plus-sizes

All posts in the plus-sizes category

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

Published August 15, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

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 Fat Heffalump

**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.

Interview: Rene Rice of Flying Pig Apparel

Published June 3, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Recently I was contacted by Rene Rice of Flying Pig Apparel, a startup plus-size activewear business, and I got excited.  Really excited.  Because I’m incredibly frustrated at the dearth of activewear available for fat women.  Especially since there is an assumption that we’re all sedentary and lazy, and the constant calls of “Just move your arse fatty!”  I’ve really struggled to find suitable clothing to ride my bike in, and even worse to find clothes to do yoga in. 

I asked Rene if I could interview her for Fat Heffalump, as I think it’s really important to support a business that is finally going to start catering to all fat bodies, and particularly one that is run by people who know what it’s like to live in a fat body.  I know I’m going to be supporting this project, and I hope you all will too.

For starters, will you introduce yourself Rene?

Rene Rice is a 20-something from Albany, Oregon.  She’s been sewing for herself and others since the age of 5, and has made things as diverse as a corduroy couch cover to a fuchsia wedding dress.  Short, wide and voluptuous, Rene has had a love/hate relationship with all things active.  She loves being outside, camping, hiking, and even horseback riding.  She hated P.E. and still isn’t a huge fan of competitive sports.  Right now she’s obsessed with her latest project, Flying Pig Apparel, a small line of active wear for plus size women.  She’s more than happy to talk to anyone about it, it’s getting her to shut up that’s the trick.  🙂

What made you decide to go into business producing activewear for plus-sizes?

It actually happened kind of spontaneously.  I began my self-acceptance and Health at Every Size journey late in 2011, and joined my local YMCA at the beginning of 2012.  I rapidly realized that I didn’t have anything appropriate to work out in that wasn’t stained or worn to bits.  I tried searching for active wear to fit me online (because I knew full well that my local stores didn’t have anything) and was shocked and annoyed that I could only find ONE company that made work out pants large enough to fit me.  And despite hearing several glowing reviews of the quality of their products, I was simply unable to pay their high prices.

Thankfully I’m a skilled seamstress, so in place of spending $80 for a single pair of yoga-type pants, I purchased some fabric and made my own.  I also bought some fabric to make a few cute work out tops after seeing another plus size woman rocking hot pink leopard print top in a zumba class at the gym.  Bobby, Barb, and Audre had all seen me in one of the tops, and we got to talking about our frustrations with clothing in general.  Someone made an offhand comment that we should just take over the world and I replied, “Well, maybe not the whole world, but we could probably manage the fashion world.”  I spent about two weeks feverishly doing research on the plus size active wear situation and also searching for wholesale suppliers of fabric and notions.  I also randomly heard about Kickstarter during that time.

From there, things have just fallen into place in really amazing ways.  I was given a serger, which made producing our sample garments much easier than it was for me to make those original pieces.  Then one of us had a bit of a windfall, which allowed us to purchase the fabric, and a few parts for the free serger.  And it seemed like every time one of us turned around, we’d end up in a conversation with a friend, a neighbor, or a random person on the street who expressed how much they loved our ideas.

What size ranges are you planning on offering with Flying Pig Apparel?

Want to know something wonderful?  All of our garments will be available in any size, no limits.  Two of the things we’re purchasing with our start up funds are pattern drafting and grading software and a large format printer.  Basically that will allow us to take any customer’s measurements, plug them in, and within a matter of minutes have a pattern that will fit them, regardless of whether they have a 27 inch waist or a 72 inch waist or larger.

I can’t even describe how discouraging it was for me, back in January, to be searching for active wear.  Each time I’d check the size chart, regardless of whether their top size was a 2X or a 6X, the largest hip measurement was in the 55-60 inch range which put me a little bit over.  It sends a strong message that larger people should not exercise.  We don’t want lack of adequate clothing to be a barrier for anyone trying to get active.

Where did you come up with the name?

We were all brainstorming ideas for a name for the business.  I knew I wanted to play with words.  I played with acronyms of fat for a while, but I heard someone use the phrase “when pigs fly” and it just clicked.  And just to be clear, we’re not calling ourselves or our customers pigs, not even cute flying pigs.  We’re saying the proverbial pigs are flying, so now what?  We’re giving ourselves permission to go out and do all of those ‘impossible’ things we’ve always wanted to do.  Starting a business is one of them for us.

Tell us about the Flying Pig team?  Is it just you or do you have others you work with?

