Forever 21 Launching Plus-Size Line

Did y’all see this? Forever 21 is launching a plus-size line, called Faith 21, starting in May. That’s the good news. 

The bad news? “Junior plus sizes include XL, 1X and 2X.” Dude, they didn’t even have XL before? Junior XL? Sigh. And of course they stop at 2X. And of course it’s a junior 2X, which could mean anything. I wear 2X tops from Target, but the 2X I ordered from Threadless is tighter than a whole lot of XLs I own. For reference, in non-junior tops, I wear XL or 1X, 16/18 straight or 14/16 plus. (My ass is sized out of junior plus entirely.) So this appears to be one more store introducing a so-called plus line that amounts to them extending sizes all the way up to… the smallest possible “plus size.” (My favorite example of this will always be J. Crew’s entire size 16 section. And for the record, even when I did wear mostly straight 16s, I didn’t fit into theirs.) So, you know, this is the sound of one hand clapping. Softly.

Having griped, however, I will say that “plus lines” like this are a godsend for true in-betweenies. And having been thin, fat, and in-between, I really believe that’s got to be the second most frustrating size range, after 26+. People on either side usually assume it means you have a choice of buying from plus or straight lines, and very occasionally that’s true — but more often it means you live in the substantial gulf between a Gap 14/16 and a Lane Bryant 14/16, and if you’re really lucky, you know of 2 or 3 stores that carry stuff that fits you. (I was actually thrilled when I gained enough weight to get out of that limbo and have a lot more options among plus sizes, not so long ago.) When you consider that truly in-between in-betweenies are awfully close to the average American woman’s size, according to every article about plus-size fashion ever, it’s even more fucked up that clothing retailers would allow that hole to remain empty for so damned long.

So on behalf of my in-betweenie sisters, I’m excited about this and hope it does well. On behalf of all fatties, I’m excited about a baby step in the right direction from a company I really never expected to make the slightest pretension to giving a rat’s ass about the plus market. But it is no more than a baby step. A baby baby step at that. They’re only launching Faith 21 in a few markets at first — not including Chicago, grrr — to see if it’s worth doing elsewhere. (It’ll also be available online.) So let’s just say you will not be seeing my surprised face if it turns out they chuck the whole thing after three months, claiming the market just wasn’t there.

At least for now, though, they’re talking the talk. Senior Marketing Manager Linda Chang says, “We definitely feel that our entire customer base in all markets would love our plus-size line, so hopefully it will blow out at our large stores and we can continue with a roll-out to the rest of our markets.” I’ve got my fat fingers crossed.

(Via e-mail from Shapeling Brittney.)

139 thoughts on “Forever 21 Launching Plus-Size Line

  1. Juniors sizes mean nothing. I’m wearing a 1X juniors dress right now that barely covers my boobs, but I have a juniors large sweatshirt that actually fits very nicely (admittedly, it’s supposed to be a big, loose hoodie and it fits me skintight, but I like it).

    I actually think that juniors pants sizes are getting smaller, compared to number. I have size 7s and 9s in jeans from a couple years ago that still fit me, even though I’m buying 11s, 13s, and 15s because nothing else will even reach my knees. And in the dressing room, the girl in the stall next to me was telling her boyfriend to get her 7s and 9s, and this girl couldn’t have been more than a buck 10, give or take.

  2. Well, as a certified in-betweenie (most of the time), I’m happy to here there will be more options. Of course I think that most of what Forever 21 sells looks like it was designed by chimpanzees on LSD. Oh I have managed to find one or two nice pieces (that usually didn’t fit me, so hopefully this will help.)

    And for the moment I’m 6 months pregnant and getting larger, so we’ll check them out in the fall maybe =)

  3. I have to admit that I find it slightly more offensive when stores add a “plus” line that is not really plus at all, than I would if they just admitted they only want to sell to thin people. I feel like the implication is that “in between” people are somehow “plus” and that the rest of us are some other size range like “SUPER GIGANTOR PLUS.”

  4. I made costumes for 17 years, and we made sure they went from size 2 (there was no zero then) to size 48*. If someone who was larger had come in and lamented a lack of costume choice, I would have made even bigger ones, because everyone should have the chance to play dress up. Never once, in 10 years, did we put a size on the costumes. Why? Because there is no such thing as standardized sizing in this country, and we would rather our staff know what outfits worked on which body types/sizes than to rely on a meaningless system of numbers. It also helped to minimize the issues our customers have with size. For the record, it went both ways – they thought they were larger or smaller than they probably were. Without a size to hang them up, they just got to be happy picking something they liked.

    I really think we should go to a system of measurements instead of sizes. It’s easier to find clothing, more honest, and would save time and energy all around.

    *Pattern sizes, not manufacturer sizes. Pattern sizes remain fairly consistent because they’re based on measurements.

  5. Once uni’s done I’m just going to learn to sew. Very little mass-produced clothing fits me in any useful way, it costs SO MUCH, I have huge difficulty finding tops, and no one makes enough pretty dresses. I think it would take about five years for me to get any good at it, but it would be *so* wonderful not to be dependent on others for clothing I like it might be worth it. And it’s not like I own a lot of clothes, so it would just be replacing the few I have with a few more that I actually love.

    Plus then I could make (some) clothes for my hypothetical future children and not have to worry about the ridiculous overpricing or being unable to find clothes for 9-year-olds that don’t belong in Playboy.

    (When did I turn into my grandmother?)

  6. I feel like the implication is that “in between” people are somehow “plus” and that the rest of us are some other size range like “SUPER GIGANTOR PLUS.”

    Heh. And yeah, it would be both way more accurate and way less insulting if the press release just said, “Forever 21 is expanding its size range” than “… introducing a plus line.” Of course, then no one would see it as news — which might just tell us something about the actual newsworthiness of adding a whopping three new sizes.

  7. Fat Angie, I feel like juniors clothing has been getting smaller, too. I had a bunch of junior XL shirts and sweaters packed away from before I had my son (5 years ago), and I didn’t bother to unpack them, because by the time I got near my pre-pg weight again, I couldn’t even come close to fitting my boobs into a juniors XL. I’d assumed I’d gotten bigger. But, on a whim I pulled out an old juniors XL cardigan I really liked, and it fit just like it used to, and was MUCH more roomy than any juniors XL I’ve seen in the last couple of years. My other juniors XL stuff (all bought 5-7 years ago) fit, as well. Maybe it’s just that people are wearing clothes tighter, but it does seem to me that for all the talk about “vanity sizing,” in the last few years juniors clothing has actually been sized down. Which would make business sense, because if you can charge people more for “plus-size” clothing, you’re going to do better to size as many people into them as possible.

  8. And yeah, it would be both way more accurate and way less insulting if the press release just said, “Forever 21 is expanding its size range” than “… introducing a plus line.”

    I’d much prefer if they actually did that, too. I’ve seen things I like at Forever 21… I mean I’m way past 21, and the style there is actually more Forever 16, but occasionally among the trendy cheap shit I see some good cheap shit. But with a plus “line”… even if I can wear their 2x, I have no reason to believe they’ll make cute stuff and not the juniors version of appliqued cat sweatshirts. Either way it probably won’t be the same cute stuff that a size 2 could buy there. Starting a “plus line” acknowledges people who wear bigger than an L, but doesn’t include us.

  9. I spent a year working at Forever 21 a few years back, and I have to say I’m surprised they even made this move, inadequate as it is. I remember opening up the shipments of clothes, which we had to organize by size, and finding two dozen smalls, a half-dozen mediums, and two or three larges. No XLs. Of course, we’d immediately sell out of the larges and would have racks and racks of small and extra-small stuff. I really questioned their business sense and their motives.

  10. I really think we should go to a system of measurements instead of sizes. It’s easier to find clothing, more honest, and would save time and energy all around.

    *Pattern sizes, not manufacturer sizes. Pattern sizes remain fairly consistent because they’re based on measurements.

    This is something I would absolutely LOVE. Much as before getting measured for dance costumes and theater productions I’d always assumed my measurements must be “worse” to hear than my actual pant/shirt/skirt size depending on the make, style, and brand, it was actually so much easier once I was measured to just be able to say, “ok, I’m x by x by x and my costume is going to be made to fit that”. When I go shopping everything is so much more complicated. I have to think, “ok, I’m a 15-17 in THIS juniors, 13-14 in this one, a 12 in THIS misses, 14 in this one, but definitely a 16 for their pants that I probably won’t buy anyways cause they seem to think the whole world only wants to buy low rise dress pants, but randomly I can fit a large in most of their shirts…” etc.

  11. but definitely a 16 for their pants that I probably won’t buy anyways cause they seem to think the whole world only wants to buy low rise dress pants

    I know, WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?

    Like, I have beautiful underwear, but the whole world DOES NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT.

  12. Whee! I fall in that exact gulf most of the time! (Or, well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that my ass, thighs, hips and shoulders are solidly on the LB side of the gulf and my waist and boobs are on the Gap side of the gulf. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just breed items of clothing with each other?)

    Hey, does Forever 21 fall apart/pill/shrink after two washings like Target clothing?

  13. A Sarah, Forever 21 clothing is fun, disposable crap. Seriously, I only shop there for going-out/concert clothes that will only be worn once or twice. That being said, their “plus” line might end up fitting a wider range of sizes than it initially appears, as I’m a size 12-14 on average and can wear a lot of their larges, though I’m not holding my breath.

  14. cause they seem to think the whole world only wants to buy low rise dress pants

    Tell me about it. Now, I’m no fan of the Urkel look, but good Lord, give me pants that at least sit on my waist. Even if I do wear low-rise, I always wear tops, sweaters and blouses that are 28 inches or longer.

    I also don’t get this push to classify XL as plus-size. 1X, 2X, yes, if it’s the standard 16/18 and 20/22. But it wasn’t long ago that XL was 16/18 and still a misses. Heck, some plus sizes start at 10/12. Back when I used to wear 13/14, that was just a regular large.

    The clothing industry loves to confuse.

  15. “Whee! I fall in that exact gulf most of the time! (Or, well, maybe it’s more accurate to say that my ass, thighs, hips and shoulders are solidly on the LB side of the gulf and my waist and boobs are on the Gap side of the gulf. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just breed items of clothing with each other?)”

