The truth of the matter is that I’m no longer the size I once was, who is right? I’m not proud of it either, trust me. I was most comfortable at a size 36-38 before I had another baby, got married and got fat. I’m not hiding it, I don’t shy away from the fact – more importantly, I cannot ignore it. I don’t make excuses, I’m not big boned, I know where I made the mistakes – I did this to myself but the older I get, the more difficult it is get back to where I was.
Like most women (and men) that gain weight, it’s not something I am proud of. It weighs on my mind permanently – pun unintended – and I’m constantly looking for a new way to lose the weight or shake the fat. This post however, is not about my battle with weight loss (for a change) but instead, how the world makes those of us with a few extra kg’s feel.
Unless you’ve been a little heavier than the norm, you will never fully understand the absolute lack of empathy for those of us who don’t fit in the size zero to 8 range. It’s not like I’m a sumo wrestler but my BMI does classify me as morbidly obese, thus making average life a little more difficult. No, I don’t want your sympathy for my weight baggage but I know for sure I’m not alone in the world and am not the only woman with these issues.
Today I went shopping and like every other day, I battled to find anything that would fit me comfortably. As a size 40 or higher, your options are Donna Claire and their odious sense of style, Mr Price’s very limited range that maxes out at a 2XL and the men’s section of most clothing stores. So basically, you’re screwed. Ok, perhaps I’m exaggerating a little bit but nowadays it’s nearly impossible to find affordable, plus size clothing that are both comfortable and sexy at the same time.
In my quest for a pair of shorts in a comfortable size 44 (yes, I’m admitting it, I’m a 44 / 20 or 3XL) I spent many hours searching in what is spring, the supposed summer season for fashion. I tend to go to stores I know have plus size clothing so first stop was Jet – absolutely nothing about Jet’s plus size clothing is sexy or feminine, in fact, I’m limited to looking like a bag lady when in Jet’s range. The colours are horrid (mustard yellow and first green for summer?!) and almost everything is denim, as if us chunkier ladies didn’t already have chafing to worry about? My next stop was a brief visit to Ackermans, Jay Jay’s and Mr Price – like previously mentioned, anything that looks good doesn’t come in my size and so the brief shopping tour put me in a miserable mood. I then visited Woolworths to see what they had in their range that does go into the 40’s but the sad reality is, they make amazing magic jeans that have panels sucking in the fat and yet nothing comfortable – how hard could it possibly be to find a pair of shorts?! Donna Claire didn’t offer up much short or parachute style shorts that were elasticated, bright red and short enough to show you breakfast.
On my shop today I went into another Mr Price and Edgar’s only to find the issue was the same. Nothing new at Mr P and Edgar’s Penny C clothing offered some office wear and a pair or two of white pants. I’m completely against wearing white pants under any circumstances so they were hardly going to be flattering on me. In a desperate attempt I ended up going into Surf Centre to try on men’s board shorts and even there, it appears larger men would have the same issue – no shorts larger than a 36 (if you consider bigger than a 36 larger).
Finally, by chance I walked into Foschini and came across their ‘News’ range which, thank the pope, came in sizes that worked for us curvier ladies. I was so excited that I bought two pairs of loose fitting pants – comfortable and fairly affordable (not Mr Price affordable). Still though, no shorts. (Note – thanks to my colleague E for recommending News to me).
I read an article when searching for statistics on weight and obesity in this country and globally. The sad fact of the matter is, medically you are considered obese even though you’re not that overweight. According to these stats, 40% of women are obese in our country. I guarantee you that equates to 40% of the female population being a size 38 or higher – a size I consider healthy, beautiful and for me – comfortable.
I get it. People don’t want to promote a fat lifestyle. Society doesn’t want to encourage or enable us to be overweight, and by health law with good reason but at the end of the day I don’t want to be fat and this is a daily battle for me. A daily struggle with myself, physically and mentally. It’s hard enough to deal with the weight issue when dealing with so much scrutiny from others, must the fashion world and the clothing industry make it so much more difficult for us by limiting our wardrobe to hideous colours and limited range – is that all we deserve? Is that all we are worth?
So I ask you, sans shorts and with tears in my eyes, where is the 3rd X? Why do I never find anything decent larger than a 2XL? That’s not entirely true, a little gem of a shop called Retrospective located in Brooklyn Mall do stock my size in their swing dresses that are brought in (Hell Bunny) for which I’m extremely grateful BUT for the rest of you commercial fashion houses, for goodness sake would you just cater for us bustier and bootiful women?!
Guys and gals who’ve experienced the same thing, tell me your thoughts? What do you wish would or could accommodate you as an ‘abnormally’ sizes human being?