Super Fats

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Calling all Super Fatties!

Published August 27, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

You know what?  I’ve had enough.  I’ve had enough of supposed plus-size retailers/manufacturers/labels sizing out the upper end of a standard plus-size range.  I’ve had enough of these companies deciding “We’ll make clothes for those of you who are fat… BUT NOT TOO FAT!”  I’m looking at you City Chic, Asos Curve, Dorothy Perkins, Pinup Girl Clothing, Leona Edmiston, Style369, Carmakoma, Forever21, Monsoon…. there are so many more.  Even regular companies that do some plus-size clothing as well as their straight sizes, like Threadless and ThinkGeek cut out before a standard plus-size range.  Don’t get me started on department stores that only go to Size 22 or 24 in most of their labels either.  Department stores!  The very stores that are supposed to cater to everyone!

Sadly, even two of my favourite online stores, who offer some plus-sized pieces, have further limited the upper sizes – We Love Colors and Sick for Cute.

There seems to be this perception that if anyone provides clothing in anything over a size 22, that they are “encouraging obesity”, or that we won’t buy them, because we’re not interested in style, or fashion, or shopping… instead we would rather comfort and cheap prices.  Which is utter bullshit.  Firstly, how can you “encourage obesity” when every aspect of society hates on fat bodies to the point that one cannot shop, or walk down the street, or open a magazine, or read a newspaper article, or many other things without seeing fatness pilloried, vilified and desperate calls to eradicate/cure us as though we are a disease or a plague?  And secondly, the reason we do not spend money on fashionable, stylish clothing is because there fucking is none!  Or what little there is often doesn’t fit us properly, is made of shitty cheap fabrics and constructed poorly so that it falls apart after only a couple of wears!

The other one I’ve heard from retailers is “But we can’t find manufacturers to make it!”  But then you go to the manufacturing companies and ask them, and they say “But the retailers won’t stock them!”  The blame game just keeps getting thrown around like a hot potato on to the next guy.  It’s just bullshit – you only have to see how quickly the upper sizes are snapped  up on those brands that DO cater to them to know that the customers want them, and will pay good money for them.  Every time I go to an online sale for any of the companies who do – Yours, Evans, Autograph, No Exceptions etc… the upper sizes are gone.

Major kudos to those companies who do, the manufacturers and labels and retailers who aren’t afraid to cater towards the full standard range of plus-sizes (which in Australia is currently 14-26) and even more kudos to those who go beyond this range to even larger sizes.  Yours, Evans and No Exceptions are three companies who go up to at least a size 32 in many of their garments.

Now it’s no use complaining about this without doing something about it.  So what are we going to do about it, fabulous super fatties?  Well, to start with, I have put together a Facebook group called Super Sizes.  Because Facebook, love it or hate it, is one place where we can spread the word VERY quickly.  I also need to know how many of you there are out there.  When we work together, our voices get stronger.  The more of us that are visible to the plus-size clothing companies out there, the more they are likely to listen to us.

Now I’ve chosen Super Sizes as the title because I want to gather in those folks who have not yet found fat acceptance, as well as we fab fatties.  And well… we’re Super Sized!

As size 22 Australian seems to be the most common cut off point, that is what I’m focusing on here – the sizes from 22 and upwards.  That’s about a 2x or size 20US, or a size 20UK (by the way, sizing conversions are never consistent – it’s so hard to get accurate information about clothing sizes!)  From a quick poke around the main plus-size companies I can find, this seems to be about the most common cut off point.  We won’t say that sizes smaller than an Australian 22 can’t be involved, but most plus-size clothing companies do cater to these sizes, and I want to REALLY focus on size 24 and beyond, which really miss out on the most brands.

Once I’ve got a group formed, we’ll start working on ideas and strategies to campaign for more fashionable, reasonably priced, reasonable quality options for we super fatties.  We will share those companies that do cater to us, talk about how we can make what we have work, and expose those companies who treat us badly, ignore us or give us pathetic excuses.

So I’m calling all of you Super Fatties to put on your capes (sizes 22 and above!) and get ready to make some change in this world!


Super Fat Clothing Woes – A Crowd Sourced Post

Published March 22, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

Twitter is bloody awesome yo.

After a conversation with a friend via email over the past few days about the quality of plus-sized clothing, particularly clothes for we Super Fats, in sizes 22 and over (I chose 22 because size 20 is where many supposed “plus-size” lines cut off) as opposed to the quality of straight sized clothing, I threw out the following question on Twitter (over two tweets):

Hey death fatties: do you think we are more tolerant of clothes that are poorly made because of lack of options? Eg weird fit/crap fabric?  I’m particularly curious for those at a size 22 or above. Do you think you tolerate lower quality in clothing?