    Yes! I want to breed LB dresses with J.Jill dresses and have the resulting offspring fit my big hips and butt, smaller waist, and in-between rack! (I haven’t been measured recently, but I think the girls are a C.) I used to have a fuzzy purple Coldwater Creek dress that I loved dearly, and felt as good as it looked. Why did I get rid of all my awesome fat clothes after that stint on WW? Whyyy? ;_; (Oh, I know why. It’s because I was totally going to be a Success Story and never be fat again. Perhaps the better question is “why did I fall for the lies? Whyyyy?”)

    Still not shopping at Forever 21, though. Those trendier-and-thinner-than-thou stores do not make for a comfortable or pleasant shopping experience if you are not trendy and thin. I’d rather buy fewer items at J.Jill or Lane Bryant, be treated courteously by the salespeople, and have a reasonable expectation of finding that really cute sweater in a size that fits.

  16. Oh no no no no no! Y’all will pry my low-rise pants and skirts from my cold dead hands. This trend has marked the first time in 10-15 YEARS that I’ve been able to buy pants that don’t come up to my boobs.

    Yes, my rise (and the rest of me for that matter) is that short.

  17. Forever 21 is intended to be a junior’s store (ie: college age or younger) so the junior’s sizing shouldn’t really come as a surprise. This isn’t the same “grown ass woman” market as Lane Bryant so I’m not surprised they’re keeping the plus range on the smaller end of plus.

    Having said that, we haven’t seen the size chart yet! I’m not saying I’m counting on the 2X being anything but a junior’s 2X but i mean, let’s give them a chance.

    The other thing is that the sizing for stores like this can be so erratic that one item in a 2x might be way bigger or smaller than another item in the same size. There might very well be items that fit all kinds of sizes.

    Anyway, let’s wait and see what happens. If it’s awesome yay! If it’s not… well, then good try I guess. I think they want to compete with Torrid. They better step it up if that’s the case. For all its faults, at least Torrid carries a fairly wide range of sizes.

  18. somewhat unrelated, i went into the GAP a year ago looking for jeans, and after asking the saleswoman if they carried a certain style in a size 18, she said with the most condescending sneer that they no longer carry that size in the store. only on their website. Her disgust and attempts to shame me were palpable. Well, I don’t shop online, so I just took my business elsewhere, thankyouverymuch.
    (granted, I took it to Old Navy, which is owned by the same people, but WHATEVER DON’T JUDGE.)

    ps Forever 21 scares me. That much polyester in one room just can’t be in god’s plan.

  19. I haven’t been inside a Forever 21 store in years. But from my last visit, I deduced that a plus sizing for them started at size 8.

  20. I think they want to compete with Torrid. They better step it up if that’s the case. For all its faults, at least Torrid carries a fairly wide range of sizes.

    Yes.

    I mean, yeah, it’s great to offer sizes up to Junior 2X, because that means that young women up to mass-market size 14 or 16–i.e., the average American size or one size above–can wear the clothes.

    As an inbetweenie myself, I loved shopping at Delia’s because I could always fit into the clothes.

    And, yeah, size-craziness: I was wearing an outfit yesterday that included a size S/M sweater (Flax), a size 22 dress (from Target, which usually runs large in my experience rather than small!), size L leggings (also from Target), and a size 38 EU coat (size 8 US). Yet I would describe my size, at the moment, as 14/16 US and/or XL.

    Size-craziness apart, though, expanding sizing to Junior 2X really serves inbetweenies, not what most people would think of as plus sizes.

  21. First time poster and I just have to say… this blog is amazing!

    I find the entire idea of a seperate line frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked past the “regular” size clothes to the plus sizes (which is ALWAYS in the back of the store) and not been able to find anything half as cute as the clothes I just walked past. I am talking about styles that I know look good on my body but they don’t bother to make them in larger sizes. Instead they make shapeless, generic things and pat themselves on the back for even offering us these crumbs.

    It is considered newsworthy when stores introduce a new line that usually doesn’t have as many choices but here’s a revolutionary idea… how about just expanding the lines you already have to include larger sizes and putting everything in the same section instead of banishing us to the back of the freakin’ store!

  22. Word to what Colleen said about erratic sizing at F21. Even with a size chart, their sizes are really all over the place and don’t make a lot of sense. In general I find that their pants and coats fit really tiny while their dresses fit much larger. It’s a shame that the only really practical way to get one’s hands on the plus size line will be via the Internet because this is one of the few companies I wouldn’t even bother trying to order online from because their quality/sizing is really really unreliable.

    From a totally selfish viewpoint, I’m really interested in finding out if they’re also going to sell lingerie in plus sizes as well. As is, they only sell bras in 32/34 bra strap with B/C cup sizes. I’m a size six and solidly in the straight size range, but can’t even get a nipple in one of their bras. I mean I doubt their bras would provide anyone with sizable breastage with much support, but it would be nice to have a source of cute disposable lingerie.

    In general it will be interesting to see which parts of the store they choose to expand to plus sizes. Will they do a few outfits from each of their “trend sections?” Stick to basics? Swimwear? Will they put out their faux-couture line in plus sizes? Menswear? I sort of envision this going in the direction of lots of basics mixed with lots of crazy clubwear.

  23. I tend to have less of a size issue with clothing–at the stores where I shop I can generally fit into the larger end of the regular size range and the lower end of the plus size range–than with the style. I always feel in-betweenie, style-wise, between the “juniors” and “misses” sections at stores. The juniors stuff is often too trendy or short/tight/revealing/loud to be something I’d could comfortably wear teaching classes and chasing around a 4-year-old, but the misses (and plus) stuff is usually too shapeless and boring. I would prefer not to have to choose between dressing like my students and dressing like my mom. ;)

  24. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t even wear those close when I was 18, had a size 2 waist and weight 109lbs. All their clothes are for children anyway…they just market it to the ultra skinny.

    humph.

  25. Long-time reader who never comments here. You might reconsider J Crew size 16 if it’s been several years since last trying them. For me, I’ve gone down 2 sizes at J Crew (and Banana Republic) without losing any weight or size (since I’m still comfortably wearing the older larger sizes and the newer smaller sizes)…which, by the way, wtf is up with that?

  26. Okay, so here’s my confession: I would never wear Forever 21 because I first heard of it on Flavor of Love Charm School. They could produce the cutest outfit and all I could think about would be grown women dropping a deuce in the corner or spitting on each other. But, still I checked out their website and it looks like MTV’s TRL (RIP) blew up in there.

    I just want the fashion industry to recognize that not all fat women are tall. In fact, some of us aren’t above 5.3.

    I would also like them to acknowledge that many fat women are APPLE shaped -ZOMG TEH DEATH FATZ/TEH MENZ FATZ. So that means fucking empire waists don’t need to be on every plus size item. Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop putting cutesy little designs or ribbons under my boobs thinking that its flattering for my shape. Its not. In fact, its just making more people ask me when I’m due and then having to backtrack saying ‘oh but you’ve got that pregnancy glow.’ That’s because I’m an angry South Pole Elf, bitch.

    And with that I’d like to say thanks to Duck Heads Junior Plus sizes (some of the designs at least) and the folks at Liz Claiborne (although I know that its being sewn by a woman in Saipan who gets paid pennies to work in a air conditionless hell hole. sigh.) for at least providing some love for the short fat apple shaped girls.

  27. Despite their questionable customer service, I shop at Forever 21 regularly. Non-button down tops generally fit me just fine in larges, but their button downs will never fit because I wear a 32DDDD at the smallest. Bottoms that come in the S/M/L sizing never fit, though, despite the fact that I wear an 8-10 in skirts and 10-12 in pants at almost any other store. And their jeans always stop at a size 30 waist (about a size 8). Although I appreciate the fact that I may be able to buy skirts and pants there in the future, it seems silly that someone who is actually smaller than the average American woman is in a “plus size” at Forever 21. It does make me wonder what kind of effect this has on women who wear true plus sizes.

  28. At least they don’t still call it “huskies” or “chubettes” sizes like they did when I was a kid.

  29. I’m an in-betweenie off and on, but have also noticed sizes seem to be getting more wonky. I used to fit into 12/14 well and have some room, but lately all stuff I try on is tighter. Even though my older 12/14 stuff fits just fine. I’ve been tempted to try some LB stuff to see if that would fit, but I’ve got a feeling they’d be too big. I don’t hear people here saying LB fits them tighter like a lot of other stores do.

    Which is frustrating, because on one hand I get the impression I’m a big fat cow who doesn’t deserve to wear normal sized clothes, but I *know* that I’m around the average size. Except I’m short. (Don’t get me started on trying to find petites where most petite clothes mean short = skinny!)

    imnotemily, it’s not surprising Gap did that. I wondered why I had trouble finding 12/14 stuff there, thinking that they may have just sold out. Guess anyone over a size 10 is a “huge ass we don’t want to see in our store” size.

    But to stay on topic, it’s at least a small step in a good direction. Especially since the store markets to young women, who have enough problems with being told how they’re supposed to look without going into a trendy store only to find nothing fits them.

  30. If stores added a SUPER GIGANTOR PLUS line, I would die of happy. They could even call it that if it meant I could shop anywhere for clothes. (As long as Poly and Ester aren’t invited to the party, that is. I don’t talk to them.)

  31. And isn’t there a lot of controversy surrounding Forever 21 for their terrible factory practices in Mexico? I remember watching a PBS special about it.

  32. Forever 21 is intended to be a junior’s store (ie: college age or younger) so the junior’s sizing shouldn’t really come as a surprise. This isn’t the same “grown ass woman” market as Lane Bryant so I’m not surprised they’re keeping the plus range on the smaller end of plus.

    Oh, totally. I didn’t mean to sound surprised, or even like I thought they should do anything but junior plus. Just annoyed that the coverage is all, “Woo hoo! New plus line!” when the reality is, it’s probably not going to fit anyone above a Lane Bryant 14/16.

    Also, there is the fact that lots of teenagers and younger women wear well above a junior 2X and still want access to cheap, trendy clothes.

    Like I said, I’m really excited to see the baby step. I just don’t think it’s much more than that.

  33. Valerie, I’m very hourglass shaped, and I don’t find empire-waists particularly flattering, either. They remind me too much of maternity wear. I do think empire waists that are fitted on the bottom are fine, but if they have a flowy bottom, I won’t wear it, because it makes me worry that rumors will start flying that I’m pregnant. I tend to think that everybody looks kind of pregnant in flowy empire waists, which is okay, but sometimes it’s just not the message you want to send.

