Where do you go to get amazing cute fat girl clothes?
OMG. THIS is the question I’ve been waiting for. Ok.. no, wait. I love every question equally. 😉
I was like many little fat girls who looked longingly at cute little pink dresses and those plastic heels that came in plastic packaging with matching princess wands and those creepy little plastic amputated finger tips with red painted nails. My tummy was too round and my feet were too chubby for any of that, though. I wished SO badly that anything I loved came in my size, and then when that never happened I started believing that it was my body that was the problem (even though it never was!). For an entire year in middle school I even wore the same over-sized, down-to-my-knees sweater and black leggings. I was sure they successfully made me disappear. I grew up with a closet filled with dark blue and black, the more muted the better.
Nowadays I don’t have enough room in my closet to fit all the sparkly, bright, patterned, loud, tight shit I own.
So, the short answer: I get amazing cute fat girl clothes EVERYwhere and ANYwhere, girl.
And now here’s the long answer:
1. The Tag Says No But the Stretch Says YES!
This is my ultimate fashion mantra. People go into stores and look at tags and think “siiiigh.. there’s nothing here that fits me.” I say “au contrair, girl!” The tag gives you some information, but many times not information that is actually relevant to the question “will this fit me?” If you were to dig through my closet you would see a flabbergasting array of sizing (according to the tag). Even though most of my clothes fits me similarly (tight and tight!) and have around the same amount of fabric, you’d never guess that you’re looking at a closet of clothes for one person if you just looked at the tags. I have XSs and I have XXXXLs. Almost any garment that has stretch in it will fit someone at least two sizes bigger than the tag indicates. I highly recommend looking at the garment before you look at the tag.
2. Allow shopping to bring our your inner hunter gatherer
I believe that shopping is to me what berry gathering and squirrel trapping were to my foremothers. I’ve discovered that shopping allows me to express my deep seeded desire to be a huntress. When I walk into a place that doesn’t necessarily cater to plus clientele I go deep into this intensely competitive head space. I don’t think “I don’t belong here.” I think: “I’m going to find that one (or two or three) piece in this place that works for me. And that’s going to be really fun.” Sometimes all that’s required is changing your world view just a little in order to turn the frown upside down.
3. Make the clothes work for you OR learn fabric and learn garment construction (I promise it’s not super hard)
Go through your wardrobe and pick out your three favorite things. Then take a couple of minutes to describe on paper what you like about the way they fit you. Compare what you said about each and see where overlap exists. What’s in your closet will give you a great indication of the types of fabric and garment construction you are comfortable with, and this is a great launching point for your next shopping trip. Next time you go shopping run your hands over the fabrics on the rack, note which materials stretch and which don’t, measure how far the fabric stretches, see how the fabric looks when you stretch it, look at the way the sleeve is constructed, pick up the garment and measure the length of it across your chest or hips (if the seams of the garment reach the halfway point around your chest or hips there’s a very good chance the garment will fit). Pick out one item you feel very confident will fit you and one item you are somewhat doubtful will fit you, and try them on. Repeat. The more you do this, the easier it will be to spot garments that work for you.
4. Follow your heart & wear what you want
One of the things that breaks my heart is when fat girls don’t listen to their fashion instinct because they’re afraid that a certain look will make them too visible. Well, here’s the thing. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO VISIBLE! If you like over-sized, drapey clothes then totally wear them, but if you think that over-sized, drapey clothes are somehow making you look smaller I’d like to politely posit that you’re a little bit wrong. And more importantly, you have nothing to hide!
5. Figure out your favorites
Here’s a list of my favorite places to shop: Forever 21 Plus, Rue 107 (online only), Candy Strike (online only with Arizona regional pop-ups, I belieeeve), DD’s Discounts, ModCloth (online only, but currently there’s a San Francisco based pop up shop and they just announced it’s staying open into the holidays!), Rainbow Plus, and all thrift stores ever (especially small town thrift stores!).
Shop on, girl!
Dear Virgie is a weekly advice column by Virgie Tovar, MA, author, activist and one of the nation’s leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, November 2012) and the mastermind behind #LoseHateNotWeight. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality with a focus on the intersections of body size, race and gender. Virgie has been featured by the New York Times, MTV, Al Jazeera, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Magazine Online, and Bust Magazine. Find her at www.virgietovar.com.