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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

281

Choose Your Own Fatventure: Interview Clothes

Welcome to Choose Your Own Fatventure! Here, we shall go on adventures together, and you will decide what happens next! Remember those books when you were a kid? Like that, but with less flipping of pages. Here’s the one caveat: everything you do will be done from the perspective of a fat person. (Not from the perspective of all fat people! I am not The Lorax of fatties!) Make sense? Here we go!

You have a job interview. Congrats! Except the last interview you went on was three years ago, and you're in desperate need of a new suit. You think you're somewhere around a size 20.

- If you go to the mall to find something interview-appropriate, click here.

- If you take to the internet, click here.

***

Time to tear the mall up! (Is that something kids still say?) Though there are 100 stores in this mall, only two or three carry clothing in your size.

- If you want to go to Lane Bryant, click here.

- If you want to go to the plus-size section of a department store, click here.

- If you're already discouraged, and want to get an Auntie Annie's pretzel, click here.

***

Oh, the joys of pantsless shopping. Plus, the internet has FAR more options for plus size clothing than any nearby store, I promise. But! Do you have enough time for your online order to be shipped to you, and tailored if need be? What if what you ordered doesn’t fit properly?

- If you don’t have the time to wait for your online items to arrive, it’s back to the mall with you. Click here.

- If you’ve got at least a week — preferably two — to find the interview outfit of your dreams, click here.

***

Shopping requires sustenance. You get your pretzel and sit on a nearby bench to enjoy it. You notice people staring at you — the nerve of you, being fat and eating in public! Don't you know that'll just make you fatter?

- If you ignore these people, click here.

- If your glare at them, click here.

***

It doesn’t matter what you do. There will always be people who point and stare. Try to forget about them, enjoy the hell out of your pretzel, and get down to shopping.

- Lane Bryant? Click here.

- Department store? Click here.

***

Okay, great, time is on your side. But what about funding? How much are you looking to spend? This is a major purchase, after all!

- If you’re willing to shell out, click here.

- If the entire point of your impending interview is because you don’t have a job at the moment, and need things to be on the low end of the price range, click here.

***

You head toward Macy's, and find their plus-size department. It's in the back of the store, or in the basement, and you wonder why they're selling velour jumpsuits, as it is no longer 2002. You find your way to the business clothes, and look for something with a little bit of style. You actually have a few different options! (Most department stores carry the same plus-size brands, as there are only a few major ones, so what you find at Macy’s is usually similar to what you find at Dillard’s or Bloomingdales, etc.) Look at this or this or this. A word of warning: if there is an abundance of malls near you, call around and ask about the size of their plus-size departments. They can vary greatly!

***

You take a deep breath, try not to think of the phrase “Lame Giant,” and enter the only non-department store in the mall that carries your size. You are overwhelmed by loud, tacky prints, jewelry a decade out of style, and clothing suited for women two generations your senior. You sigh, and begin to hunt for something interview-appropriate.

If you want a nice suit, (and we’ll be defining nice as “ a matching blazer and pants/skirt not made out of ‘sateen’ or denim, and not covered with pirate-like frills”) you literally have two options!

- Gray pinstripe? Click here.

- Navy pinstripe? Click here.

***

Money’s tight. I know. Hence the job interview, right? Luckily, my most favorite clothing website in the entire world has gorgeous interview-appropriate dresses (every one of them in sizes 0-26, as well as custom sizing!) for way less than $100. The quality can be a little uneven at times, but this is the most fashionable plus-size clothing I’ve ever seen.

- If you're ready to enter the world of Eshakti and get yourself an adorable interview dress, click here if you want something for spring/summer, or here if you’re looking for winter/fall.

- If you definitely need a suit-like outfit, or at least a blazer, I’m sorry hon, but it’s off to Old Navy with you. And no, I don’t mean the actual store, I mean the website. Old Navy plus-sizes aren’t sold in the stores! Isn’t that awesome? And weirdly, they have good career wear in their plus-size section, but not their straight sizes. But do not despair! Look at this! With these pants, or this skirt!

***

You are a fancy person, with fancy tastes. Please buy these clothes, because I can’t.

- If you want an interview-appropriate lovely dress, click here. Or here.

- If you want to pair these lovely dresses with a jacket, click here.

- If you've been searching for years now for a non pencil-skirt formal work skirt, click here and your dreams shall be answered. And click here for the matching jacket!

- If you're looking for fancy pants, here you go.

***

All right! You’ve got your outfit. Did you decide on a skirt or dress? If so, click here.

If pants are your ticket to your dream job, you’re all done! Well, you’re not, but I can’t help you any further on this adventure. Find yourself some tasteful accessories, professional-yet-walkable shoes, and a nice-looking bag. You’ll notice there are no shells or dress shirts to go with all these blazers. This is because I could write an entire separate one of these devoted solely to finding the perfect button-down shirt. Hopefully you’ve got a nice shirt to wear under your new outfit if needed. Yes? Then, good luck!

***

Right. Your legs! Are you interviewing at a place where it's all right to leave them bare? If so, bully for you. If not, you're in need of pantyhose. I am militantly anti control-top pantyhose, as they make me feel incredibly uncomfortable and self-conscious, and that is not how I want you to feel on your job interview. Comfortable tights, though? Hoo boy.

- If you're looking for fall or winter tights, please look at these, and pick out something tasteful, in black or charcoal or brown. They're seriously the best tights in the history of tights. And, obviously, buy yourself some purple or aqua ones for fun as well.

- If it's summer, your best bet seems to be these tights, which I sometimes find in stores, but it’s hit-or-miss in terms of sizing, and color, so there they are on the internet.

***

Two resources that are absolutely indispensible in the fight for fashionable plus-size clothes are the fatshionista livejournal group, and OneStopPlus, which is a great aggregator of plus-size clothing websites. There's a lot of frump on the latter, but it’s worth searching through, as you can occasionally strike gold. Or at least a very shiny bronze.

It’s a big world, and an even bigger internet — the options above are just a smattering of what’s out there! If you’ve got a fantastic hook-up for plus-size workwear, let us know in the comments.

Have an idea for a future adventure? Let me know in the comments — I’m up for anything! More clothing advice? How to navigate tricky conversations and situations? A fun-filled primer on fat acceptance? There are all kinds of adventures ahead!

Mary Anne's life is a plus-size adventure. She is slowly shedding her internet anonymity.



281 Comments / Post A Comment

Anji

I loved this. Loved. Can we have more Choose Your Own Fatventure posts, please? This was a lot of fun, but it was also super-practical and I think I'm not the only one who would benefit from posts in this vein.

I just got a new job where I will actually have to wear decent office-y clothes instead of the usual crocheted-beret/t-shirt/cardigan/jeans combo I've been rocking for the past 2 1/2 years, and as a Fat Lady With Short Legs, (I only wish I was one of the Two Fat Ladies) I found myself in need of a shopping excursion this weekend. Which I hate, because, you know, obviously.

I'm happy to say that I eventually found some great stuff that didn't make my wallet scream in protest at Kohl's and Dress Barn Woman. Kohl's has dress pants for fat ladies with short legs! It's fucking magical, I swear.

itmakesmewonder

@Anji Maybe you were not super enthused about Dress Barn Woman, but I've been shocked by how much I like the stuff that place sells. Not all of it, but some seriously cute or classic things scattered around.

Anji

@itmakesmewonder Actually, I was really happy with Dress Barn Woman too! They had a really nice selection, and I made out with my first grown-up blazer jackety thing ever from there. It's purple! (Plus an adorable blouse with a rose motif and a pair of brown dress pants.) Sure, there were a ton of Mother of the Bride dresses hanging around, but I was surprised at how it wasn't a super-fusty place with lots of muumuus and crepe-y stretch pants.

itmakesmewonder

@Anji Our descriptions of what we thought it would be are twins. And I think now you have to tell us what color shoes you wear with your brown dress pants.

Anji

@itmakesmewonder Ha!

Actually, I'll probably just wear the bright pink flats I found for $6 at Target. Or black flats. Or something. I don't think anyone ever looks at my feet.

Verity

@Anji I dread the day when I will have to shop for Proper Office Clothes - I work at a small charity staffed almost exclusively by women, and people wear jeans and fleeces and trainers rather than dressing up. It's lovely.

Anji

@Verity I'm holding out for partial telecommuting after my six-month review. EDITING IN MY SWEATPANTS.

ample pie

@itmakesmewonder I think the thing about Dress Barn is the name. Barn is just not a word I associate with FUN HAPPY PRETTY CLOTHES, I don't know.

Limaceous

@itmakesmewonder Yes, Dress Barn is like my secret store. I have a bunch of cute, mod, swingy dresses, and everyone is always shocked when I tell them I got them at Dress Barn.

Bitterblue

@Verity I have to wear a hideous, unflattering, "unisex" (aka cut for men, with no room for your butt, hips, or bust) uniform at work -- but that's fine with me, because that means I can slouch to work in sweatpants and a t-shirt and not have to worry about anybody seeing me dressed like a hobo, because I'm just going to change into my uniform. It also means that when I have occasions to actually wear real clothes, I get super excited and dress up for it. Win/Win!

HeyThatsMyBike

Obviously, I'm going to just read all of the stories like I did with the REAL Choose Your Own Adventure books. Oh, that's what you intended? You just *get* me, Hairpin columns.

(PS Great work, CherriSpryte/Mary Anne!)

itmakesmewonder

The idea of this and the execution of it are both amazing! Great job, Mary Anne.

saythatscool

How about some vodka to go with that pretzel?

What about my needs, Choose Your Own Fatventure?

boyofdestiny

@saythatscool I'm working as hard as I can on Choose Your Own Degenerate Drunkventure. Just be patient!

Party Falcon

@saythatscool In a previous Fatventure, you went to Things Remembered and got yourself a bitchin' monogrammed flask. Which you vodka'd at home and have stashed in your adorable purse that you bought when you were last at the mall because you were avoiding trying on another goddamn pair of pants that don't fit.

redheaded&crazy

@boyofdestiny I WOULD READ THIS.

Party Falcon

@boyofdestiny Let me know if you need any help. I'd be happy to contribute a tale or two.

Anji

@redheaded&crazy SECONDED.

bloodorange

@Party Falcon @boyofdestiny I can help too!

Bitterblue

@Party Falcon OMG THIS IS BRILLIANT. All my shopping fatventures would have been so much better if I were drunk. I need a monogrammed flask like, yesterday.

frigwiggin

eShakti! I have had good experiences with them, as have most ladies I know. Plus, some vague research shows them not to be sweatshop-based, which was my major fear when I first heard about them.

Maria

@figwiggin Holy cow. Rest of my afternoon: gone.

frigwiggin

@Maria I know! I want mooooore pretty dresses. ALL OF THEM.

PistolPackinMama

@Maria I have two things ordered from them right now. Yay pretty tops and dress!

charizard

@figwiggin I remember saying this in another thread about eShakti, but the couple of dresses I bought from that site were this thin awful wrinkly cotton. I'd avoid eShakti unless you love ironing.