  34. At least they don’t still call it “huskies” or “chubettes” sizes like they did when I was a kid.

    Aaaaagh. Marketing FAIL.

    Also, woo for those of us who fall into the gap (tee hee) size-wise and have NOWHERE TO SHOP.

  35. The kindest thing I can think to say about this is that when I was last a 12/14, 38DDD, I bought three or four plain t-shirts for about $5 each from Forever 21. They wore surprisingly well, given the cost, and fit great – they were stretchy and soft and really long so they stayed tucked in. I even used one of them as the Platonic Form from which to pattern a number of t-shirt surgery projects. I am sure they were an XL, so I’m kind of puzzled as to the fanfare for the introduction of size XL.

    But really… Why not just EXPAND YOUR SIZE RANGE instead of ghettoizing “plus sizes” into some bullshit “Faith 21″ brand? Kate’s not the only one who won’t be making a surprise face when, six months from now, F21 quietly pulls the “plus” line from the shelves because it wouldn’t sell, what with them not actually carrying it in their larger stores and what with pushing fat teenage girls into a corner, away from their thin friends, to shop a limited selection of clothing, which you know, as a former fat teenage girl I would have just ADORED, as I was always looking for new ways to set myself apart from my friends and draw attention to my fat. (Not an FA stance, but come on – TEEN YEARS. It’s realistic.)

    And that doesn’t even touch on the fact that this isn’t much of a plus size line if it stops at a juniors 2x and still excludes a whole lot of “juniors.” Or the fact that access to “disposable clothes” is kind of an unsavory desire. Or F21′s history of questionable labor practices. Or the fact that I am apparently very very grouchy today. (I did snort at valerie’s Flava of Love comments, though.)

  36. Tell us how you really feel, OTM.

    No, seriously, excellent point about girls getting shoved into the “Faith 21″ corner (is that faith that one day they’ll be thin?) when they shop with their friends, which is arguably even worse than not being able to shop there at all.

    Hell, when I was a kid, Lane Bryant and the Limited had the same parent company, so they often had shit that was identical except for size — the oversized, v-neck shaker-knit sweaters people wore backwards come readily to mind. The only difference was, the Limited ones had a “Limited” tag, and the LB ones had a “Firenze” tag. (I almost said “Venezia,” but nope, dang it, we’re going back a loooong way for this.) Even though the tags were not even visible, I was mortified by the thought of people finding out I was in a Firenze sweater, not a Limited one. And the real kicker is, at that point, I could even still wear Limited clothes — I was stealing my sister’s Firenze sweaters. (The more oversized, the better back then.)

    I would really love to believe that shit like that doesn’t matter to girls as much today as it did to me then. But I strongly suspect it does. And going back to what JessV said, even though I could still shop in straight stores throughout high school and much of college, I was always humiliated because I had to dig for something, anything available in my size, while my thin friends had racks and racks of smaller shit to choose from. I still remember a blue floral hoodie I got at Le Chateau and wore until it fell apart, just because I wanted something from Le Chateau. Even though the whole point of shopping there (at the time, in the place) was to look “edgy” and “offbeat,” and a blue floral hoodie did not really meet those criteria. It fit me, and it had a goddamned Le Chateau tag. That was what mattered.

    Sigh.

  37. A Sarah, the clothes are pretty crappy. I don’t buy them any more because the store is so obnoxiously loud and hot, dressing room lines are long, and the fabrics pill and fall apart in about two washes. It’s not worth it. They’re pretty going-out clothes, but it’s depressing that they burn out so fast!

  38. Count me in as someone who’s increased in actual size but gone down in ‘size’ in every brand in the last 10 years.. the lack of standardized sizing (even in the same store!) in America is one of my biggest pet peeves. I pray that some time in the future we will adopt something similar to EN 13402 (more info: http://www.85b.info/en-13402-a-european-clothing-size-standard/), but doubt that will ever happen because clothing manufacturers would have to do more quality control (a lot of the varying proportions in the same garment are due to the patterns being cut in enormously thick stacks, which saves time and money but leads to greater inconsistencies).

    “So that means fucking empire waists don’t need to be on every plus size item.”

    They are ubiquitous in every size range (for about the last 6 years!), and they do not work for me either, with my broad shoulders and flat chest. I don’t understand their purpose, outside of maternity-wear.

  39. Maybe it’s faith that they’ll make it to 21, since we all know that FAT KILLS and most fat children will be lucky to make it out of their teens without keeling over from a heart attack?

    On a serious note, I think Forever 21 is a Christian (in the sense that Curves is Christian) company? I’ve never shopped there, but I think my sister said once that they have Bible verses printed on their bags. So I’m guessing that’s where the “Faith 21″ comes from.

  40. Lori, yeah, I think they have ‘John 3:16′ printed on the bottom of their bags because the owner is religious.

    And I’ve been mourning the recent trend away from empire waist tops and towards banded-bottom ones, which I look like moldy ass in, actually. But not all empire tops of course; I have an equation: wider than one inch underboob band + circumference of the bottom part smaller than the circumference of said boobs = non-pregnancy-suggesting empire top. At least for me.

  41. I have to admit that I find it slightly more offensive when stores add a “plus” line that is not really plus at all…

    I am inclined to think that it’s more that they are just completely out of touch with reality than deliberately insulting.

    For all its faults, at least Torrid carries a fairly wide range of sizes.

    What exactly are Torrid’s faults? I can only think of 2: they’re kind of expensive and they don’t have a store in NYC. Both are things I can work around. I mean, it’s probably the only store around that I could shop in when I was a size 22/24 and can still shop in as a size 16. At least, that I could shop in consistently and easily. I heart Torrid.

    APS, junior sizes are cut for younger women – i.e. preteen and teenage girls. They are generally cut for a less curvy body and their sizes and styles tend to run smaller. They also use odd numbers instead of evens.

    Anyone know if any Forever 21′s in NYC will have this? I’d like to at least check it out in person.

  42. I didn’t realize until I read this thread that Torrid was a real brick and mortar store! I thought it was an online shop, which I tend to avoid because I can’t try things on. And it looks like they have one nearby! Yay!

    As for Forever 21′s plus line, probably not for me. I was in there around Christmas and…much of what they were selling struck me as cheap looking. In two definitions of that word.

  43. Not all empire waists are the same! Some people can rock them, and different incarnations of empire waists can hit the same person really differently. Not that we can’t be annoyed by how ubiquitous they are right now, but sometimes you gotta just try stuff on.

  44. I just DON’T UNDERSTAND why stores can’t simply have the same damned clothes in larger sizes, conveniently on the rack right with all the rest. Seriously. What is the fucking problem here??? It would actually make the lives of the store workers easier. All the clothes that look alike go together. Same amount of total floor space. Fewer total orders, because you’re not ordering from as many different lines. It’s like they want to make their lives harder just so they can be sure to shame fat people and keep skinny people from the trauma of ever interacting with teh fat. Aaaarrrggghhh.

    And count me in for hating the low-rise/empire waist fads. I have a waist. It is a big waist, and it is flanked by a very large set of hips, but it’s there. I like it. I don’t like when it disappears. I like that those clothes are there for people who look good in them, but I’m not one of them. I’m also small-racked but with large upper arms, so it’s nigh impossible to find anything (especially empire-waisted) that doesn’t just sag. Fashion sucks.

  45. I wouldn’t get too excited…F21 clothes fit like crap. I usually wear a size 6 (but I have big ole’ SPACE HOPPERS) and nothing fits. I can’t get one boob in their size large tops.

  46. Oh the low rise pants. SOB! I forgot about those. They are the bane of the apple shaped woman’s shopping life. Sheesh.

    I’m actually going to have belt loops sewn onto the pairs that I have so that I can actually keep them up.

    And the whole Bible verses on the bags does it for me. Sometimes my sweet Protestant brethren just need to recognize- Jesus never promised you an SUV or a multinational corporation. Just admit you’re a capitalist pig and be proud.

  47. How big, exactly, is an in-betweenie? The difference in sizes between stores and departments is really confusing me.

  48. I’m another who happens to look good in some empire waist tops, actually probably a similar subset to that described by killedbyllamas though I’ve never thought of it that way.

    Part of why they work for me is that I have a rack-of-greater-doom (which sticks out more than my stomach) and my natural waist is very high, only like an inch or so below my underboob, so when I can have a “waist” on a top or dress that goes from my underboob (or actually slightly above, I like the minimizing effect of when the band starts a bit above where my boobs end) to my natural waist it looks good on me.

    BUT the whole point is that it would be really nice to have some more variety. I may love the empire waist/crossover top trend because it looks good on me, but that’s not true for everyone and there are plenty of other things that look good on others and not on me (shirt dresses, drop waists, traditional shaped cardigans, frex) but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist, just that the best case scenario has stores carrying a variety of shapes that look good on a variety of body types.

  49. About standardized sizing: there IS a drawback. All German size 54 pants (and good luck FINDING pants made in the petite sizes) are apparently designed for a woman who is approximately six feet tall, maybe a little more. I’m basing that on the fact that they are at LEAST six inches too long for me, and I’m 5’6″. Seriously, there is not much difference in inseam between these pants and the ones my 6’4″ husband wears.

  50. How big, exactly, is an in-betweenie?

    There is no answer to that question. It’s a fundamentally vague term. Some people would consider me an inbetweenie, even though I am clearly fat; some size 10s would consider themselves inbetweenies because they’re sized out of high-end boutiques. Some people use it to mean “people who can shop at most plus-size and some straight-size stores” (in which case you can probably be an inbetweenie up to a size 18/20 or so) and some use it to mean “people who can’t really shop at most plus-size or some straight-size stores” (in which case you have to be a size 12 or so, i.e. smaller than some plus stores carry).

  51. “And I’ve been mourning the recent trend away from empire waist tops and towards banded-bottom ones…”

    Oh my…me too!!! I can’t wear them. I contemplate buying the stuff and just cutting it off. In general fashion terms, I’m actually proud of myself in the steps I’ve taken in the past couple years to venture out and wear different things — take some risks and learn to piece things together in a decent way. I’ve also learned that when I outgrow something, I should keep it around, because later on I could wear it in another way. I guess I’m trying to say, I’m slowly outsmarting the clothing industry! One day I’ll sew my own clothes and not need them at all!!!