Oh, if it were just me, rest assured that Flying Pig Apparel would have never come to be.  I’m incredibly thankful to be surrounded by a group of friends whose strengths compliment my own.  I don’t have much business sense, but thankfully Bobby knows all about running a business and has done it before.  I’m a reluctant newcomer to social media, but thankfully Audre has stepped into that role beautifully.  And thankfully Barb is here to take on the marketing and shipping duties… silly me, I was pricing boxes for shipping things in!  *chuckles*  I get to be the spokesperson right now, but as soon as I’ve got some sewing to do I’ll happily go back and hide in my sewing room and let one of the others do the talking. 🙂

You have a basic range – do you plan to expand that in the future?

Absolutely!  We’re starting with this basic range of active wear for two reasons: we felt it was the biggest gap in the things available to plus size women right now, and the logistics of manufacturing them was the easiest to arrange.  We’ve got a lot of ideas of things we’d like to develop, and we’re still working out a strategic plan for when and how to introduce those items.  I can tell you that we’ll be working on expanding our active wear line first, bringing some more sport-specific and high performance options.  For example, we’ll be working on bicycle shorts/leggings as soon as I get my hands on the pattern drafting software.  I’d also like to offer a complete men’s line as well.  Oh, and sports bras!  I think we can make better sports bras, and I think we can make the high quality ones more affordable for lower income women.

But we’re not stopping at active wear.  I’m also passionate about ensuring that all women have access to the wardrobe basics that can be so difficult to find.  I’ve worked in retail and restaurants for 10 years, and there’s never been a year that I have not struggled to find a pair of basic black slacks.  I’ll admit, I’m picky, but I know what looks good on my figure.  I don’t want an elastic waistband.  I don’t want pleats.  I NEED pockets.  Other things like basic white or black button down shirts or polo shirts are important too.  And they need to be high quality but affordable.  After that, the sky is the limit.  We’ve got ideas crowding our brains across all categories of clothing, from undies to formals.

When do you plan to have your store open for business?

We hope to have our retail website up and running by mid-August, September at the latest.

Are you only marketing to HAES practitioners or size acceptance peeps?

No, we’re welcoming of all women of size (and men too, though we don’t have any men’s products just yet) and so we’re taking a diet-neutral stance.  We won’t accept any body shaming or diet talk on our blog, but on the other hand we’re not going to engage in bashing dieters either.  I don’t personally agree with dieting, but I still think those who have chosen that route are deserve the option of nice looking active wear.  On the blog, I talk about the four healthy habits that are proven to lower the risk of mortality across all weight ranges: avoiding smoking, moderate drinking, eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and getting exercise 3 days a week.  Regardless of what your goals are, those are healthy choices to make, and we’ll encourage those habits in our readers and customers.

How can people support you in your startup of Flying Pig Apparel?

First check us out at flyingpigapparel.wordpress.com.  We have photos of our samples posted and more information about our vision and values there.  We’ll be running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds we need to start the business as well as make the first 250-ish items.  As soon as the Kickstarter campaign starts, we’ll post a link on our blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you’re connected with us.  I won’t go through all the rewards, but if you contribute at the $50 level you get your choice of one of the tops, and if you contribute at the $100 level you’ll get a full outfit.  Shipping is included in that amount.  So think of it as pre-ordering.  Can’t afford that much right now?  You can back us for as little as $1, and every dollar counts. (Note: The Kickstarter page is up!  Click here!)

Can’t pledge your support?  You can still help us out.  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or follow our blog and share it with your family and friends.  The more people that hear about us, the better our chances of meeting our goals.  Kickstarter works on an all-or-nothing principal, so if we don’t receive enough pledges we don’t receive any of the money.

Product Review: Simply Be

Published May 23, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

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!

An Open Letter to Leona Edmiston

Published May 19, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Dear Leona,

Thank you.

No sincerely, thank you.  Two days ago, for the first time in my almost 40 years of life, I purchased three designer garments for myself.  And they were from your Leona+ line.

Now I had heard some time ago that you were extending some of your ranges into plus sizes, and I was absolutely thrilled.  I love the beautiful clothes you produce, the fabrics are always delicious, the prints gorgeous and the styles both beautiful and woman-body-friendly.  My boss rocks a Leona frock like nobody else, as a tall, slender woman and I’m always envious of the gorgeous prints and colours she has access to.  But I was dismayed to hear that they only went to about a size 20AU when I did some research.  Yet again I was feeling like I’d been slapped in the face and told “Not for you, you’re too fat for us to make anything for you, you deserve nothing.”

