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.
- 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.
- Lane Bryant? Click here.
- Department store? Click here.
- 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 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!
- If you want to pair these lovely dresses with a jacket, click here.
- 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.