  52. How big, exactly, is an in-betweenie? The difference in sizes between stores and departments is really confusing me.

    From my experience, it is anyone who wears from about 12-16 (whatever those numbers actually MEAN, which is Not Much) or anyone with ‘disproportionate’ body measurements- is your hip measurement larger than your chest measurement? Probably largely out of luck. Do you have larger/smaller waist-to-hip ratio than you’re supposed to? Definitely out of luck. This covers a lot of women, but that’s kind of how I think of it.

  53. OH…low rise pants! They don’t fit well over my gut…so I end up buying huge sizes that I have to fit up to my elbows. I just end up hiding so many parts of my clothing…it’s a work dressing in the morning!

  54. Even though the whole point of shopping there (at the time, in the place) was to look “edgy” and “offbeat,” and a blue floral hoodie did not really meet those criteria. It fit me, and it had a goddamned Le Chateau tag. That was what mattered.

    Kate, you just caused me to rocket right back to my high school days. I haven’t thought about Le fucking Chateau in YEARS. All I could ever buy there were accessories – and I still have a couple pairs of earrings from there (’80s huge-sized, of course). We had two must-stops at Woodfield Mall – Contempo Casuals and Le Chateau, where I got to watch my friends shop for clothes and I wandered around or rifled through the accessories.

    Stuff like this newsbit makes me very intent on learning how to sew because I can’t stand 90 percent of what’s thrown out there by Lane, by Torrid, by Avenue, by any plus-sized retailers/sections. Rarely does any of it suit my taste or my personal style, and it’s frustrating as hell to make an effort either online or in-store and walk out empty-handed because every single piece of clothing annoys the shit out of me.

  55. WORD on the J. Crew size 16!! What a load of crap. I think I started reading SP before I got married about 2 years ago, but I’m not sure…. anyway I ordered a beautiful dress that I LOVED and REALLY wanted to wear, from J. Crew as my wedding dress, that was a size 16. You can imagine the angst when it wouldn’t even zip, and usually I was wearing 14s at the time. I had to order more fabric from J. Crew (which, they were actually very nice about and didn’t charge me, because they didn’t have an 18) and have it altered. But I never felt like I looked good in the dress, not even on my wedding day. Sigh. I’m much better now with the FA / HAES stuff… and nowadays, I’d be sending back that dress pronto.

  56. I can tolerate empire waist if it’s a solid color. Empires with loud prints make me look like I’m carrying triplets.

    I purchased a short-sleeved sweater from Fashion Bug that is empire waist, but it’s brown with no cutesy or gag-inducing designs. The band is also not very noticeable either. Like monkey, my chest sticks out more than my stomach and my waist is high.

  57. How big, exactly, is an in-betweenie? The difference in sizes between stores and departments is really confusing me.

    It’s confusing to all of us.

    Lots of people refer to themselves as “in-betweenies” when they wear anywhere between straight 12 and plus 18 or 20. But the very specific size I’m talking about falls somewhere between a straight 14 and a plus 14/16. What that actually means differs among brands, but for instance, here are the measurements from Nordstrom’s women’s size charts.
    STRAIGHT
    14: 40.5/32/42
    16: 42/33.5/43/45

    PLUS
    14W: 43/35/44
    16W: 45/37/46

    Note the 3-inch difference between the straight and plus busts and waists.The fact that straight 16 falls between 14 and 14W is a bit of a red herring, because so few places/designers even offer 16s. Usually, the straight line ends at 14, and if you’re bigger than that, it’s assumed (to the extent that anyone’s thinking about you at all) you can shop at plus stores — even though the 14 there will likely be too big. Also, many plus stores cut things for a noticeably bigger frame — even if a 14W fit my boobs when I was just a bit too big for a straight 14, it would be WAY too big on me through the shoulders, for instance. I couldn’t really wear 14W tops until I was nearly a straight 18. In plus sizes, I find that a “42-inch bust” tends to work a lot better for a C-cup with broad shoulders than a petite-framed woman with giant space hoppers.

    Which brings me to the next issue, which is that size charts are just not worth that freakin’ much, unless you happen to be built just like their fit model. My measurements make me at least a 16W and sometimes an 18W by most true plus size charts, but in dresses, I wear a 14W about 90% of the time. (And can’t tell you how many too-big dresses I’ve had to return, because the size chart said I should be a bigger size, and I figured I might just be in denial.) Meanwhile, I am usually an 18 or 20 in straight sizes (to the extent that those sizes exist in straight, which is pretty much just at Eddie Bauer, Land’s End, L.L. Bean and J. Jill). And the measurements for different brands that fit me hardly ever match up anyway. It’s all trial and error.

    Case in point: OTM just gave me a dress that didn’t fit her. It was marked 18W/20W, and Alight claims that dress in an 18/20 has a 48″ bust and 44″ waist, which… fuck no. I’ve got a 42.5-inch bust and 37.5-inch waist, but this dress fits me almost perfectly (except for being a bit too long-geared) — which suggests there’s no way it would fit someone who usually wears 18W/20W and/or has 48″/44″ measurements — indeed, that’s exactly why OTM gave it up. It also suggests that this particular dress was cut according to a junior plus scheme — in which I would indeed wear a 2X — even though it’s got the “W”s that suggest it’s true plus, and the given measurements also indicate true plus.

    So yes, it’s fucking confusing. Every store has different measurements on its size charts; some places have VERY different measurements from others; all stores use different fit models; misses’, juniors’, junior plus, and plus are all cut differently; things that are junior plus are often marked with the exact same numbers as true plus (not usually with odd numbers, like straight juniors); the size indicated by one’s measurements on the size chart might not be one’s actual size in that brand; plus sizes are often sold as two sizes (e.g., 14/16, 18/20…) instead of one, which means everything’s too big if you’re the smaller size of the two; and there’s a noticeable gap between the top of many straight lines and the bottom of many plus lines, leaving women who fall into that gap without anything that fits.

    It’s enough to make a girl want to learn to sew.

  58. Speaking of varied body shapes and sizes, there’s also the fact that the bigger the body the more variation there is. I’m tall (5’8-mumble”) and distinctly apple-shaped, which means my waist size is about 10″ bigger when I sit down than when I’m standing (HELL YES I wear elastic waists!)

    Guess what? Pants that fit me aren’t going to work for someone who is more pear-shaped (less belly, smaller waist) and vice versa. Empire waists often make me look pregnant, but on someone more pear-shaped, they rock. A deep v-neck, good bra, and princess seams can make me look a lot more hourglass than I really am….but on someone with smaller boobs, it’s not going to work.

    What this means is that there isn’t really one size that’ll fit me and my mythical pear-shaped sister. LB’s “right fit” jeans takes a stab at this, but hell, what would be wrong with just slapping apple-shaped tags on some clothes and pear-shaped ones on others? :)

  59. My boobs stick out more than my stomach, but I still feel like I look preggers in empire-waist shirts that are flowy at the bottom.

    I think some of it is context, though. I don’t think I would have even thought about it when I was in my early 20s and in grad school, because people wouldn’t have expected me to be pregnant. Now that I’ve got an almost-five-year-old and I keep getting “So when are you having another?” questions from people, I feel like an empire-waist shirt would most certainly make people assume that I was finally having another baby. So I steer clear of them. Although I have a few really cute ones (that are very roomy in the bottom half) that I liked in the store that I figure I can wear when I actually am pregnant.

    I also find that empire-waist shirts are not the dream garment they’re supposed to be for the large-breasted if you have very large breasts. A lot of the time in order to get the top of an empire-waist to actually reach the bottom of my breasts, rather than having a line right in the middle of my nipples, I have to size up, which means that the bottom really does have a maternity-shirt look.

    I generally don’t even expect to buy tops and bottoms at the same store. I really like the way LB’s bottoms fit me. Their 16s and 1 Blues fit me perfectly, and I’m pretty sure that nearly every pair of non-sweatpants in my possession are from Lane Bryant. But I find their shirts don’t fit me well–the 18/20s are kind of big and shapeless on me, but the 14/16s are clingier in the boobs than I’d like–and so I rarely get shirts there. I generally get shirts in either an XL or an XXL, depending on the cut. I don’t know, the armholes on plus-size shirts usually seem too big on me, and they tend to hang straight down from my breasts, making me look like I have no waist. But then straight-size shirts tend to ride up in the front, so I have to watch when I raise my arms. Yesterday I was getting dressed for class and was worried about that issue, and I was swinging my arms over my head and asking my husband if my stomach would show too much if I had my arms up, and my husband pointed out that if I were wildly waving my arms above my head, my students would probably be so confused as to why I was doing that that they wouldn’t notice that like 1/4″ of tummy was showing.

  60. I also find that empire-waist shirts are not the dream garment they’re supposed to be for the large-breasted if you have very large breasts

    Yeah, I can pretty much only buy empire waist shirts that are a stretchy jersey and then I have to wear camisoles under them (at least if I want to wear them to work), which is more or less fine and, actually, what I do a variation of most days. Except sometimes you get tired of the layering look, plus it just requires more laundry, PLUS Old Navy seems to have lengthened the straps on their camisoles which were the only ones who didn’t show cleavage already so I had to spend an afternoon cutting down all the straps, which was annoying. (Woe is me.)

    I’ve also been having a problem with pants lately where pants that fit in the waist are too baggy elsewhere and vice versa. I don’t suppose anyone cuts pants to deal with this problem?

  61. LilahMorgan, I am right there with you on the too-long camisole straps. I was so surprised at the last bunch I bought from Old Navy — if the camisole is so low-cut that it shows my bra, that is really defeating the purpose of wearing a camisole in the first place!

  62. This issue is actually part of what set me off to looking into FA blogs in the first place, the sheer absurdity of manufacturers refusing to make clothes for the majority of the market. Economically it just doesn’t make any sense. I mean really, when my size 14 friend can’t find a single pair of jeans that fit right in a large department store, there’s a problem.

    (Well OK she could probably find a pair that would fit poorly in a matronly style in at least one plus line, but she’s 23, she doesn’t WANT to wear high waisted jeans with little applique flowers on them. And that shouldn’t be her only option.)

    I’m kind of amazed that Forever 21 is doing this given their former reluctance to even stock clothes in anything over a size 6- maybe if the line sells well it will encourage manufacturers to do the same? I keep thinking that at some point they have to acknowledge that the average American woman/girl is not in fact a size 2. Though with Forever 21 in particular fair warning, they don’t seem to want to acknowledge that women have boobs or hips or butts either, most of their stuff is cut pretty straight up and down, so the extended sizes will probably work best for inbetweenies who’re not very curvy.

