Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Plus Size Clothes: Helpful or Hurtful?

Forever 21 is expanding their clothing empire to accomodate "plus size" girls looking for the latest and greatest in affordable fashion. In addition, Target is set to launch a line called "Pure Energy" with clothes up to size 30.

If you know me, you know that I am a big fan of both Forever 21 and Target. I have had trouble fitting into some of Forever 21's tops and dresses because I am very heavy chested. Frankly, most of Forever 21's clothes (regardless of their actual size) are made for girls with small chests. So, I'd love to see more tops and dresses for women with ample busts. It's not so much the size of the clothing, but rather the cut. Are you listening Forever 21?

However, some critics worry if creating these lines will, in the long run, promote obesity. "When you look at the human cost, what we're doing is we're on the Titanic and rather than forcing our children into the lifeboat, we're telling them to join the band. Worrying about fashion rather than worrying about the food is a horrible message that we're sending these kids," Roth said in a CNN article.

The fact of the matter is that many clothing companies stop producing clothes after a size 10, although the average woman is a size 14.

So, what do we think? Do plus size lines like these help or hurt us?

15 comments:

scorpioangel said...

"We don't make XL" I was told once by a snooty salesgirl while I was trying on a perfect black dress that I wanted just enough length to sit down in without flashing anyone and maybe a little extra room so I could eat dinner in it. They don't (currently) make clothing for girls who aren't tiny, yet they carry shoes in my size. So I think this is an excellent business plan for XXI. Since I'm a size 16 (and 5'10"), I'm always on the verge of fitting and not fitting into regular clothes but I can't stomach the stigma of looking at the plus size sections of stores (where everything ends up too big anyway). I don't think that the availability of larger clothes promotes children to become obese - jeez, it's not like the dress comes with a double cheeseburger! I eat healthily and there's NOTHING I want to change about my body, but making it easier for me to buy cute fashionable clothing will make shopping a lot more fun!

Amy said...

they just need to make sizes for EVERYBODY. i hate finding jeans that are made for girls that are a size zero and freakin 6'3!!!! i dont need to be able to cut enough of my denim to make a jacket! haha.

Anonymous said...

I'm at the other end of the spectrum (petite, with an almost non-existent chest- makes me look about 16, not my actual age of 24), but as you and Amy have said- what's up with the fact that they make clothes for boy-shaped jolly-green-giants? I'm 5'2", small waisted- with hips and a butt. Anything that fits in the waist is too tight in the butt. Anything that fits in the hips and butt- too big in the waist. As one of the girls quoted in the CNN article said, it's all about the self-confidence. And when you can't just walk into a store and find something that makes you happy- it doesn't have to fit perfectly, just well would make me happy- it affects the way you feel about yourself.

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't be promoting obesity either. Sure some women are just larger, taller or whatever, but if you are just a plain ole Chunky Monkey who doesn't want to do the work some other people do to stay in shape, then you shouldn't be rewarded for it.
In this country, we have gotten to complacent in our sense of entitlement. The simple old school fact is "If you don't work for it, then you don't deserve it". PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

While I think they should make larger sizes I don't think they should go past 18. If you're well over 200 lbs you should have learned fashion isn't a right. If you still think it is get a sewing machine and make your own fashion. Those three or four rolls going over the edge of your jeans aren't hidden by the designer label directly under them. I'm actually angry at the sizes things are available in sometimes. I've seen short shorts in sizes so large they are showing more whale meat than muscle.

Someday someone will realize if they want to dress like everyone else they're going to have to put in the effort to get down to a more normal size (assuming they take the sizes up to 16 or 18 at the highest).

Jaimie Lynn said...

Ok this last post was incredibly rude. I myself have always been a small person and do enjoy style and fashion. I feel that if I were a larger person say larger than a size 18, I would still want to be stylish. I mean seriously what are larger people supposed to wear???? potatoe sacks I mean really! I think its great that stores are now more accomodating to larger sizes. I am a very petite person who always has to get clothing resized which is a little annoying...should I also forgo fashion because I don't fit into a certain size group...I think not! I also don't feel that these new lines are going to make people fat or anything. I'm sure if you talk to larger sized people, I'm sure that they would tell you that they would like to be smaller. Some people are just larger...its just genetics and no amount of time on a treadmill is going to make a size 18 person a size 2..So bravo to Forever 21 and other stores that are creating these lines.

Nikki said...

I agree with Jaimie Lynn! I'm 5'10" and a size 22. I've always been large, I probably always will be, and that's despite the fact that I hit the gym RELIGIOUSLY 5 days a week. Just because some women are larger doesn't mean that they don't deserve to look just as fabulous as all the women who were born wearing size 4 jeans.