But recently some lovely fellow fatty friends on Twitter told me that there was a line in Myer that went up to an XL, which was about the equivalent of a size 24AU.  So, always looking for more clothing options, I went for a look, but wasn’t hopeful because I’m usually a size 26AU.  And lo and behold, there they were, on a sale rack – these mythical Leona Edmiston dresses that go up to a size XL.  I tried them on in an XL – and they fit my size 26AU body beautifully.  Like they were made for me.

I had to have them.  Being on sale, I could afford to splash out and get three.  It was a tough choice, but these are the ones I chose (apologies for the make-do photos, I haven’t worn them yet!):

The purple in it matches my hair perfectly.

Looks so cute with leggings or opaque tights and boots.

My favourite of the three – love these colours.

I also had a look at the new season stock which has just arrived, which instead of being sized in the S/M/L/XL method, actually has it’s sizes on it (14 or 16 to 24).  These look gorgeous as well, and I’ll be heading back when I’m ready for some more shopping to increase my Leona wardrobe.

But pretty dresses aside, I want to thank you for something very important to me as a fat woman.  I want to thank you for enabling me to participate.  While many people pooh-pooh fashion as frivolous and shallow, the reality is that in our culture, how we present ourselves, and how we participate amongst our peers is incredibly significant.  I have written before about the power of clothing and fashion to mark us as “other” in our society, when we are not able to participate in the fashions and cultural movements of our peers.  From feeling like we do not belong amongst general society, to experiencing workplace discrimination because are not able to dress ourselves as professionally or dynamically as our thin peers.

Like it or not, fat people are part of the community.  We have lives that we need clothes for.  We want to be able to express ourselves through fashion like everyone else.  And we also like to shop and spend the money that we earn on nice things.

So when a designer like you expands their range to include us, it enables us to participate culturally where we have not been allowed to before.

Now I know that this isn’t your primo designer range – this is a range that you have released with Myer.  But that’s ok – it’s an option that wasn’t there for us before.  Like your affordable Ruby range, it gives another group of women an option to participate in fashion and expressing themselves through style.

I hope that you continue to offer beautiful Leona Edmiston dresses to women of all sizes, even those of us at the upper end of the range.  I hope that sometime in the not-too-distant future you start showcasing this range on your website.  And I hope that you sell lots of these beautiful plus-sized dresses to fab fatties everywhere, and expand the range to more fabulous and fashionable colours, prints and styles.  We’re tired of hiding away in drab, shapeless, dark coloured clothes.  We want to be out there expressing our fabulous selves with up-to-date, on-trend fashions.

We want to participate.

Best wishes

Kath aka Fat Heffalump

These Boots Were Made for Fatshion – Boot Review

Published March 20, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Hey hey!  I know, I’m not blogging as much as usual, but with the new library project I’m working on coming to fruition next week (shiny new library, so close to opening it!) and the fact that I have to move house in the next month to six weeks, the old energy levels are low.  But I’m back here with you tonight to do another of my blog reviews, since Autograph Fashion were so kind as to send me two pairs of their new season boots.  Plus I know you all love some outfit posts right?

So, remember last year when I bought the tall riding boots in brown from Autograph and I was SOOOOOO excited because it was the first time in my 38.5 years of life that I could find tall boots to fit my fat calves?  I wore those puppies until the soles wore through.  I still reckon I should just go and get them resoled, as the rest of the boot is just fine.  They also sent me the brown buckle boots, which I love even more and wore right through summer, and will continue to wear this year right through again.

Anyway, Autograph sent me through two pairs of their new season boots to review – the black tall riding boots and the tan suede ankle boots.

First the black riding boots, check ’em out:

I like bright colours, what can I say?

Autograph got a lot of feedback last year that the soles of the tall riding boots weren’t the best of quality.  I did wear mine out, but I also wore them a LOT when I first got them, so I wasn’t sure if it was the quality or the frequency of wear.  But this year they have apparently improved the construction of the boot, reinforcing the sole.  It certainly feels sturdier than those on the brown ones.  I also like the addition of the buckle detail, it just gives them a bit more detail than last year’s boots.  Now I have 19″ calves (48cm for metric) and they fit me well, with room to spare.  I can actually slide my arm down inside the back of them.  So those of you with plus-sized calves – these are going to fit you, I promise.  The price is $99.99, which is actually at the lower end of the boot scale.  CityChic are offering a very similar thing (though there was some debate about how much leather is in each pair) for double the price.  I haven’t found any other wide calf boots anywhere else in Australia to compare the prices with.  Regular calf size boots in places like Payless or Target are about the same price as far as I can see.

There was a question on one of the Autograph Fashion Facebook page threads about whether or not “big women would want to wear chunky boots – they wouldn’t be very flattering” (paraphrased).  Well, here I am at a size 26 in the boots:

Dress and boots: Autograph Fashion
Leggings: We Love Colors in "Scarlet" - yes, they are hot pink!

