Thursday, May 5, 2016

Waging War: A Slam Poem

Read the words after the jump.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Plus Size Fashion

Alternatively Titled: What I'll Do If I Win the Lottery

As a young girl I dreamed of being a model. I bought stacks of magazines. I made special trips to bookstores to buy the UK and Australian editions as well. I spent upwards of $50 a month on magazines, my mom supporting most of the financial weight. She also accompanied me to stores and encouraged my love of “trying things on for fun.” We couldn’t always afford the fashion that I wanted, but it was still fun to make outfits in the store. We got creative with the things available in my size. I learned how to mix and match not only different price points, but also different styles all together. As I got older and started buying my own clothes, I swiftly fell out of love with the fashion industry. I gained some weight, added a couple numbers to my size and realized the style of clothes I wanted to buy weren’t available at for me. My fat body wasn’t part of the conversation. I couldn’t design so I gave up hope on being involved in what was “in”.

I started trolling the sales section of plus size stores to find things I could afford that also weren’t bedazzled or graphic tees. I religiously went to Ross, TJMaxx, and Goodwill trying to find things in my size. I can’t sew, but I could piece together items into a solid outfit. I maxed out my credit cards at Modcloth and ASOS so I could be stylish, but different than the other fat girls in my area. I patiently tried on straight sizes when I was a 16/18 and thanked the Gods that “oversized” was in. I wished for endless amounts of fashion money so I could dress like my plus size idols. I read “Big Girl in a Small World” and desired all the clothes Nicolette Mason spoke of.

I have recently rekindled my love with the fashion world. I’m still poorer than I’d like to be. I’m still bigger than desired if I want to find on point clothes. But no longer is the plus size conversation restricted to what I “shouldn’t” do. No longer do I only have to wear “flattering” clothes that conceal my fat lumpy body that was considered “wrong” when I was young. The plus size conversation was so small when I was growing up. To see a fat girl in the media was to see a “before” picture. The styles that were offered focused on “slimming” and lots of cardigans. Now, I can go to Maurices and buy short shorts. I can go to Forever 21 and find maxi dresses. I can go to Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, Catherine’s, The Avenue, Torrid, Modcloth, ASOS, Target, and plenty more places for a variety of different styles. Designers are expanding their lines to include larger sizes and more plus size models are in the media than ever before. I don’t feel like we’re out of the red yet, but at least we’re part of the conversation.

The thing I feel is lacking the most in the plus size fashion community, even with all these large steps forward is affordability and availability. The biggest struggle I have as a plus size woman is finding business casual clothes ie: clothes for the every woman. I can find festival wear, beach wear, crop tops, vintage style dresses, even wedding dresses. But try to find a work appropriate shirt for under $50 or Bermuda shorts. Years ago it was unimaginable to be able to think of so many stores that carry plus size bikinis. I am not knocking that fact; however, I wish someone would focus on bringing affordable staples to the plus size community. Importantly too, keeping them available year round. I used to wear cardigans during every season of the year because I was embarrassed about my arms. When summer came it was impossible to find new ones if my old ones ripped or got lost. While self love and body positivity are things I hope for in everyone’s life, the reality is that some women wear cardigans in the summer. The reality is some women cover up all year round due to body image issues or not.

I don’t dream of being a model anymore, but I would totally rock my own line of plus size staples if I ever win the lottery. That’s the first thing I would finance after paying off my debt. I even have the whole line worked out already! It would be available all year round and everything would be under $30. I don't know how to design or pitch a line or anything, but I'd love to coordinate with people on this!

Until Next Time,
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