Posts Tagged ‘fat dollar’

Evans and the IBTC

A couple of weeks ago I purchased a truly ridiculous number of bras and underwear from Evans. Now, this may or may not have been because I’ve never seen cute bras in my size before, but OMG. Evans sell them. And they’re CUTE, and it’s AMAZING. I even bought a padded balcony bra.  Seriously, it’s like they took what I was raging about here and actually listened.

Now, I may or may not ever get around to doing a full review, but if you’re fat and you’ve got small boobage, I can recommend these bras. They’re fairly well made, reasonably priced (by comparison anyway – i don’t want to be spending $80 on one fucking bra, people) and they have a nice combination of styles. And they actually fit!

YAY SPENDING FAT DOLLARS!


An epiphany regarding fat apparel.

So today I wrote an email to my most favourite underwear company. Oh, they don’t really make cute underwear in my size – so technically i’ve never purchased my favourite underwear from them.  But when I was a teenager I always envied my sister and her friends.  They got cute funky fun undies.  I got lace encrusted high waistedness – if I was lucky.  It’s enough to make a girl go commando, honestly.

[img_assist|nid=80|title=Can you guess which one is the plus size option?|desc=|link=none|align=center|width=599|height=400]

Today I realised that nothing is ever going to change if we don’t pipe up about it. So once a week from this day forward, I plan to write a letter to a fashion label that does not cater to my fashion desires.  Bonds, while making a small selection of plus clothing, has limited their fat underwear to what is affectionately known as “The Grundie”. Bonds Cottontails; for women who like to wear their underpants up to their breasts. I’m not saying they’re a bad choice (hell I’ve worn ‘em) but it’s more the fact that it’s your only choice if you’re over a size 16.  And that sucks big donkey balls. But it’s not going to change unless more of us tell retailers that there is a market for their product; after all, a good businessperson isn’t going to sell a product if they think nobody wants to buy it. We need to educate the uninformed – be as vocal as you can about wanting to spend your fat dollar on their product. That is the only way they will listen.

So with that in mind, here’s the email I sent to Bonds about ten minutes ago:

 

“I’m a big fan of the look of Bonds products. It saddens me (and quite a few of my friends) greatly that 90% of your underwear lines do not progress past a size 16. The styles over a size 16 that are made by your company appear to be for grandmothers. (Original Cottontails, i’m looking at you.) 

You’re not only missing out on a sizeable portion of the underwear market, you’re also enabling a stereotype that fat men and women can’t be beautiful, and aren’t allowed to wear cute things solely due to their size. While I respect that the company is about business first and foremost, I do know a large number of men and women who would buy your products if they were made (and advertised) in their sizes.  

As a member of the fat community, I wish to help you understand that we like to look and feel just as great as those who are smaller sizes. I appreciate the company’s endeavours into creating plus size clothing – I’m currently wearing a Bonds hoodie after all – but please PLEASE take the next step and start making fun young plus sized underwear. Or at the very least do the market research, and look statistically at how many young fat people there are who are starving for underwear that is cute but comfortable. 

Cheers,

Janey”

 

It may not ever be read by anyone who will care, I admit.  But if we fats rally together…. I mean, if we contact designers and retailers for more options in our sizes that don’t look like potato sacks, it might show them that making fatshion is economically viable. 

I will be sending out one email a week to companies that I wished made clothing in my size. I will continue this mission until fats are treated equitably by the fashion industry. This is my pledge.


The Fat Dollar, Beth Ditto and hipsters: oh my

Around 10 years ago, the first hipsters (as we now know them) dragged themselves out of the post-grunge ooze. As a borderline Gen X/Yer I saw it happen – on the internet. Being interested in identity and styling, I observed the unfolding and blossoming of the iPod clutching, skinny jeans wearing individuals who were far more rooted in Gen Y entitlement than I. I remember not having a CD player, and how we’d go without music for months at a time because Dad refused to buy a new needle for our record player because we were “too rough” with it when we played his albums. I still don’t have an iPod, however Nick purchased his first just last month. I was an observer of hipster culture because I was fat, and I was not considered part of the demographic, because I was just this much <—> too fat to fit into straight sizing. My styling was heavily influenced by riot grrl bands and tough girls, so I sourced clothing from op shops and made a lot myself.