  63. @Reba – you are absolutely right. Clothing should be sold by actual measurements, not some made-up sizes. I have clothes from size 20 to 30, including a pair of 28 jeans that won’t even go over my thighs. Stores that vary hugely from garment to garment are intensely annoying, especially as there are no plus-size shops where I live, so I’m either travelling or shopping online. eBay has actually proved pretty good in that sense, because sellers actually measure the garments.

  64. I’m not sure that selling clothing by measurements would be that much less confusing then selling them by size. I think a lot of fit issues that women particularly have have more to do with variations in body shape. Somebody might have the same size hips as me, or the same size waist, or the same size chest, but we could very well not be able to fit into the same pair of pants or shirt, because of how we’re shaped. Unless pants were going to be sold in a massive range of sizes (let’s say jeans with a 36″ waist and then hips ranging from like 36″ to 48″ in 2- or 4-inch increments, which would be unrealistic to expect from the manufacturer and would probably still leave some women unable to find a good fit), trying to find a good-fitting pair of pants based on waist or hip measurement alone would probably be just as difficult as finding one based on size.

    Knitting patterns generally go by chest measurement, and while it clears up some confusion, I find that I still need to do a significant amount of tweaking to make a pattern fit. A sweater with a 46″ chest might be perfect up top, but if I don’t do a lot of shaping at the waist, it’s going to look like a sack on me, and chances are good that the sleeves and armholes are going to be larger than I like, so I’ll size down on those. A woman with a larger stomach and smaller breasts might find that a sweater that fits her comfortable around the waist is too baggy up top, and somebody with very broad shoulders or larger arms in comparison to their chest might need to do alterations, as well.

    So I think going by measurements is a bit easier in men’s clothing than in women’s, just because there is less variation in mens’ body shapes. I agree that it would help make things less confusing going from brand to brand, but it probably wouldn’t help much with fit issues.

  65. I’m sort of an inbetweenie. I’m a 14/16 on the bottom and like a 12 on top so I can’t buy pants and shirts at the same stores. The Macy’s where I used to live, their straight sizes seemed to stop at 8 and their plus sizes started at 20 so I couldn’t shop there at all (also they put their plus sizes on the 4th floor and called it Macy’s Woman and it was always torn up and not laid out or cared for as nicely as the rest of the store. Like they wanted to hide the fat people up there so the rich tourists could buy their designer sunglasses without the inconvenience of seeing fat people.)

    Torrid’s size 0 is probably the most awesome thing ever, btw. It’s pretty much the only place I can buy an entire outfit.

    So the Forever 21 “plus size” line might be the right size for me. I’m iffy about the quality though, and the fit. Juniors plus sizes sold in straight-sized stores are often the same clothes, only larger. I’m not built like a 2x scale model of a size 8.

  66. “…my ass, thighs, hips and shoulders are solidly on the LB side of the gulf and my waist and boobs are on the Gap side of the gulf…”

    My twin!

    My constant problem with pants is that I can’t get them past my thighs, even if they would fit my waist. I could squat 180 lbs in college, and was a competing athlete from ages 6 to 22, what can I say?
    I’m more or less a size 12, but wear a 38B bra, so halter dresses and the like never fit right, cause I can’t fill out the chest. And because the band size is sorta large for the cup size, some non-stretchy shirts just WONT. GO. ON. So much for daily exercise; wasn’t that supposed to solve all our body shape ills?

    My best friend is getting married soon, and the three of us in the wedding party are three hard-to-fit shapes. I’m really looking forward to shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Right.

  67. And, yeah, with the inbetweeny thing. To big for F21, etc., but some things at, say, Torrid (which I love) don’t go small enough.

    And WTF with bizarre sizes? At Old Navy, where I seem to be shopping a lot lately, I may fit pants sizes 10, 12, or 14, depending on — I don’t know, the relative humidity? moon phase?

  68. Oh, and has anyone else ever seen a store caller, I think 5-7-9? They carry only sizes 00 to 9 (hence the name, I think?) I didn’t know this, and was one day having an awful mall day, trying to find something to wear for some event, maybe family Easter brunch or a wedding or something like that. And, you know, had been to half the stores in the damn mall, trying on things that wouldn’t fit, or if they did fit, were clearly made for a completely different body type and looked like shit. So, really demoralizing. I’m sure a lot of you know what I’m talking about.
    Then I see a store I’ve never heard of before, and some of the clothes in the window look kinda pretty, so I walk in. And start looking through things. And can’t even find a size 10, which is the absolute lowest size I could possibly think of wearing, in any store. And I’m looking through stacks and racks of clothes, and not finding anything.
    And then somewhere I see the little explanation of how they only carry up to a size 9.
    I nearly cried.

  69. “I also don’t get this push to classify XL as plus-size. “

    Yes, you do, Bree.

    It’s that there’s a continuing push to shrink what the “acceptably-sized” woman is to smaller and smaller.

  70. I agree that measurement sizing wouldn’t necessarily be better. Even aside from proportions between measurements, there would be variations in height, boob vs. torso proportions in the bust measurement, shoulder dimensions, and all sorts of other craziness to screw things up.

    And for Old Navy, I’ve noticed a huge difference between sleeve dimensions between sizes. Like, I tried an XL with armholes that could fit an arm and a (sizeable) boob, and a Medium where the arms were snug. I’ve been sized out of clothes by my arm chub before, but that was just weird. And yeah, I wear medium through xl, depending mostly on bust and shoulder fit.

  71. Ugh, Forever 21. Even besides the crowding and the polyester and, at least in NY, the annoying wall “art” that lists phrases and their commonly misused counterparts (for all intents and purposes/for all intensive purposes) which gives me conniptions because why are you even putting the wrong version into someone’s brain? Their sizing, as has been said above many times, is fucked. A long time ago, when I was a size 6 (like I said, a long time ago), I still couldn’t jam my ass into their L pants or fitted skirts. I mean, seriously. A 6 is XL? Blerg.

    Not counting on fitting my lower half in their gesture at plus sizing, but I guess good for them for trying. I dunno if it is exactly What Jesus Would Do in terms of inclusiveness or functionality (come on, that guy was sharp, he’d go up to 3 or 4x AT LEAST) but it’s something.

  72. Thank you for answering, Kate.

    I understand the frustration of trying to find clothes that fit, though I’m small enough to shop at the Gap. I’m somewhere between a junior and petite in height (though I’m 5’4″, average height for an American woman! you’d think there’d be more pants! Whatever) and I seem to have a smaller waist and larger thighs than most people. I also wear an unusual bra size. Still it’s obviously easier to find clothes when you’re size 8-10 than when you’re larger, because they might not fit perfectly but at least they fit …

    I’m gonna have to learn more about tailoring.

  73. Valerie: yes yes on the height thing. I’ve tried on such a lot of clothes that would fit very well…..if I were six feet tall instead of 5’3″.

  74. Love the blog!

    Anyway, what I really dislike are the companies, I’m looking at you, Old Navy, who make larger sizes with the *exact* same size ratios of the S/M/L crowd. Unfortch, my lovely breasts to waist to hips ratio is *not* the same as the person wearing your clothes from the other end of the size spectrum.

    That said, props to Old Navy for not segregating their sizes. I love that everything from 2-22 is on one rack and I don’t have to feel like I’m going to time out to buy clothes.

    Anyway, my comment in reference to this post is that it will be interesting to see if Forever 21 keeps the same junior proportions or if they accept that those of us who might inquire as to their new size range have a different breasts/waist/hips ratio.

  75. And just to pile on more, add “really short” to the fat, and oh my god I will never find anything that fits me, ever. I could clothe a village out of the leftover inches in regular pants.

  76. When are clothing manufacturers going to figure out that standardizing their sizing will mean more money for them? I personally am very, very reluctant to order stuff by mail unless it’s relatively free-sized, or it’s something like Lands’ End that I can try on in Sears first to get an idea of sizing (and return it to Sears if it’s wrong for me). If ALL the companies would sync up their sizing with each other, I might be more willing to take the plunge, but the idea of ordering shit and having to mail it back at my own expense…no. Not happening. If I ever get to be too much of a fatass for Lands’ End, that’s when I buy a sewing machine.

    For some bizarre reason, they’ve got it in their heads that a smaller number on the tag means bigger sales…come on, people, even fifth graders know sizing is relative, and can’t possibly not be. If you make the size 8 a size 4, that means your size 2 is…uh, minus 2. And then the shitbirds will splatter anyone wearing positive integers.

    And yes, the vanity sizing shit is starting to infect men’s clothing too. C. takes a size 30 in pants, but when I measured his waist, it was actually 32 inches. (Shit, he’d actually rather he took a 32; the stores don’t order a lot of 30s, and sell out of them quickly.)

  77. I remember opening up the shipments of clothes, which we had to organize by size, and finding two dozen smalls, a half-dozen mediums, and two or three larges. No XLs. Of course, we’d immediately sell out of the larges and would have racks and racks of small and extra-small stuff. I really questioned their business sense and their motives.

    Yes, THIS! I lurk here the time and at a 12/14 I supposed I’m a tweeny, but holy hell my boobs are not fitting into a M adult, let alone a junior’s M. I’m 90% certain that most “trendy” clothes are designed to be worn by light poles, not people. Everything is six inches too long (I’m short but not that short) and obviously designed to flatter a shape that very very few people possess. So I go to clothing stores and find racks upon racks of XS, S, and M, and not a single L or XL. Pants are even worse. They never size past 16, 18 if you’re lucky, and then only order one or two pairs over a 10. I’ll find a fantastic pair of pants that I just know would flatter me, but all they have left is Size 2 Long, not my good old 12s.

    And you’re totally right, Kate, about being a “tweenie”. There’s a world of difference between a department store 14 (which I buy when I don’t want tight clothes, which is often) and a “plus size” 14. By difference I mean about 3 inches in the waist and and extra 3 in length too.

    I have no idea how these clothing stores stay in business. Oh wait, I do: size everyone out of your clothing, charge people who fit dozens of times more than it took to make the clothing, and contract out the actual manufacturing to contractors that use virtual slave labor.

  78. In defence of apples and empire waists, I think I actually look pretty rocking in them, but my natural waist is about an inch below my bust, and I’m ridiculously short-waisted, so stuff looks tunic-y and cute. I’m sick of size charts saying “Your waist is where your belly button is!” LOLNO.

    I also hate pants and skirts without stretch, because when I sit down my belly expands, and ow, waistbands being eaten by my double belly. Dresses for the win.

  79. “I’m sick of size charts saying “Your waist is where your belly button is!” LOLNO.”

    Hey there twin! My waist is about 2 inches above my belly button. Super low rise pants hit right below the bellybutton on me, and and high rise pants…well, I suppose I could save on laundry since the waistband would function as a bra? And yet nothing designed for petites fits me, even though I’m 5ft 2 1/2.

  80. About standardized sizing: there IS a drawback. All German size 54 pants (and good luck FINDING pants made in the petite sizes) are apparently designed for a woman who is approximately six feet tall, maybe a little more.

    I dream of a world where clothes are sold by ALL measurements. Of course, that’s unfeasible, so I usually end up instead dreaming of a world where I can give my measurements to a robot and tell it “I want a pair of jeans and a top with sequins on it” and five minutes later I’ve got a pair of jeans and a top with sequins on it and they fit.

    Robot tailors: the wave of the future.

  81. It’s about time Forever 21 catered to “normal” people. My boobs barely squeeze into a Large with their stuff.

  82. Sing it sister! Inbetweeny checking in here. It’s downright impossible to find anything worth wearing that’s not just thismuch too tight or gapes funny here or there. All I can say is that baby steps are better than backwards steps, but it’s time that the average clothing retailer got a freaking clue.

  83. This is very exciting for me because i love shopping at forever 21, but mainly just stick to accesories right now because i am a M/L and i STILL do not fit into most of their clothes well. i am very average at a 12 pant and m/l top, but everything there is aimed at fitting 2s and 4s. Next needs to come shoes that go past a small size 10. i wear 10s/11s and there 10 does not fit me well. so i basically miss out on ALL of their shoe options. i don’t think this line will actually suit the majority of plus sized ladies, but you’re right it will cover us average gals who need to look stylish too!

  84. I was just thinking about the fact that once society starts ‘mandating’ that the only acceptable sizes are (anywhere) below, say, a 12/14/16, we’re no longer just talking about fatness, but the actual size of people’s musculature and skeletal structures — it’s perfectly possible, is it not, to have very little body fat and still wear these sizes if your bodily frame itself is large? I see no way to explain society condoning messages that amount to “Sorry, your bones are too big” outside of a patriarchal imperative for women to actually disappear or, at least, shrink as close to nothingness as (im)possible.

  85. I’m an in-betweenie who has so far refused to buy plus sizes because the implication of “Plus” is so demeaning. Until yesterday, anyway, when I couldn’t even find a damn black T-shirt to cover my boobs and stomach for a funeral. The 2x I found is so crazy tight, I’ll possibly never wear it again. I agree with Caitlin. My mom is teaching me to sew.

  86. one last comment. I would very much like to recommend american eagle jeans to anyone looking for size up to 18. you do have to buy them online, but they offer 4 different inseam lengths and they actually have room for an ass in there. i have an itty bitty waist and a huge butt, and these jeans actually fit, and don’t leave crazy amounts of material up at the top just hanging around loose. just a suggestion :-)

  87. And why can’t I stop thinking of, “But this has eleven” when I think of vanity sizing? (The hilarious part is, thanks to that movie, amplifiers now actually DO go to 11. I bet Christopher Guest never thought he’d singlehandedly change the amplifier business.)

  88. thank you!! thank you. i’m an inbetweenie, and find it’s just ridiculous to try and go shopping sometimes. i can fit into shirts at pretty much every ‘regular’ store, but not all of their pants; in plus size stores, i can occasionally fit into their pants, but all shirts and dresses are too big and baggy even in the smallest size.
    really frustrating. so, you’re totally right, i find the 4 or 5 stores/lines i really like and can easily fit into, and shop the hell out of them.
    i can’t imagine what it must be like to walk into a straight size store and know that everything there could fit you.

  89. i can’t imagine what it must be like to walk into a straight size store and know that everything there could fit you.

    I did, it’s called anorexia. You’re so convinced you’re fat anyways that you purposefully don’t buy clothing that is flattering or fits right. Even if by luck you stumble upon something that looks great on you, you’ll never enjoy it because you’re starving, miserable, and your abs hurt from doing crunches until 2am because you ate a sandwich when your friends noticed that you weren’t eating. Plus, I never ever got out of a size M on top. My boobs didn’t go lower than a C no matter how little I ate and my shoulders were too wide and my back too broad.

    To this day people look at pictures of size 2 me and exclaim, “look how pretty and healthy you looked!” with meaningful sideways glances at my present gut.

    So, yeah, fitting naturally into everything in the store made for people with a body type you cannot have without hurting yourself is not worth it, trust me. Two more months without serious intervention from my horrified mother (who caught me with laxatives) probably would have led to a suicide attempt because I was that depressed.

    I love this blog, by the way, because I can express how angry I am that people, to this day, knowing about my propensity to eating disordered behavior, still tell me that I was so healthy-looking at a size 2.

  90. A couple o’ comments:

    The way I describe being a short in-betweenie: I now have three departments in any given department store where I can find clothes that don’t fit.

    I *heart* midrise pants. See, I’m short-waisted. And I have an aggressively well-defined waist. It insists that any garment with a waist have that waist sit Right There at my natural waist. So if the rise is too long, the waist on the pants is not up under my boobs, it slides down to my natural waist….which means the crotch is around my knees. This is not flattering nor comfortable.

    (And on the rare occasions when I’ve found pants that were too short-waisted for me, let’s just say it’s called a wedgie and leave it at that.)

    Empire waists are pretty much a lost cause on me because they never have enough space for the Rack o’ Doom. The waistband never sits below my rack, it sits somewhere on my rack, which simply means it doesn’t fit me.

    Reading all these comments is very heartening because sometimes it seems like every other woman in the world can just go out and buy clothes but nothing ever seems to fit me. It helps a lot just to know I’m not the only one.

  91. I sort of think I rely on bad quality control to find clothes that fit me really well. As does everyone who isn’t close to the size and shape that the manufacturers are using as their guideline.

    Once in a while there’s a mistake and they happen to make a pair of pants that is perfect for me.

    The last time something fit me perfectly on the first try was when my grandmother brought down two dresses from the attic: One of my mom’s and one of hers. Both fit me better than pretty much anything in my closet. Oh, HAI hereditary body shape.

  92. some size 10s would consider themselves inbetweenies because they’re sized out of high-end boutiques. Some people use it to mean “people who can shop at most plus-size and some straight-size stores” (in which case you can probably be an inbetweenie up to a size 18/20 or so) and some use it to mean “people who can’t really shop at most plus-size or some straight-size stores” (in which case you have to be a size 12 or so, i.e. smaller than some plus stores carry).

    Which is to say, a whole fucking lot of people.

  93. Vidya-

    — it’s perfectly possible, is it not, to have very little body fat and still wear these sizes if your bodily frame itself is large?

    Oh, yes. My size 2 friend and I were getting dressed to go somewhere, and just for fun, I picked up her jeans and held the waistband up to my hips. Stretched flat, it hit just between my hip bones. I’m about an 18ish, but at my smallest adult size, I wore a 14. I don’t actually think my skeleton would fit in anything smaller than a 12. Plenty of fatophobes will tell you that “big boned” is a myth, but they are wearing their asses as hats, clearly.

  94. … the substantial gulf between a Gap 14/16 and a Lane Bryant 14/16 …

    I thought I was the only one. Thanks SP for making me feel like less of a weirdo! Oh, clothing and I have such a love-hate relationship.. Like clothes.. like pretty clothes.. HATE SHOPPING. Many a shopping trip has reduced me literally to tears at size frustration because of the in-betweenieness and my height (why is the concept of Petite, but plus-sized ignored?). And don’t get me started on the difficulty of being a size 4 1/2 in shoes. Pink and sparkley? Mary janes with a round toe and 1″ heel? NTY! Even the shoe-warehouse-stores don’t carry below 5s. Ooops, looks like I did get started there.

  95. To this day people look at pictures of size 2 me and exclaim, “look how pretty and healthy you looked!” with meaningful sideways glances at my present gut.

    ((((Jenn))))
    Please give them a Miss Manners icy stare of disdain from me, and a haughty “My goodness, you’re such a nice person I’m shocked that you’d say something that rude.” With arched eyebrow, if possible.

  96. Speaking of clothes that don’t fit, does anyone have a Rainbow around them? The closest one to me is in Delaware, and for a store that proudly proclaims they carry plus sizes, their sizing runs extremely small. And thanks to my huge rack and arms, I can’t even fit in their 4X tops! My mom, who is a size 14/16, has to buy 3X in tops to fit her. Of course, the clothes are so cheaply made and chintzy, so that may have something to do with it.

  97. I’m sick of size charts saying “Your waist is where your belly button is!” LOLNO.

    That depends on if you mean your natural waist or your clothing waist.

    My natural waist, meaning my narrowest point, is about 2″ above my belly button. I wear my pants about an inch below it.

  98. To this day people look at pictures of size 2 me and exclaim, “look how pretty and healthy you looked!” with meaningful sideways glances at my present gut.

    I’m sure everybody has stories like this, but I had a friend with anorexia in high school who had people telling her how gorgeous she was and how healthy she looked literally up until the day she passed out in school and then spent three months in the hospital. She must have weighed 85 pounds at the time and she looked starved. That so many people thought she was the picture of health just shows how completely screwed up our ideas of health are.

  99. “I’m sick of size charts saying “Your waist is where your belly button is!” LOLNO.”

    GOD, I KNOW. My sister and I (hi beast!) both have crazywaists well above where our bellybuttons are. Which is nice because our bellies are offset by a bit of hourglassery (we’re similar weights and shapes and put our fat on in the same places despite living in different COUNTRIES for the last five years. SAY, DO YOU THINK GENETICS IS INVOLVED?), but makes short-torsoed tops and low-rise jeans our natural enemies. I know where my waist is; it is not where clothing companies think it should be. (Corset companies are with me though. Mmm, corsets.)

    Plenty of fatophobes will tell you that “big boned” is a myth, but they are wearing their asses as hats, clearly.

    Definitely. I have a broad skeleton. Even with hardly any fat on it, I was still wider sideways than any of my friends (though obvs very skinny front-to-back). I could never, and I mean never, fit into anything smaller than a UK 8 (US 12?). My bones DO NOT BEND THAT WAY.

