Miss Piggy and Plus-Sized Fashion

Published November 8, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I’m pissed off and it’s because of Miss Piggy.

Well, not Miss Piggy herself.  Miss Piggy is fabulous and a perfect example of strong self esteem and a rocking attitude.  I mean seriously, what’s not to love about Miss Piggy right?

Look at her - fabulous!

No, what has me pissed off is the number of fashion designers clamouring to dress her.  From Prada to Marc Jacobs to Jason Wu, from Prabal Gurung to Brian Attwood, Suno and Opening Ceremony, a whole host of designers have got together to design Piggy a wardrobe for InStyle magazine’s November issue.

So Piggy looks awesome right, in all her high fashion.  Here, check out a few:

Miss Piggy in Prada


In Jason Wu


In Prabal Gurung

She looks fab right?

But aren’t designers always saying that they can’t design for fat bodies?  Aren’t they always saying that scaling things for bodies outside of a sample size is too difficult, that when you change the proportions of bodies, the clothes don’t translate?

Oh Marc Jacobs talked about it for awhile, around August last year (2010) there was a lot of press about how he was going to design for plus-sizes (his range currently goes to 16) but I’ve not seen any evidence of it yet.  But his clothing certainly does translate well in different proportions, check it out:

Marc Jacobs on Piggy and on the Runway.

Yep, I’m pissed off because designers (both high fashion and down through the chain) keep saying that their clothes don’t translate outside of sample sizing, but then they clamour to design for a puppet… that is a pig.  So they’ll fit Miss Piggy’s fat body, but not a human woman.

What the fuck?

You can’t tell me any of those outfits worn by Miss Piggy above would not translate to a plus-sized body.  After all, Miss Piggy IS a scaled down plus-size body.  Surely it’s harder to translate an outfit for a fat pig puppet of a couple of feet tall, than it is for a human woman of a similar height to the original sizes?

Of course, then there are those who say that making fabulous clothes for fat women is “promoting obesity”.  As if you can promote this shit.  As if you can promote being publicly vilified by the media, discriminated against by health care professionals, the workplace and airlines, being labelled as lazy, dirty, smelly, greedy, just because of the size of your body.  As if anyone who is not fat sees a fat woman in a fabulous outfit and goes “Wow!  I want to put on a whole heap of weight so I can wear her outfit!”  After all, I love the clothes Miss Piggy is wearing in the photos above, but I’m not going to go out and have a snout grafted onto my nose to look like her, am I?

I think the real reason that many designers don’t design for fat women is simply because they are repulsed by us and don’t want their brand name associated with people that repulses them.  I wish they’d have the guts to just say that, instead of couching it in concern for our health (yeah right, as if they’re concerned for the health of the scores of young women starving themselves to fit into their tiny sizes), or pretending that it’s not possible at all to design clothes for fat bodies, or by suggesting that if they do, their thin customers are all going to rush out and gain weight so that they can wear a larger size.

The next time a designer says they can’t design for a plus-size body, I want someone out there to ask them to design for Miss Piggy and see if they take it up.  Because to me, it’s a fairly clear indicator of their attitude towards fat women if they’ll design for a fat pig puppet but not a fat human being.

39 comments on “Miss Piggy and Plus-Sized Fashion

  • It really bothers me that they would clamor to dress Miss Piggy and not clamor to dress us. I’m sure a lot of us would spend our hard earned dollars to buy those same outfits in our size. I’d have to say I would claim dibs on the Marc Jacobs.
    I’ve been looking for a dress for an event and I can’t tell you how many times I have seen something I would love in a ‘straight size’ and not in mine. It really makes me go back and look at all the inspiring women posts you have been putting up and looking at their ‘dream outfit’ answers.
    Thank you once again for a wonderful post. ❤

    • The Prabal Gurung dress is the one that calls my name. I might have to save for my whole financial year to afford one, but wouldn’t it be nice to save up and buy one? Wouldn’t it be nice to not have designers speak about fat bodies as if they are totally un-clotheable freaks?

  • They do they same for Beth Ditto. I love me some Ditto but in the same fashion designers will whip out amazing outfits for her but refuse to dress the masses. That is what happens when someone knows that they will get press.

    • Ever notice that the same designers that will design for Beth Ditto won’t go near say Gabourey Sidibe? Those designers that laud themselves for being diverse who will only go near a celebrity who is white, conventionally beautiful and has an hourglass figure… Yeah, ’nuff said.

    • For some reason that page refuses to open for me.

      It’s not even about couture. It’s about designers, manufacturers and retailers all claiming that they cannot scale clothing for plus sizes, be they high couture or mass produced cheapies. I mean there’s no Supre for plus sizes because the companies claim that they cannot reproduce straight size clothing for plus sized bodies, which is complete bullshit, they’re just not trying.

      All in all, it boils down to the fact that these producers of clothing, be they couture, mass produced or somewhere in between don’t want their brand associated with fat bodies.

    • Ugh, I finally got that Tumblr page to open! I agree in there being a limit to how much plus size couture would sell… but then isn’t ALL couture a pretty limited market? After all, that’s what makes it couture, isn’t it?

