plus size

Plus-Size Perplexity #1: Pants

by Jamie Sanford on April 10, 2014

As the owner of a plus-size body, there are limitations to where I can shop. As if this were not frustrating enough, I have run across issues within the stores apparently catering to this under-served category of shoppers, and I am hoping to examine them here. It would be great to have a discussion about my issues with those making the clothes, but I’ll be happy to start a comment discussion for now.

Pants.

I have an office job. I have to be in something deemed “business casual” 4 days a week. This means no jeans, no t-shirts, none of that until Friday. Until recently, I wore pants about 99% of the time to work. In the past year or so I have drifted to wearing dresses a lot more, which has been a nice change. However, I wear black leggings under my dresses, and we’re getting to the point in the year where it will be warmer, and so leggings won’t be the first item I reach for. I take stock in what’s in the closet and decide that I need to buy some new pants.

The example I will use below is at Torrid, where I shop quite a bit. However, the problems I see here are systemic within the plus-size shopping arena.

Here is the result under the category Bottoms, subcategory Pants.

What the hell? Why isn’t there a single pair of pants in a boot-cut that are not black? If I like to wear pants and I like to shop at Torrid, and I don’t want a pair of skinny-cut pants, I am just out of luck. Am I supposed to shrink into the corner and wear my black boot-cut pants and be grateful for them? That’s crap. The ikat print “soft pants” are cute, but they look like pajamas. I can’t wear those to work – but I would definitely be interested in a more structured pant in the same print. There are a few colors of sateen skinny pants, and while the shininess is suspect, I would definitely try those on in a non-skinny version.

I had a dark moment where I tried on skinny pants, and they are not for me. Also, I do not subscribe to the idea that leggings count as pants. They don’t. You might get a pass for wearing them with a long top, but it needs to be long, like to your knees.

Is the problem that I am not empowered enough? I certainly have an IDGAF attitude about many things, but I’m still not going to wear something I don’t feel comfortable in, so I won’t be deciding that leggings and a crop top are for me. I am not hating at all on people who pull it off (I mean come on, Gabi looks ridiculously good), but I am not there. And I KNOW I am not alone.

I have been searching anywhere and everywhere to look at the results for plus-size pants, and this is where we are. This Torrid selection is a pretty accurate representation of how things are going. Lane Bryant seems to offer up more wide-leg pants (one pair even in a white pinstripe OOOOH), but still, not a big collection of pants in other cuts and pattern choices.

SimplyBe is moderately better? They have bootcut work-appropriate pants in grey, black and navy, which is super generous. What hurts more is that the bone they throw out with them are SALMON JEGGINGS.

Look at that waistline and tell me it doesn’t scream “sexy.”

Old Navy, who I generally avoid after they decided they didn’t want plus-size women in the store anymore, offers some basic boot-cut khakis, in—you guessed it—black, navy, and khaki. They also have some color and print in something called “ankle pants” which I suspect are skinny pants just made shorter, and also would probably not be work-appropriate. Why not take the same printed fabric and make the boot-cut pants out of it? I do not understand how this all works.

ASOS, who I love and have been shopping a LOT, also has trouble in this area. Leggings and skinny pants, and more of these flowy fabrics that are just not what I’m looking for. I also found this daisy printed pair, which is eliminated partly because I had a very similar print in a dress from Wet Seal, 100 years ago.

Speaking of Wet Seal, they’ve added plus sizes and hilariously, 20 years later, they will still sell me daisy print, this time in leggings.

I would maybe rock these under a black dress. Maybe.

So, that’s it for me, for now. I’m guessing the plus-size lovers of leggings and skinny pants are thrilled at the current state of things, but I am totally not. I really wish I had the ability to make my own clothing, because I would be breaking out some fun pants in a cut that works for me, and wearing them with one of my 348 black tops.

(It’s not really 348, but it is really hard to find things in my closet because of all of the black tops. It’s a problem I’ve created for myself.)

I have not talked much about this dilemma before, but since I keep my Brand Experience posts to Thursdays, it seemed appropriate to be included here. I am interested to learn more about plus-size brands, who designs for them, and what influences the decisions on what gets made.

I am really interested in hearing from anyone reading on their thoughts or experiences.

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Prada Ready-to-Wear Collection, Spring 2012

I won’t be wearing this Prada skirt that I love.

As much as I read and enjoy many fashion blogs, I have trouble identifying with most things during Fashion Week. As most of the designers showing collections do not cater to plus-size women, it’s mostly a giant tease for those of us that fall into that category. (I would love to hear more about this from the plus-size fashion bloggers attending Fashion Week, because part of me just doesn’t understand the appeal.) Sure, I can be “inspired” by a look from the runway, but what if I want that exact skirt? Well, I’m SOL because the sizes are limited.

That being said, a collection that is a perfect example of this is the Prada ready-to-wear collection presented in Milan last week.  I think there are a lot of people in the fashion industry who look down on fat people, who think just like Tom Ford does, but perhaps they aren’t inviting trouble by being vocal about it. Is Miuccia Prada the same way – and also, is she against making money? Because I have a feeling that some of these pieces, sized up, would make a killing.

Here are my other picks from the Prada show that I will not be wearing anytime soon. (All photos via Style.com.)

Love this skirt. I guess I can have that bag, since the bag doesn’t care what size I wear.

Skirt + jacket.

Not so much with that bandeau top, but that skirt is gorgeous.

This skirt might be even better. Gorgeous.

Is that pleated, flowy leather? Want.

I wouldn’t wear it over a bathing suit, but I would wear this coat to death.

Not gonna lie, I’m sad now that I won’t be obtaining any of these pieces without starving myself for 6 months.  I have heard that designers have to do so much more work to make pieces in sizes that are bigger than the norm, but a pleated skirt like those heavily featured at Prada cannot be that challenging to size up. However, I’m not a designer, I don’t sew at all, so I don’t know about sizing clothing.

I’d love to hear from plus-size girls/bloggers with their thoughts on this!

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Ruche – Shopping for Color

by Jamie Sanford on September 20, 2011

Seeing as I’m supposed to be exploring style beyond black, I figured that posts where I shop for items that aren’t black would be a good idea.  I had Ruche‘s website bookmarked for ages and finally got back to it today.  Let’s check out some of my favorite items from the plus-size section of their website.  (Props of course to Ruche for having a plus-size section, since larger sizes are very often ignored by boutique shops!)

Ruche Boronia Curvy Plus Top in Berry, $28.99.  I’m slightly concerned that the “waist” on that will be under my boobs.  As long as it is under them though, it will be OK.

Ruche Catalonia Curvy Plus Ruffle Top, $28.99.  I have a dream for am outfit with this top, some well-fitting jeans and some wedges.

Ruche Ruffled Petals Floral Curvy Plus Top, $28.99.  I actually have a sleeveless top very similar to this, but I have only ever worn it underneath an item of black clothing with a little bit of the flowers sticking out.  This has sleeves so I would be into wearing it alone.  That shade of blue is really beautiful.

Ruche Omaha Upland Print Curvy Plus Top, $28.99.  This top is orange and normally I would pass everything that is orange.  However, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone with this fantasy shopping trip.  I love the print on the chest of this top.

Ruche Maison Bleue Wedges, $36.99. When I saw these, I knew I had to throw some shoes in for good measure.  These blue wedges would be more likely worn with my black outfits though. But come on, they are blue wedges!.  W

Check out Ruche’s fabulous boutique here.

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