I am a serial online-cart filler-upper.
Anyone else with me? Raise yo hand proud, sister!
I can count on one hand, maybe one and a half hands the online carts I have filled right at this moment. It's not just clothes, the carts are also filled with my dreams of being a rich bish who can buy what she wants, when she wants (but like also rich enough to spread the wealth, because I have a heart too, people!) My email inbox is also filled. Filled with "I think you forgot something" notes and I just have to laugh because, like, sorry Torrid...I didn't forget anything...I am all to aware of the 24 things I've left behind. I will be back, I will be back...
But besides not being able to afford all the items, there is one other reason I don't actually pull the trigger and buy the clothes.
Shopping online is great. It's convenient, fast, easy, and it takes no energy, but as a plus-sized woman, it can be a risky business. Sizing is never standard. Shirts using the same material and basic shape from one store could be completely smaller or larger if bought from another store. Dresses on the models could hit their bodies in one place, but be totally wonkety on my body. And let's not forget how uncommon it is for me to find a pair of pants that will fit me perfectly because of my size and height combination.
All this to say, it means I have probably missed out on some really great plus-sized clothing stores. In fact, I know I have been missing out on H&M. I live in Nebraska, we got an brick and mortar H&M a few years back so all I had was the option to shop online. I knew it had a plus section, but I have been fearful of shopping there because a few years ago I remember looking at their selection online and noticing none of it looked like it would fit me. I know my body. I know what materials typically work for my shape, which ones will provide me with enough give so the item is comfortable enough. And they didn't have a large plus section and the size-ranges weren't the best. I was turned off.
But my friend wanted to go to the H&M at our mall a couple weeks ago so I tagged along with her. I was not going to look for myself. But...I got curious. I just wanted to confirm for myself that I wasn't missing out on anything. I wanted to confirm that none of their clothes were going to fit me and it was just one more "plus-size" sections created for the women society has deemed "plus-sized" even though they are most likely below or at the average size in the US. I went into this experience with a chip on my shoulder, for sure.
But then I saw something: "4X". And my jaw literally dropped. I was like, "huh!? Since when? Is this new? When did they change their size-range?" And then I thought maybe I had been wrong the whole time and they did have a large size-range and I just counted them out without even a second glance.
Either way, it doesn't matter. What matters is I shopped like a crazed woman. I grabbed things in my size, bigger sizes, and smaller sizes just to see.
And guess what? I had to eat a big ass piece of humble pie. I was wrong. Not only did H&M have clothes that fit me, I was able to downsize for some items. And I found a bangin' floral dress I am in love with. I want to wear it everywhere and in every way I can think of.
I definately learned my lesson. I cannot complain about not having enough stores for my body-type if I'm not willing to try them all out before I discount them. Whether I am actually making the purchase, or just letting the items rot in my cart until the website reloads and empties my cart, I need to be more open to stores I am unfamiliar with. If I want designers and clothing companies to be fair and give me and my body a shot, it's only fair for me to do the same in return.
I am going to be less afraid of trying new stores. One of the greatest things about the plus-sized culture throughout the last few years, is stores and designers are listening. They are seeing. They understand the importance of all bodies having representation and respect and opportunities to be creative in our style.
Please email me with your favorite plus-sized clothing stores! I need all the suggestions!