I went to a local New Look store a wee while back and they'd moved the plus size section. It was once right in amongst the "normal" clothes in the prime of the store, but they'd moved it upstairs, tucked into a tiny corner behind the menswear. To make one feel just that little bit more shithouse, on this particular day the lights happened to broken. The whole store was a flourescent blaze, except for this one corner with the fat clothes which was in total darkness. You gotta laugh.
Things have changed massively since I was last a larger lass. Back in the early 00s it was a struggle to find something to wear and the limited selection seemed aimed at old ladies – blousy tunic tops, tapered leg jeans with elastic waists; shiny black "slacks". And of course those nighties with kittens printed on them.
These days there is so much more on offer, especially online. With the proliferation of fat fashion blogs you're never short of inspiration either. Here are some things I've noticed from recent shopping experiences:
1. Sizing is ridiculous
I know there's never really been anything remotely resembling standard clothing sizes, but I currently have clothes from 16 – 22, some of it even from the same shop. What the bloody hell size am I? In some stores I can wear the "normal" sizes, other times I'm banished to the plus sizes. You never really know til you try on, which is a pain in the arse if shopping makes you cranky.
2. They're making trendy stuff in larger sizes
Which is a great leap forward from the Sequinned Kitten era. Alas I'm now 33 years old and look ridiculous if I slip into something apparently Bang On Trend.
3. Somtimes you still feel like a second-class citizen
They make an effort to have a larger size range, but it's only available online. I'm looking at you H&M and Old Navy.
4. Jeans are easier to find
No more tapered legs! There's such a great variety of styles, but no matter what size I am I still usually have to get wide-leg styles to accommodate my sturdy thighs.
5. Dressing the top half is not as simple
This is no doubt down to my fusspot personal preferences and body shape, but I find it hard to find tops that don't totally swamp your waist. I still have a waist dammit, I don't want a smock! Also, there doesn't seem to be that much choice in the middle ground between dull basics and mega trendy.
Speaking of trendy, here are the two kinds of tops that most leave me spluttering with disbelief.
a) The modern equivalent of the kitten-print top, Tops with stupid shit written on them:
b) Tops that make you look like you were attacked by hungry dogs: