Fashion, You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Faith 21: I give it 3 months

Faith 21, the new “plus-size” line from Forever 21, is out.

The bad news: The goods pretty much range from “meh” to “WTF?” (I realize I’m like 20 years older than the target market here, but still: Not a dress, not a dress, not a dress. I would consider buying this AS A SHIRT.)

The good/bad news: It probably won’t fit you anyway. 

When I first heard about Faith 21, I noted that they only planned to go up to a junior 2X, which is not so much “adding a plus-size line” as “expanding our range of sizes all the way up to roughly a standard XL!” Now, having seen the size chart, I can say it’s even worse than I thought:

Are you fucking kidding me? For the record, I often wear the smallest plus size available in actual plus size stores, and I can still wear some straight XLs, at least on top. (My ass is pretty consistently an 18W these days, but in tops and dresses with full skirts, I’m usually a 14W.)  And my measurements are 43-38-48. Ergo, I am pretty much sized out of this line. The only other ostensibly plus-size line I know of in which I wear a 3X is Stop Staring, which is well known for running — as Fillyjonk puts it — “criminally small.” 

As I said before, this is great for true in-betweenies, who often really are screwed when it comes to finding clothes that fit. But it’s not so great that this is being heralded as a “plus-size” line when it’s anything but. It’s bad enough that “junior plus” sizes further confuse the issue of what a “2X” (etc.) is to begin with, but when your junior “2X” is more like a usual junior “1x,” which is already like a plain old “X” (edited to fix arithmetic fail), who the fuck are you trying to kid? And what the fuck is the point? You are setting yourself up to fail, when all those girls who wear a Torrid 2X and were stoked to be able to go to (a few) Forever 21 stores with their friends find out that they still can’t wear your shit, and even if they could, they’d need to carry all of their weight somewhere other than their thighs in order to pull half of it off. (Unless, of course, they’re rocking massive body confidence, which would be fantastic — but I’m thinking that segment of the teenaged fat girl market is pretty damn limited.)

Between designs that are only meant for basically thin girls with bellies, sizing that still excludes a great deal of the junior plus market, and the decision to only offer the line in a handful of bricks-and-mortar stores, I give Faith 21 about 3 months before it folds, the company sends out a press release saying “the market just wasn’t there,” and Forever 21 once again becomes a Thin Girls Only store. Awesome work, guys. Just terrific.

142 thoughts on “Faith 21: I give it 3 months”

  1. WTF? Those aren’t dresses. Those are shirts.

    Shirts I’d wear if they were actually sized to fit, I hasten to add.

  2. Sheesh.

    I can just imagine how mortifying it must be, for a fat teenage girl going into Forever 21 with thinner friends, to admit to her friends that the new plus-size line is too small for her. And she’ll probably think it’s her fault for being so incredibly fat, too. :(

  3. My office is having a “staff appreciation” event this week, and we’re all getting matching windbreakers with our logo on them. They’re actually cute. I went to try on the samples, to order the correct size, and guess what? I can’t even get into the men’s 4X! I wear a size 22 on the bottom and a size 16 or 18 on top. So, there’s this whole big presentation of handing out the jackets, and 4 women and 2 men get to stand there with nothing and have to explain to everyone else that they were too fat to fit into the 4X! Fun times.

  4. At least (and okay, it’s totally “least”) they use plus-size models. Skinny models in plus clothes make my head explode.

    Which, messy.

  5. The not-a-dressness of those bears repeating.
    Also, tights are not pants.

    Time for a purely selfish fit of preemptive inbetweenie annoyance: I can wear a large in most things they make (that I am actually interested in wearing!) right now, but judging from the size chart, I suspect they’re going to reduce the measurements of their regular line, seeing as I’m 42-33-43 and all.

  6. Toni, I am SO sorry that the manufacturer utterly failed to make sizes that fit a wide range of people. Ugh.

  7. I’m totally distracted, because that model looks suspiciously like Harmony from Buffy.
    I’m sized out, too, which makes me grumpy, because I’m XL/borderline plus.

  8. i am super bummed. i was so excited to see the line and was really disappointed by the lack of variety and wackadoo sizes.
    boo on you forever 21.

  9. Not dresses, indeed. What are they thinking?

    Good post. I’ve been reading a few weeks now and am going to start commenting. I appreciate what you’re doing here.

  10. The selection is also criminally small. I mean, wtf, even Old Navy has the decency to make their plus selection equally as substantial as the straight sizes.q

  11. To clarify, it’s the possibility of having my selection of questionable barwear reduced that chaps my ass, not being considered plus-sized, in case that wasn’t clear. :)

    Also, Toni, the sizing of those jackets is just ridiculous.

  12. The dresses Kate links to are being modeled by “plus size” models? WTF?!

    I know I’m old, but those models look like what we used of dream of dieting down to back when I was in high school. They’d be seen as the ideal, definitely not plus size.

  13. That really sucks Toni! When workplaces do this kinda shit it feels like they’re saying you must be >this< size or smaller to work here.

    When my sister-in-law’s workplace introduced new uniforms they had to special order one in her size: SHE’S A SIZE 12! and that’s Australian size 12 which I believe is smaller sizing than US and UK. That’s just insane!

    Skinny models in plus clothes make my head explode.
    Mine too! Someone who doesn’t fit the clothes can hardly give you an accurate representation of what you will look like in them. Also it kind of feels like they’re dissing their customer base…

  14. killedbyllamas- Oh, you cracked me up. We need a movement: Inbetweenies and the Plus Sized for Questionable Barwear!!

  15. Gah! Look into pants!!

    Because my fat thighs with the stretch marks on top that would be shown off by those “dresses” — totally the part of my body I’m most comfortable showing off in public. I’m sure nooooo one would make me uncomfortable or make mean comments. /snark

    And I could actually fit into the damn things.

  16. A friend of mine wrote on my facebook wall “What is with Forever 21!? I’m a woman, not a cheetah!” That pretty much sums up my reaction to this line of clothes.

  17. I know I’m old, but those models look like what we used of dream of dieting down to back when I was in high school. They’d be seen as the ideal, definitely not plus size.

    Semi unrelated, but I was watching a first season episode of E.R. which dated to like 1994 and featured a flight attendant who was Doug Ross’s patient, who the desk clerk “saved” for him so he could hit on her. When they showed her, I thought it was going to be a joke about how fat she was but it turned out that she was, in fact, supposed to be a generic hot girl.* So I feel like there’s been some change even in the last fifteen years, which is hella depressing.

    * And don’t get me wrong, she was not in the least bit fat, objectively and non-Hollywood speaking.

  18. Tights may not be pants, but Torrid had some fantastic shiny lamé leggings that would be awesome as pants. (Metallic turquoise leggings. Oh my gawd do I wish I had money right now!) Of course, if you’re going into Torrid anyway…

  19. Meryt Bast — No kidding, re: the models. I kept thinking, ‘why does that brunette one keep making such funny faces?’

  20. That size chart is just ridiculous. So… basically, just-about-sort of slightly less than average sized women can fit in their stuff… provided they also retain an exxagerated hourglass figure. I mean, I sort-of have one kinda but… 45-37-47 is very exxagerated! Do they think we are all cartoon women? Or all wear whale-bone corsets?

    But I do have to disagree with you on the skirt length. Personally, I rock the very short dress with leggings look… it works well with my bizarre body shape.

  21. I’m doing a shitload of clarifying today…I have absolutely no problem with pretty much anything paired with proper leggings (especially shiny turquoise ones, nom); it’s the actual honest-to-cod seethrough tights such as these that are problematic as pants. But then again, I’m probably a bit sensitive about that due to a mishap in 6th grade…

    Arwen, IaPSfQB ftw! We ought to send F21 a stern note on official stationary.

  22. And I hadn’t checked out the Torrid leggings until just now due to having a piece of silver lame waiting for me to make a custom pair for myself out of it, but…Jem pink. Omg.

  23. I totally own the dress that you would consider wearing as a shirt (though not in a plus size). It actually goes down to my knees. Clearly they did a terrible job sizing it up. Actually, I think they may have just put a size L on the model, and it just stretched outwards and got shorter. (Also? It looks ridiculous on me with the ties on the side, IMO, but it’s pretty cute on me if I tie it in the back).

    There is something weird going on though. Why would they make the non-plus size dress several inches longer than the plus size one? I mean, I’m all for options in dress length for everyone, but it’s weird if they redesigned the whole plus size line to be shorter.

  24. I second Deborah in saying that at least the models that they used are 1) plus-sized and 2) absolutely GORGEOUS.

  25. Oh, also, as someone who measures 42-32-47, I do have a rather exaggerated figure that is NOT complemented at all by most of the clothes they have rolled out for Faith 21.

  26. And this is why I don’t even bother shopping half the time. I just wear stuff until it falls apart. If people want jeans though, custom made is the way to go.

    Seriously worth every penny. Also, red denim. Nuff said.

  27. I can understand people being disappointed at how this turned out, but Forever 21’s quality is notoriously shoddy. And I say that as someone who loved shopping there back when I was skinny.

  28. I could just fit into their 2X. However, I am a fan of pants, so I think I’ll be steering clear of this line.

    Do they think we are all cartoon women?

    Some of us really are shaped that way. I have a 34″ waist and 47″ hips, and it’s a huge pain in the ass finding pants that make it over my lower body without leaving a huge gap at my waist my underwear shows out of when I sit.

    However, I’m still not giving up on pants, even if all the cool kids are doing it.

    My husband went to a conference in San Francisco last month and told me that a lot of women there were wearing tops that looked like they should have pants under them without any pants. I just hope the trend doesn’t make it to Detroit.

  29. My husband went to a conference in San Francisco last month and told me that a lot of women there were wearing tops that looked like they should have pants under them without any pants. I just hope the trend doesn’t make it to Detroit.

    I see this a lot in Phoenix, but it’s really, really hot here so I can see it.

  30. Check the bottom of a Forever21 bag. It says John 3:16. And now I find that they’ve named their new line “Faith”? Sheesh. I guess Jesus only likes skinny teenagers in skimpy, shoddily-made clothing.

  31. Well, as an in-betweenie, the measurements on the sizing chart would be just great for me, but…

    …why are there only like seven pieces? And why is the cute yellow tunic thing on the Faith 21 front page NOT AVAILABLE anywhere on the website? I’m hoping that’s just early launch crappiness. And not, you know, evidence of further indifference toward the potential customer base. Ahem.

    Better still: when you click on any particular garment, you get a little parade across the bottom of the screen of other items you might want. Which are all from their “regular” line. Marketing FAIL.

  32. “it’s a huge pain in the ass finding pants that make it over my lower body without leaving a huge gap at my waist my underwear shows out of when I sit.”


  33. For some reason, a LOT of the clothing lately seems to have a waist only an inch or two different from the hips. Very, very frustrating.

  34. There have been a lot of Faith21 reviews over at the Fatshionista LJ community, and from what I’ve read over there, the chart isn’t really all that accurate.

    I really do hope that they get enough positive and constructive feedback to expand the line. Even though the clothes aren’t to my taste, I would have loved for this to be available when I was in High School.

  35. I like this and I want it, but their sizing is made of fail. By bust size, I’m in their 1x range, but by hips and waist I’m off the chart (to the high side).

    I really hope this doesn’t sound like “I’m not that fat” whining, but on what planet is someone who’s barely into what normally counts as “plus sizes” too big for a specifically “plus-sized” line?

    Come on, Forever 21, 16 is a 2x in your world? Really, that’s the top of the plus size range? And someone who’s comfortably sitting in a 16 right now is actually larger than that 2x that you’re calling equivalent to a 15-16? Wow, I’m glad I wasn’t that into clothes 10 years ago. That would’ve just confirmed for me that I was “OMG, the fattest person IN THE WORLD”–you know, when I thought that was a horrible awful thing.

    On the plus side, the price doesn’t suck. For seventeen bucks, I’m willing to give it a try. Stick a little cami under it and I could even wear it to work.

  36. That second garment you linked to — the “Dolman sleeve dress” — looks like a nightshirt to me. It’s loose, almost sloppy, around the shoulders and only falls to four inches below her crotch.

  37. I just want to reply to the “not a dress” stuff. I’m just graduating from college so I’m right in the Forever 21 market. They don’t make tons and tons of every day wear stuff. They make club and house party stuff. Most girls I know would at least put leggings under those dresses, but I think it’s great they’re making the same sort of stuff in their “plus” line that they do for their straight sizes line. While the line does not go very big, I think it would be 10 times worse if they made skanky dresses for smaller girls and then went… oh, let’s make sure we keep the fatties covered up.

    Also I think people were expecting a bit much from Forever 21. Their straight sizes are shoddy, often randomly sized, and fall apart. They’re fast food fashion. They’re doing what they’ve always done, just in slightly bigger sizes now.

    But, I also think they’re serving a market that has been totally untapped. Most plus sided stores tend to be very heavy on basics and super expensive. I think Faith 21 will do a really good business with high school/college-aged inbetweenies. It’s cheap trendy crap and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered to complete a certain outfit.

    Hopefully if the line does well they’ll expand it.

    Also a similar place that has a much better plus department is DEBS. Also cheap crappy trendy clothes, but they generally have about half the store dedicated to plus sizes. The mall in my college town just got one and right now it’s wall to wall prom dresses.

  38. Hey, Kaz, some of that small waist/hip differential is because the pants are intended to be a very low rise – so the “waist” of the pants is meant to sit more on the hips.

    If you have a short rise, it turns out to be pretty ill-fitting.

  39. I think I have the opposite problem – even jeans that are meant to sit on my waist end up rubbing my hipbones into blisters because they don’t. They sit right on my hipbones and fit really badly at that. Hence why I get all mine custom made. It’s just not worth wanting to rip my clothes off at the end of the day because my crotch feels like it’s been sandpapered.

  40. My apologies if this has been covered in another comment thread, but speaking of sizing, when the hell did Lane Bryant make their sizes smaller? I just bought some t-shirts from their website, and compared to a shirt in the same size I’d bought two years ago they’re a full size smaller. Though it wasn’t a huge problem for me to buy the next size up (size just being a number and all) I worry about the women who were at the upper range of Lane Bryant’s sizing who’ve now been sized out of shopping there.


  41. I’m thirteen years and 200 lbs over Faith 21’s customer base, but I know the frustrations of being a young girl and not having fashionable clothes to wear. When I discovered Lane Bryant back in the late 80s, it was like I entered a fat fashion paradise, a place that realized fat teenage girls actually existed. Granted, I was wearing anything from a size 12 to a size 16 depending on the cut at age 13, but even over twenty years ago, that was considered too big for my age group.

    Faith 21 reminds me of Rainbow, another cheap trendy clothes place. Unfortunately, Rainbow cuts their stuff so damn small that even a 4X in their tops won’t fit me unless I chopped off my tits, and they do have some really cute pieces in there. My mom, who is a 14/16, has to get a 3X in their tops in order for them to fit properly.

  42. I have classic anxiety dreams in which I am wearing no pants, I’m back in my high school again, it’s the last day of the semester, and somehow I have managed not to go to class all semester and I’m going to fail the final. That’s what those Faith 21 “dresses” are perfect for, because in my dream I’m always trying to pull my shirt down over my butt and pretend I meant to wear it as a dress and not that I forgot to put on my pants before coming to school.

    Notice that Forever 21 large is supposed to be size 11/12 and fits up to 38-30-40, and Faith 21 XL is also supposed to be size 11-12 and fits 41-33-43? Same 3-inch difference between a 14 and a 14W in straight/plus sizes! Fortunately for me, I am currently in the 12/14 straight size range and not in the 16/14W black hole of inbetweenie-land where there simply are no clothes in existence that will fit, nor do I have any desire to ever shop at Forever 21, being in that 3-inch gap doesn’t affect me personally. Still, I feel the irritation of the teens my size who want to shop at Forever 21 and are still too big for the large, but too small for the Faith 21 XL and will decide their bodies, not the clothes, are the problem. They’ll still make out better than their friends who, horror of horrors, wear a size 18 so therefore may not pass go, collect $200, or shop at Forever 21. Why must it be such a pain in the ass to shop for clothing if you are female and older than nine years old?

  43. I’d love for y’all to address the interview with Emme & Mimi Roth that was on the CBS Morning Show today about this very topic. Of course, Mimi was scared s**tless that teens might think it was okay to have cute clothes in larger sizes, cuz that would mean they’d think it was okay to be…larger.

  44. Of course, Mimi was scared s**tless that teens might think it was okay to have cute clothes in larger sizes, cuz that would mean they’d think it was okay to be…larger.

    I wonder if it’s possible to devise a social stigma for fat children and teens that Mimi Roth thinks goes too far. Anyone want to pose as a concerned-about-the-obseses journalist and try to find out?

  45. Ack! No, those are not dresses. Not at all.

    And while I loathe the second one you linked to and its bizarre tube-thingy I might consider calling a “skirt,” but only the absence of any other ideas, I do really like all the others as shirts. (I’d want the first one to be shorter, though, since I prefer my shirts not to go past my hips).

    Also, how’re they measuring the shoulders? Because those all sound suspiciously narrow to me….

  46. Suddenly, anything that fits halfway over your ass is a ~*~dress~*~

    No, it’s not, what happens when the wind blows?

    As for Faith 21… wat. Shoulders.

  47. Stuff like this makes me consider quite seriously to investigate clothes intended for pregnant women. I’m more or less the XL size for this line (40-32-40, but don’t take me seriously, I can’t think in inches too well) and my best jacket is labelled Maternity. Size 36, which I guess it would be a size 2 in the USA. It’s all just too absurd for me.

  48. I realize I may be a little younger than the average here, and I’m probably 10 years past Forever21’s target age range, but I’d wear any of those as dresses. Actually, on the site, it says that the first one is 40 inches in overall length, and I think that would come close to my knees – I often wear 32-33 inch tunics as dresses. Admittedly, I’m on the short side, and I really like my legs, but I don’t think they’re necessarily all that short.

    My bigger issue: has anyone noticed that both the “regular” size large and the “plus size” XL are labeled as a size 11/12? WTF is going on with that?

    I’m also directly in between a L and XL at 42-32-42. *sigh* I’m not sure this new line even works for inbetweenies!

  49. Well, I kinda like this new “Faith” line, hate me if you want.

    I’m in college, and I buy a lot of my clothes at Forever 21. I’m not exactly fat, but sometimes the size large stuff there is too small for me, and it’s nice that they’re trying to make a few bigger clothes. Hopefully they’ll make more than just these few pieces, especially jeans. Their jeans are always too small.

  50. Some of us really are shaped that way. I have a 34″ waist and 47″ hips, and it’s a huge pain in the ass finding pants that make it over my lower body without leaving a huge gap at my waist my underwear shows out of when I sit.

    56″ waist, 68″ hips – when standing. Siting the waist is more like 62″, which also means a radically different silhouette when standing vs sitting.

    I pretty much live in elastic waists, preferably with drawstring.

  51. Those could be cute tunics. Which means dress, notsomuch, unless it’s over opaque leggings (not bare legs).

    But my problem with the right-wing evangelism of the founder prevents me from giving it a shot at all.

  52. Better still: when you click on any particular garment, you get a little parade across the bottom of the screen of other items you might want. Which are all from their “regular” line. Marketing FAIL.

    Oh no, you might want them alright, you just can’t wear them. Plus size retailers will do this too, have a limited line for the “extended plus” people, then suggest stuff that doesn’t go up to super-death-fat sizes. “You might like this, do you? Because you can’t have it, fatty!”

  53. I checked out the line on Saturday and actually liked it a lot. There was way way more in store than online.

    At 5’6″, all those “not dresses” were actually dresses on me. Some a little short, wanting leggings with, but most hit me right at the knee. But your mileage may vary as everyone is proportioned differently.

    I’d say it was a line that fits 14-20, depending on the piece of clothing (my estimation purely by myself and my shopping partners)

  54. Well, I kinda like this new “Faith” line, hate me if you want.

    OK, I hate you. :)

    (Seriously, I may be opinionated about fashion, but disagreeing with me about the cuteness of clothes is actually not on the very long list of bannable offenses, for the record.)

  55. The first dress linked I might consider wearing as a dress, probably preferably after finding a cute slip to go underneath for length. I love my legs and I like showing them off but I’m not cool with pulling a Marilyn Monroe every time the wind blows or I step over some heat grate. Plus, I like to sit down and bend over without my ass singing Free Bird to the world.

    However, I’m not sure I could wear it based on that sizing. I mean, I probably could make it work because in my experience when something says it’s whatever size in the bust and like, 10 inches smaller in the waist, unless it’s a very fitted empire top/dress, it’s actually about the same inches all the way down. Still, I’m not sure how it would work out for me. I’m a 12/14 and I can fit most things in a L or XL, sometimes I can go for medium if it’s one of those flowy peasant tops (I can’t wear things that are too baggy, it just looks sloppy and absurd on me) but those are just… I dunno.

    Blah. I know some people are true hour glass shapes, but I feel like everything out there completely overlooks the fact that a lot of women are either apple shaped or fairly even when it comes to inches. Would it kill somebody to try to address the fact that there are a lot of women who have to wind up buying pants way to big in the butt just so they can breathe when they sit down?

  56. I spent 10 years dressing mannequins in a department store as a “visual merchandiser”. Made me INSANE that the “plu size” manni’s were at best a 12! I had to pin the he** out of things to get them to fit! A plus size model, or manni, is rarely bigger than a 14 at best. These girls are the same. Barely over average size, truly “average”, but hardly the size they are marketing to.

    That said, somehow I ended up selling vintage clothing for a career and working with miniscule 20s-60s era dresses pains me daily……


  57. ::coughs::

    Also representing cartoon women. (46/38/54)

    Don’t be mean, folks.

    I think the main issue with their line is that 13/14 is usually XL, then 1X is next for 15/16. So you’d be an x size up.

    This is why everything should just be listed by measurements.

  58. I’m sort of with Colleen… I’d rather they make questionable dresses that are the same as the regular stuff, rather than make things “cut especially for the fuller figure” that are always far less cute. I’ve always been a proponent of the “make all garments at regular stores in a full range of sizes” rather than having strictly “plus-size” fashion. Both because just having the same stuff as the thin girls was what I always longed for, and because there is so much variation in body types that not everything supposedly cut to flatter fat women is going to anyway. There is no way in hell you could get me to wear any of the linked dresses, but fat college students might want to risk a wardrobe malfunction the same as the thin girls, and more power to them, I guess. Anyway, I realize there are multiple camps on the subject of how plus-size lines should be put together, and that’s just my opinion.

    Regardless of philosophical questions, they have still created an extreme jr. plus debacle with that sizing. You’re probably going to get actual fat girls who can’t fit into the clothes, and “large-normal” girls who could wear them but won’t want the stigma of buying plus, so they’ll shop in misses or department-store junior lines that run a little more generously instead. And maybe thirtysomethings like myself buying their dresses as shirts, which is probably not going to pay the bills.

  59. What I’ve always found funny is that, for all of the ways in which they design plus-sized clothing to be different from straight-sized clothing, they rarely make the adjustment I want: tops cut to make room for a supportive bra, which wider straps, a back that goes high enough to cover a bra band, and armholes that don’t reveal half your bra if somebody sees you from the side. I’m still waiting for the perfect plus-sized tank top. Target’s Merona brand has a v-neck that comes very close, but I’m pretty sure it was an XXL from the straight-size line that they didn’t carry in plus sizes.

    Which was something else this discussion got me wondering up: what is the deal with size overlaps? I know that some lines have the problem of a gap between the straight and plus sizes that leaves in-betweenies out, but I’ve found that a number of brands that make both straight and plus sizes (like Old Navy or Land’s End or some of the Target brands that have both, like Merona and Mossimo) tend to have at least one or two sizes overlap. Why make an 18 and 20 that are almost exactly the same as a 16W and 18W? As somebody who falls into that “overlap” range, I benefit, since sometimes the cut of the plus size versus the straight size will be a bit different and I can pick which one I like best, and some things are available in one size range but not another so I can have more to choose from, but from a business perspective I’m not sure what the gain is in having that overlap, and it seems strange that they’d carry clothing that is pretty much the same size–and sometimes the exact same clothing in pretty much the same size–in both lines.

  60. I’m not surprised that the dresses are teeny tiny short… that is how forever 21 keeps it all so cheap I think. Also, fwiw, their sizes are so completely erratic that the size chart is probably meaningless. I can sometimes wear size L tops at Forever 21 and somtimes I can’t even get the over my head, regardless of cut.

  61. I know some people are true hour glass shapes, but I feel like everything out there completely overlooks the fact that a lot of women are either apple shaped or fairly even when it comes to inches.

    Which is funny, because I’m a pear/hourglass (“cartoon figure” minus some in the rack, but with shoulders — 40/33/44) and I am absolutely convinced that every article of clothing I find is made for women with significantly less butt and more waist than I have — even the ‘curvy fit’ jeans.

    I wear a size 10-12 Gap brands, and I think I’d be wearing a XL or 2X in these sizes . . . depending on how they work. I’m not so much plus-sized.

  62. I was excited for Faith 21 until I actually saw the website.

    What a joke! I like that the brand is using the percentages of the number of women who are plus size, and then barely offer close to fit the so-called target audience.

  63. The problem I have with there stuff is I, as an inbetweeny- could fit into this in the regular market. Their knit, stretchy dressed could fit most people in their regular L. I wanted things that *wouldn’t* stretch. Skirts, zippers- things that spandex+knit wasn’t used for. So, I’m just kind of ticked now.

  64. I’m totally cartoonish, and that’s just fine with me. :)

    In any event, I wouldn’t pass (final) judgment on the line based on the size chart– we all know how ludicrously inaccurate they can be. And as Gabi of YFF has pointed out, jersey can really streeeeetttttccchh. That said, I’d be surprised if non-cheetah folks over a 20 can fit into these clothes, and good luck rolling the dice on size if you can’t try them on in-store.

  65. My workplace (a small business, almost all female) looked at getting uniforms. They could outfit just one member of staff, a woman slightly shorter than average and a size 14. One staff member is under 5′ tall, one is 5’11”, one is size 6 (size 0 US), one is size 26 on top, I am size 26 on the bottom. None of the garments could be altered without professional assistance, so we decided just to get our own white shirts and black pants and be reimbursed for them. It works beautifully and there’s no body-shaming involved.

  66. I actually wish I were a little more cartoonish. Even though I’m technically an hourglass, I often have trouble with jeans fitting properly. I’m an hourglass who tends to carry her tummy weight a little higher than other hourglasses/pears.

    I do describe my bra size as “oddly barbie-ish” though.

  67. Damn, here I was all excited to have another shopping option for my daughter, who is 12 and wears mostly 16’s and 18’s. Now that I see that it’s iffy whether or not they’ll have anything to actually fit her, I think we won’t even bother looking. We’ve already spent way too much of her childhood scouring stores in vain, desperate to find something – anything – to fit her. It’s disheartening, it’s painful, and it sucks all the joy and body positivity out of shopping. Screw that – we’ll take our business to stores who actually seem to want us as customers. And, just as a side note, I didn’t see anything age appropriate anyway. Dressing for a night of Jello shots isn’t on her social calendar for many more years (like a gazillion, if I have any say about it).

  68. I wear 18w and these would be too small. Maybe I could wear one of the t-shirts. I’m not 20, though and now I’m built like a fire hydrant not an hourglass.

  69. Some dresses don’t even look enough for a nightgown but some of the tops are cute. If I had a kid I would not let her wear those dresses in a million years!

  70. Fortunately I’m so far outside their target demographic that I don’t have to worry about it. But I do think it’s crazy to start a “plus size” line that’s too small for the majority of people who actually consider themselves plus size.

    I’m wondering whether anyone reading this has ever ordered anything from the Pyramid Collection:

    I got the catalog last week, and many of their clothes are available up to a true 3X. And I really like several of the dresses, even though I’m neither pagan nor goth. But the prices are so reasonable that I can’t help wondering whether they’re poorly made crap. Any feedback here?

  71. I realize I’m like 20 years older than the target market here, but still: Not a dress, not a dress, not a dress.

    Yes. This seems to be true of all junior clothing lines; I was hoping to pick up a cheap sundress last year for my rehearsal dinner, went to, like, or something, and the total lengths of the dresses were all, like, the minimum length I can wear in a skirt. I’m going, that’s…going to come about halfway down my ass.

    I’m not that fucking tall.

  72. Wow, that is some truly repulsive crap thinly disguised as clothing. Especially that second “dress”, yeesh. I can’t think of a single woman I know whom that would look good on. Even my hairstylist, who can wear damn near anything and make it into the hottest, most desirable look ever, would have trouble pulling that off.

    Lori: Try the Sleeveless Rib Crew T-shirts from Land’s End. These are the only sleeveless casual tops I’ve found to date that I can wear with confidence that my bra straps will not show, even if they slip an inch or two out of place! I’m not sure if the armholes will give you issues (not knowing exactly what kind of bra you wear), but the armholes on these are smaller than those on the average tank top.

  73. I’m an in-betweenie, and personally I can’t wait to get my lush tush to America-land for college so I can finally go shopping for some clothes. I like one or two of the shirts there (I’m really picky about dresses) but I’m more likely to scope out a Marshall’s or something for a good, cheap find for those kind of things.

  74. @Virginia re: Pyramid collection. I have only ordered the tie-dye stuff out of their catalog, none of the more Renaissancy-Faire type stuff (though I’d love to–I always wanted to dress up for a Ren Faire but it’s always blazing hot at those things and I don’t think I would last in a corset and long skirty outfit!) I forget the name of the manufacturer for the tie-dye stuff. It runs a little small from the size chart (what doesn’t, anymore?) and is very flimsy. Kind of Kleenex-weight jersey knit. I was disappointed. Your mileage may vary. :)

  75. In Sweden, several stores are getting rid of old really thin test dolls and replacing them with dolls that looks more like people actually do :)

  76. Also, for more in the decent clothes realm, is kind of neat if you have a RenFaire kind of style. I don’t know what their quality is, but the clothes look nice and fairly inexpensive, it’s a family-owned business, and almost everything goes to 5x, some to 7.

  77. Oh wow, I just found your blog, it’s great. I’m a plus size Australian expatriate living in Indonesia, and by gosh is it hard to find clothes here!

    I work at a newspaper, and I actually recently wrote an article about the challenges facing plus sized Indonesians which you might be interested in reading. You can find it via my blog:

    A lot of issues from the west have found their way here too…

    I’ve just moved to a new server for my blog so haven’t updated my blogroll but you will be on it for sure when I do. Keep up the good fight.

  78. Another cartoon woman here! (47-40-56)

    Even within one clothing range the sizing’s often different with each garment; I get most of my clothes from Evans (damn them and damn the lack of viable alternatives) and I have skirts which fit me ranging from a size 22 (though it is stretchy) to a size 30. Their tops are the same – my torso is a 22 but my arms are much larger, and I can wear some tops in a 22/24 which will fit my arms (and swamp my shoulders and waist) but some other tops, the sleeves won’t fit my arms in anything under a 32. Sounds like Faith 21 have achieved an epic fail here, and I feel really bad for the not-thin girls who’ll go in there with their friends thinking they can have a normal clothes-trying session like everyone else and then be massively disappointed, probably with a side-order of extra self-loathing because obviously it’s all their fault for not being thin, rather than the store’s fault for making clothes which aren’t big enough.

  79. @pocomommy: For Ren Faire clothing when it’s hot, I’d look at natural fibers, especially linen. They breathe well. Long skirts worn with only shorts or underpants underneath are also surprisingly cool, because your legs get air as you move.

    I’ve never gotten anything from Pyramid Collection, though I’ve oohed and aahed at their gothy and Rennie stuff. Haven’t bought any yet, partly because I don’t really have anywhere to wear it. I guess I need more excuses to wear random pretty clothes..

  80. Good to know I’m STILL not welcome @ Forever 21 — no biggie; there are better options for me EVERYPLACE ELSE, especially thrift stores.

    this should’ve been called the “double minded in all its ways and thus unstable 21” line. All-time-and-space EPIC FAIL. Fugg ’em.

  81. The selection is also criminally small. I mean, wtf, even Old Navy has the decency to make their plus selection equally as substantial as the straight sizes.

    Meh. I know from experience that there’s tons more plus-size clothing available in the US than in Europe, let alone in the Netherlands, but this really got me. H&M, which is kind of the go-to store here for anyone between ages 15 and 35 looking for fairly cute, reasonably-priced clothes, has a plus-size section that was, oh, 1/20th the size of the straight-size section in some stores (e.g., in my city, in one out of 4 stores, and I know that in Amsterdam, it’s 1 out of 10(!)), but now they’ve decreased both the number of stores selling their plus-size line and they’ve pretty much halved the space it takes up in stores, too. That, and their sizes are becoming smaller: back in 2007, I used to buy a size 18 at H&M – now I need to buy a 24, the largest size they have. My body has not changed – all my clothes from 2007 still fit me. What the hell?!

  82. I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned yet that size charts are LYING LIARS. THAT LIE. Whatever the numbers Faith 21 is claiming, the actual fit might be completely different by 4″- 8″ (because I am angry and anal I have measured clothes in the store before, and that is the common variation. Maybe one or two things I have ever measured have been accurate – but that was before stretching and they were 2% spandex).

    I don’t know why they do this, but they do. For me, the smallest size in most stores is too big – even though I have nearly the exact measurements found on the vast majority of their official charts. This includes Forever 21. Unless it is meant to be tight and is very stretchy, their clothes are too big. Because of the stretch factor, most of the clothes that fit me well can also fit two of my best girl friends who weigh 30 and 50 pounds more than me and are many inches bigger.

    This is a more recent thing, as 10 years ago I was smaller but could still wear the smallest or 2nd smallest size in main-stream stores (I miss being able to buy cute cheap pants from Old Navy!). Maybe these are the same charts from years ago and they don’t want to have it written that their overall size and fit have changed?

    Moral: clothing sizes are meaningless. All the more reason for us to not get fucked up in the head over them.

  83. Stacey Stardust – I feel you on the H&M sizing thing. I’m typically a 10-12 and bought a pair of shorts there last year in a 12. They still fit. This year, I bought a pair of shorts, that fit exactly the same as the pair I bought last year, except now I need a 14. And I realize that I have big boobs, but one of their button downs just barely fit me in a size 16…that just doesn’t seem right. I’m not sure why they’d choose to alienate a sizable number of their customers by running smaller and smaller!

  84. Holy Clothing is well made! I own several dresses, skirts, tops.. :) I wear the hell out of my blue halter dress, and it’s still together. So don’t worry about ordering from them. It’s totally worth it.

    Also, their clothes are made of rayon, which is (I found out a few years ago) a natural fiber, made from wood. So it breathes well, and it’s flowy and beautiful.

  85. Elizabeth: you have my exact same measurements! (of course our bodies could look nothing alike. you may have hips whereas i’m all posterior in that region. )

  86. Meems – it’s kinda like reverse “vanity sizing”, isn’t it? H&M’s tops are notorious (at least in my family) for straining in the boob area, if they fit at all. And when I’m making my way through the cramped space filled with plus-size clothing, in which way too many items are crammed onto one rack and where it’s kind of hard to distinguish between all the different black tops that have been indiscriminately tossed into one heap, and in which the same items, in the same colors, but with slightly different patterns, return every year, I can’t help but feel that H&M really doesn’t give a shit about its plus-size customers. I should turn this rant into an angry letter :)

  87. I am a smallish cartoon (32/24/34), but apparently a ‘cartoon’ nonetheless. Have always really hated that expression — to me, at least, it’s up there with conversations about who are ‘real women’ and who are not.

  88. A little warning about Holy Clothing – I love them as they’re pretty much the only place I can find skirts which are long enough and big enough, but I have noticed that the skirts which are made of two different types of material (eg panels of a satiny fabric alternating with panels of a matt one) tend to come apart really, really quickly, and the material shreds/frays so it can’t be fixed. So I’ve learned to avoid the skirts with the shinier/satiny materials. I still love HC though. They’ve pretty much saved my wardrobe, and they make the only elasticated-waist skirts which don’t make me look all bunchy and weird-shaped.

  89. Stacey, Meems et al: your local H&M STILL has plus sizes, however janky the selection?! Wow, they quit me (well, the US plus market as a whole, actually) years ago!

    *My hatred for these companies is off the charts/cliff now — again, taking my coins elsewhere usually keeps my blood pressure stable.

  90. Oh boy. Never heard of Holy Clothing before. Just visited their site….THANK YOU! Now I am *really* gonna confuse people, with my newish short-spikey haircut, purple glasses, and a flowy renaisanncey top from that site. Dang! I rock!

  91. Shira – thanks for the info. I haven’t ordered from them yet, but would certainly like to once I have a clothes budget.

  92. oh, hey since Holy Clothing came up, can anyone help me out on the sizing there?
    It seems really bizarre, are they just going for a super loose fit or something?
    otherwise how on earth does something like this make sense:

    garment measurements:
    Bust Circumference (un-stretched): 40″
    Bust Circumference (stretched): 48″
    Waist Circumference (un-stretched): 38″
    Waist Circumference (stretched): 46″
    Hips Circumference: 54″

    Will fit women with these measurements:
    Bust: 41″ to 44″, Waist up to 37″ Hips up to 47″

    do most clothes expect 7-9″ of ease?

  93. do most clothes expect 7-9″ of ease?

    I think all the Holy Clothing things have elastic waists, and many of the tops have elastic smocking. So that seems reasonable, yeah.

  94. huh. I think I just answered my own question.
    I found this page: which explains wearing ease versus design ease.
    I think basically for design ease I’m expecting (and will probably choose a size to fit this way) “1. Semi-fitted Garment” (ease at bust/waist/hip: 2 1/2″ – 4″/1″ – 2″/3″ – 5″ ) and they are going for “2. Loose Garment” (ease at bust/waist/hip: 4″ – 8 1/2″/2″ – 6″/5″ – 10″).

    so pretty much, yeah. they are going for a quite loose fit. hmm. good to know. I’m glad they post garment measurements as well as “will fit” measurements so I can tell in advance what size I actually want for the fit I want. wish more companies did that.
    like, oh, I dunno? F21? sounds like they would do well to add garment measurements stretched and unstretched to their product info given how much some stuff stretches.

  95. I haven’t read all the comments, so forgive me if this has been brought up, but I just spotted this related Me!Me! Roth quote in Newsweek:

    “We’re on the Titanic and, rather than forcing our children into the lifeboat, we’re telling them to join the band.”
    MeMe Roth, president of National Action Against Obesity, on new clothing lines aimed at plus-size teenage girls from retailers Target and Forever 21

  96. stitchtowhere: yes, I noticed that on one of your fatshionista posts!!! I almost commented but was too lazy to register. As a matter of fact, I am more hippy than bootylicious and always have been. Butts in my family run wide, flat and long – let’s not call it droopy – regardless of size. When I was a kid I used to actually bruise my hips on doorposts and such all the time.

    Anyway, I love your style. I wish I could emulate your confidence, but I am new to this size (gained 80 lbs. on medication) and have had literally NO money, so I am lucky not to actually be naked. I just finally donated my old winter coat, size 16, which I made do this year despite not being able to close it. My doctor, a naturally skinny woman, lied to my face by saying that the meds I am on are actually associated with weight loss, lectured me on “portion control,” and told me to start keeping a food diary. I haven’t been back. I could totally rub it in her face – her implicit logic is clearly that I must be bingeing and lying to myself about it, which I’m definitely not – but it’s too crazymaking to try and play the game, when I know in advance that anything I eat will be automatically defined as excessive.

  97. Raine, yep, they do, but “local” in this case is: in the Netherlands. I am definitely trying to spend my money elsewhere, but the plus-size market in the Netherlands is pretty small. I spent a semester in the US and I fell in love with Torrid. I had never been in a store that sold cute, daring clothing for fat girls. I felt like I was finally allowed into the world of cool clothes, like I could finally actually *choose* my own style from a variety of styles, and back then I did not know about, say, Lane Bryant, or e-tailers catering specifically to fat women, et cetera.

    Around here, there’s H&M (boo!), a couple of somewhat matronly stores that have a plus-size department (Promiss, Miss Etam, C&A and M&S for the Dutchies reading) or sell only plus-sizes (Ulla Popken). Apart from boutiques that either cater to a rather specific taste and/or are pretty expensive, that’s it, as far as brick-and-mortar stores go. I buy most of my clothes from a mail-order company that my parents subscribe to. They’ve expanded their plus-size section and now have a separate catalog for sizes 10(! ahem) to 28. I’d spend all my money there if their service wasn’t so slow. As it is, sometimes you just want to walk into an actual store, try on something cute and buy it, and it’s when I act on that desire that I go to H&M et al.

    But given that H&M quit the American plus-size market years ago, and their European share of it has gotten substantially smaller in the past two years, they might eventually give up their entire plus-size line as a bad job, while I think that they could make it work if they really wanted to – after all, they do have some nice stuff in the straight-sizes collection. I don’t think it’ll make any difference but perhaps I should really just write them a letter outlining what I’ve written above.

  98. Y’know, I’m with Colleen on this one. We’re always bitching that we should be able to wear the same kinds of clothes that thin people do. Forever21 caters to the party scene and at the moment, extremely short dresses are the trend for that. And look! Here are extremely short dresses for larger women! There’s none of this “we have to make things cover more or make them baggier so we don’t see Teh Fatz” BS. They’re every bit as revealing as they are for thin women and a lot of young women will be happy about that. I can’t wear stuff like that just because I can never remember not to bend over and keep my legs shut when I sit, and my knickers are not so amazing that I need to share them with the world. But I’m not going to begrudge other women the opportunity to indulge in fashion trends they’re going to laugh about later in life, like we do with 80s hair and shoulder pads now.

    Yeah, it sucks ass that the available sizes are so small. But at least it’s a step in the right direction and maybe if the line does well enough, they’ll expand it so women of all sizes can have the same trashy clubwear!

  99. Seriously? I’m a 16 who finds herself swimming in true plus size lines or with dents in her sides from too tight size 16 pants in the “normal” sections. I don’t think I could fit my left tit into Forever 21’s “plus sizes”.

    Also, bust size fail. Even with an exaggerated “cartoonish” figure and large breasts–even for my weight–men’s shirts fit me better. Mostly because they are made for people with backs and shoulders. Apparently women don’t get to have shoulders.

    Besides, even true plus size clothes, not to mention faux plus size like this, never make shirts that can fit over the rack of doom or aren’t stretched to oblivion. I’ve decided to cut my losses and stick to the wonders of male t-shirts–which might not fit my rack of doom–but fit my shoulders and are long enough to cover both my extra-large tits and large back.

    So, Forever 21 gets a big fail sticker. If someone who hasn’t been sized out of department stores (yet, give it a year or size or two) can’t fit into your 2x, your plus-size line is not so plus size.

  100. ‘women don’t get to have shoulders’

    No. No they don’t.

    I am lucky in that I have a flat chest along with my broad shoulders so I get a little more leeway.

  101. Late to this, but just wanted to chime in about an experience I had this weekend shopping for clothes. I went to Fashion Bug, which has always been a standby for me since I was younger. Most of the FBs I’ve been in separate the fatties from the “regular” sizes. Not this one, they had this GENIUS system of every other rack being regular then plus and so forth. It was so obnoxious. Any other time I’d just walk in and ignore the clothes that don’t fit me. Instead this time, I get to ‘peruse the racks’ and think, wow that’s a really cute shirt, only to find out it’s regular size. And wouldn’t you know it, the cutest, nicest, prettiest stuff wasn’t in a plus size. Every woman there was complaining about it. And I left thinking, what the hell is FB trying to do??? Like clothes shopping isn’t miserable enough.

  102. @ Elizabeth,

    Did the “doctor” put you on psych meds? Do you really think you need them? Did you live years without them? Your newfound obesity along with the stigma of being “mentally ill” will marginalize you further. There’s nothing wrong with being heavy but these drugs will take a size 18 and make them a size 28 in a years time. I have had two women tell me about this. I also knew a third. All three were “large” e.g. 200 pounds before the drugs but became 300 pounds and started having mobility problems (oxygen and all that) after the “meds” started. If you want to go off the “meds” and regain part of your life do so now before you get too darn addicted to the drugs.

  103. downcastmysoul,

    Thanks for your concern but the meds are from a board-certified psychiatrist who also serves as my informal spiritual advisor (we are of the same faith) and whom I would trust with my life. I sought him out only after every conceivable “natural” solution to ten years of crippling depression had failed. The meds are non-negotiable for the foreseeable future and I’m sorry if I implied otherwise. Unfortunately my fat-shaming internist is the only one I have access to due to financial reasons, and actually, I think lack of sympathy for my depression and my need to fight it at all costs (including not subjecting myself to the unnecessary stresses of food restriction) are part of her problem with me.

    FYI, people with illnesses or disabilities don’t normally appreciate having their personal treatment decisions second-guessed, or hearing it implied that they are dupes of the medical system for letting themselves be “put on” meds. This goes doubly for psychiatric matters because of the widespread stigma and popular misapprehensions about “willpower.” Given that having to be on medications that cause weight gain is often discussed here and on other fat blogs as part of the fat experience, so I thought I could safely discuss my experience without being called out for being on meds in the first place. Oops.

    I also know a lot of people who would take issue with the idea that 300 lbs = immobility and an oxygen tank. You know the “death fat” thing on here is sarcasm, right?

  104. pft. I started sewing about five years ago, for so many of these reasons, and have never looked back. There’s no damning “L” or “XL” or even “3X” tag on the back when you are done.

    If you have a 39 in bust, and a 15 in neck-to-back measurement, there is no bunchy fabric hanging out around your butt.

    If you have sloping shoulders, you learn to adjust. Bigger waist than bust? No problemo.

    Whatever your particular anatomical quirks, you quickly learn to make the clothes fit them, instead of being helplessly bewildered that your quirks don’t fit your clothes.

    Life’s too short to wait for a bunch of designers in New York to come up with well-fitting, beautiful clothing, They don’t care about that; they care about mass-producing crap that’ll make money.

    Somewhere along the line, you realize virtually EVERYBODY is wearing ill-fitting, boring, tacky clothes. You know they spend hours and shed dollars shopping for something, ANYthing that looks halfway decent.

    Sometimes in desperation they break down and buy the least offensive of all possible options… but that’s not loving the skin they’re in. They can’t fathom spending that much time sewing, but I can’t fathom spending that much time pawing through racks of polyester under hateful flourescent lights.

    People ask, “what sizes does that dress come in?” I say, “Any size.”

  105. Which is funny, because I’m a pear/hourglass (”cartoon figure” minus some in the rack, but with shoulders — 40/33/44) and I am absolutely convinced that every article of clothing I find is made for women with significantly less butt and more waist than I have — even the ‘curvy fit’ jeans.

    lol, I think we just need to start trading where we shop. Gah, the curvy jeans… I can’t even breath in a 16 curvy, and yet I have dresses that are a size 12. I agree with whoever wrote it above, it’d just be so much easier if clothing went by measurements rather than by all these bogus constantly changing sizes. At the very least it’d be great if there was some standardization.

  106. FYI, people with illnesses or disabilities don’t normally appreciate having their personal treatment decisions second-guessed, or hearing it implied that they are dupes of the medical system for letting themselves be “put on” meds. This goes doubly for psychiatric matters because of the widespread stigma and popular misapprehensions about “willpower.” Given that having to be on medications that cause weight gain is often discussed here and on other fat blogs as part of the fat experience, so I thought I could safely discuss my experience without being called out for being on meds in the first place. Oops.

    Co-signed. Elizabeth, I’m sorry nobody caught that before you did. Downcastmysoul, this is really, really not the place to preach that anti-depressants are bad for you. Especially not because they cause weight gain in some people.

  107. 45-37-47 is very exxagerated! Do they think we are all cartoon women?

    38-27-38 here. Bra size is a 30 H (30 FF in UK sizing, since my bras have to be imported- US manufacturers think I don’t exist).

  108. 45-37-47 is very exxagerated! Do they think we are all cartoon women?

    Watch out, there. I’m not the sensitive type, usually, but this hits a nerve. I believe my measurements when I last checked were 52-39-54. And I have long been made to feel that my appearance is comical, which I firmly do not appreciate.

  109. Anyway, I’m not addicted to Remeron. I’m addicted to not wanting to kill myself. You can get bad brain zaps discontinuing, yes…but it’s a time-limited problem. You don’t get cravings for them. It’s not like after you’ve discontinued, you’re going to go to someone’s house and find them in the medicine chest and have to restrain yourself from taking them. You either have a need for them at the moment or you don’t, they either help you or they don’t. People who don’t need them or don’t find them useful usually don’t stay on them for very long. And almost everyone who takes them has tried something else first. Often many something elses. Lasting many, many years. Decades, even. No, I didn’t die when I was off them. But my life was in grave danger.

    Do I find it annoying to be on this drug? Yes. It’s an annoying drug, with many vexing side effects. The fact that I know this and still take it does not mean I’m “addicted,” it means that at this point in time, the benefits outweigh the danger of my not taking it. There may well be a time when that’s not the case, and when and if that happens, I’ll talk to the shrink and he’ll taper me off and that will be that. You shouldn’t just discontinue cold turkey because your neurotransmitters can get hopelessly confused, but nobody goes to Betty Ford to get off antidepressants, K?

  110. I was also outraged at first that they are calling 11/12 extra-large. That’s one size up from a 10, which used to be the ideal average.

    Then I realized, it’s not really that the fashion police have decided an11/12 body is obese. It’s so they can downsize the old Size 10s into 8s and 6s and the women who really are still a 10 will feel good and buy the shit.

    I agree: It’s time to just go by measurements, like the guys do

  111. Just to throw some information into the mix….Faith21 initially launched their marketing as “extended sizes”, then when the site went up the branding morphed into “plus sizes”. That’s the first bad call on their part, because at least extended sizes was accurate. However, I do think they will add on sizing once the line starts proving itself. I keep hearing that size 14-16 is always the first to sell out of other lines, so if you want to launch something in these hard times then you go for the easy sell.

    Second – the models were told not to model. Literally. Just stand there, no posing. Nada. It’s not what we’re used to seeing, I’ll admit. The models have no control over the pictures that are chosen, so they do their thing and go home. If you want happy smiley shots, then send Faith 21 a letter. Then go have a look at Liz Claiborne’s plus size stuff online and send Isaac one too.

    Sizing: The clothes are bought from individual manufacturers wholesale and retagged with Faith21 labels. This is why the sizing is off – obviously different from one factory to the next – and the problem doesn’t only exist at Forever/Faith21. Tons of brands re-label clothing to their own name. It’s how they make max $$ for min effort. *cough* Lane Bryant *cough*

    Also: the models are size US12-14 and are wearing 1X size. So they aren’t even the smallest size in the ‘plus’ line. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  112. Help Yerself, you really make me want to take up sewing! I’ve been knitting for a while now (first step down the DIY path) and I’ve got plans to turn an old skirt into a bag. It would be awesome to learn how to make my own clothes. Perhaps I should look into it :)

  113. Stacey, you could totally do it. Knitting is harder than sewing. LOL.

    Get a simple, classic pattern, (A-line shift dress is a good place to start) spend some money on a beautiful piece of fabric (beautiful fabric will make you want to actually wear your project, even if it has beginner-type bobbles, and quality material is much, much easier to work with, which helps, too.)

    After you’ve gotten the basic mechanics down, you can get fitting tips on the Internet or out of books, or hell, you can figure a lot of it out yourself.

    It’s not rocket science, it’s just that most Americans are so inured to ill-fitting clothes that we don’t even know *why* something is “off.”

    We just know “it’s not that comfortable” or “it makes me look weird.” We even write off whole styles because we’ve never had a well-fitted example of the style to try on.

    Really, taking up sewing revolutionized my whole life in ways that are hard to explain. Much better choice than deciding to go on a diet five years ago would have been. ;)

    It seems all throwback-y and domestic, but I’m not going to stand around arguing about lasting results. Make what you want, and make it fit YOU.

    Once you get past the initial learning curve, the fashion world is yer oyster!

  114. Question about Holy Clothing, please: I ordered from their website on Tuesday for the first time. I paid via PayPal. I got an email today that is obviously a phish: they knew what I had ordered but were asking me for personal info (including my SSN, of all things!) and asking me what material is used in this garment, because of importing from India issues. Now, I know better that a U.S. based company would/should not ask these questions on a paid domestic account, but I have queried the Holy Clothing customer service 3 times now (via email, they don’t have a phone customer service center) and gotten no response. Has anyone else had similar problems with this site????

  115. Seriously though — exactly WHO are these clothes meant to fit? F’rinstance, the thigh on the 1X is 25? For real? 25? Y’all, I wear a size 6 most of the time and MY thigh is 24 inches around. Granted, I carry most of my weight in my legs and ass, but holy toledo, most of the fat ladies I know do NOT carry all their weight in their stomachs, but distributed through butts, boobs, and yes, thighs.
    Also missing from this plus size collection is the sort of nipped in waist, flared out skirt, nicely tailored stuff that makes anyone, including plus sized girls, look good. It’s just lazy to make everything in your plus sized collection a waistless, infantile babydoll dress.

  116. Late to the game here, but had to ask — is it common for retailers to distinguish between XL and 1X? I’ve never seen that before (which, given my lack of fashion cred, is not necessarily saying much), and it seems sorta fail-tastic to me — my understanding has always been that #X is shorthand for the number of Xes before the L, e.g. 3X = XXXL. Which would then mean that 1X = XL. Which would then mean that making XL and 1X two different sizes would be a strange choice, indeed. Not that logic is necessarily high on the priority list of people encouraging women to wear tights as pants, but… oh well.

    Must go check out Holy Clothing… I needs me some more flowy skirts…

  117. I agree about the infuriating nature of the new Faith 21 line. What I am most annoyed about, however, is the lack of brick and mortar stores. I live in NYC for f$%#’s sake, why can’t I at least try this crap on and make my determination from there?

    Also, I know I will upset some folks here re: sizing, but I wear a Banana Republic XL/16, and according to the BR size chart, the measurements are 41.5-33.5-43.5, which if the Faith 21 size chart is true, is actually comparable to their XL (11/12) or 1X (13/14).

    To compare with what I consider true plus sizing, a Lane Bryant size 14W is 40-34-42, which again, should be comparable to a Faith 21 XL (11/12).

    At any rate, regardless of the size charts, I’m sure the upper arms and thighs will be cut super small, and the proportions are all wrong, but like I said, I just want to try it on first, and THEN complain!!!

  118. It fits me… I love it… and it is always packed back there when I go to the store here in Houston. I am a 14… the line is made for girls who are really not quite plus sized. And I think there is a huge market for us “almost” girls…

  119. Forever 21’s sizes jump around like no other’s- I’m a bit overweight but I can still wear items from ALL sizes in their stores (I can wear their small leggings but not their one sizes- What the heck?!) Either way you’re all jumping the gun on criticizing F21 because if you look at the measurements (all around 37″ in length) they’re almost too long on girls my height (I’m petite in some stores- about 5 ft. tall) I usually go for stuff that’s 30″!

    Most of the stuff I buy would be considered a shirt-length on the average woman, I think F21 caters to a lot of women however: You need to actually go try the stuff on and not think that it’ll fit you like it fits the model (Isn’t that the case with EVERY piece of clothing?)

  120. Honestly, I really love the clothes on there. Even the shouldn’t-be-considered-a-dress-dresses..
    I am actually an ‘in-betweener’ right now, and it’s very frustrating. Idk if any of you have heard of the store ‘Deb’, but it carries plus size clothing for teens as well as for skinny teens. There 1X is too big for me now and i can’t shop on either side of the store. Obviously, it is very hard for me to find anything to wear that fits right. I am upset that a 15/16 is considered a 2XL when i’m already too small for a 1X at other stores. I’m not even sure if I can fit into that. Measuring from the fullest part of my bust my measurements are 46-37-47..i’ll probably be good..but it’s still annoying..

  121. well reading through the comments, i may not be okay considering i have very broad shoulders… =(

  122. Didn’t want to derail anything, so I thought I’d leave this comment here–I had actual, real fun buying a bikini today! Didn’t think it was possible. If any of y’all are in South Florida, there is a place in Islamorada, on the Keys, called Lion’s Lair. Plus size, bra-cup fitted lingerie and swimwear.

    I walked in, and two very nice salesladies, one thin and one fat, measured my bra band and cup size, figured out that I’ve been wearing a way too small size forever (turns out that I’m a 34FF in British sizing), and then gave me just piles and piles of cute, cup fitted swimsuits in that size. Like every cut and color imaginable. They had British bras also, and undies, and wraps and coverups for all kinds of beachwear. I have never, ever had fun swimsuit shopping before. I live in FL and had not bought a new swimsuit in over 6 years, just due to fear. But this was awesome.

    Anyway, they have a website,, but they don’t let you buy stuff online, because they want to do a fitting, or at least talk to you and try to customize your suit. They actually have my measurements on file. It was crazy.

    Not meaning to add to a late thread. It was just a phenomenal experience, and I wanted to talk them up.

  123. “But I do have to disagree with you on the skirt length. Personally, I rock the very short dress with leggings look… it works well with my bizarre body shape”

    same here! :) alot of dresses now days are made shorter and i love it because then i can wear it with leggings, they make everyones legs look hella smaller:) ha but with faith 21’s “sizes” not like it matters anyways..

  124. Come on…that size chart is completely inaccurate. I’m a Forever 21 junkie. It’s my absolute favorite store and I’d love to buy all my clothes there. Unfortunately, I don’t really fit into some of their clothes. I always go right for the large, and even that doesn’t always fit. My chest is 36 and my waist is 30, no idea what my hips are. Anyway, with those measurements, I can fit into the Forever 21 Large tops and dresses about half the time, and I have never, ever found a pair of pants or shorts in the store that fit me. Just a few days ago I found a miraculous size 11 pair of shorts at Forever 21 ( a rarity to find something in such a big size) and they buttoned, but just barely, and they were not something I could actually sit down in without ripping them.

    I was so excited about this plus-sized line, thinking I could find a few extra-large shirts and maybe some pants that fit. If that size chart is even close to accurate, the extra-large would be way too big for me. Would they really leave such a huge gap between their large and extra large? I doubt it. I have a feeling their extra large might actually fit me, which would make the measurements shown in the chart totally inaccurate.

  125. BT, I hear what you’re saying about size charts not matching up to reality, but having a gap between biggest straight size and smallest plus size in a clothing line is actually really common. It’s a no-woman’s land, and a lot of us inbetweenies (i.e., folks who wear some straight, some plus sizes) find ourselves there a good deal of the time.

  126. Just a note, they are actually adding 3x to their collection, so it will be 17/18s as well. *rolls eyes* I honestly don’t shop there. I’m sticking to Torrid and Deb.

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