Megasus

@figwiggin OMG they deliver to Canada and I am bookmarking the shit out of it.

frigwiggin

@charizard That's a shame! The dress I have is quite nice and doesn't need to be ironed at all.

@serenityfound

@figwiggin I've had the "Thanks for signing up!" coupon for weeks now and keep forgetting to use it/my fear of buying clothes online creeps up and prevents it. But everything's so PRETTY.

Craftastrophies

@Megan Patterson@facebook They do not ship to Australia :( But I've heard people have success with mailing services.

CaptainSplashy

@figwiggin I was sadfaced when I realised that they don't ship to Australia, until I remembered that I am going to NYC later this year for a month or so... come September, I am going to order the shit out of some pretty, pretty dresses.

Megasus

@Craftastrophies Maybe if you had a friend in the states, you could have it delivered to them, and then they send it to you?

Craftastrophies

@Megan Patterson@facebook Yes, but then have to pay postage twice! Lily from Frocks and Frou Frou used some service that ships it on for you, I might have to look into it because MAN some of those dresses are amazing.

Inkling

@Craftastrophies
There are plenty of Pinners in the states that could lend a hand with this! Just order them something the cost of them mailing your dress to you, I guess?

frigwiggin

@Inkcrafter Indeed, I would do this for anybody who needed it in a heartbeat. You all saw, I was like two seconds away from buying that Swiss artillery bag for a Pinner a few weeks ago! I don't even care! Swiss artillery bags for everybody!

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin Aaw, you guys!

tortietabbie

@figwiggin I love eShakti! And they've totally spoiled me for other stores, with the customization and all. But a word of caution - their customer service is HORRENDO. If everything with your order goes smoothly, it's awesome. If you need any assistance from them at all, be prepared for a long long long battle. :/

bangs
bangs

I found the plus sized section at Macy's to be pretty fantastic, at least at the big one in NYC.

cherrispryte

@bangs It's very hit-or-miss. For example, the Macy's down the street from my office has an embarrassingly bad plus sized section, whereas the one 45 minutes away via Metro is pretty great.

Any One Ninja Plot

@bangs Your use of "Metro" leads me to believe you're in DC -- which is the good Macy's and which is the bad one?

cherrispryte

@Any One Ninja Plot The good Macy's is the one at Pentagon City, the bad Macy's is the one at Metro Center.

Any One Ninja Plot

@cherrispryte Ooh I have not been to the Pentagon City Macy's. Thanks!

formergr

@cherrispryte We work right near each other! And yes, the Metro Center Macy's is AWFUL. It is half a block from my office, and I still can't bring myself to go in there for even the most basic needs most days (other than for an emergency tights run now that Filene's is gone). I'm excited we're getting a TJ Maxx down the street though, which is just kind of sad!

Party Falcon

CherriMary, you are amazing.

And in the next installment of Choose Your Own Fatventures, may we purchase jeans? Of the Party variety and the everyday kind?

I can do many things, but I cannot understand how people wear jeans for comfort and fun.

Anji

@Party Falcon I hate shopping for jeans. It is basically the worst. I've had pretty good luck with plain old Lees made for larger ladies, though. Even though I have to roll the cuffs up so I'm not tripping on them. Lord knows I don't need any help in the clumsy department.

Flackette

@Party Falcon I've had decent luck with Lee jeans for curvy ladies. They have a hidden elastic waistband that seems to prevent butt cleavage, and come in some nice dark rinses with interesting pocket details and such. I'm 5'3" and I definitely have to buy the short length.

Anji

@Flackette Same here! They're fairly comfortable, or as comfy as jeans can possibly get. I still swap them out for my wonderfully broken-in shapeless sweatpants when I get home, but it's better than being cut in half at the middle by a pair of cardboard jeans with no elastic in them at all.

Party Falcon

@Flackette I realized, recently, that I'm kind of shaped like a pregnant lady. Like, viewed from the front I have a super defined waist, but from a side view I've got a belly. Which, waistbands, not so belly-friendly.

So that's my problem with jeans. I have honest to god considered maternity jeans, but I can just hear Clinton and Stacy yelling in my head.

Lily Rowan

I'll just note that jeans shopping is basically no good for most people of every size, because we don't want to get stuff tailored, but we really should.

Any One Ninja Plot

@Party Falcon Ugh, I've actually started to believe that jeans are a youth culture clothing item and I just wear flowy skirts and dresses with tights and look wistfully at anyone in jeans and say, "I just don't know how you young people can wear those," like my grandmother does.

I am 28.

Craftastrophies

@Party Falcon I freaking love jeans. They are the only pants I will wear. However, I only ever buy them from JeansWest, which I assume is not a thing where you guys are. I buy them there because they ahve decent jeans for not stupid amounts of money - they usually have a limited range available for 2 for $99. The main reason, though, is that the sales people there are obviously trained in product knowledge, are helpful and friendly, and not pushy. They have the knowledge to say 'this one runs small, take a bigger size in with you' or 'this one is a bit stretchy' or 'this one won't stretch, so make sure you get the right fit now. It makes such a difference - besides getting me better jeans, it stops me feeling like a misshapen monster, because they are clear that all the jeans are different.

I accidentally painted in my good jeans, and grew out of the rest of them. I only have dodgy Kmart jeans atm, and I really really need some more, because they are my casual uniform.

D.@twitter

@Lily Rowan Too true. At least, not jeans, factotum of the fashion world. Tailor your blouses, your skirts, and slacks, but jeans? They're just supposed to fit!
P.S. I recommend AG jeans and American Apparel denim.

Party Falcon

Okay. Let's chat about the realities of buying maternity stuff. Jeans, whatever. Is it horrible? Weird? Cheating? Gross?

But, at the same time, you should buy what fits best, yes?

I....conflicted. And round about the tum.

More covert than using my facebook account

@Craftastrophies Do I detect a fellow Aussie? I love JeansWest too, one of the very few shops that don't look at me weird when I say 'I'd like to try on the mens skinnies, thanks' (the mens ones are longer in the crotch area and therefore have a greater chance of fitting my bizare torso.)

Craftastrophies

@More covert than using my facebook account Yup, yup! I am super sensitive to in-store judging, but those salespeople just do not care. They don't care if you try something on or not, need a different size, run them through the hoops and then don't buy anything, nothing. I am surprised every time by how pleasant a shopping experience it is - isn't it sad that that's special? Not being judged for the shape and size of the body I am trying to buy clothes for is so great and rare that I spontaneously gush about it on the internet.

@Party Falcon I've accidentally bought maternity stuff a couple times, from op shops. And I own two maternity bras because sometimes underwire bras make me want to die (today is one of those days) and I can only find maternity non-underwire in my size. If it fits, it fits. Just make sure it actually does fit and doesn't just not-fit a bit better. If that makes any sense.

To tie these two comments in, I went through a long period of wearing men's jeans. They weren't great, but I CANNOT do hipster jeans. I just have too much arse, they don't even make it halfway up my butt, it's redonk. So for a while it was men's jeans only. Also, that was a period when I hated my body and was poor, so they meant I didn't have to think about it. When they started making lady jeans that would actually cover my nakedness I went back, but seriously, I still browse the men's side of stores for shirts, etc. Sometimes they fit better - it's worth a try, right? Men's and maternity, I mean.

CaptainSplashy

@Party Falcon I have slim legs, but my torso is short, soft and round, which makes jeans the blergiest to shop for. I almost went to maternity jeans when a changing-the-pill-made-my-hormones-go-wackadoo weight gain forced me to bust a MacGyver move and wear my regular jeans with the top button undone, but tethered to the button hole with a hairtie. I settled for elastic-waist jeans, because they were $10 and mat jeans were $70. I told everyone about them (because they were super comfy and I got excited), and was really surprised at how nonchalant people were about it. The belief seemed to be that as long as you're comfy and the jeans fit well, then that's all there is to it.

Plus, if I didn't tell every person I met, they would never have known... so, I say go forth and wear comfy jeans - thoughts of weirdness and cheating be damned.

Scarlettb

@Party Falcon Two years ago, I stopped wearing pants because I am ALSO pregnant-lady shaped. The switch to skirts and dresses (with leggings underneath in the very cold weather) has been one of the best decisions of my life, no joke. Pants-free lifestyle forever!

cherrispryte

@CaptainSplashy Oh god. The hairtie-holding-jeans-shut move. I'VE DONE THAT.

CaptainSplashy

@Scarlettb I often wonder about this, especially when sitting at my desk after lunch. But so many dresses seem to require belts to cinch waists, and I have no discernible waistline and a little pooch, so I worry it will look ridiculous... can I do dresses with belts even in a state of waistlessness?

Craftastrophies

@CaptainSplashy Yes, you absolutely can, and it will define where you waist is. But you have to find a belt that actually fits around your middle (my personal problem, even though I have a distinct waist) and that is the right width. So try them on in the store, etc. Thin belts look super weird on me, for some reason.

@scarlettb I gave up on pants, too, because they always just fit weird and are awful. And frankly, skirts are much more comfy. I bought some bikeshorts to wear under to stop chub rub, though.

Bebe

@Scarlettb I am hourglass-verging-on-pear shaped, and I too have decided to live the pants-free lifestyle. Skirts and dresses forever!

I hate pants - They're so humiliating to try on, really, worse than bathing suits. I hate how they are always too tight here, too loose there, but just right over here. ALWAYS. I hate how they look on me even after I get them tailored. I hate that some places charge you $200+ for a pair of unlined, itchy-ass pants, that you then you STILL have to take to the tailor because of that gap in the back and the front pockets that poof out on either side of my hips (really, pants designers, WHY?) I HATE PANTS. And don;t even get me started on shorts!

tortietabbie

@Any One Ninja Plot I love the idea of jeans, but for comfort and style...yep, dresses and skirts 99% of the time!

Bitterblue

@Party Falcon If it fits and is comfortable, it is not cheating. ...Actually, in the world of fashion, being comfortable and happy in your clothes may be considered the ultimate crime, but Fuck'em. (Yes, one word) *defiant head toss* When the revolution comes, makers of uncomfortable clothes will be the first against the wall.

WaityKatie

@Party Falcon I have actually tried on maternity jeans (ordered over the internets, with a profound sense of shame) after reading infinte numbers of articles directing "apple shapes" to try them, and...they did not work. The elastic belly part was still too big, even if I went a few sizes down. Yet, "normal" waistbands are always too small, and I end up having to get a bigger size, which then hangs attractively off my butt like farmer-dungarees. Awesome!

WaityKatie

@CaptainSplashy Empire waists are the solution. Also those faux-wrap dresses in stretchy fabrics work, because the waist part kind of floats up to your (higher than average) waistline. I have hardly any waist at all, and what I do have is like right under my boobs. I call it a waist even if it isn't, dammit, don't take that away.

Valerie Sprague@facebook

@Party Falcon Silver Jeans. I get them at Dillard's online. Some of them are skinny! Some have stylish rips!

OMG they're awesome. They're $100, though.

fondue with cheddar

I LOVE THIS ENTIRE THREAD. I wish it had come a little sooner, though. I just bought two pair new jeans because the old ones were TERRIBLE. I was on a very limited budget at the time, and they were on mondo sale at Fashion Bug. They fit perfectly in the store, but after wearing them they stretched out and got huge. Baggy-butt, need-a-belt huge. And the next size smaller was so tight I couldn't even get them halfway up my thighs.

