Why You Don’t Always Need to Stick to Your Clothing Size

When you’re fat, clothing labels inadvertently end up becoming a huge part of our identity because of how restrictive fashion is when it comes to extended sizes. We loiter around the interwebs of our favourite fashion and plus size fashion retailers waiting with baited breath to see if our favourite pieces will be re-released in our sizes. We collectively give an exasperated sigh when a designer x high street collaboration abruptly ends at a size 16 and we take to the Twitter streets to complain about the injustice of it all.

Rightly so. Despite the amount of stores which have extended their sizing to include size fat, there is still such a long way to go (I’m looking at YOU, Zara) and the fact of the matter is that fat women are still incredibly disenfranchised when it comes to fashion. We can’t even bloody go into a charity shop to buy clothes as smaller-bodied hipster women are buying all the bigger clothes and tailoring them so it gives off the ‘oversized’ vibe. CAN WE NOT HAVE NICE THINGS?!

*calms down*. What I’m trying to say is…the availability of a wide range of pieces for us fats is still limited at best. There IS a way to work around this however, and it needs to incorporate a lot of patience…a whole LOT of patience.

Coat – Pretty Little Thing // Crop Top – Old Boohoo // Jeans – Sanctuary // Converse – I bought them on ASOS but now available on Amazon

“How do we do this” you ask? Well, simply, it involves trying on clothes that aren’t you size. It’s very simple, however it’s a process that can be incredibly long winded and traumatic. We all know how it feels to be in the changing rooms and just have that absolute epic shame and sorrow of not being able to fit into the latest piece of clothing. It’s shit. I know. But there are occasions when I have gone into stores and have happened to try something on and it fit, only to find out it was a size 14 or something random like that so you never know!

In these shots, I’m wearing a crop top by Boohoo that is a size 14. It was one of those instances where I just picked the piece off the rail and didn’t bother looking at the size until I got home. This beige trench coat by Pretty Little Thing is actually a size smaller than my usual size, yet it’s still incredibly oversized. The jeans – while they fit – are a tad too short (I’m funny about the cut-off point for jeans tbh) so I just roll them up. I thought I’d lend a couple of tips to get you started – it can be time consuming, and we still absolutely need for all brands to extend their sizes but in the meantime, there’s no harm in shopping outside of our clothing size zone.

photography by Kaye Ford

Knowing which brands are stretch-friendly

We all that one mainstream brand whose pieces are oversized enough to the point where you can comfortably fit into. Here are a few others you may have missed:

  • ASOS (mainstream / men’s / ASOS White)
  • Monki
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Bershka
  • Primark
  • Debenhams
  • Weekday
  • (I didn’t want to include Zara in this BUT I know some smaller fat women who have been able to get some oversized pieces!)
  • Pretty Little Thing (main line)
  • George at ASDA
  • H&M
  • And Other Stories

Stretchy fabrics are your friends

I know it’s an obvious one but it’s still worth including! Try on clothes in the largest sizes featuring fabrics that include jersey material, polyester (I know I know but you’d be surprised k?!), lycra and stretchy denim. Crop tops are amazing for this, as sometimes you can get a crop top in virtually any size and i’ll probably fit tbh (while giving you amazing cleavage btw).

Destroy the inner lining of outerwear

I’ve done this several times to a few of my pieces tbh. My arms are what makes the upper half of my body bigger than the bottom half of body, so I’ve always had issues buying outwear. A lot of the time, I buy coats and jackets that fit me perfectly yet the arms are a bit snug around the armpit. My solution is to use a pair of scissors to slowly cut the inner lining of the jacket where the armpits meet and VOILA. A perfect fitting jacket!

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