      But that aside, yeah I see the point with the general populace. The only problem is that couture designers aren’t the only ones with this attitude – they’re like that right down through the levels.

  • IMO, fat waitress is probably right. Sad but true. If there’s a fat woman is is popular enough, they will dress her whether if be Beth or Miss Piggy. If we are talking about some ho hum fat model, they won’t, and they won’t for the average woman either.

  • I always thought that if a designer or a stylist can’t make a fat woman look good, then they’re clearly terrible at their job.
    They train for years to make people look fabulous: one would think that that ability would apply to fat women just as much as thin. So you’d think, having thorough knowledge of clothing design and construction, any designer could alter a pattern to accommodate any body size.
    Unless they’re lazy. Or just not very good.

    • I don’t think they *want* to bother. Part of the designer’s appeal of being “designer” is about creating that envy and desire, which is a bonus of them being expensive and and only catering to the thin. If everyone could afford and fit into their stuff, who would at at home vying for their approval?

  • I cannot tell you the number of “Miss Piggy isn’t fat!?!” comments I have had to trash this morning. I trash them because it’s the same old argument over and over and I can see so much fat loathing coming from these people, I don’t want it in this space.

    Of course, people look at Miss Piggy, see she has an hourglass figure and is small (I think she’s about 2 and a half feet in length) and decide that to their eye, she’s not fat. Now I know that Miss Piggy has been slimmed down since her original incarnation on The Muppet Show (which in itself is problematic), but this is getting ridiculous. She’s a fucking pig people! Pigs are fat! They are made up of a very thick layer of fat, we know it as bacon rind and crackling and pork belly. In the early days of Miss Piggy’s life, the fact that she was a pig, and therefore fat, were part of her whole character, and it was with fondness that her fat body was portrayed. Of course, to sell more merchandise and because fat became such a dirty word, Piggy has evolved to a “sexier” shape (though she’s still very plush) and the jokes about her luscious, curvy fatness have disappeared… because fat is now considered disgusting.

    But what this really boils down to is the fact that because Miss Piggy is beloved and she is portrayed as beautiful, people cannot accept that she is fat. It’s a prime example of the “But you’re not fat!” trope. Because people see fat as dirty, lazy, slovenly, greedy etc, they refuse to associate fatness with Miss Piggy. However, if you look at the photo of her in the little white dress, where she’s presented as in scale to a human (the other photos are not quite to scale), any young woman who walks down the street with the same proportions as Miss Piggy is called fat. Any young woman with a face as round (minus the snout of course) as Miss Piggy is referred to as fat.

    Miss Piggy is beautiful and funny and cute and stylish – so to many people’s minds she cannot possibly be fat, because fat people are not beautiful and funny and cute and stylish.

    • EXACTLY! Thank you.

      Hi people, it’s possible to have an hourglass figure… and still be fat. (this is me, in fact)

      It is possible to be beautiful… and still be fat.

      Fat does not equal total lack of body shape.

      Fat does not even equal total lack of muscle definition (I actually have quite a bit of definition, especially in my legs because I dance – and I’m still fat).

      Fat does not equal ugly.

      People are insanely stupid.

      Yes, Miss Piggy is fat. And also gorgeous. And these are not irreconcilable statements.

  • Oh, and I’ve trashed all of the “Fat women need to learn to sew!” and “There is no market for plus-sized clothing, it’s not profitable!” bullshit as well. We’ve had that dead horse flogged to death, and it’s just more denial of the right of fat women to be able to purchase the clothing they want and need.

  • They’re always willing to do things for celebs – human or puppet (LOL). I mean, if you really ask them, designers will say that they can’t design for petite bodies (whether plus or not), yet they’re going to go all out with shorter celebrities like Reese Witherspoon (5’2″), one of the Olsen Twins or Kim Kardashian.

  • Evidently just a gimmick, and Ms P already possesses incredible celeb status, of course.
    I am only surprised that the masses haven’t yet trashed the designers for ‘OMG they’re promoting obesity!’


    And somewhat off topic – I wanted to thank you, Kath, for everything that you do here, your vigilance, courage and passion. I am at the opposite end (quite thin) and have recently endured a certain amount of peculiar criticism online about my weight/size. People’s presumptions that all thin women never eat and that all fat women are greedy slobs depresses the living hell out of me. Our bodies are never our own. Yet, having followed your blog for such a long time now, I was well equipped to form a decent response to the criticism, and in so many way have you to thank for becoming less passive, and for learning how to fight the good cause (for bodies at every size).

    • Thank you Lapin de Lune. I do this because it is who I am, and I no longer know any other way to be. And I do this to let other people out there know they don’t have to be something they’re not either.

      I am so very touched by your words, truly.

  • Absolutely agree, sleepydumpling. And I can’t see how there’s less of a “market” for plus-sized couture than “straight” couture – I mean, we are talking about high-end fashion which is already catering to a pretty slim socioeconomic demographic, right?

    I find it especially tragic that while people are having to trash comments about how Miss Piggy is ~totally not fat~, we’ve also had articles recently about how Miss Piggy is only funny because she’s “too stupid” to realise she’s a fat pig.