My new ones are Gloria Vanderbilt (I didn't even know they were still around) and they're comfy enough, I guess. They're very high in the waist, which is bad for me because I'm 5'0" and even petite clothes are made for people taller than me. Also, I'm starting to find that the inside seams are scratchy as hell and irritating my inner thighs.

Now I want to follow your advice and buy better jeans, but I just can't justify the expense right now. :(

FlufferNutter

@Party Falcon I've had really good luck with Old Navy jeans in straight sizes. The stores go up to a size 20 and even run a little large. I have two pair of the Dreamer cut jeans and they are awesome - a bit of stretch, but not too much, legs that aren't baggy with a tiny flare at the bottom. They have several other cuts, too, you should try them on sometime!

fondue with cheddar

@FlufferNutter I've found Old Navy pants sizes to be wildly varying, even within the same style. Trying on pants in the store is frustrating enough without hit-or-miss sizing. I should probably give them another shot, though, because they're affordable and have such a wide range of sizes.

garge

Amazing work, Cherri! And thank thank THANK you for introducing me to eShakti. As it seems I have to be born-again this summer as a Working Girl and wear weeks' worth of non-pajamas, it is a godsend. (If anyone can post their experience with the fit and materials of eShakti, that would be great!)

frigwiggin

@garge I own one dress from eShakti (see here) which appears to currently not be on sale, although I've seen it come back for colder weather. It's nice! A pretty casual knit fabric, but still cute and dressy enough that I feel comfortable wearing it to work. I went ahead and splurged on getting it special-fit, since for $7 of course I'm going to, and so long as you take your measurements with care, it works well! I bought my friend and co-blogger a dress for her birthday, and ended up writing them an email to ask if I could get in on a sale price that I missed by just one day, and a rep got back to me really quickly and was happy to apply the discount to my purchase.

garge

Thanks, figwiggin, I appreciate the deets! And that dress is adorable.

Craftastrophies

@garge I've heard only good things about eshakti's products, but their customer service has not got such a great rep.

I wish I hadn't gone there, though. Their classic and nautical line? WANT WANT why don't they ship to meee :(

I'd also note that it's worth checking back in regularly because they change their products a lot. Often there's nothing there I'd buy, other times (like nooow) I want every damn thing there.

VolcanoMouse

@garge Currssssse yoooou. I had written off eShakti because they didn't have anything at all my style back when I first looked in December, but their new things are all adorable.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

!!! You guys! Hairpin!!! Can I hug you? I am hugging you.

redheaded&crazy

Love this! Awesome new feature. My only request is can we get more pictures? Pictures are great for my attention span! And for other reasons too probably.

Lola P.

so good! thank you!

candybeans

Cherrispryte! Yay! One of Our Own makes good! am i the only one who is infinity delighted when she finally has a face to put with a commenter name?

redheaded&crazy

@candybeans no no you are not! I remembered cherrispryte (which i still pronounce cherris-pryte in my head because i don't know why) talking about this in the suggestions thread and I was immediately like Mary Anne?! Fingers Crossed!

Bitterblue

@redheaded&crazy I still pronounce it "Cherris Pryte" *hangs head in shame* I have trouble eradicating old pronunciations once they get get stuck in my head.

lizardjellybean

Oh my gosh this is the BEST thing. THE BEST. Please please pleasepleaseplease do one on button-downs! They are the bane of my existence- which is awful because I only want to love them!
Something for my wide, long torso that doesn't give me boob-gap and arm hole pain (or show off my bra's band) would be worth MILLIONS. Well, affordable millions. But still. Please? Pretty please?

cherrispryte

@lizardjellybean To be honest, the main reason I didn't go into button-downs was because I DO NOT KNOW WHERE TO FIND GOOD ONES.

redheaded&crazy

@lizardjellybean all i know about button downs is that stacey and clinton always say to buy the size that fits your bust and then get the rest tailored. y/n/m?

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@cherrispryte Tailoring??? I have been srsly considering getting some men's shirts altered because I can't find any ones that fit. But I know nothing about what can or can't be altered.

thebestjasmine

@lizardjellybean Ahh, I came here to comment to say what about a SHIRT to go under that suit??? I love the idea of button downs, but it is impossible to find a good one, especially if you have big boobs and short arms/torso like me. Therefore I wear silky blouses under suits.

Also, I love love love this whole thing, and cannot wait for the next one.

meetapossum

@lizardjellybean I have to second Fig. 1. I don't buy button-down shirts (because I hate them), but from what I understand, when you are a bigger/big-breasted lady, it's best to buy one too big (i.e., so the buttons by your boobs don't gap) and then get it tailored.

Mrs. PotatoHead

@lizardjellybean I have had a lot of luck for great button downs that actually FIT, no button gaps, with Talbot's Plus (online) when they do their seasonal mega-sales (without a sale, prices are ludicrous!). Not all their stuff is dowdy, I swear! But readheaded is right, best to get something that fits the buubs and get tailoring if needed.

Dancercise

@thebestjasmine
Heavier camisoles (i.e. not sheer) can be a good option under blazers, especially in warmer climates/seasons. (Yes, I am that person who will sweat in a long sleeved shirt and blazer, even when just sitting in an office for an interview.)

redheaded&crazy

admittedly i say this as someone who has a whole bunch of things that i need to get tailored and haven't for over a year. sigh.

omgkitties

@lizardjellybean I've yet to find the perfect one(s), too. I usually just end up throwing a l/s v-neck sweater over one.

gobblegirl

@meetapossum Does anyone know what is a good price to pay for having a shirt tailored (in a medium-large city)? I am thinking that might be my best option, but I want to know what to budget...

hedgehog

@cherrispryte The answer is Tom James. They come to your house, measure you, you pick a fabric and style, and they make it. It costs a m-f BOMB (mine were, I'm afraid, >$100 each) but so, fine, you start with just one and build. I'm a size 16 short-torsoed big-hipped 36G and it was the only way I was ever going to get a nice shirt that wasn't boxy and didn't pull anywhere and came down far enough. It even fits right at the wrist.

The other thing you can do amazingly enough is to order about forty zillion shirts from Old Navy -- several copies of each shirt in each plausible size -- because they cut so many at once there's a lot of variance in fit and one of them might turn out to work.

thebestjasmine

@hedgehog Wait, what? Do you have a link to this Tom James business? Because that sounds kind of amazing and also worth it if they're perfect (esp. since my body type seems super similar to yours).

Craftastrophies

@Dancersize I have come to the conclusion that in most workplaces, a less structured top like a drapey jersey or silk one, is fine under a jacket.

MilesofMountains

@gobblegirl It depends on what you're getting done to it. If it's just the sleeves or if you want it shortened, it should be relatively cheap. Having the waist taken in shouldn't be too bad either. If you need the shoulders taken in or let out, it will cost you all the money ever.

hedgehog

@thebestjasmine The TJ link/website was really super freaking dowdy last time I looked, so don't be put off, you can order it the way you like it: WWW.TOMJAMES.COM
WWW.HOLLANDANDSHERRY.COM/APPAREL
Ask for Dana Marquis and tell her Lisa Q sent you.

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies Being able to do that gives you so much more versatility in your wardrobe anyway! I work in an office that is generally more lax on the side of businessy clothing, but I definitely, uh, push the envelope sometimes. Bright orange tank top under a blazer? With a pencil skirt covered in hot pink pineapples? But of course!

lue
lue

@gobblegirl
I have no idea what real tailors charge, but I sew a lot of my own stuff and do some tailoring for neighbors and coworkers, and I usually charge $12/hour. I can do probably 2 shirts in an hour-I've got this neighbor who salsa dances and he's always buying tight polyesther button-ups, and then pays me to make them tighter! If you have an acquaintance who can sew well, maybe see if you can hire them (though if you go that route, test it on a cheap shirt first, yeah? Maybe they aren't as good as they say).

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin Yeah, my office is pretty slack. I wear officey clothes because it's how I make myself feel professional, and then relaxed once I'm home, but my boss wears shorts to work on the regular. I... am not really down with that? Although I did wear a nice pair of jean shorts a couple times in the heatwave. It was 40 degrees celcius for a week, I figure all bets are off.

But I think you can get away with a lot more than you think in terms of business clothes. But they have to be decent quality, or new - as in, if they are worn, they look a lot sloppier. And I think it's actually easier to pull off if it's clearly an Outfit, that you've put effort into. I am not going to stop wearing my robot skirt if I get this new fancy job in a formal office, but I might accessorise it more carefully.

(My robot skirt is amazing, you guys)

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies I want to see robot skirt!

And you're totally right about looking new--I had to buy a sweater shaver because I realized that my pilly-looking sweaters were seriously dragging down my outfit mojo. (P.S. LOVE my sweater shaver. I used it on a stuffed animal the other day, even. Pingüino looks good as new!)

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin Penguino!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Realised do not have a photo of it on the internet. Will find one and report back. I made it myself and it's amazing.

I made a vow today to update my wardrobe. I will probably end up with the same level of business to casual. But everything is a bit low quality and old. I need fewer, better clothes.

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin PS robot skirt is here http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftastrophies/6829539794/

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies I was reading my emails on my phone the other day and forgot to check up on this when I got home! I love it! So bright, so fun.

anachronistique

HAIRPIN. Are you developing psychic powers? Because I was this morning thinking, as I looked at the dreary metal cabinet that serves as my wardrobe, how badly I need some personal shopping assistance. Bottom halves I have figured out; it's how to put on tops that look appropriate and not shlumpy that are also not all 100% polyester. Perhaps a pipe dream.

That said, I am having a great deal of success with Eloquii these days, and they are having a suit sale right now.

marz1

@anachronistique Seconds to the suggestion to check out Eloquii. Especially with the suit sale which is essentially a "get a discount on a blazer and hey also these pants are free" sale

TheFattestBunny

Thank you for putting into words how frustrating this experience can be. I am far beyond the sizing of department stores at this point, and am actually pushing it at the Lane Bryants and Fashion Bugs, too. So sick of thin people (usually my stepmother and mother-in-law) wanting to show me some new boutique they discovered. BITCH I CANNOT SHOP WITH YOU. Ughh. FML(AMFA).

redheaded&crazy

@TheFattestBunny oh the buckets we could fill with the tears cried while shopping with family. (eta: don't want to be presumptuous here: the buckets I could fill)

TheFattestBunny

@redheaded&crazy Yuuppp!

thesailorsaid

@TheFattestBunny Ah, size 30/32? Me too. At the end of the day I don't feel like it's a big difference of experience between 20 and 32 except the clothes. The clothing just kills me. (Like at your Fashion Bug There's alwaaaaaaays like at least three of every garment in a 18/20 left on the clearance racks at the local Fashion Bug but then it seems like they order one 30/32 of anything. A 20 still has so many choices compared to anyone over like a size 24, and look how crappy and discouraging this Fatventure is. The fatshion industry just needs to get it together. :(

(Ah, sorry for bringing down the vibe in the room. Just had to try to scrape together a 30/32 interview outfit myself and thank god my mom and I both sew is all I can say :/)

cherrispryte

@thesailorsaid No, totally agreed. I thought for a long time about what size to specify for our adventurer, and decided on size 20 because any smaller, and you're in "in-betweenie" sizes, which is a whole new level of complicated, and any bigger than a size 24, your choices start evaporating, really quickly. It sucks and is horrible. I would suggest, again, the fatshionista livejournal group, and also Lesley Kinzel's blog, Two Whole Cakes, for finding things that are for people over a size 24. (Lesley posts on a variety of topics, but her fashion posts especially are super-useful.)
Also, eshakti does custom sizing, with no maximum sizes, so if you had the time and inclination, you can get something made there?

TheFattestBunny

@thesailorsaid Preach it, sister. This sounds ridiculous, but knowing there is another 'Pinner my size made me feel really awesome and sexy -- everyone here is so gorgeous and fabulous. I should probably take up sewing, too. I imagine it is a pretty empowering sensation to have a skill that helps you conquer fat fashion fascism, or the skinniness-industrial complex, or whatever we want to call it!

Bitterblue

@redheaded&crazy Uuuuuugh, shopping with family! Shopping with friends! Shopping at all! This is why I need a monogrammed hip flask.

@TheFattestBunny Can I say yes so much to learning to sew? It sucks that you have to do it, to get things to fit right, when other people can waltz into stores and just whip things off the rack, but it IS super empowering. It gives you back just a little bit of the control the whole industry takes away from you.

olivebee

As someone who edits and inputs web content for a living, I am impressed with these anchor links. Gah, so many to keep track of!

(This is also an awesome and clever post, but the links were the first thing I noticed. Kind of like how a film editor is always the first to spot continuity errors in a movie).

gobblegirl

How does annnnnnnnnnnnnnnyone shop on the internet? How do all you brave, fashionable, discount-finders buy things without trying them on? I have bought clothes online just once, and it was terrible and then I had to send it back and it was a huge nuisance that ended up costing me time and money! And it was from one of the sites that Jane recommends, even!
Should I go to a freaking tailor and have them do my measurements? Should I only ever buy tights on the internet (the tights in that one order were and are a huge success)? Should I give up on my apparently incomprehensible body and just go to the mall, where I will get tired of trying things on after about 2 tshirts?

PS any recommendations for button-up shirts for tall slimmish-but-not-skinny people with a large chest and very long arms would be appreciated.

Judith Slutler

@gobblegirl Have you tried Gap's blouses in large? I tried one on and was like "this would fit perfectly if I had actual boobs and longer arms". And I have the longest of torsos and uh... may just run around in men's low-rise trousers all day erryday

charizard

@gobblegirl Get a tape measure and do your own measurements! Bust, waist, hip, thigh, upper arm, inseam. Once you have these numbers, it'll be a lot easier to choose sizes. However it's still a crapshoot sometimes (especially with cheaper stores or stores with made-up sizing).

Dancercise

@gobblegirl
I only ever buy stuff online if the returns are free. And they need to have at least a 60-day return policy because I will certainly forget to return the stuff until day 45 or 50.

But yes, the majority of stuff I've purchased online I've had to return.

Ahhhh, large chest and long arms! Welcome to my hell. I hardly even try to find long sleeves anymore because they hit me in the exact WRONG spot. 3/4 sleeves all the way.

Megasus

@gobblegirl Seconding the measuring tape. And so far I have only gotten things a tiny bit too big, which is an easy fix! Oh and I only buy dresses. And coats.

cherrispryte

@gobblegirl What it's come to, for me, is ordering enough things from the same place that you can kind of figure out your size and whether, based on the way something looks and the fabric, it will fit you or not. There's a lot of hit-or-miss in the beginning, but if it's pretty much your only option, you get used to it. I would say 70-80% of the clothing I've bought in the past few years has been off the internet. Yes, sometimes things have to get returned, but it gets easier.

gobblegirl

@Emmanuelle Cunt They are too short, and too wide at the waist.
And I have tried and apparently failed to take my own measurements :(

Any One Ninja Plot

@gobblegirl I buy everything online! Even shampoo and toilet paper.
1. Shop at places where shipping is free and if returns are not free, you can return them to the store (some places don't have free delivery but do have an option of delivering it to a local store, and I prefer much more to run in, grab a big bag of stuff that's waiting for me, and try it on in my own home).
2) Take your measurements and keep them in your desk drawer ready to go. Look at the sizing chart for each item you buy.
3) If there is a comments section on the items, read it, and you can see if something might run small or large.
4) When in doubt, buy an item in more than one size and return it. Not only is there no shame in it, but sometimes this helps you hit a minimum amount for free shipping. (If anyone who works at Old Navy is reading this, I have NEVER added one more thing I didn't want to meet the $50 free shipping minimum and then immediately returned that thing for free when I got it. Not once.)

Megasus

@gobblegirl Usually the return policies are pretty good too, just check and see if they have free returns or not before you buy, and it should be all good. Sometimes they just take it out of your refund too, but if it's like 8 bucks, I'm fine with it.

Craftastrophies

@gobblegirl It might be that the places you shopped have inaccurate measurements, or run small or large. As Cherri says, after a while you start to get an idea of which shops need adjustment before you buy. Some places will say next to the item that it runs large, or have stretch, to help you choose.

You can definitely go to a tailor and have them measure you, though. Some will do it for free, most will charge a small amount, but it's worth it to find things that fit.

baltolaura

@cherrispryte SERIOUSLY. I'm an in-betweener in this exact situation (my interview is tomorrow). This has been such an exhausting and frustrating process. I wound up cobbling together an outfit from a new blouse and old pants/tweed blazer.

Thank you so much for this post. I hope there's lots more.

PistolPackinMama

Bravo!

Just...

Bravo!

Yes.

MeghanElizabeth

This was so great! Next: Date Clothes?

mynamebackwards

@MeghanElizabeth ASOS curve. (ignore the uber-trendy stuff that is a little too goofy for life and it's a goldmine)

Craftastrophies

@mynamebackwards I keep going there and not buying, because everything is polyester. I don't hate polyester as SUCH, but I need to feel it first to see if it's yucky. Also, I have a long waist and their hemlines seem... thrifty. What is your experience of this?

mynamebackwards

@Craftastrophies I have yet to come across any materials that feel too icky. then again, I wear a lot of vintage dresses and those things can usually stand up on their own because they are sooooooo polyester-y. as for the length, I am tall and long of leg and I usually don't have trouble with where they hit. honestly, the shipping is free both ways so just buy stuff and send back whatever doesn't work! they couldn't make buying their cute outfits any easier.

chrysopoeia

@MeghanElizabeth See also: Dorothy Perkins, Ruche, and Forever21+ (sometimes)

allofthecrafts

aaaaah this is everything i love (shopping for my fat self and auntie anne's pretzels, mainly). and i wish i had thought of "lame giant" first. that is such a good name for that stupid store.
peoples of hairpin, tell me about your experiences with eshakti pleaseee? i've been wanting to buy something from there but i'm used to buying things that cost less than 20 dollars, so ordering from there would be sort of a small fatventure for me.

p.s. did i mention auntie anne's pretzels? because auntie anne's pretzels.

Dancercise

What even is "sateen"? I just got the Lane Bryant catalog yesterday and it's filled with "sateen" skirts and suits.

MrsLlama

@Dancersize Textile designer here whaaaat- Sateen is a usually cotton fabric (but can be anything cotton-like in this day and age) with a glossy finish. Not straight up shiny like satin but slightly lustrous. It's glossy because most of the stitches come to the face instead of being every other to the face.

Basically- fancy, slightly glossy cotton.

Fabric lesson over!

carbonation

@MrsLlama Please write us an Ask A Textile Designer!

Or maybe A Textile Designer Tells You, because I am fascinated by stuff like this but have no idea what to Ask.

Craftastrophies

@MrsLlama MOAR fabric lessons!

MrsLlama

@carbonation HAHA I was just thinking "what would people ask?" If people have fabric-related questions, I will by all means answer them!

Craftastrophies

@MrsLlama I actually have one! I am going on a craft retreat this weekend so last night I was packing projects to make. I am going to make a bunch of the same a-line skirt with pockets that I always make, because it fits me and looks great. The first one of these I made was from black cotton drill, and it's my favourite. It hangs well, and wears well, and it was my go-to work skirt for a while.

And then it started doing what drill does, and getting those white lines on it. I wash it on cold and don't iron it... WHY, Textile Designer, WHY? Can I avoid this in any way? I am going to turn this one into a galaxy skirt by buying and bleaching it - when I get around to it. I'm happy to dye over the drill, just in black or whatever, but am I going to have this problem again? Are there alternative fabrics I can use? I have some black corduroy to use, but that feels less of a professional fabric to me, somehow. I also found three metres of black velvet in my stash (????) and I'm thinking about a velvet skirt. Is that a heinous crime or an amazing idea?

MrsLlama

@Craftastrophies I have to say I am unfamiliar with the white line problem! My expertise is the home furnishings side of the biz and we don't get a lot of drill up in here. BUT I would also say that black velvet IS an amazing idea and would look sumptuous and luxurious and vintagey.

Craftastrophies

@MrsLlama I think it's just that black dyes are hard. It just gets these wear lines - faster if you iron it too hot or wash it on hot, but it just does anyway. I think it's just a thing that it does. I did make a velvet skirt on the weekend and it's AMAZING but I don't have a photo of it to brag about it with.

What is your favourite fabric, ever? And what is your favourite fibre? I'm a knitter, so my favourite fabric is linen, but it's hell to knit with, my favourite fibre will always be wool. It's so versatile and friendly! But if I had to pick one forever, it would be silk because both the fibre and the fabric are lovely to work with (but scary!).

cherrispryte

Also, obviously, thanks everyone for your kind words! I think/hope there will be more of these, so keep the ideas coming! (And non-fashion-centric ideas are highly welcomed as well!)

thebestjasmine

@cherrispryte Bathing suits next time, pretty please! For like, hanging out by the pool and the beach and looking glamorous, for actual exercise swimming, in between, and make some of them actual bikinis.

Lily Rowan

@cherrispryte This is so fantastic!!

Anji

@thebestjasmine Seconded! This would absolutely be relevant to my interests, because I do not own a bathing suit out of pure fear.

dracula's ghost

@Anji I was just talking to a friend about how we can't remember the last time we wore a bathing suit, and how honestly we'd rather just go naked. Naked I feel totally normal and great looking, hairy legs and weird blobby parts and all! Bathing suit suddenly is like, GAAAAAH

I guess I don't need bathing suit advice so much as I just need everyone to suddenly become nudists. If that's ok.

mynamebackwards

@thebestjasmine http://www.esther-williams.com/shop/ just ask me how hot I am in my leopard print halter bathing suit. ASK MEEEEEEEE

cherrispryte

@mynamebackwards This is the correct answer. Cherry-print retro bikini in my size? Hell yeah. (Warning: No boob support, whatsoever. Freakin none.)