Dress and boots: Autograph Fashion (my favourite black dress ever.)
Tights: We Love Colors lycra blend in "mint"
Flower brooch: Sussan

Y’all know I don’t care about flattering, but seriously – these add NO bulk to my legs at all.  They fit all the way up close to the contours of my leg.  Don’t believe me?  I wore them again today:

See, even goofing off for the camera they’re still firm and close to the contours of my leg.  Folks – don’t let the fashion “rules” stop you from wearing the things you love – just work them into your wardrobe however you like, and rock the hell out of them!

Oh wait, here’s a detail shot of them with my mint green tights from We Love Colors:

Mmm… minty!

Now, onto the tan ankle boots.  I’ve been holding off on this post for the past two weeks for one reason – the ankle boots are faux suede and I needed a non-rainy day to wear them… and we haven’t had one in WEEKS!  I don’t want to ruin them by getting them wet or muddy, and I don’t think even water proofing treatment could protect them in the current squelchy weather we’ve had here in Brisbane.

So tonight I came home and whacked them on my feet with the mint tights and took some photos indoors, and walked around with them on for an hour or so.  Here, have a look:

I tell you what, it’s REALLY hard to photograph your own feet from the side.  I wanted to show off the heel and snub-toe shape of these cute boots:

I wasn’t really successful, was I?  Let’s try another angle:

Well, you get the idea right?  They are very cute, a great colour and style, and they would fit a wide foot really well (I have a standard width size 10 foot and there is width to spare in them) and very comfortable.  The only real criticism of them is that heel.  It’s super tiny and I did feel quite teetery on them.  Other fat women might be more successful with them than I, but I wonder if they’re going to be strong enough to support this fatty.  But I’ll have to wear them out and about a bit to get a real indication of how they’ll hold up – if it ever stops raining!  I also think they’re going to crease up a fair bit with wear (you can see the beginnings already) but I personally like that kind of body-formed look.  I know other people hate it though.  These are $89.99, which I wouldn’t pay, because I don’t need wide fitting shoes and can buy ankle boots anywhere and have them fit me.  But if you’re struggling to find boots to fit you, these might be the ticket for you.

So – how do you feel about wearing boots?  Those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, I know you’re on the downward run out of the cold months now, did you wear boots much over the winter?  And my fellow Southern Hemisphere buds – are you looking for boots for winter?  If so, what kind are you looking for and have you found any fab ones that fit fatties?

*Again, these boots were gifted to me by Autograph Fashion but all opinions are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Thoughts on Being “Othered”.

Published February 28, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

A few days ago I was writing an email to a friend of mine about fat, fashion and marginalisation, and while I was doing so, quite a few things kind of went “Ping!” in my head, and I realised I wanted to expand upon the subject in a general sense here on my blog.  We were talking about how many fat women feel about clothing and fashion, and the desperation so many of us feel when trying to find clothes that fit us, suit our lives, we like, make us feel good, and that are fashionable.

Those of us who engage in fatshion, the act of dressing/styling ourselves with pride and personal expression as fat women are outside of the acceptable cultural meme for fat women.  Fat women are expected to constantly be expressing their shame at having a fat body and doing everything they can to hide those fat bodies.  Regardless of whether or not that suits our lives, our needs or our personalities.

That’s the thing with inhabiting a fat body.  People see you as just that – a fat body.  They don’t attribute anything else to you, like a career or family, hobbies or convictions, let alone sense of humour, or intellect, or talent, or kindness and caring, or passion, or dedication… the list goes on.  The world sees you as FAT.  It’s the first thing people use to describe you, even if you have other more noticeable traits.  In my own personal case, my fat even trumps my candy coloured hair and tattoos as the most noticeable thing about me.  People notice that I am fat, before they notice a single other thing about me.

But of course, if you identify as fat and actually own this quality about yourself that the world constantly reminds you of, then the vitriol intensifies.  How DARE any woman not be ashamed of being fat.  She must be reminded that she is of lesser value, she must be brought down to the level that she belongs.

Clothing, indeed fashion, is one of the ways that society does that.  By restricting the options to fat women, it is another reminder that we are other.  That we don’t deserve the same things as “normal” people.  It serves to make us look even more different to general society, and then of course it is very effective in making us FEEL different to general society.

Having access to clothes that are fashionable and on a par with general society is both empowering and deeply emotional.  Because it takes away that demarcation of being socially other, and brings fat women to a point of being able to not just dress like, but BE peers to others in society.

