The Plus-size Paradox

Ladies, I’ve discovered the simplest possible way for designers and manufacturers to start really addressing the fashion needs of their plus-size customers.  Sure, it’d be great if there were more designers who learned how to cut patterns for larger size.  It would also be fantastic if we saw more men and women models represent a variety of body shapes and sizes.  My answer is much simpler.

It’s time to burn up all the fabric dyed these colors:

Why? The majority of plus-sized fashion that isn’t black, red, or navy is one of these five colors.  And it has been since sometime in the early ’80s when I first realized the junior’s department was not going to meet my shopping needs.  This limited color selection has created what I like to call the plus-size paradox.

Exhibit A: The basic t-shirt.

It’s time we break free of the time vortex holding our fashion choices to the time when this was popular:

An informal scan of all the stores offering plus-sized fashion I could find in a thirty minute marathon with The Googles found that when items weren’t one of the above offending shades, they were one of these:

Now, if you will, observe the fashion colors in the following well known clip:

I don’t know about the rest of you, but as much as I love Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia, I’m a good thirty years from an age I can pull off their sartorial feats.  Even then, I’m not sure I want to.

Still doubt me? Take a look at this random sampling of plus-size fashions I found online today.* First, count how many poor women are shown without a head.  Second, count how many are actually wearing plus-sized clothing, and then third, count how many fall into one or more of the above colors. (Click each image to see it bigger.)

*I’ve removed all identifying details, to protect the innocent.

Points for models actually wearing plus-sizes.

OMG! Orange!
Sometimes you can get an item in EVERY SINGLE paradox color.

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[E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

4 thoughts on “The Plus-size Paradox”

  1. What really gets my goat are all the patterned fabrics. Floral patterns. Geometric patterns. Eye-blindingly horrible patterns.

    Judging by the photos in your post, it’s worse here in South Africa. I actually like a lot of what you’ve shown. Sometimes I think the buyers for the plus-size clothing ranges are just f**king with their customers.

    1. Especially when they use all these colors at once. Some of the bathing suit patterns are crimes against eyes.

      This rant started when I saw a sundress (with a really cute cut) with wide horizontal stripes in fuscia, grape, jade, ocean and black in a magazine. It was the one plus-size item in the whole mag, first off, and it was hideous. I’ve pointed out to people that listen that plus size fashion is stuck in this horrible 1986 palette, the stripey dress and this stuff in this post just confirm it.

      I do like a lot of the stuff I posted, there are some really cute dresses, and some of them look like they’re cut well. I’d just love to see the plus-size clothes come in the same colors as the non-plus-size clothes. I can’t look at that green and not think “fat girl jade.”

  2. All of those top colors look good on me, with the exception of fuschia. Blue is my best color, any kind of blue (except pastel, but even then I can pull off a periwinkle). And the brighter the blue, the better. Royal blue and that incredibly loud cerulean/turquoise/ocean/whatever you want to call it look especially good on me with my super blue eyes. I personally love that it’s in style right now because I can buy up all manner of shirts in that shade.

    However, I get that it doesn’t look good on everyone, and it’s frustrating when you’re stuck with loud colors and don’t want them.

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