TeresaOtter

@thebestjasmine Oooooh! Yes! I know the theory of a plus-size bathing suit, but I can never find *pretty* ones that don't remind me of a 45 year old mom. Then, if I do find one I'm willing to wear, that is supposedly "flattering," it's like $140! WHAT.

Anji

@dracula's ghost Holy crap, I know, right? I used to have this really cute two-piece (a few sizes ago) that had a halter top and a skirt bottom, and it made me feel aaaaaaaaaalmost not horrible. I am not confident that I will find another that makes me feel not horrible.

@mynamebackwards Okay, so how hot are you in your leopard-print halter bathing suit?

thebestjasmine

@cherrispryte This is the problem! Too many suits with no boob support. I don't want a super cute suit with no boob support!

mynamebackwards

@cherrispryte it doesn't hoist my girls up, but it keeps them in. I count that as a victory.

PistolPackinMama

@cherrispryte Choose your own Fatventure Online Dating Profile Reading. The words "comedy" and "gold" come to mind.

If you wanted a co-conspirator for that one, I have Ideas.

Stowaway

@dracula's ghost Nudity 4eva! (Wait is that weird to write to a stranger on the internet? Whatever, let's all ditch the bathing suits.)

@cherrispryte Next time party dresses? And how I want to wear ModCloth all the time but wish they didn't make dresses that are actually short shirts.

hedgehog

@thebestjasmine Panache, Fantasie or Freya on sale. Only way. Once you establish your size, you can shop that shit right down to where it almost isn't quite stratospherically expensive at the biggerbras.com sales or on eBay.

thebestjasmine

@hedgehog To be clear: I have a good swimsuit strategy for both hanging out suits and actual swimming suits (though I have found no hanging out suits that support boobies in the way that actual swimming suits do). But I think there are lots of good strategies that a Choose Your Own Fatventure could help!

And Panache/Freya/Fantasie are great for bras, but I haven't loved their swimsuit options. They're all a little too all about the cleavage for me -- one dip in the pool and my boobies would fall out of those suckers so fast it would be criminal.

hedgehog

@thebestjasmine God knows I'm always looking for alternatives but I can't cope with unsupportive even for hanging out. [sic. sic as a dog] It's a comfort issue for me. So bra-suits it is. I have an easier time with a tankini top and then just a normal high-waisted bottom, not necessarily matching.

thesailorsaid

@cherrispryte Seriously, this is FANTASTIC. I love this series and you so much and it's amazing! <3 And seconded on the swimsuit edition! That would be great.

@PistolPackinMama Oh, god, yes PLEASE Choose Your Own Fatventure: Online Dating. (It would be nice to read an experience that doesn't end in dying alone.)

redheaded&crazy

@thebestjasmine I also think there's a really good attitude/tone that's been set here of exasperated humour/WTFness that would be really really applicable to swim suit shopping.

GreenMyEyes

@redheaded&crazy Totally agree. Shopping was agony a few years ago before my trip to Hawaii. I finally found a decent suit online from Athleta, it has underwire in the tankini top and a skirty bottom that's decent but not frumpy. Only drawback is the halter which tends to hurt my neck after a while (my girls are heavy dammit!) but I just deal or change.

NorthernLights

I love this hardcore. And, I had no idea eShakti existed, and now I'm almost giddy about doing some shopping this week. Thank you!

ephcee

I like this very much, even though it doesn't really help me! There are two plus size stores here (owned by the same company) and maybe two other non department stores with a plus size section. I tried doing some online orders but I'm in canada (NS) which is basically the moon. $50 shipping for $30 worth of clothing? Grrrl please...

Anyway. This isn't a helpful comment but I needed to share my pain. Mwah.

gobblegirl

@ephcee Come visit me. We'll go to West Ed.

Hamburger Hot Dog

This is so entirely the best thing ever.

omgkitties

Perfection. I was already planning to spend tomorrow shopping for more professional clothes (what do you mean Dickies aren't dress pants?). Thanks!
- chubby office lady type

Dr. Iris Puffybush

@dearheart In my book, as long as they are not obviously demin jeans, they are dress pants. That would mean Dickies absolutely qualify. :)

anachronistique

@dearheart Quick, nobody tell my boss my black twill Dickies aren't work pants.

bowtiesarecool

This made my week.

(Not from the perspective of all fat people! I am not The Lorax of fatties!)

Thank GOD, because I heard the movie version was an abomination.

As someone who recently switched from one size of fat to another, and has been fudging "professional" for months in my stuffy DC office job with overuse of sweaters, thank you from the bottom of my nonprofit-funded bank account.

AniaGosia

This is fantastic! So much fun. I love that huge selection of colored tights! I've been thinking about trying eShakti for a while, but haven't made the plunge yet. Hopefully soon.

Craftastrophies

I do not have time to read this right now, but I just need to say:

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES.

So timely for me, too.

Valerie Pie@facebook

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

joie

Mary Anne/cherrispryte, you are The Best. Seriously. I'm so glad this is going to be a recurring thing!

Valley Girl

Awesome in so many ways!

I'm wearing a dress from eShakti RIGHT NOW and it's utterly adorable. I've definitely heard the warnings about them being hit-or-miss so I waited until I found a dress I loved and that got a good review from someone on Tumblr and then used the new customer gift certificate they offer so it was a good deal. Oh, and it has CUSTOM SLEEVES. Can't beat that with a stick.

I've been assembling my plus size professional wardrobe for an upcoming gig and I've got everything set now except one thing: pantyhose. They're required by the dress code and I have no clue about them. We Love Colors is a great option for plus size tights, but I have NO idea where to find hose. Help!

Hello Dolly

@Valley Girl When you find out about the nylons, can you let me know?

Megasus

@Valley Girl I've found hose is way easier to find in plus sizes than tights? Like, I can go to Sears or WalMart or wherever the hose lives and they have it.

aliceandstuff

@Valley Girl I really like the Daysheer hose they sell at Lane Bryant (esp in non-control top varieties!). Though the last time I tried to order them online I noticed they were only being sold through the Catherine's brand (and not LB) and that the packaging was different, so I hope they have not changed.

Miss Violet

CherriMary this was awesome! I highly recommend basics at Talbots Woman. It's still pretty trad stuff (although not as fusty as it used to be) but when you need basic black pants and sheath dresses and sweaters... oh man it feels good to make that upgrade out of Old Navy!! Better quality fabrics and better fit - slightly more expensive but they have sales ALL the time. I'm excited to check out eShakti though. (And I'd love tips on a better options for jeans - I'm getting tired of buying that one pair that fits me from Old Navy over and over again...)

carbonation

@Miss Violet Okay, the prices might make you cry, but my Svoboda jeans are the best pair I have ever owned. Super hot and flattering, and they still look new after months of thrice-weekly wear. And the customer service is always great.

Megasus

@Miss Violet Yes, I have heard Talbots is really great for good quality basics in plus sizes, although it is too rich for my blood.

Miss Violet

@Megan Patterson@facebook Seriously, I recommend getting on their mailing list - they send offers all the time. If you keep your eye on items you like and bookmark them to your wishlist on their website you can check back on them and see when they go on sale. You never need to pay full price at Talbots if you don't mind waiting a little while. And pencil skirt from Talbots that cost $40 (marked down from $120) is not only better quality than a $40 skirt from ON but you will feel super smart and thrifty too.

@carbonation Checking out Svoboda immediately. Thanks for the recommendation!

redheaded&crazy

@Megan Patterson@facebook ohhhh my gosh guys I have the cutest dress from talbots that I bought for $40 but I just need the perfect country club garden party to wear it to :(

Bebe

@redheaded&crazy I have multiple beloved yet unworn fabulous spring hats that I would be happy to wear to/bring to/share at the perfect country club garden party! Let's do it.

redheaded&crazy

@Bebe I am all over this plan.

Hello Dolly

This post was fan-freaking-tastic! Mary Anne, you are marvelous. Thank you so much for putting this together. I did not realize Lane Bryant had such a bad rap as all my panties are from there, I only buy my jeans from there, and I have two soft, wonderful v-neck sweaters from there as well. I buy everything from there on sale, all from their website, never from their catalog (I feel like the store/website & the catalog are two different businesses, it's crazy.) My hit or miss place has been Avenue; I've gotten some really cute dresses from there but their tights are a crapshoot and I've had quality issues with some of their tops. I recently bought a pair of tights from welovecolors.com and they fit well, but they got a run in them in the crotch after only one wearing. I'm going to slap some clear nail polish on them & keep them in the line-up but I was a little sad at that runner.

Dr. Iris Puffybush

@Spicy Bubbles Lane Bryant stores and catalogs are two separate entities. Weird, right? The catalog is now called "Woman Within" to avoid the confusion. The stuff in the catalog is...just bad. Also, it drives me crazy that they have always used skinny models. That was always tough for me to see as a young fat girl, and it's no easier now that I'm a fat woman.

anachronistique

@Dr. Iris Puffybush Those catalogs are downright hilarious. Like, they blow so far past "size 8 is plus size for models" into "the circus tent has collapsed around the center pole" territory that I just look at them and laugh.

Hello Dolly

@Dr. Iris Puffybush I had no idea they were two separate entities. Thanks for the info!

aliceandstuff

@Spicy Bubbles I think Lane Bryant still sort of lives up to the reputation mentioned in the post, but in the last few years their stuff has become a little more modern and worth a look at least. I still get all of my bras and underwear there, their selection for those is still pretty great.

Oh, squiggles

Very accurate

kinbarichan

This isn't quite on-topic, but there's this thrift store in the next town down the road, and in that town, there's a woman with exquisite taste and deep pockets who has lost weight/gained weight, and has been steadily donating her VERY NICE clothes to the plus-size section. I went in today and - Eileen Fisher!!! Ralph Lauren!! Jones New York! There are some major downsides to plus-size shopping in Canada, especially in rural areas, but, thanks to that one (I'm guessing one woman because all the pieces coordinate) woman, I can dress less like a farmhand and more like a woman of means.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@kinbarichan I just love it when I find a similar-size consignor at the shop here, with the same taste but more money than me.

celacia

THANK-YOU!

hedgehog

If anyone has the luxury of a "price is very little object" approach to this problem, Lafayette 148 is the answer. I blanch at their full-freight prices and I'm 41 and doing okay, so it's not necessarily the best solution to a young woman's immediate/urgent need. But if you watch the Saks sales like a hawk you can score beautiful, beautiful things. Classic and stylish, too, lots of it -- not matronly. Not necessarily cutting edge either, but I got a hell of a stealth-Edwardian black silk blouse there a year and a half ago so you never know.

piekin

this is so. fabulous. i am fat and obsessed with clothes AND IT IS SO HARD! thank heavens for dorothy perkins and asos curve.

MrsLlama

@piekin SERIOUSLY. The Brits have this figured out.

camanda

This is awesome, and I am oddly both saddened and encouraged that so many others feel my pain. I wish we did not have this pain, but at least I am not alone.

