Not too long ago, I was in a certain craft store that will remain nameless. While I was shopping for picture frames and yarn – yes an interesting combo, and yes, I do knit (I can take requests for scarves, but it will cost you a few bills) – a man, a rather large man, passed me wearing what had to have been the most hideous t-shirt ever made. It was bright puke green! As if the color wasn’t bad enough, what made it even worse, if you can imagine it getting worse, was that this bright puke green t-shirt had to have been a size 6x. I could not believe this. Why would anyone in the world make a t-shirt of that color in a size that large? Why?!!
This, of course, led me to wonder: “Why does fat fashion have to be so offensive?” Experience tells me that finding good looking clothes in plus sizes is almost impossible. Sure there are a few stores out there now such as Casual Male and Layne Bryant that specialize in plus sizes of both quality and price, but for a long time the best thing a big gal could ask for was a black sweater embellished with sequined kittens playfully tussling balls of yarn. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of these sweaters my Nana had over the years. And if it wasn’t kittens, it was Christmas Tree Ornaments or some other bedazzled frivolity. All big, all bright, and all very, very distracting.
Like the puke green t-shirt, these over the top fat fashions served a purpose, at least in the minds of the designers: To Distract! Yes, there you have it. It is my belief that fat fashion, with its overly garish designs, consisting of bright colors, shiny embellishments, and dare we mention it, floral patterns that are best left on a sofa or throw pillow, are all designed to distract passersby from noticing that the person wearing such an atrocity is indeed fat.
There can’t be any other reason. Think about it: “Oh, this person is fat. What can we do to make them look less fat? I know. Let’s sew on some kittens playing with shiny balls in sequins and rhinestones set to a bright lime green bulky sweater. No one will notice they are plus size then. They’ll be too blinded by the pizazz!”
And if you think the ladies have it bad, just look at what bigger guys have to deal with. Aside from the puke, neon green t-shirt, a scroll through “big boy” clothes websites will reveal a bevy of paisley and tropical print shirts, plaids and stripes in bold, yet boring colors, and attire generally worn by men who hunt, fish, and play poker.
Come one people! Get real. This is not the way to make fat people look good. The way to do that is to acknowledge their larger size and create flattering clothes in normal, appealing fabrics that play to their assets and hide their trouble spots. Is that really so hard? And while the designers are at it, can you knock the price down a bit? Is it really that much more for a few extra yards of fabric? Look at how much you are saving on the size zeros. Surely you can use that left over fabric and toss it on the plus size line at no extra cost? After all, you’re only using a pocket square size of fabric for that zero anyway.
What we all need to remember is that fat can be just as fabulous as a skinny-minnie, but the fabulousness isn’t going to happen if they keep designing clown costumes for the large size people of our world. Fat is here to stay, but the playful kittens in turquoise, magenta and silver-green can go.