Diary of a Fat Chick

Fat girl living in a skinny world

June 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 10:33 pm
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Over at Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose, the conversation has gotten around to others’ perceptions of our bodies. In particular, I like this comment from Tal:

In other words, she knew I had a rack of doom, but had apparently never noticed that I’m over a size 14. I responded that I wasn’t just talking about in the boob area and she just said “oh, well you should try shopping there anyway!”.

I’ve had similar experiences, particularly with male friends who have accepted me as one of the guys and therefore don’t think seriously about my body at all.

But women definitely do it, too. Well-meaning friends have bought me clothes in a 1x, when I’m at minimum a 3x. Or they drag me into a store and pick out things they think are cute, and don’t realize that the store not only doesn’t have my size, but doesn’t have anything that would fit even one of my thighs. Sometimes I think smaller-size folks who have never lived in the Big World honestly don’t understand how different things are when you’re outside of S/M/L.

Although I also have had similar experiences with midsize friends, too, who think I can shop at Lane Bryant (um, no.) or who don’t understand that there are some places that I can’t go because I can’t physically fit there (the back seat of someone’s hatchback, for instance.)

Not that anyone here has done it, but I do have to say that some folks who are on the smaller side of plus piss me off, because they talk about their experiences of “being fat” as if catcalls and a lack of dates is all that we have to go through. They talk about all the cute clothes that finally come in large sizes and don’t realize that even plus-size shops don’t carry things in my size (hint: if your clothing line stops at size 28, you’re still cutting off millions of potential customers.) When you’ve lived several years of your life not even being able to fit in restaurant booths or airplane seats, you start to realize that the “problems” of being a size 20 or so really aren’t problems at all, and you really start to wish that people that size would stfu about how bad they have it. Yes, you’re fat. Yes, that means you have somewhat limited choices in clothing and romantic partners, and you often get the evil eye from your doctor. But at least you can fit on a hospital gurney or a roller coaster, so quitcher whining.

I’ve encountered this at Christmastime. My father’s family tried to buy a sweater for me a few years ago. It was, of course, too small. The sweater was from JC Penney, so after returning it, I tried to use the store credit on something I liked. I think I was too morose about not fitting into any of their clothing that I don’t even remember what I bought with the money.

My husband is a great mathematician. When I met him, he claimed to be a pro at guessing people’s weight. I think I weighed around 350 pounds then and didn’t want to tell him what I weighed. He guessed that I weighed 275 pounds. I laughed. He finally found out the truth a few months later.

My husband has always said I look smaller than I weigh. I find that funny, because if that were the case, I’d be able to wear smaller clothing. Although, I do have this theory about clothing sizes and weight. Take a clothing size above 12 and add a zero to the end of it. That’s how much the wearer should weigh. Or do it in reverse. Round up the wearer’s weight to the nearest 10s, then remove the zero. Thus, at 360 pounds, I should wear a 36. By some manufacturers’ size charts, I should wear a 36. Somehow though, 36 is too big for me. I normally wear about a 30/32.

 

Fat boutique? June 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 1:45 pm
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Thursday, June 19

My counselor commented today that I talk a lot more about fashion than I ever did before. I told her it’s because I’ve accepted my size, that I’m fat, and that it’s not my body’s fault that I can’t wear all the cute stuff I try on. I told her that my sister and I would love to start our own company exclusively for fat chicks. None of this frumpy, out of date stuff offered to extended plus-sizes at Catherine’s or the really young – as in oodles of sequins, tacky embroidery, and cartoon characters – stocked at Fashion Bug. We want to create fashion-forward, trendy, inexpensive clothing that ACTUALLY FITS women with large bodies and “imperfect” figures.

I also want to sell shoes that are cute, stylish, supportive of fat women’s weight, and fit fat feet of all shapes and sizes.  I spent hours looking for shoes like that online after visiting several brick-and-mortar stores, and could not find any. What to do?