As I've said in other comments, I work at a Macy's, and usually in the Home Store. I help out everywhere, though, and I cannot tell you how much I hate working in Suits, because: SO PRETTY, and yet: ONLY GO UP TO SIZE 16. (I am a variety of sizes depending on what I'm buying, but definitely never a 16 in suits or dresses.) The women's department upstairs sadly does not much of a collection of, well, anything, especially not suits or separates. Mine is a tiny Macy's, though, and better luck must be had at the two bigger ones nearby.

(I once drove to the Macy's that's 35 miles away for the express purpose of buying a London Fog raincoat that my store didn't stock. Most worthwhile trip ever. Best of all, the color I bought was only available in plus, and the sales associates told me that smaller people were bitching constantly that they couldn't buy it in their size. HAHAHA, I WIN FOR ONCE!)

And I will not apologize ever for shopping at Lane Bryant, because I've always had tremendous luck there. Admittedly, not in suits. Blouses, pants, jeans, bras, all nice scores. And they're finally coming back to the mall I work at! Hooray, Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug a reasonable distance from home!

I only have one thing from eShakti, but it's a lovely dress I bought for my college graduation and I had a good experience buying from them, so I would totally go through them again. That grey dress is ah.dorable.

Mary-Lynn Bragg@twitter

You lose by even trying to play! The only way to win is to buy anything the second you see it, find it fits and isn't completely horrible and then shop your own closet when the need arises. Of course, this presupposes you have the funds to do so. I've been lucky that way, but I also have spent so much dumb money JUST IN CASE I might have to go to : a wedding (formal, semi-formal, beach, brunch, courthouse - all covered!), a funeral (grandma to hated enemy - covered!), a job interview (from banking to stripper, all good), a business function (formal meeting, resort-based sales meetings in the tropics, trade show? I've got it), etc. The only thing I don't have in my closet is something for the damn Oscars. And apparently an upcoming trip to Paris, but who actually wears the right thing in Paris anyway?! It sucks but I also like shopping and can afford it.

I should open my own Bedroom Boutique y/y? Good luck to all my fat sisters! I feel like it's getting better but I still operate from this position of complete paranoia and end-times clothes hoarding like behaviour.

thesailorsaid

@Mary-Lynn Bragg@twitter Oh god, yes to the hoarding. I keep so many of my old clothes that I don't even like just in case--I might realistically never find them again. You aren't paranoid if they're out to get you, right?

redheaded&crazy

@Mary-Lynn Bragg@twitter oh man I just find that when I'm specifically looking for something, that's exactly when I can never find it. So frustratingggg

PistolPackinMama

@Mary-Lynn Bragg@twitter Yup. People do not get my "if you like it, buy it right then and there price be damned" attitude.

I am also a hoarding person this way.

AuntAgatha

Cherrispryte, this is fantastic! Thanks so much for posting it.

Eatbigsea

This is fabulous. But I cannot believe that we, in the UK, in a tiny market compared to yours, have so very many more options on the high street (in the mall) than you do. ASOS Curve and Dorothy Perkins, of course. But also M&S, Monsoon, Next, even Evans has come a long way. Unbelievable. Of course, none of it is cheap by US standards, but it's not like cheap fashion is available to thin women here either.

piekin

@Eatbigsea it's true - the UK is lightyears ahead of the States! I don't really understand why, considering how many more fat people we have...

PricklyPear

@Eatbigsea I totally agree -- except for maternity clothes. Next is about all I could find with larger sizes, and I was SOL for underwear. Particularly bras. Anyone know where to find plus size nursing bras here (London)?

hedgehog

@Eatbigsea I tell you what else is weird, I'm a straight size in the UK. A UK18 or UK20 depending on brand fits me to perfection pretty consistently. It's absolutely surreal to just walk into a high street shop and try stuff on and have it fit. In the US, I don't really have a reliable size -- float between 14W and 16, generally have to shop in plus, nothing is ever great off the hanger.

Dr. Iris Puffybush

Yay fatties yay! This is great! I was starting to feel like the only fat person reading Hairpin, what with all of the tiny people clothes always featured in the Friday Bargain Bin...
I have tried to buy stuff from Old Navy, but their sizes are TOTALLY CRAZY. Everything runs HUGE, which can be a good thing, but not if you can only buy online. They have such cute stuff though, and I keep going back to the site and browsing and almost buying, and then I scream, "NO! REMEMBER THE JEANS DISASTER!" I bought a couple of pairs of jeans from them and even tried to have them altered and they are just awful. Maybe someday I will attack them with my sewing machine and try once again to make them work, but they are just so bad. They do have free return shipping on plus stuff though, so you can safely try them. Don't think you can create some kind of miracle if the clothes don't work though --just send them back.
For work clothes, I have the best luck with Land's End. My dress code requires mostly khaki type pants though. They have a lot of nice dressier options though. Also, they do free hemming on most of their pants. They can be expensive, but I find great deals in the outlet section of their site. Sign up for their emails and you will get constant offers for free shipping and other deals. If you happen to have a Lands End "Inlet" store (that's what they call their oulets-bleh), check it out. I find great deals there all the time. In the fall, I got 2 pairs of khakis for $5 each! Their clothes are generally really well made, and I find they stand up well to the rigors of having to fit over my fat ass.
Lame Giant. Since I am not 6 feet tall and don't have big boobs (love all you statuesque ladies that do though!!!) I just cannot shop there. Seriously, who are they sizing their clothes for. More power to you if you can actually shop there. Also, no I do not need frickin tube tops in a rainbow of colors Lame Giant. Tube tops?? Really?!? Jeez! I do like 1 kind of bra at the Giant though, so I do have to force myself to go in there occasionally. I would buy online, but holy crap, have you seen how expensive their shipping is?
Fashion Bug used to be my go to for bras, but then they closed the one near me and they discontinued the bra I like. Their clothes are fairly bad. So much dusty pink... But I've found a few OK things there.
I've been intrigued by Junonia, but I only have one pair of their pants and I got them at a thrift store. They fit well though. Their clothes all seem a little like one should be embarking on Serious Outdoor Activities in them. They are also rather expensive.
Well that's all of the fat clothes input I have right now. Keep up the Fatventures!!

contrary

can you tell me how to buy jeans? I am not plus sized, but I have a really big ass that needs at least 2 sizes bigger than the rest of my pants area does (I feel like this problem transcends straight/plus size constraints, right?) I tried Levis curve ID and Anne taylor curvy and felt very "meh" about them. The only solution I have found thus far is jeggings from forever21, and as a grown ass lady, I feel that I should be trusted with a zipper and pockets on my jeans.

Emi at Project Swatch

@contrary I am your body double. My ass is at LEAST 4 sizes bigger than my waist. Right now, I have one pair of non-jeggings/leggings pants that fits me - they're black straight leg jeans from the gap, and they are awesome.

Thus far the only way I can find jeans is to try on 4000 pairs and go home with 0-1 pairs. I tend to have good luck at Express.

thesailorsaid

@contrary Try the Fashion Bug RightFit line, they have 3 different fits depending on your waist/hip difference. The blue ones are for the glorious-excess-of-booty issue if I remember correctly, I know a lot of people swear by them :D

kefuoe

@contrary I thought the advent of "curvy" jeans would be the answer to my fashion prayers. I've since found that there's curvy and then there's *curvy*. What retailers call curvy is a nod in my direction, but they still don't get the job done. My current best jeans are Old Navy "Sweetheart" cut with two darts in the waist, hand sewn by me in a fit if pique. They fit like a dream now.

Bebe

@contrary I can second the Old Navy Sweethearts - they are pretty good for those of us with, as my mom says, "generous" backsides. But it's O.N., so naturally you have to try on the size you think you are, plus one size up and one size down every single time. I actually got a pair of jeans from Esprit of all places - don't judge, they were having a 70% off of everything sale! - that are definitely to be worn with sneakers and a t-shirt, but are still comfy and don't have that gap in the back of the waist. The cut is Star Straight.

Of course, with my luck, they will stop making that particular cut right about.....now.

TheBabyHereComes

@contrary I just buy pants that are big in the waist and get them tailored. It's an easy fix for a seamstress to make so it's pretty cheap.

Emi at Project Swatch

This post is made of awesome.

To all pinners, both plus size and non: I recommend sockdreams.com for all your tights (and socks) needs. They are awesomesauce and have tons of plus size stuff, and will tell you how it fits. Plus they have wonderful customer service and free shipping!

tortietabbie

@Emi at Project Swatch They're awesome down to the lady who designs their website! Awesome all around!

GreenMyEyes

@Emi at Project Swatch Yes! And their retail shop in Portland (OR) is great too!

daylightspool

Can we do a La Petite Aventure? For those of us shorter than petite length but still a half inch taller than the legal definition of a legal person? Yes, I know the joys of getting my clothing tailored, but sometimes the proportions are still off and it can turn a $30 pair of pants into a $60 pair. Also! Why are petite + plus size sections seemingly created by people with no sense of contemporary fashion? I want a goddamn skinny ass high waisted dress pant PLEASE.

GreenMyEyes

@daylightspool YES! to this. I'd love an episode of this series devoted to PetitePlus sizing/options. I'm a 14/16 but only 5" so prefer to buy petites so things don't have to be rolled up all the time. Thank god for 3/4 sleeves 'cause they are just regular length on my T-Rex short arms. And I've learned to hem pants as needed (except jeans are a bitch to hem, I just look for short and roll them up or cut them off).

The trouble I have is that while petites are proportioned better for my small frame, they often are cut too small for the amount of flesh I've got hanging on that frame. So a 14 or 16 regular pant might fit my hip/thigh circumference, but is waaay too long in legs and sometimes crotch. But the same pant in petites doesn't fit me as well as the regular. And some brands stop petite sizing at 12 or 14, when maybe I'd just fit the next size up if it existed. So often I feel trapped in this weird between limbo of too small for regular sizing (swimming in an XL - don't get me started on non-number sizing, its a joke) but too big for petite. Anyone else have this issue?

I know some places have PetitePlus stuff but what I've seen tends mostly towards the department-store-matronly look. It does seem the niche has been totally overlooked by actual fashion designers.

Thankfully, all this is less of an issue now that I don't work in an office and get to wear scrubs to work every day. At least those have drawstrings and are easy to hem. But I'd still like better options for going-out-fun times!

thesailorsaid

This is well-written, funny, heartbreaking-accurate, the formatting is so great!, it's a brilliant idea, and the absolute best. So real. Love this so much. SO SO SO SO SO MUCH.

area@twitter

This was fabulous. Thank you, cherrispryte!

As far as future requests, I second a lot of the ones here (I have to buy a dress for multiple weddings this summer, and I am half excited and half agghh) but something I'd really love to see is going to the doctor/talking health-related stuff. I'd really love to have a response or five ready the next time I get concern trolling about "oh, but you have to worry about abdominal fat" and "why don't you have some salad" and "do you want to go exercising with me, I will run on the treadmill and look fabulous while you sweat and feel self-conscious and jiggly".

Craftastrophies

Also, if you have a little more time there are some etsy sellers who custom make clothes. I got a dress made for a wedding from I heart my closet, and she didn't charge any extra for plus, it is beautifully made and the fabric is nice. And it cost me $100 including shipping. I don't think I could buy a dress for less than that in the store.

