to get the job done, so…yeah. Very much looking forward to the pointers!

    • You’re more than welcome Theresa – all the input we can get together is only going to help improve the options we have in the long term, for all of us around the world.

      And watch this space for discussion on writing/contacting retailers – I have been a serial letter writer since I was about 12 years old, and in most cases, get good feedback and customer service from the retailers/businesses I’ve written to.

  • Today I went into both Target and Big W in Robina. In Target, the plus-size section was in the far back corner, as far from the door as you could get, with no sign indicating what it was. The clothes were mostly man-made fabrics, boring colours, and boxy. I ended up buying one item from the straight-sized section, and even that wasn’t very impressive – it was the only item I was interested in in the whole store.

    In Big W, the plus-size section was right inside the door, clearly marked. They had a great selection with a lot of natural cotton fabrics and gorgeous bright prints and colours, in pretty dresses that showed off my figure and didn’t hide it. They also had two stands for basic every day items – one in straight sizes, one plus-sized – right next to each other and clearly marked. I was super-impressed and bought 1 thing, but could have happily bought a dozen more. I will definitely be returning to Big W for plus-size clothing in future.

    My point is that it’s easy for the cheaper end of the market to give us what we want. I don’t know why Target doesn’t, when Big W have definitely got it right.

    • Yup! Big W doesn’t shove their plus-sizes down the back, they put them right next to the straight sizes. They offer several items in the same style in both straight and plus sizes, they offer a variety of styles (from the classic to the sporty to the feminine to the bold), and there are plenty of good staples to build outfits from for work and stuff. The prices are very good, and I’ve found the stuff lasts better than Target and Autograph who are charging double the price or more.

      A friend tweeted me a statement by Target that is on a sign in front of their stores today, and I’m going to blog about that very soon.

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