    To this day people look at pictures of size 2 me and exclaim, “look how pretty and healthy you looked!” with meaningful sideways glances at my present gut.

    I’d give it a good, “So you’d rather me near-death than fat?” Sometimes people just don’t know what they’re saying, and it’s nice to bring it home.

  100. Maya, I have also spent more shopping excursions than I care to remember trying not to cry in dressing rooms after trying on the 20th pair of pants that just did not fit.

    I find it frustrating that, depending on the store, I can
    1. only shop in their plus section
    2. only shop in their regular section
    3. have to get tops from the plus section and bottoms from the straight section
    4. have to get tops from the regular (or even petite) section and bottoms from the plus section.

  101. Maya – “why is the concept of Petite, but plus-sized ignored?”

    Oh hell, yes. Next doesn’t carry a petite above a UK size 16. As an 18, I have to buy “regular” trousers (which seem to have a 34-inch leg, as I am completely drowning in them) and either let them drag in the dirt or faff about trying to take them up. Because obviously no one could ever be short AND fat.

    The US sizing is C-O-M-P-L-I-C-A-T-E-D. I have deep respect for all of you navigating it and still managing to find fabulous clothes that fit.

    I am interested to learn that I am an inbetweenie, based on the definitions given above – although less pleased by the kneejerk “hey, I’m an inbetweenie – that means I’m practically THIN” message that my subconscious threw out. *sigh* How do I get my hindbrain to internalise FA?

  102. That depends on if you mean your natural waist or your clothing waist.

    My natural waist, meaning my narrowest point, is about 2″ above my belly button. I wear my pants about an inch below it.

    Yeah, I hear you – unfortch clothing companies tend not to really recognise that. Plus, they often say to measure around your ‘natural waist’, leading to considerable confusion, I imagine.

    If I wore my pants an inch below my navel, I’d probably get done for indecent exposure. My gut is how I hold my pants up (lol no hips), if I wear them below it, things start ridin’ south. This is why I kind of love how mid and high-waisted stuff has come back in.

  103. emmy: Plenty of fatophobes will tell you that “big boned” is a myth, but they are wearing their asses as hats, clearly.

    …and I’d just add that if they’re able to wear ANYthing as hats, including their asses, they are more fortunate than I am in the millinery department. “One size fits most” hats are like wee scalp tourniquets for me that make me dizzy and give me headaches within five minutes of putting them on. If I can get them on at all, which is rare. Meanwhile my shoulders are very often too broad for any tops without stretch, and wear a size 10W or 10 1/2 W shoe, so it would seem that my skeleton is wide to begin with, no? NO NO NO HUMAN BONES CAN ONLY BE BIG UP AND DOWN NOT LEFT TO RIGHT I AM CLEARLY NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH BLAH BLAH HEALTHY LIFESTYLE WHINGE GRITCH.

    Somewhat unrelated observation about the “big boned” idea that is not at all intended as a rejoinder to emmy (because I don’t think emmy was doing this):

    I’ve noticed myself sometimes lapsing into thinking that bones are the non-negotiable givens of one’s body, and muscle/fat are arenas for morally-loaded control over one’s body. When I catch myself doing that, I try to talk myself out of it. Because it seems to me that our culture takes that construct — bones are non-negotiable, muscle is subject to control but in good and productive ways, fat is subject to control but is bad and unproductive and must be made to disappear — and superimposes it on the social body. Such that different groups get cast in the roles of bones, muscle, and fat, in ways that are horribly classed and raced and gendered.

    I mean, I know that’s not an earth-shattering observation or anything, and I’m sure others have made it better than I have. I just remind myself of it when I start thinking of my skeleton as a given in the way that my muscle and fat are just potentialities in which I may prove my moral purity and responsibility.

    That said, there are of course many ways in which one can modify one’s body, and it may not always hold that “modification” equals “control.” And there are outer limits, things we just can’t force our bodies to do. And ditto with the social body. It’s just interesting to think about.

    Well, anyway. Enough. I’ve got to go return a denim jacket to TJ Maxx. The jacket thought my boobs should be in one place, but in fact my boobs were in another. It’s like my boobs had a date with the jacket but then they went to some other restaurant instead. Bitches. (She said, lovingly.)

  104. A Sarah, giant head high five!

    I mean, I know that’s not an earth-shattering observation or anything, and I’m sure others have made it better than I have. I just remind myself of it when I start thinking of my skeleton as a given in the way that my muscle and fat are just potentialities in which I may prove my moral purity and responsibility.

    Thanks for saying this, too. I try to avoid that kind of thinking, too, because I actually have really tiny wrists and hands, and my lower arms and lower legs are pretty thin even when all the rest of my body is chub central. For years I thought that because from the elbow down, I was skinny, then that secretly meant I should be skinny all over and my curvy torso was a sign of failure. Now I realize that even if I lose weight, my body is still going to be more or less the same shape, just a less wide version thereof. But I am still more susceptible than I’d like to that “bones=real you” mentality.

  105. Bree, I live in NYC and we totally have Rainbow. Aside from the fact that the clothing there falls apart upon taking it off the hanger, you are 100% right, the sizing is wonky. Some things will be marked 2X that are smaller than standard small and other things will be marked 2X and be more like a 4X.

    It’s crazy making.

    I’m not sure if I’m an inbetweenie or not. Sometimes I wear an 18; in some stores I have to wear a 20 if I don’t want to pour myself into the pants. Whether I am or not, I hate that clothes continue to be yet another battle ground on which we try to suck the soul out of women. You don’t know how many years I spent crying in dressing rooms because jeans that were the same size as the jeans I had on, wouldn’t go past my thighs. It makes me sick to think of how many women out there are still going through that.

  106. Cindy, that’s fascinating about American Eagle pants, because that is one of the few stores where I can buy jeans that fit me reasonably well (and I think I’m a ~2R in them. I just have to get them hemmed, because of course, the “short” pants are not just shorter than “regulars,” they’re also smaller everywhere). Anyway, maybe they just generally fit more actual live humans than some other brands!

    Caitlin, pretty sure UK sizing goes the other way. a UK 8 is more like a US 4 now, IIRC. Hell, when I was there about 10 years ago, before the US sizes changed so much again, I was wearing a 4 in the US and usually I had to get a UK 10 because an 8 was too small. The lower end of the size range seems to have a bigger difference between US and UK, or at least it used to. It makes me wonder if the sizing increment also spans a bigger gap in the UK?

  107. volcanista, I (as we have just seen) have no idea about sizing really (UK or US), since I avoid clothes shopping like the plague. I do know that about 25lb ago I could comfortably wear one skirt I had that was size 8, size 10s from a few shops, size 12s from a bunch more, and 14 from some where the 12s were WAAAAY too small for me. The whole thing is ridiculous.

    A Sarah, giant head high five!

    Woo! Did you know the whole of WDW Florida only sold one hat that went big enough for my head WHEN I WAS 12 YEARS OLD? Science fact!

  108. For years I thought that because from the elbow down, I was skinny, then that secretly meant I should be skinny all over and my curvy torso was a sign of failure.

    I’ve probably mentioned before that my mom once insisted that “I can’t be big-boned, my wrists are the thinnest part of my body!” I was like, mom? EVERYONE’S wrists are the thinnest parts of their bodies.

    (She also has quite thin wrists compared to, say, me — and she’s also not fat. Neither big-boned nor “big-boned. But the idea that she “should be” thinner because her wrists had no fat was boggling to me.)

    Some people are just built on different scales. I have friends with tiny delicate bones (incidentally, not unlike “naturally thin,” everyone believes in small bones but not in big bones) who I look at and think, seriously, people expect that I could and should look like that?

  109. ‘Still not shopping at Forever 21, though. Those trendier-and-thinner-than-thou stores do not make for a comfortable or pleasant shopping experience if you are not trendy and thin.”

    I so get you on this, Electrogirl.

    I guess I’m an in betweener because I like clothes, and as a 10/12 I’m largely (forgive pun)excluded from the clothes I’d like to wear that suits my personal style. Or, the clothes that suit my body and my style simply do not fit my budget, unless they are on the last call rack, and yep-my size is never there by that point.

    For years I would endure snotty elitist sales people to possibly find something at the higher end specialty stores that worked for me. I now refuse to pay money to any retail establishment that I feel like shit shopping in, because they only carry up to a size 8, and their occasional size larges are meant for someone very tall-(because, of course, thats the only case where wearing a large is acceptable.) Hey, if they don’t want my money, fuck ‘em.

    The sizist attitude trickles down……all the way from the design team to the salesfloors of the stores that sell the product…Reminds me of an article I read in a fashion magazine years ago called “The Size 8 Gate”-that many designers really don’t want their clothes represented on people over a size 8. Its really a classist issue as much as a size issue- the intersection is there. Do they think that anyone who has money to spend is not over a size 8?

    I worked in this business for years and it just makes me fucking CRAZY. And if my experience is typical, which I’ll go on a limb and dare say it was, they are as sizist as you could imagine.

    I recently shopped at DVF on sale in Las Vegas-some of their pieces really flatter a curvier in betweener body, and they carry up to 14…although again, all sizes above 8 were “in the back”. They do get props though, for having a very attractive,curvaceous Shapeling rocking a DVF dress on the salesfloor. Yes, I know, she was probably only a 12 or 14-but seeing girls on the floor in these boutiques higher than a size 6 or 8 is very, very rare.

  110. I’m starting to feel insecure about my tiny head.

    Your tiny head is just as awesome as our big heads.

  111. Many a shopping trip has reduced me literally to tears at size frustration because of the in-betweenieness and my height (why is the concept of Petite, but plus-sized ignored?)

    God, me too. I remember going shopping for a prom dress with my mom and having a crying-kicking-and-screaming breakdown in the formal wear department of the 10th store that didn’t have a single dress that would FIT MY BODY, much less anything fashionable or flattering. Oh, the joy of being a short fat teenager.

    Oh, and don’t get me started on how the few plus petite clothes I’ve found are often a size or two larger/smaller than their non-petite counterparts. I usually wear a straight 16, but the handful of petite plus stuff I have is anywhere from 12-20.The hell?

  112. The benefit to wearing a commonly stocked size is that you can walk into a store and try a lot of things on. It doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily find anything that actually fits well.

    Most of the clothing in my age, size, and price range has spent the last few years studiously ignoring the existence of hips.