There are a bunch out there who do this, I know Frocks and Frou Frou did a bit of a roundup a while back. It's a pretty big kick to have something nice that fits you - it's not a thing I get often. If I get this fancy job I keep crapping on about, I am going to buy a couple of dresses and suits custom made. And some Duo boots.

frigwiggin

@Craftastrophies Duo boots! I love me my Duo boots. Still the most money I've ever spent on a single clothing item, but they're worth it. (Though I still have to wear thick socks with them because they still need some breaking-in.)

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin I lust after them. Boots! Boots that fit! That I don't have to leave half unzipped! It's like some kind of dream.

hedgehog

@Craftastrophies @everyone what's your shoe size? I gots some fine Duo size 39 in a 41 cm calf and now I think I should have bought the 40 shoe size.

Craftastrophies

@hedgehog I'm a 41. They run small? I have wide feet, too, are they slim?

hedgehog

@Craftastrophies depends entirely on the model. some run big, some small. very annoying. they will advise though.

vivian darkbloom

YAAAAY! I recently spent hours at the mall looking for a dress to wear to a wedding and even the half pitcher of margaritas I had beforehand didn't numb the pain of nothing fitting right. I ended up having to drive an hour to find anything that I could settle on. SO THANK YOU, I can't wait to look at all of these! I'm terrified to shop online since nothing ever fits right, but I may have to break out of that. And I think Maurices is a southern regional store, but they have some decent basics and sometimes cute dresses up to like 16/18 (though it says 24 on their website), and most of their pants come in short/medium/tall lengths. I usually go there when I need to find something for my plop waddling dumpy butt self.

PistolPackinMama

@vivian darkbloom eShakti will hopefully be a good option for you, since you can do a full-on measurements for custom sizing. Then you will have endless options for when you need something for your hard-to-fit-entirely-neutral-not-in-any-way-negative-body-languaged self.<3

Mati

I love this. Love it. But all these comments, and only one kind word for Lane Bryant? They make my favorite bra, lots of basic and party jeans with a good fit system, and good basic dress pants and sweaters. Although this season looks terrible and it's always hit or miss, I've bought some of my favorite stuff there - linen separates, cotton and linen sweaters, a few really cute, beautifully fitting dresses and jackets. They had a line of dresses, little cardigans and skirts a couple of years ago that was ModCloth cute, so I have hope for the future. Get on their list for the coupons, which keep the prices more in line with quality. Yes, the jewelry is almost purposefully terrible.

I still have some dress pants and sheath dresses from the late lamented Elisabeth, which made some frumpy stuff but also well-made, elegant basics. If you thrift, keep an eye out.

Land's End has a few good things, the basics can be tailored to look more stylish, and the return policy is excellent.

Find a good tailor/dressmaker. They can de-frump most things and change trim/buttons to make meh things awesome, so you just have to shop for good fabric and the right general shape. Also, when you find something that really really works, buy as many as you can. Then wear them all the time. There's no shame in a uniform.

cherrispryte

@Mati Lane Bryant is absolutely fantastic for bras and underwear, but to be honest, I find so much of their other stuff to be offensively unattractive (Not the stuff you've bought, I'm sure!) I've been shopping there for over a decade by now, and it's at the point where even walking into the store makes me depressed and angry. I haven't bought much there for the past few years outside of underthings, so I'm in the store 2 or 3 times a year at the most, so it's possible I've missed cute things. I'm also in DC, a city known for its frumpiness, so maybe they're sending cute clothes to other stores? I also personally have a slightly unusual taste in clothes, veering towards the twee and theatrical, so what's "ugh, really" to me may be "oh, awesome" to other people with far more sense.

PistolPackinMama

@cherrispryte Mati must have absorbed both our LB mojo, because I have one super cute black cotton wrap-top dress that is very Thank God Rationing Is Over... Let's Buy Fabric! And... not much else except scanties.

Mati... give me back my LB shopping luck!!!

tortietabbie

@cherrispryte Lane Bryant is my #1 go-to bra and underpants store. I do have a few items (knits mostly - cardigans and dresses) that I bought their and love, but it's one of those stores that I feel like I have to comb through for hours to find something I like and am willing to pay what they're charging for it.

Dancercise

This thread sums all of my feelings about Lane Bryant. Lately I've only bought bras and jeans there. My straight-as-an-arrow hips love Lane Bryant's "yellow" fit jeans. Plus-size =/= curvy in my case.

But everything else, aside from a few cute dresses, seems to have gone downhill in the last few years. I just don't have the energy to wander the store for an hour to find one or two things.

PistolPackinMama

@Dancersize YELLOW SQUARE JEANS TWINS.

I have a busty bust, and I have broad shoulders. And I have narrow, narrow hips from the front-view. I feel like a Mens International Irish rugby player in drag half the time. Thankfully, I also have a firm and fairly pert ass from the back view, so I guess there's something to revel in there.

All of which is by way of saying, YELLOW JEANS FOR THE WIN.

They save me.

Dancercise

@PistolPackinMama Busty and broad shoulders! We are body-type twins! Although I have no ass of which to speak, so I have saggy-butt syndrome with some of my dress pants.

More covert than using my facebook account

BEST POST EVER. I don't even suffer from this problem (my wardrobe is packed full of interview-appropriate clothing, thanks to my ex-corporate lifestyle), but I still played along. My favorite part was the pretzel.

cosmeticslovingattorney

A.Maze.Ing. Thank you soooo much for a hilarious post highlighting the plight(?) of fat ladies. Question for the plus-size ladies like me out there who tend to ride the fine line between "Misses" and "Womens" dept store clothing - How to find a suit that flatters the larger parts of our bodies (for me its hips + thighs) without drowning in the other half?!?! I usually find one of 2 scenarios: 1) A jacket fits well in the shoulders/bust but is grandma-pants style on the bottom, or 2) amazing pants but the blazer wants to eat me alive! I have foregone matching suits bc of this problem, but I'm sick of not-quite-matching gray (or black for that matter) suits... ugh!

ALSO- Any suggestions on a good large-lady blazer that will work with sheath dresses (basic black and gray)? I am a dress-loving lady, but can never seem to make them work for interviews (I'm a lawyer, so power-blazers are a MUST!)

frigwiggin

@cosmeticslovingattorney I have this issue too! My upper half is semi-significantly smaller than my bottom half, so matching sets are usually an impossibility. I just try to pair things as closely as possible--mixing and matching isn't so bad, too, so long as it looks intentional. (I'm sorry, this wasn't very helpful, but I just wanted to commiserate.)

PistolPackinMama

@cosmeticslovingattorney Alterations. Or custom made, which is very expensive. But having clothes tailored really makes a difference. Get something that fits best in the most complicated areas and have the simpler parts altered.

C.SanDiego

@cosmeticslovingattorney I am also an attorney, so I know your pain. I have a couple of suggestions - I love the cut of Talbots Women blazers, but they can be very expensive if you don't get them on sale. I'm a huge fan of the dress/blazer combo, and I find that often suit jackets are so long that they throw off the proportions, but theirs are the perfect length to wear with a dress. For some reason I've never found a pair of pants in that store that fits me, but if you're not weirdly shaped like I apparently am they always have at least one super classic suit each season. And, bonus, they're very well made.

I also really like, and try not to laugh because I'm only 26 and it's not appropriate for me to shop there, Coldwater Creek for blazers. I know! But they go up to like a size 26 or 28 (and they sell everything in misses and plus sizes) and their blazers are so fun - I get more compliments around the courthouse on the blazers I get there than just about anywhere. Admittedly I work in a more casual courthouse than most people (I'm in coastal NC - women here wear open-toed shoes to court, which...no) so the hot pink 3/4 sleeve blazer I just bought there is totally fine, but they do have some more conservative but still interesting options, I promise. Plus, their dress pants fit me like a glove.

Also, separates, all day every day. The great thing about Talbots (and I've even found them at Macy's/Dillard's/Belk) is that they sell their suiting separately, so it all matches but you can buy what fits. Plus, tailoring. Tailoring suit jackets is my favorite thing ever, because nothing will ever fit you so well.

Okay I'm done. Sorry, that was an opus, this is just an issue that is very close to my heart.

PistolPackinMama

@C.SanDiego I shop at Coldwater, too. What all is that "it's not appropriate" thing about? I mean... solid tops, some embellished and some very plain. Black trousers, jeans in slim, bootcut, and trouser... I mean, it's not all good all the time. And it can veer into shapeless frumpsville, but so can H&M. I have some really nice things from there and am complemented by hipster slim people on them all the time.

I think it's all paranoia and marketing. like, they market to older women, but really half the stuff is Gap stuff. And so people think the things they sell only can appeal to older women. But it's not true!

My only minor complaint is how often they don't use natural fabrics.

C.SanDiego

@PistolPackinMama You're so right! Let's reclaim (claim for the first time?) Coldwater for the youngs.

It's totally the marketing, absolutely. They truly do have a lot of super cute stuff, of both the very basic and more fun variety. But I will admit that I never would have gone in there had I not been shopping with my mom on my first visit - I just wouldn't have ever thought they'd have something I'd like. I think it's a serious fault in their marketing department.

frigwiggin

@C.SanDiego Whoa whoa whoa hot pink blazer? Tell me more.

cherrispryte

@C.SanDiego Oh, wow - I just went to Coldwater Creek's website for the first time, EVER, and immediately started making grabby hand motions at some of the dresses. I'll be updating the pinboard with some things from their website, for sure!

Dancercise

@C.SanDiego I, too, just went to their website, and I am on the Coldwater for the Youngs bandwagon. I will definitely stop by next time I'm at the mall. My mom always made fun of the place when I was in high school because even SHE thought the clothes were frumpy. But I guess they've changed in the last few years!

workerbee

@cosmeticslovingattorney
My job is suits and gala wear. So, I often turn to an also "embarrassing" place - - I am 30 -
CHICO's!!!! They have curvy businesss, odd sizing (Hey, I'm a sz 3 at Chico's!). GREAT online sales once you know how their sizes fit.
Coldwater is also great. Wearing a pair of their sz 16 Short black slacks at work right now.!

GreenMyEyes

@workerbee Yeah, I think the trick to making both Coldwater and Chico's (J.Jill is another) stuff work for the non-matronly look is how you put it together. If you wear it all matchy-matchy with the big dangly necklaces like in their catalog outfits = frumpy. If you pick nice simple basics and pair them with hipper modern accessories = cute and fun.

Although I will agree Chico's sizing is weird and confusing.

C.SanDiego

@figwiggin I'll tell you everything! It's here: http://www.coldwatercreek.com/product-detail/60972/67518/linen-blend-caf-jacket.aspx?colorid=030&refLink=search.aspx&Skn=outlet When I bought it in the store they had it in Women's sizes also, but they don't seem to at the moment on the website. I wore it to court today to rave reviews - highly recommended!