I’m old enough to span a few decades of awareness of clothing and fashion.  I remember what it was like in the 80’s to try to find clothes to fit my fat body.  It was agonising.  So as a consequence, I spent most of my teens through to my early 30’s hiding.  Hiding in black, navy, burgundy.  Hiding in shapeless boxes.  No personal expression, no style, no fashion.  I never got to engage in fashion as a social event, so I was distanced from other girls/young women.  Therefore I never felt I could be friends with girls/women – and consequently only had male friends until my 30’s.  Of course, I didn’t know back then that this was institutionalised misogyny – teaching me that if I couldn’t “compete” with my peers, I couldn’t participate with them.

See how this shit works to push fat women further and further down the cultural hierarchy?

Then it came to work, and I couldn’t find clothes that matched those that my professional peers were wearing.  Instead, more shapeless, sloppy, dark sacks – which in turn made others (and myself) believe that I was less capable, less committed, less able than my thin peers.  After all, if you can’t dress yourself confidently, surely you can’t do anything else confidently right?

It just keeps going on and on and on.

I’ve also been the fattest person at the lunch table while everyone else talks about how disgusting their own, much thinner bodies are.  That’s always a special feeling.  I’ve been the one that the person with the fucked up food obsession uses for thinspiration.  I can’t tell you how it feels to have someone in a position of power use you as their metaphorical piggy-on-the-refrigerator, stalking your every move around food… and because they’re in a position of power, you can’t say “Fuck off.” or if you say anything to anyone else you get told you’re imagining it or over-sensitive.

I understand.  I know how it feels.  I live it every day of my damn life.

My only way of coping is to take it on and try to change the world.  I did 35 years of trying to change me to fit the world, and it didn’t work – it almost killed me.  Now I intend to devote the rest of my life to changing the world to fit everyone.  After all, the world is a big diverse place, there is room in it for all of us, no matter who we are, what we look like or what our lives are.  And we fat people have as much right to it as anyone else.

Chub Republic Brisbane Presents – Wardrobe Revamp: Fab Fatty Clothing Swap!

Published February 27, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

I promised you I’d be back with more information on our fab fatty clothing swap for Brisbane peeps.  Check out our super cute flyer:

Here is a downloadable version (pdf) if you want to put one up somewhere that you know other fab Brisbane fatties will see it.  Spread the word my lovelies!

I really hope that we can get lots of you there – the more folks we have, the more variety of clothes we’ll have to swap.  I know I’m bringing some clothes to swap that are brand new (some with the tags still on them), from Torrid, Autograph, Asos Curve, Yours, Evans, Lane Bryant… that are just longing for a fab fatty to love them.  Some of them I wish I didn’t have to part with, they just don’t fit me.

If you can come along, here is the Facebook event for it, or email us at the email address on the flyer above.  Please RSVP so that we can get a good headcount of all of you for organisational purposes.

Also, we’ve started a Brisbane chapter of Chub Republic (founding chapter is in Melbourne).  We have a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Facebook.

I’m so excited to be part of all of this, I think it’s going to be AWESOME!

Fab Fat Fashion Feedback Session

Published February 20, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

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.

 

Brisbane Fab Fatty Clothing Swap!

Published February 18, 2012 by Fat Heffalump

Ok fab Brisbane fatties – I’m so excited, I’m in the thick of co-planning a plus-size clothing swap!  We have booked a date and a venue, and are just in the final stages of planning the logistics and organising the final details, which I should be able to share with you within a few days.

I can tell you the basics though:

Date: Saturday, 10th March, 2012

Time: 12pm – 3pm

Place: Graduate Centre Function Room (Queensland

College of Art [QCA] Griffith Uni, 226 Grey St, South Bank)

So if you’re in or near Brisbane, now is the time to be going through your wardrobe and pulling out all those garments that don’t fit you, or that you don’t feel comfortable in, and getting them ready to bring along to swap for some that are perfect for you.

Make your wardrobe work for you, not you work for it!

The more items you bring, the more items you can swap them for.  I already have a big box full of clothes, some new with tags still on them to bring along.

This is a great way to revamp your wardrobe, and it will also be a fat positive event where you can meet lots of other local fab fatties.  We will have change rooms and mirrors set up so that you can try things on, and I expect it to be a fun, body positive event of fatties sharing fashion tips and socialising.

And personally, I am hoping that it will be enough of a success that we can hold more fatshion swaps and other fab fatty events in Brisbane.

More details to come soon, but it’s only 3 weeks away, so put the date in your calendars now.  It’s going to be an awesome event.

So start sorting your wardrobes now, and getting those unloved garments ready to be swapped for some that you will love, and so they can be adopted by other fab fatties.