Well… did I get an overwhelming response!  Over a hundred replies in about 6 hours.  Aye caramba.

It seems like I hit a real nerve with this particular topic.  To be honest, I am not surprised, being a death fatty myself, I’m quite used to the frustration of not being able to find, or afford, clothing of reasonable quality to fit my body.

The overwhelming response was that yes, many Super Fats do tolerate poor quality garments, simply because there are no other options, or at least, no other options that they can afford.  As @silentbeep3000 says:

yes i tolerate lower quality of clothing because i’d rather have clothes than not.

I saw this sentiment echoed over and over again.  From clothes that are poorly made, to those that are made of cheap, uncomfortable fabrics through to clothes that are cut badly and do not fit the bodies they are designed to be worn by, lower quality clothing is pretty much the norm for those in sizes over a size 22.  That’s without even getting into whether or not the styles are something fashionable that we like.

@erinvk says:

Yes. I am so happy to be wearing something fashionable on my body that I am happy to hand sew tears after one or two wears.

How often have you found yourself mending garments because a) you love them b) you know you won’t get another like it and c) your options are very limited when it comes to clothes that will fit you and look good?  I know I have a mending basket that sits beside my sofa, so that I can mend when I watch DVD’s.

There were also several mentions from Super Fats regarding learning to sew, so that they may properly mend, repurpose or make from scratch clothes that are of a reasonable quality, cost and fit.  @SabrinaSpiher says (over several tweets):

Bad cut is worse to me than shoddy material/craftsmanship. I’ll reject stuff that’s too big in the rise or tight in the waist but if it’s cheap and falls apart and gets holes … I’ll tolerate that. Not much choice, really.  My friend is an amateur seamstress. She says this summer she’ll help me learn simple sewing for shirts, skirts, dresses.

Bad cut/shape is a repeated complaint as well.  Many plus-sized women find that clothes are made so cheaply that they are from a design that manufacturers can churn out en masse, with little regard to how they would fit a fat body.  As @andreakc73 says:

It’s not long enough (the shirts) or you are suppose to be fat and short. Little given to any shape above a 22. Expensive too.

We see the same styles over and over and over again because they are cheap to manufacture.  Go into any plus-size retail chain, and tally up how many surplice necklines, shark-bite hems, peasant tops, shoe-string/empire-line maxi dresses and gypsy skirts you will see.  Regardless of whether or not these actually fit a fat body properly, or the underwear worn beneath them, they’re cheap and are considered “flattering”, so there are a plethora of them to be found.  Personally I like surplice necklines, shark-bite hems and empire-line maxi’s, but I don’t want my entire wardrobe to comprise of them and only them.

Of course, even if you like a style and a cut, the fabric quite regularly lets you down.  This from @AbigailNussey:

The summer dresses? Hot fabrics. The winter dresses? Thin as paper. All of them? Too $$$.

And @silentbeep3000 refers to having to choose between good properties in a garment, rather than being able to find a combination of all:

ideally i’d have great natural fibers AND good style. I rarely get both. I so often have to pick between the two

Which brings us to pricing.  Even when the garments are cheaply made of unpleasant fabrics, we have to suffer through them being overpriced.  @jennifergearing says:

I wouldn’t mind lower quality if it was priced that way, but if I’m paying $50+ for a top it makes me sad.

Coupled with this tweet from @MadamQ:

I wouldn’t mind so much if they came at Supré prices etc. Autograph a prime offender with their acrylic and poly!

So why aren’t there any options for plus-sizes to a full range of sizes (not just stopping at 20 or 22) for budget clothes like Supré?  For those of you outside of Australia, Supré are a straight size clothing retailer who sell mass produced clothes at very budget prices.  There are lots of others like them in Australia now, like Valley Girl, Cotton On and such.  Where are the clothes for plus-sized customers that are mass produced but ultra budget?  The answer is those mass produced, cheap clothes are being sold at a premium to customers who have little or no other options.  Unlike straight sizes, we cannot take our money elsewhere (though some options are starting to open up with online shopping, particularly from retailers like Yours Clothing), so there is no incentive for them to provide bargain prices.

As @bargainfatshion shares:

While thin people usually have many shops to choose from, all offering a slightly different fit, death fats have 1 or 2.

What it boils down to is that the level of quality for a garment costing say $50 or $100 is markedly lower for plus-sizes than it is for straight-sizes.  How often do you hear that old trope that fat people are poorly dressed and frumpy?  Perhaps this is because when we spend $50 on a garment, all we get is shoddy and frumpy?  As @sweetnfat says:

I get frustrated when these poor-fitting clothes wear out quickly, but can’t afford $50-$100 for one or two pieces.