Also, thanks to coupons and sales and whatnot I think I ended up paying like $60 for it, so if you hop on the Coldwater bandwagon definitely keep an eye out for those!

frigwiggin

@C.SanDiego AH! Ah! I am making grabby hands for it right now. Ahhhhh but I promised myself I wouldn't buy any new clothes until the end of March to make up for buying expensive new boots in January. I must sit on my grabby hands.

cosmeticslovingattorney

@C.SanDiego awesome, thanks for the tips!!! I am also 26, so I've shied away from places that seem more age-appropriate for my mom, but I'll definitely check out Talbots & Coldwater, fingers crossed I'll have similar luck finding blazers to accommodate my dress collection!

sparrow303

This is amazing! I am so impressed by the coding, I can't even.

And re: button-up shirts: Idk if this is helpful because I'm not plus-size. But I do have a big rack, manly shoulders, and a terrible time finding button-ups that fit. The Converse button-up camp shirts at Target are my secret weapon. They have them in one trillion colors year round, and they have stretchy side panels. They are the only button-ups that I have ever tried that don't gape at the buttons. I don't know how the sizes run, but it's worth a try!

billie_crusoe

@fishiefishfish So helpful. I will have to try those. I'm not technically plus but my boobs are ridiculous. The button gaping! (And button-ups are often the only shirts that will cover my poorly-placed tattoos.)

lue
lue

Anyone in Portland (Oregon) really ought to check out fat fancy: http://www.fatfancyfashions.com/

anachronistique

Since we're talking about We Love Colors (sort of): if I'm 5'4" and 275, will the C/D size fit me? Too fat for the A/B, too short technically for the C/D or the E on their size chart, but... they're tights, so they'll stretch, right?

cherrispryte

@anachronistique It's funny, there are things I linked to above that I'm not personally familiar with, but oh boy, I am OBSESSED with We Love Colors. I probably have 8 or 9 pairs? (They also last for YEARS.) I would say definitely, yes, the C/D should fit you. I'm a few inches taller than you, but with oddly short legs, and the 5'5"-6'0" height ones fits me perfectly. Make sure you get the nylon/lycra ones in the upper left, as the quality is so much better than the other solid-color ones.

anachronistique

@cherrispryte Awesome, thank you! I am super excited for gray and maroon and PURPLE TIGHTS.

bluestargirl

I'm just so stoked to find not only a fantastic fat-positive Hairpin article, but a whole comments section full of awesome "traditionally built" ladies!

sovereignann@twitter

@bluestargirl I was just going to say something similar. I am always talking with my friend Courtney about how nice the comments are on hairpin and how everyone, even if they disagree can really just talk about things without being ugly. And can I just say, this has got to be the first ever "life of the overweight" comment thread I have ever read where not one person has said something about how losing weight would make things better or how icky heavy people are. It makes me want to bear hug everyone here. sigh...

every tomorrow@twitter

omg I have a question can I ask a question?

I am a fatty mcfat (I'm a size 16-18 dress and a size 18-20 pants) but I have small boobs. Like, tiny. Like, A cup. As in I buy 36-38A bras and just hitch one or more extenders to the back so my nipples don't show, SMALL BOOBS. Which is a problem because all the plus-size clothes assumes I have a giant huge massive rack. I haven't worn a buttonup shirt in like 10 years because if I get one that fits across my shoulders and my gut it's got a foot of extra fabric in the chest.

I was trying on blazers at Talbots over the weekend, and all the ones that fit across my shoulders 1. were baggy in the chest, and 2. for some ungodly reason had huge armholes that went halfway to my bellybutton. wtf gives? Where do I find a blazer? Is it possible to have one tailored to be smaller in the chest area? HALP.

PricklyPear

@every tomorrow@twitter OMG, I have the exact same problem, except more like a 44-46 and B/C cup. Bras are my main problem: it seems to be literally impossible to fine larger bras with smaller cups. All the larger size bra companies (I'm looking at you Bravissimo) start at D or whatever. Any ideas, anyone anyone?

tortietabbie

@PricklyPear ME TOO!!! I mostly just don't wear button down shirts because my hips are bigger than my chest and if it fits in the hip, it looks ridiculous in the chest. I have had pretty good luck with Lane Bryant re: bras. I love dressing up my boobs and their stuff is pretty sexy and comes in lots of sizes.

Dr. Iris Puffybush

@PricklyPear ME THREE!!! I agree about Lane Bryant. My favorite bras of theirs are no wire bras! They are stretchy like a t-shirt, but look way better than a sports bra. And no stupid wire poking me! I always thought the only bras without wire were the crazy, structured, old-school things my mom favors, but not so. I've got a lot of side flab, so wire never worked for me and finding comfy no wire bras made my boobs so much happier. I'm barely a C and these bras work for me, and it's so nice to have a band that actually fits!

sovereignann@twitter

@bluestargirl I was just going to say something similar. I am always talking with my friend Courtney about how nice the comments are on hairpin and how everyone, even if they disagree can really just talk about things without being ugly. And can I just say, this has got to be the first ever "life of the overweight" comment thread I have ever read where not one person has said something about how losing weight would make things better or how icky heavy people are. It makes me want to bear hug everyone here. sigh...

Anji

@Christine Connolly@twitter We love you too, darling! :-)

tortietabbie

I just want to wrap up the whole Hairpin in a big fat hug. This is my happy place!!!

oh, disaster

Ahhhhh, Hairpin, I love you.

Mary Anne, you're fantastic. I would never consider wearing a dress to an interview because suits have been drilled into my head. Thank you!

anachronistique

@andrea disaster I got my current job after interviewing in a dress! It was also late August, but I feel this is sound evidence. And dress + blazer lets you avoid either having to buy a suit or trying to coordinate blacks.

oh, disaster

@anachronistique I seriously feel kind of relieved. I wear dresses all the time but never suits, so when I do occasionally wear them, I don't feel comfortable and it shows. Plus I'm not going out for jobs that require suits anyway, so a dress with a blazer would work. So obvious, I don't know why I never thought of it.

fondue with cheddar

@andrea disaster Every time I see someone interviewing in a dress, I say, "Wow, she looks great! Why don't I ever do that?"

GreenMyEyes

@andrea disaster Yeah, to my last interview I wore a white buttonup shirt with a black jumper dress over it and a cute cropped black and white blazer jacket on top. Add silver jewelry, tights, plain black flats, boom - done! And I got the job too...

Valerie Sprague@facebook

Eloquii and Talbots both have great work clothes.

I hate J Crew for not having my size.

fondue with cheddar

@Valerie Sprague@facebook Damn, I can't shop at Talbot's because my ex husband works there. But I'd never heard of Eloquii. It looks great, judging by their web site. I haven't been mall-shopping in a long time; I'll have to see if there's one near me.

kayjay

Stands up! Applauds! This is so great. Hopefully, I will never need to shop for an interview suit ever again as long as I live (changing careers within the next couple of years to yoga teacher and nutrition consultant, which means LIVING IN YOGA CLOTHES THAT'S THE ONLY REASON I'M DOING THIS), but if I do, I will return here. Well done and brava!

GreenMyEyes

Love this! I finally registered after at least a year of lurking just to say YES!! Thank you and keep the FatVenture series going please!

TheShe

LOVE THIS, THANK YOU, ETC. Like really, it's so great to see a fat-related thing on the internet without ANY concern trolling in the comments. Whether that's good moderation or good community (I assume it's the latter), I really appreciate it.

One thing, though: You did mention that Eshakti is hit-and-miss, which is good because it really, really is. But I'd also add a note that they are one of the few remaining online retailers who don't provide free returns. In fact, the customer has to pay ~$8 for return postage, it MUST be UPS (per return instructions on the site), AND you have to email eshakti a tracking number for the package - honestly the most insane runaround I've ever gone though trying to return something to an online retailer. I don't want to badmouth them too hard - they really do have some cute stuff, and sometimes it feels like they're the ONLY place with plus-size dresses in solid colors (as opposed to the giant gaudy floral prints everyone wants to put us in because "it makes you look smaller!" barf), so it's good that we're spreading the word, BUT: allow me to share a couple of things I've learned over the years:

1. If you just want to change the length of a dress, ignore the $8 customization option. It's a great option if you want to change multiple things (add a sleeve, change the neckline, etc), but if you just want that cute dress and you DON'T want it "below knee length" (WHYYYYY is every cute eshakti dress "below knee length"!?), just subtract a few inches from your height when you fill out the order form. Ta da! Free customized dress length.
2. Eshakti has a problem with plus sized sleeves. Every dress I've ordered from them that has been a disaster, and furthermore every badly-reviewed eshakti haul I've seen on the fatter corners of the internet, has been in whole or in part because of ill-fitting sleeves. So, for a better shot at NOT having to jump through the hoops of their returns process, order something sleeveless.
3. Expect the unexpected. Don't order from eshakti if you're in a time crunch, because you never know when the boat from Chennai will be blown a couple of days off course. If the description on the site says the garment includes "pockets", that could mean one, two or even zero pockets. I have three of the same dress from eshakti, and one has two, one has one, and one has no pockets. Just saying: overall, an easygoing state of mind is optimal when ordering from this place.

Ok, that's my insanely-long comment about Eshakti. Hope it helps someone somewhere, somehow.

GreenMyEyes

@TheShe This is actually super helpful, thanks! I was considering adding sleeves, now I know not to bother (I'll just wear a cardigan over). And the length tip, genius! Although they state that right now customization is free until 3/31! I think I'm going to try an order and see how it goes.

every tomorrow@twitter

@TheShe Floral prints do not, in general, make one look smaller so much as they make one look like a sofa.

Usually a sofa in a badly fitting slipcover.

TheShe

Yay, I'm so glad to be of help! And yeah as soon as I posted that I remembered that they have free customization this month, so..go nuts until 3/31! Also if you sign up for their mailing list, you'll almost always get a new discount code every month. Pretty sweet.

Waiting

I think you mean Phatventure

Elle Marie@twitter

This post has maybe changed my life. Note: for the tall, not-thin person, Gap has finally started to carry their awesome Premium Pants up to size 20, available in longer length (which is actually long enough for me to wear well with flats, and I'm 5'10"). I totally just ordered some dresses from Eshakti for my upcoming engagement photo shoot!

Dana Galbraith@facebook

I have literal TEARS IN MY EYES.
Thank you for releasing me from my prison of ill-fitting seperates and knee high socks.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

PS - Can anyone tell me what the waist is like on those We Live Colour tights?

workerbee

Jeans Ideas: CJ by Cookie Johnson (Nordstrom an online). Goes to a 16/18. Love these jeans. Also exepenisve, but I owned a pair of St. John's jeans and wore the heck outta them (got them at Nordstrom Rack).
Also - THIS IS EMBARRASSING TO SAY, but Plus Sizers hold me closely - but QVC or HSN has great plus size varieties of jeans/pants/clothes. Yes, some of it looks like cruise wear-buffet pants and tunics, but there are better and better designers - Isaac Mizrahi's Monday show is awesome,... Iman is great too.
Also - for your gaping waist bands in the booty, get a simple tailor tuck for under $10. Life changing.

Carol@twitter

Hang around the area of the company and observe how other people dress. Put on sheer make-up if you can. It's good to over-dress than under-dress. What life coaches teaches are 'dress according to the job you want' so if you want to be a manager, dress like one. You can put on Salwar Kameez.

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