Nicole Peyton said...

People who wont give their names when commenting don't deserve words, you have to be ready to be criticized. (That fits right in with your argument about the right to be fashionable "anonymous")

scorpioangel said...

Dear Anonymous (x2),

I don't think that stores offering plus size clothing is a reward in any way. The only person who would consider it a reward is someone who never had trouble finding clothing that fits because you must be one of those size zeroes, or a man.

And what right do you have to deny bigger girls the right to purchase whatever kind of clothing they want to? Sure, I don't want to see short shorts on someone particularly large, but I don't want to see them on anyone particularly fit either - it's a matter of taste. And why is it so terrible to imagine that it may be possible for everyone to feel good about themselves no matter their size? Why can't we all just get along?

Melanie said...

You know what would be great? If these stores created a promotional campaign, in conjunction with a fundraising not-for-profit(ie, 'Pound for Pound' challenge to feed homeless people) to encourage the individuals who have to buy plus sized clothes to lose weight.

It could be like this: If you have to buy clothes above a certain size range (say size 18) the challenge could be that for every size dropped within a certain time range, you could come back and exchange the clothing item for one in a smaller size or get a gift card or something! The store would then donate the old clothes to a shelter and/or donate money for each size dropped.

This way, the stores still has clothing available for larger people; it's a completely optional promotion; and if a person does choose to do the promotion they are being rewarded and working to better their community. Then everyone's a winner!

grrrr said...

Warning: Long rant.

I think it's rude and presumptuous to think that all the "Chunky Monkeys" are people who can't control their eating habits or workout regimen. For some it may be a medical condition, like depression, or a thyroid problem, or something else. Who are we to judge?!

I agree, certain people should proceed with caution when wearing certain styles, but if it makes the wearer feel good about him/herself, let it! It's bad enough that bigger girls know they are being criticized by everyone else around them. But with stores not carrying their sizes, or the fact that they're calling them "plus sizes", it won't help their situation. If anything, it can lead to being more depressed and staying in their place or eating more. Also, with larger sizes sold, people won't need to try to squeeze into something smaller and less flattering.

At 5'2 and a wavering 10-12, I've had aunties constantly tell me I need to lose weight or that I shouldn't wear certain things. Or that I'd look better smaller. Whatever. Beauty and fashion should have nothing to do with size. If you're ok with yourself, that's what's important. So if clothing lines are helping "bigger" people achieve this, then hey, more power to them.

If you're looking to blame an entity for obesity, don't look at clothing lines. Look at fast food chains or certain lifestyles promoted in the US. The change in clothing lines is a product of these, not the catalyst.

--Geraldine

Allison said...

From my own experience, I think there are certain styles of clothes that fit certain bodies. I am neither a size 2 nor a size 12, and so I know there are some clothes that just won't flatter me. I don't think that women who wear bigger sizes should be restricted to wearing tent dresses and flowy tops, and I am hoping that the new line at XXI will include classy choices and clothes that REALLY fit their consumers. I think there are a lot of women out there (myself included) that might not know how to choose clothes that fit them properly, and a line like this might help them take a step in the right direction. However, when discussing this blog with a co-worker, we came to the consensus that clothing stores should not design clothes to promote/dictate a healthy lifestyle, they should be there to make you feel comfortable with how you look regardless or your waistline.

Lizzie said...

I am also on the opposite side of the spectrum as far as my weight goes, but I am not about discrimination. I feel that obesity is a serious problem in this country, it's our own personal epidemic; heart disease is the number one killer in women. Most people believe it's breast cancer, but it is indeed heart disease. However, I don't think that because some people are on the plus size side shouldn't be allowed to look fashionable. I think there should definitely be promotions to fight against obesity, but limiting sizes is not the way. That just makes people feel worse about themselves! I honestly do not believe that expanding clothing sizes is going to promote obesity....Plus, thick women are hot, end of story!

Katie said...

Ok, so I don't really see the point about promoting obesity. Obesity is a personal problem and creating clothes for women who are overweight is not going to encourage eating more. However, I almost feel it would do the opposite. Creating more fashionable, affordable clothes for overweight women may help them feel better about themselves and thus motivate them to get to the gym and get healthier! I must say, I actually commend target/forever 21 because my mom can NEVER find clothes in her size that are anything more fashionable than dress barn apparel. Also, some women have diseases that make it more difficult for them to lose weight, so this again just gives them more options to feel more confident/look good. :)

Jaz said...

Clothing plus size woman fashion has many options these days. You can find something to suit any body type.