Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The State Of Fashion Affairs

This is a guest blog by one of my favourite friends and schoolmates, the fierce Lady Beca.

Rebecca specializes in Period and Historical Costuming, Curation and Preservation and is a prolific creator of delightful anachronistic reproductions including being an accomplished corsetiere.

This is her take on the present state of plus-size retail in the US.

The State Of Fashion Affairs
by Lady Beca for Fashion Sanity
I have curves. Scratch that. I have bad ass fucking curves. I have luscious tits, I have a cushy ass, I have hips that can shake men into submission. I am woman, hear me roar! And I am controller of my own almighty dollar. Sadly, I don’t have as many of those as I might like but when I shop, I shop fierce. And woe to the sales clerk that gets in my way.
But it’s hard, being a woman with a real figure. My options are pretty much the plus size departments of Macy’s and the like, now fondly called the woman’s section, or stores like Layne Bryant and Torrid. Slim picking for the less than slim. The choice for me is about my dignity. I don’t shop the department stores because I can’t stand the crap that gets pushed out of them. Over priced polyester junk with no shape sold to me by twiggy chicks who couldn’t give a shit or women old enough to be my mom who just don’t get my tastes. I don’t want clothes that are designed to draw attention to my pretty face-- that oft extolled feature of the anorexically challenged. I want to show off the long neck that sits under it, and leads the eye to the ample roundness of cleavage. I want a skirt that shows off the shape of my calf, the bend of my knee and hints at the thigh you don’t see.
So, Torrid… right? No. Years ago, when they were the Hot Topic for plus sizes that I loved and adored, I would go in and drop serious cash. The cut of the clothes was outstanding, the lines were delightful, the trends were ones I could live with and I never felt like I was out of place. Sadly, Torrid is now Contempo Casual for fat chicks. But, some of you might say, they still have some of the Tripp clothes they used to carry. And I say to you, yes they do. All the way in the back. And it shrinks every time I go in there. So instead of finding five or six or even ten pieces I love and want, I find one or two. What’s worse is having to deal with the pandering attitude of the store. Not so much the employees since they tend to be curvy like me, but the overall aesthetic. Torrid is the land of pretending to be skinny, pretending to be just like everyone else.
It’s this make believe that I just can’t stomach. I don’t want something that looks just like what Skinny Marie is wearing only made bigger. Because frankly most modern trends make me gag. And because I know full well what looks rockin’ on her isn’t likely to do the same for me and vice versa. I want a designer that can take the fabrics and colors and ideas behind the trends and make me something that is divinely mine. Bonus points for a designer who can make the skinny chicks wish it came in their size.
And Layne Bryant? I do much of my shopping there, but it’s mostly by default. I’m not always crazy about what they produce. The Gods know their sales staff is not very helpful when you do manage to find one. But I never feel like they’re trying to help me look just like everyone else. Mostly I buy my business clothes from them. When they do tailoring, they tend to do it better than most in my price range and style. So they get my money.
What I really want to see is someone who isn’t going to charge me retarded prices for run of the mill trash. I sew, and I am above paying through the nose for the privilege of wearing so-and-so’s designs. I am not above stealing them if I think I can reproduce it though. But I shouldn’t have to. Somewhere there has to be a designer who will look at women like me and want to celebrate the curves I am blessed with while respecting my wallet. Because I’m through with paying for being a curvy girl. And I’m through with being pandered to. Most of all, I’m through with unrealistic expectations for women all over. Not just of ones like me.


Joan said...

I have to disagree with you about LB sales staff. At both the North County Fair and Mission Valley stores, I've found exceptional assistance. Now that one of the gals from NCF is moving to Parkway Plaza, I know I can add that store to my list of places where I'll be taken care of.

Milla said...

Well, this was written by Beca so I do not know what store in particular she was referring to.
I will ask her to comment...

Lady Beca said...

It's not one store in particular but a general, overall experience. i dislike having to track down people in order to get the small help of starting a room or finding another size while i stand there half nude. and i've shopped LB in at least three counties. it's mostly under staffing i think. but their seemingly hand off approach to customer service just rubs me the wrong way.

Milla said...

Thank you for responding girl...
I think the fair thing to do was to ask for your full account and opinion.
I am going to MISS YOU ...
If I stick around you are working with me on my show and if I go to London, you SO are coming to visit and helping with my show at Central anyways.
Big hugs and packing,

lady beca said...

oh no, not london. i don't think i could handle it. lol. twist my arm and maybe i'll help out. lol