At about the same time (2001) I started getting involved in Fat Acceptance (FA) – also online. In Australia the movement would be non-existent until years later (does it exist yet? I know of a few bloggers and one academic – is that it?!) I used message boards with an ex-boyfriend, but the attitude towards fat was mostly to fetishise it, something I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. I am probably what people call a prude. Nevertheless, the idea that a group existed that didn’t completely reject fat people or negate their feelings or rights as human beings; well, it made me want to be a part of it. Time ticked on, Torrid broke up with its slender goth best friend Hot Topic, and I found more online communities that dealt with fat in revolutionary, even controversial, ways.

One was an ironic take on ratings communities (which I won’t name here) that was as shrill and biting as the communities it sought to mock – in fact many applicants even to this day consider the application process to be completely serious. Despite whatever reputation it developed, I found many friends there who I have kept to this day; we’ve actually bonded on lots of different levels – humour, fashion, creativity, etc. The next community I found was Fatshionista – which was challenging, frustrating and eye-opening; I’m still adjusting my consciousness due to its influence on me even though I’ve been wading around in it for about four years. I knew fashion was political, but I didn’t know just how political. I learnt about my own white privilege, as well as my own looks privilege and all the other privileges I have access to. In the beginning, I just wanted to talk about fashion; I had no idea just how deep the issues ran.

[img_assist|nid=16|title=What I wore today - 02/07/09|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=267|height=360]As a result, I style myself with incredible awareness these days. I mostly source my clothing from overseas because Australia’s plus size clothing is ridiculously awful. I refuse to believe that my Fat Dollar is only good for buying weight loss snake oil so instead I send my Fat Australian Dollars to the UK and the US where I can find clothing to style myself in the manner that I like. Sure, it sucks not being able to go into a brick and mortar store and buy up anything I like, but I appreciate how much extra consideration I give to styling my identity when I have to consider currency exchange, international sizing and shipping.

When one of the FA movement’s poster girls, Beth Ditto, announced that she’d be collaborating with Evans (a UK plus size clothing store) it sent many fatties into a tizzy. Yeah, I was one of them. Ditto gets a lot of shit; I think it’s due to hipster backlash, just quietly, but I respect her Spanx-exposing hijinx because I am that prudish fat girl. A woman does not have to be ladylike, nor does she have to be well behaved – and that assumption of ladylikeness seems to not only to extend to fat women, but to smother them. I struggle with my femininity and what’s expected of me but when I observe explicit directions for fat women to dress or behave a certain way – it makes me even more uncomfortable. I am not a woman who likes to be told what she can or cannot look like.

[img_assist|nid=17|title=Beth Ditto for Evans|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=376|height=240]I don’t know what makes me classify Beth Ditto as a hipster – I feel a lot of irony in her waters. The collection reclaims some of the awful body hiding plus size fashions of the 80s but everything is just drawn a lot… tighter. Via Twitter and Fatshionista, I’ve heard that many with Fat Dollars to spend aren’t impressed with the collection, and maybe it’s because there is too much painful irony for them. This post-modern irony has all the hallmarks of the vanguard of hipster styling, and now fat people have access to it (well, fat people who like femme clothes). What I think Ditto and Evans are doing for plus sized fashion is interesting – they’re bringing it out of the doldrums, and creating styling options that may not make fat people as ashamed to duck off into a store where they can find clothes to fit them. I don’t know about you, but I certainly know that a younger me used to endure shopping excursions with friends, putting up with shop after shop of straight sizing and hanger-flicking because I wasn’t bold enough to say “LET’S GO SHOP WHERE I CAN DRESS MY FAT SELF”. In a few years, marketers and retailers might just have that lightbulb moment when they realise they might make more money manufacturing consumable clothes for fat people rather than bombarding them with unhealthy weight loss methods. After all, our prudish standards of decency dictate that we need to be clothed. All of us.


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