We’re going to open our own clothing boutique at some point, we hope. We’ll design and manufacturer the clothing and shoes ourselves. The only caveat is that I need to learn to sew. I’ve made a few forays in that direction, but there’s a lot more I need to learn about using a sewing machine and a serger! I’ll also need to learn how to make shoes, but I figure I’ll start here.

I’d also like to carry hard-to-find items for ladies who are off the standard charts, like bras in sizes beyond 46DDD, such as those sold by Decent Exposures. It would also be great to provide samples for women to try on before they order from an online store. They could try on a garment to see if they like the fit and style, then order it in the right size and color. It would take out some of the hassle of ordering sight unseen.

Do you think I’m crazy? Would you shop at a store like that? What kinds of things do you wish you could see in a fat chick store but never have?

Oh, and the benches in the dressing room would be deeper than 10 inches!

 

I am fat.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 1:40 pm
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Thursday, June 5

It is absolutely freeing to acknowledge that I am fat. I no longer feel like I need to tiptoe around the elephant in the middle of the living room, as Ben Stein put it. I am fat. There’s no hiding it. And that’s okay.

I went shopping with my sister on Tuesday. She wears 12s and 14s, I think. Me, I’m more of a 32. It was so much fun showing off outfits to each other and discussing what’s attractive, what’s stylish, etc. I could speak freely and honestly about my fat and how clothing fits or doesn’t fit. I didn’t complain about my body, only about the clothes. 

When I first joined the online community way back in the day, I didn’t want anyone to know I was fat because it was such a horrible thing. Now, after reading so many stories of women who have owned their shape and size and has bolstered the comfort I have in my own skin, I am no longer fearful as identifying as fat.

I am fat. I am a person of value. The two are not mutually exclusive.

 

Is 10 the new plus-size?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 1:36 pm
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Monday, May 19

I posted this story on Digg, but I thought I’d share it here. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/BeautySecrets/story?id=4873965&page=1

What do you think? Is a size 10 plus-size?

 

America’s Next Top Model

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 1:35 pm
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Thursday, May 15

I was just about jumping up and down when the judges named Whitney as the winner of Season 10’s ANTM. The “plus-sized” girl won! It’s been fascinating watching her intersections with the fashion industry. At one go-see, she was told with some scorn that her size was a problem.
Now, coming from a woman who weighs 350+ pounds, Whitney isn’t plus-sized, but compared to her competition she is. She also has said that she received negative treatment from her peers. I can so totally relate, so it’s awesome to see someone who took those hurtful messages and used them to grow stronger, and then on top of that, to totally rock a modeling competition!
I’m proud of you, Whitney!! Go girl!!

 

Shoe shopping June 20, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 12:21 pm
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Well, since this is, after all, the diary of a fat girl, let me share some of my shopping experiences this week.

I’m currently shopping for shoes. Slip-on sandals, to be exact. I have two pairs from Zappos in my bedroom and another one on the way. My feet are shaped rather oddly (very wide), so it’s hard to find shoes that fit. For some reason, even if the toe/arch/instep is wide enough, the heels are usually too narrow, which looks odd and doesn’t always feel good either.

My last pair of good shoes are Naturalizers that I found on Zappos but was able to purchase from a store here at home. No such luck this time. I went to zappos, found shoes I liked, then called the store to find out if they had the shoes. Not the exact same styles, but lots of double-wide shoes, said the woman who answered the phone. So I went to the store. No shoes in my size to be seen. I went home and ordered from Zappos.

The 9.5WW(E) LifeStrides shoe came first. They are very pretty, but I’m not sure that they’re quite wide enough. Still, they’re leather, so they will stretch out over time, right? I ordered a 10WW(E) in the same style to test the fit, but while the leather band fits super-well (almost loose), the shoe bed seems too big.

Back to Zappos. I found another shoe in a different brand that looks like it has a wider heel. I ordered it in a 9.5WW(E) and am waiting for it to arrive.

I wish I could find cute sandals in a 9.5EE, but they seem to exist nowhere in this universe.