There is a whole lot of classism at work too.  Quite often, the more upmarket retailers ignore fat bodies altogether, either cutting off at size 20 (I’m looking at you Leona Edmiston) or simply not holding any plus-sized lines at all.  From @DBFiveGirl (several tweets):

apparently well paid, professional women are not meant to be bigger than s16/18. We’re meant to be unemployed it seems.  DJs (David Jones department store) at Bondi Junction have no fatties section as apparently no affluent fat women live in the eastern suburbs. Total otherness

When it comes down to it, not only our quality of clothing is affected by the lack of options for Super Fats.  As @ThePlusSideofMe says:

…not only my style, but the quality of my clothing is dependent on what is offered.

And @downtogirth says:

my biggest gripe is not quality, but style. My style is dictated by what I can fit into & what I can fit into is not my style.

When your choices are limited to just a few sources, and those sources have limited styles (see my mentions earlier about the repeated design features), how you express yourself through your clothing choices is severely limited.  No matter how much you want to dress yourself in a particular style or sub-culture, if there are no clothes available to you in your size at a price you can afford, then you are simply not able to do that.

It’s not just limited to women’s plus-size clothing.  This from @bigboyfashion:

Yes. When you feel like you don’t have any options, you’ll wear whatever you can find, and that sucks.

And this from @bilt2tweet

Definitely. If you can’t make your own you’ve no choice but 2 wear what you can get frm a store. Crap quality poor fit or no


I’m a 4XL mens and I’ve bought clothes that didn’t survive the second washing. This after paying 65 – 75% MORE for it than Reg

But most of all, through lack of options and quality of clothing for Super Fats, there is a whole lot of discrimination at work.  Even if something is of poor quality and you try to protest it, there are often aspersions cast at you.  As @snicketyflick says:

& gods forbid that you go to return something instore it’s like they think eww fattie wore it to death and is trying to con us

Most importantly, having to work so hard to find clothes that are suitable, reasonable quality and affordable perpetuates the stigmatisation of fat people.  From @DBFiveGirl:

I never feel more marginalized as a fatty than when I am shopping for clothing in stores.

So what do we do about this?  We Super Fats are restricted so much that we have to spend an inordinate amount of time sourcing clothes that are attractive, of reasonable quality fabrics, well made and finally affordable, that we are unable to spend that time focusing on other aspects of our lives.  It affects public perception of us, our employment prospects, how we are treated by other professionals (both within our work and our general lives), our finances, how we spend our time (I know I’d rather do a lot of things than spend time mending shoddy clothes) and most importantly, our self esteem.

It’s about so much more than just being able to shop for cute things.

Thanks also to @StilettoSiren, @ilaeria, @astryid, @SassyCupcakes, @mimbles and @mymilkspilt who also shared similar experiences, feelings and frustrations as the tweets above.

Quick Hit: New Super Fats Podcast is UP!

Published March 5, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

Well, I’ve been sick over the past few days with a raging ear infection, so I’ve not much been in the mood for blogging.  But the good news is that last weekend another Superfats podcast was recorded with my fabulous co-Super Fats, Nicole from A Well Rounded Venture and Anna from Bargain Fatshionista.

Clicky Clicky the logo to go to the podcast, or guess what?  You can subscribe to us on iTunes, which means you can get our podcasts downloaded automatically whenever we post a new one, straight into your iPod, iPhone or other player.  Just go to iTunes, search Super Fats and there we are with our fab logo (above) for you to subscribe to.

This latest podcast was on the subject of Fatshion, which I’m sure Nicole, Anna and myself could have talked about a whole lot longer, and we may need to revisit sometime in the future.

Please leave us comments on the Super Fats page, we love to hear from those of you who are listening.

Oh, and for Aussie Super Fats – I am currently listing some clothing on eBay for sale – mostly new with tags, mostly around the size 22-24-26 sizes.  Including some items from Asos Curve that are a smidge too small for me.  Here’s the first one I’ve listed, click on “More from this Seller” to see others as I put them up.

Super Fats – We’re Podcasting Baby!

Published February 21, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I am so excited!!

A few weeks ago the lovely Anna from Bargain Fatshionista and the lovely Nicole from A Well Rounded Venture asked me if I would be interested in podcasting with them.  The answer?  HELL YES!

And so may I present to you…

Just click on the image to be taken to our inaugural Super Fats podcast.  When you are there, you can download the first podcast, subscribe to the RSS feed AND we’ve submitted it to iTunes as well, so soon you will be able to subscribe there as well.

Make sure you comment on the podcast post so we know which bits you like, your thoughts on the topic and what you’d like to hear us talk about in the future.

I am so excited to share this with you all, I had lots of fun recording it with Anna and Nicole, and I look forward to us recording more.