    • Ugh, I read those articles too. How much do some folks have to dumb down comedy to belittle women?

      That’s why Miss Piggy is fabulous – she knows exactly who she is and that she’s worth everything she’s ever done and more.

  • You know what the next time someone (usually a bogan male) calls me a fat pig I’m going to look at him and smile because I’m going to assume he is refering to Miss Piggy, and given her fabulous wardrobe it must clearly be a compliment.
    I frequently see clothes that would scale well to my size-but unfortunately someone has drawn a line in the sand at size 16 (or 18 or 20) and decided anyone above it is not worthy of wearing their clothing and must be relegated to “fat people shops”.
    I would rock that Marc Jacobs dress. If I put a snout on will they make me one? 😛

  • I absolutely love this article. It amazes me how people can be so quick to come to the rescue verbally of a famous fat girl. The, “she’s not fat!” epidemic drives me crazy. If they were to see that chunky celeb in her pj’s with no make up on she would be scorned as a cow. We know this because celebs that are stick thin are mocked for a minute amount of cellulite.

    I have been at both ends of the spectrum myself. At 18 I was so thin it was “disgusting” I needed to “put on weight” For someone who stood at 5’11” and wore a size 10 I was incredibly thin I may have worn a size 10 but my inseam sits at over 36″. I was offered a job with Wilhelmina because of the way I looked on the runway at an audition but I was determined to be “too fat for their designers” when face to face with them. It drove me crazy and did not help my insecurities and depression.

    Now at 25 and two children later I am a size 18. Some larger women have said that I am not that fat and I should get over myself. “Stop trying to associate yourself with us big girls, I’m ‘curvalicious’ and you… aren’t.” Yet everytime I drag myself out of the house I am sneered at by teenyboppers who are the size of an Olson twin, hear the mocking voices behind me at the grocery store about how I should really work out or that my poor children are destined to grow up like their pig of a mom… It’s heart breaking.

    Those of us who are living in the plus sized, how many of you feel better when you find that perfect outfit that fits just right? You know the one that the moment you step in front of the mirror you say to yourself, “Wow I actually feel pretty!” I miss that feeling. When I go to the store, there is the youth section that is covered with straight body fashion for tiny teens the women’s section that says I am in my 40s and live in the burbs or the Misses section that is the overwieght equivalent of the women’s section only add a decade or two. I seldom leave the house because of my insecurity, because straight body fashion makes me look pregnant or fatter than I am. Because Lane Bryant and Torrid are too expensive. Because I no longer look at new clothes (wether they make me feel more comfortable in my own skin or not) as a necessity when I have mouths to feed.

    What these holier-than-though assholes in the limelight need to realize about their “concerns over obesity” is that they are causing at least a portion of the “epidemic.” By making us fat girls uncomfortable outside of the home, we lack exercise. If you want to look at this way. Having had some experience in the industry, I know first hand that they they will make a model starve herself if she is a few ounces over the “desired body type.” The hatred of fat and downright denial of the “too thin” epidemic are all because of the media. The media is sick and Americas obsession with weight is disgusting. If we were that concerned with the health of Americans, it would not have been the ruling that as an asthmatic in junior high, instead of doing something to exercise I was told sit on the bleachers the entire period even though I loved to play basketball I just couldn’t run the mile and they would fail me. By the time I got into high school gym had become optional. Instead of sitting in a corner and being punished with an failing grade because of an inarguable health condition I was able to have my mom sign a piece of paper saying I didn’t have to take it at all. Soda machines line the hallways of schools everywhere, and it’s not just high school, we had them at my elementary schools as well and in the sixth grade coke handed out promo cards that said if you bought enough of their products, you might win a trip to disneyland or some other place children long for.

    I am so sorry for rambling I was just incredibly affected by your article. Thank you so much for writing it and calling out the asses in clothing design.

    • Ramble away Amylou!

      I hope that you’ll stick around and read some more of my posts and follow some of the links and stuff I share. I think you’ll find it helps you feel better about yourself to be immersed in body positivity, and to hear other people reject the paradigm of fat = bad.

      Hang in there, we’ll get you through this.

  • Preach, bro. A while back when I was around, oh, 14 years old, maybe, I went to the PacSun in our mall and asked if they had a shirt that I wanted in a bigger size. The response from the (of course, very thin) saleswoman: “Have you noticed that PacSun rarely advertises? That’s because we are popular by word of mouth. When one skinny girl sees another skinny girl wearing our product, she will want to shop here. But if a skinny girl sees a fat girl wearing our clothes, she’ll be less inclined to want to be associated with us. So we don’t carry anything in your size. You can check out the mens’ section, though, we have a similar shirt there.”
    Being plus-sized sucks, man. Just because I’m cubby doesn’t mean I’m fashionably inept.

    i don’t understand miss piggy…why are designers spending so much money designing outfits for her? shes not even real…

  • Actually, the designers are coming forward to include us now.

    They realized that our money is as green as a thin woman’s money.

    The economy is a bitch.

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