Tonight, I went to (horror of horrors) Wal-Mart to pick up a box of feminine *stuff*.  On a whim, I cut through the women’s clothing section, where I was pleasently surprised. Wal-Mart carries an extended range of plus-size clothing, up to a 32. I picked up two short-sleeved shirts for $8.88 apiece. They’re patterned and brightly colored, which hopefully won’t show stains as much as solid shirts. The fit of the shirts isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn close, especially for the price.

Oh, and I also ordered a bra from Decent Exposures a few days ago. I feel bad making two big purchases this month (the LifeStrides at $51 are cheaper than the third pair and the bra), but my shoes and bras are so decrepit, it had to be done.

For which do you prefer to shop: bras or shoes?

 

Open letter to Dorrit J. Bern

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rhonwyyn @ 12:18 pm
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Dear Dorrit,

I shopped at Fashion Bug when I was much younger and somewhat thinner. I remember in particular a pair of L.A. Blues jeans that even by yesterday’s standards were utterly unfashionable: they had tapered legs and no back pockets.

I discovered Fashion Bug about several years ago when I realized it still existed in my area; the locations with which I was familiar had closed. I had shopped at Lane Bryant, but their clothing is very expensive and not especially designed for plus-size women. When I grew two large to wear Lane Bryant’s clothes comfortably (their limit is 28), I began shopping at Fashion Bug (limit is 32). I appreciated that I could find affordable clothing that was relatively attractive and comfortable on my large body.

Today, I am unhappy. I received a coupon in the mail that lured me into the store. The circular included “plus-size” models dressed in attractive clothing. I hoped to find similarly attractive clothing that suited my body.

So much for the “perfect fit” your clothing claims to have. While I found plenty of pretty clothes, none of them fit me. It appears that your designers do not live in the real world. Plus-size women do not just add fat all over; it is deposited on the inside and outside of their thighs, around their hips, below their middles, above their middles, in their breasts, on their upper arms, around their necks. As a result, as clothing sizes increase, the designs and cuts of clothes need to change.

Case in point: I have large breasts and a large “pouch” below my middle. While surplice necklines flatter my bust, the empire waists on your shirts are too short. They come to slightly below the middle of my bust. In other words, the tops aren’t cut full enough. Other shirts are cut too narrow, so they “fit like a glove” around my torso. They cling to the rolls of cellulite across my middle and around my sides. If they fit around my middle and my bust, invariably they’re too short and my pouch sticks out. Not attractive.

Second case in point: Because of my “pouch,” it is an extreme challenge to find pants that fit my legs and around my waist. It is as if your designers forget about those of us women – and I’ve seen lots of them – who carry extra weight around their middle. Also, what is the reason for carrying “low rise” jeans for plus-size women? We want pants that fit around our waists, not cut into the fat around our lower abdomens.

The Gitano line of bottoms that Fashion Bug carries are cute, but from what I can tell after hours of searching the racks, the largest size the brand offers is 26. What happened to those of us who wear 28, 30, or 32? Do you think we just disappear into the woodwork? As we grow larger, do we no longer desire or deserve to wear cute bottoms? The result of those hours of searching and coming up empty? Gitano pronounced with a hard “G” sounds a lot like “Gitmo,” which is appropriate, considering those empty searches were torturous.

I commend you for carrying skorts or scooters in your stores. The inner shorts makes it easier to avoid the chafing that comes from generous thighs rubbing together. However, the skorts/scooters available are cut too short. The fat above and behind our knees and the varicose veins along our legs are not something we want the world to see. The additional benefit of longer skirts is the coverage of the backs of our legs when we sit down, so it lessens the chance of our skin adhering to warm chairs on hot summer days and nights.

I could complain about the too small bras and panties that you carry (what size bra do you think women who wear 30/32-size shirts wear? I mean, really!) or the “wide” shoes that are only marginally wider than the “medium” shoes, but I fear this letter is long enough.

Dorrit, as chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Charming Shoppes, you should know that Fashion Bug is no longer charming.

~Rhonwyyn