    I’m beginning to think that some number of stores have decided that making poorly fitting clothes is a sound business strategy. Do they think that if the only thing available doesn’t fit very well we’ll keep buying more in the hopes that it will fit better than the terribly fitting stuff we bought the last time?

  113. At the risk of being forward, after reading more of the comments, I’m wondering if maybe this would be a good Friday Fluff (or Friday Rant) posting for airing clothing grievances? (And maybe some praise for the good stuff?)

    Rivikah, you’ve touched on a whole ‘nother hot spot for clothing for me: I turned 45 today. I do NOT want to dress like I’m 21, but I don’t want to dress like I’m 85 either. Trying to find clothes that are flatter me, aren’t too young or too old, don’t reveal too much skin but aren’t frumpy …there are some days when I just want to tear three holes in a black garbage bag and call it done. At least it would be cheaper. It’d probably wear as well, too.

    That’s why it’s really nice to hear Forever 21 is acknowledging the majority of women, but I don’t think I’ll be shopping there.

  114. The benefit to wearing a commonly stocked size is that you can walk into a store and try a lot of things on. It doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily find anything that actually fits well.

    This is very true, although it’s only half the truth. The other half is that you can walk into a zillion more stores than someone who doesn’t wear a commonly stocked size, which still gives you the statistical advantage, at least.

    But yeah, one of the biggest bummers about starving myself down to a size 4 was realizing I still couldn’t fucking wear half the stuff I liked, on accounta still having proportionally huge space hoppers and hips/thighs. I am, at any size, curvier than average, and clothes are cut for… well, somebody’s idea of “average.” But still, it was really fucking nice to be able to go to every store at the mall except the one fat store, and find things that were “my size,” even if only a small percentage of them were cut to look decent on my body. I’d love to have the same number of theoretical options now, and I currently have the highest possible number of options in the plus market.

  115. Whether I am or not, I hate that clothes continue to be yet another battle ground on which we try to suck the soul out of women.

    Well said, Jae! If we dress too young, we’re slutty, if we dress too old, we’re frumpy. We have to show *just* the right amount of skin, while being conservative enough for work place dress codes. We have to have the right undergarments for a “smooth” look. Our clothes have to be fashionable, not dated. Plus accessories. Not to mention grooming, makeup, shoes, etc! On top of everything else the modern woman is “expected” to do/be .. career oriented.. savvy consumer.. a good mom (and all THAT involves) .. manage her household.. have a perfectly clean house.. be a charming hostess.. have a social life with her girlfriends.. stay on top of current events.. stay in shape.. help her community.. etc etc etc ! UGH!

    Feminist rant time, apparently!

  116. Tropical Chrome – Are you in America? That was actually one of the first things I noticed when I moved here from the UK, the wierd gap in the clothing market between clothes designed for teenagers and clothes designed for older people. It’s like the market goes directly from high school to middle aged and skips ages say 25-50 entirely. What happened to the concept “stylish adult woman”? I mean you can find stuff, if you’re in the 0-8 size range, it exists, but you really have to make an effort to track stuff down that’s grown up and yet not matronly. I’ve never understood why that is.

  117. Also even in the event that you can find clothes suitable for adult women but not middle aged women, in your size, the designers still seem to be convinced that breasts only come in a B cup. If you’re either substantially bigger or substantially smaller in the rack, shirts don’t hang right.

  118. I feel as if short and fat are not allowed to exist together. As if by being 5’0″ tall I have some extra need to be petite, tiny and “feminine”. I just feel sometimes if the world is shouting “If you were supposed to be big, you would not be so fucking short.”

    I find the whole plus-size petite to be ridiculously named. I am not “petite” I am short; if being called fat does not offend me then labeling the length of my pants short really is not going to drive me away. Also “petite” length is not nearly short enough for my 24″ inseam. I find myself buying cropped pants just to get away without hemming.

    My shopping fantasy is a store with a section labeled SHORT and FAT. Not a single item of clothing would be hung above my head. The racks would be far enough apart for my ample ass and hips. And there would be attractive black slacks made for my short, fat legs. Long sleeves would not come past the tips of my fingers and short sleeve would not be down to my elbow. I could on and on…

  119. Based on their size chart, I project the following for the “plus” sizes:

    XL: 39-40″ bust, 31-32″ waist, 41-42″ hip
    1X: 41-42″ bust, 33-34″ waist, 43-44″ hip
    2X: 43-44″ bust, 35-36″ waist, 45-46″ hip

    Well, it looks like my tall skinny ass* might be able to shop at Forever 21 again. Maybe. If my hips don’t get much bigger. I wear between an 8 and a 12 at places like JCPenney and Fashion Bug, which usually translates to a M or L, depending on the brand. Junior sizes usually put me an an L on the top and an XL on the bottom. At Forever 21 I will be in an XL on the top and a 1X on the bottom. These are not “plus” sizes.

    *For some reason a skinny person at 5’8″ is wider than a skinny person at 5’2″. Go figure.

  120. I’ll *me too* Cassandra and Tropical Chrome. Adult professional clothing is very difficult to find, but almost impossible if you are short and fat. I’m 5’2, and I usually wear about a size 18. And I’m stacked. Even before I wore plus sizes, it was hard to find suits that were not candy colored and had long sleeves. Last year, I spent 6 hours in Woodfield mall, which is one of the biggest malls in America, looking for a plain skirted suit suitable for a job interview or formal business occasion. I finally found one, but it’s not “petite” so I should have the sleeves taken up, but they are acceptable.

    I have recently had good luck finding professional clothing at Lord and Taylor and Carson’s. Jones New York now has a plus line, and Evan Picone has one too, with suiting separates. I’ve been able to find pretty cocktail dresses at Nordstrom online, but on the suit expedition, I used the personal shopper there. Either they didn’t have Jack, or the shopper missed the concept of a Suit suitable for an interview. There were only badly fitting separates in styles that were not at all acceptable.

    Maybe it’s time to start a regular letter writing campaign to stores demanding 1) uniform sizing and 2)a greater range of clothing.

  121. CassandraSays, yes, I am in the US. I can find ultra-casual clothes, and I can find business formal clothes, but there seems to be precious little in between for when I want to dress up a little socially, but not completely formal.

  122. Argh, the candy colored petite section! Whose brilliant idea was it to attempt to make all short women dress like Strawberry Shortcake?

    And yep, Tropical Chrome, that’s exactly what I meant. Suits are relatively easy to find (though not so much for anyone over a size 18 I think), but where are the clothes that are stylish and dressy but not in a business sense? I mean they exist, but why do they only exist at the really high end designer level? Why do most manufacturers seem to think that “dressing up” means dressing like a teenager going clubbing?

  123. Oh THANK YOU for describing so clearly the in-betweenie issue!

    I’m a 16-ish on the bottom and a 14-ish on top (narrow shoulders, small arms, but a 36D/DD rack). Add in “short-waisted” and “34″ inseam” and its a recipe for years of tears when clothing shopping.

    For a long time I could order pants from Lands End, but in their efforts to Get With Teh Trendy, they’ve changed their fit and I’ve been awfully disappointed with my last few orders. Then this fall I discovered through a friend that LB’s Right Fit stuff fits like I am the fit model it was based on.

    Now I tell my mom I can’t lose any weight because I’ll be stuck shopping in those gorram stores where I’m the Fat Chick again. I know LB has its faults, but going into one for the first time in years and finding things that fit me and were flattering and attractive was …. really, really, nice.

  124. I just wanted to say, on the subject of clothing. I got Apple Bottom brand jeans for my birthday, which was on March 7th. When I tried them on I was like “OMG, THEY FIT! THEY ACTUALLY FIT!!!” None of that cutting into my gut, I get from other jeans.

    I’m so happy! I’ve been literally wearing sweatpants for years, cause I got so tired of trying to find fitting jeans, and was never able to find them. Well okay I also dislike shopping, it bores me. So I imagine that didn’t help.

  125. OMG, Sharn:

    “God, me too. I remember going shopping for a prom dress with my mom and having a crying-kicking-and-screaming breakdown in the formal wear department of the 10th store that didn’t have a single dress that would FIT MY BODY, much less anything fashionable or flattering. Oh, the joy of being a short fat teenager. ”

    That was my experience exactly. Somehow I managed to go to FOUR high school dress-up dances. I don’t know how my mom lived through it – I remember just dissolving into tears six or seven hours into the process, trying to decide between a spaghetti strap sheath in a size two or a size 22 mother-of-the-bride dress… At the time I was between a 12 and a 14, very conscious of my arms, and 5’3″. It was the most depressing thing…

    Because of that experience, I started having mini-panic attacks when I got engaged, anticipating wedding dress shopping as a repeat of prom dress shopping… Luckily I found that there were a lot more options in wedding dresses than prom dresses, but I still had to spend as much in alterations as I did on the dress (the fit model is supposedly 5’9″… ARGH!).

  126. First time commenter–I am so glad to discover I am not the only woman stuck in the ‘tweens. I remember being in a department store one time and trying on a size 16 blazer that made me look like a sausage. So I crossed the aisle into the plus department. I found the same jacket, IN THE SAME BRAND, in 16W–it made me look like a baggy sack of potatoes.

    I think I ran home in despair immediately afterwards, pretty convinced my frame was just impossible to fit. (I have since gained some more perspective on the whole thing.)

    Short story: I am all for making more overlap in sizing, or perhaps more accurately, more variety in shape within the sizes.

  127. So, When I first heard the news I was a tad bit excited, I wear a 22, while my small(heh) group of friends on the average wears a size 9 or 11. I thought hey, even though most of the stuff in F21 is garbage, I would be able to at least browse with them instead of standing around looking like a big retarded mule dodging the rest of the skinny heffas while they attack the sale racks. But then I saw Juniors 1x and 2x and gave up. I thought I was actually going to be able to go out shopping again on which I gave up on.

    I seriously doubt this would do well, I see their competition(or brand mate maybe) Wetseal(.com, of course) has done the same but their sizes go up to a 24, if memory serves. Im a broke 22 year old college student, I have the absolute HARDEST time finding trendy clothing that doesnt break my bank. (side-eye @ Torrid) Yes, there are stores like Dots and Rainbow, but most of the clothing in there is “clubwear”. What the hell.

    Lets just hope more retailers open their eyes and expand their sizing, as well as combine them as well…Im fat remember, why the hell do I have to walk to the back of the store?

Comments are closed.