I’m Googling this morning. I’m looking at the cost of plus size clothing (18 and above for the sake of this article) in the UK in comparison to those 18 and below.
And I am impressed with the UK. Times have moved on considerably since I was a size 20 19 year old who could only access Evans until I lost some weight. I found it hugely expensive for a mediocre quality and incredibly shapeless and unflattering. If there was a time when being overweight was perceived as incredibly unattractive, and where people felt the right to comment on your existence it was the 90’s for me.
At the age of 19 I was aware I was fat. I was also aware I was a disordered eater and would use food for comfort when things were tough. Looking back I can also see how I already had a mood disorder of some sort. And depression and elation, and the making of snap judgements that would vastly affect me was already a “thing”.
So I was fat. I was a 19 year old student youth worker (pretty much in the spotlight, and pretty much needing to maintain a certain look to be credible with young people I worked with). I couldn’t buy fashionable labels like Animal, or Kangaroo Poo, or any of the brand names of the moment because of my size. I was stuck with a couple of pairs of cargo pants and a body warmer from overpriced Evans, and lots of mens fleecy tops because they came in a large enough size. Oh, and overpriced stretch women’s bootleg trousers from a catalogue.
Back in my late teens, plus size clothing was expensive.
But it didn’t urge me to lose weight. I threw myself into my work both at college and with the various youth groups and agencies. I got away with looking enough of the part without the labels. Buying clothes on a student budget was something that had to take a back seat anyway, and I didn’t really see myself as a follower of fashion.
But I did start to lose weight when I was a student. and why was that? Because some shitty, horrid, vile little boy said “Do you have a road sign? You really should have a road sign. To warn everyone “Wide Load””.
I was crushed, but ok, it was the incentive I needed to lose weight. To go back on a diet, to continue the endless cycle of weight loss and gain. But of course this time it would be permanent. Never mind that since dieting from the age of 4 or 5, I would lose and then gain extra. Let’s forget that little gem of information.
I lost a significant amount of weight over the next couple of years. I got down to a 14, so then I didn’t need Evans, and yes I did get nice clothes!
Since then, over the years I have lost and gained and lost and gained.
And over the years I am delighted to see that fashion labels have recognised the futility of diets, and the need for women of all sizes to feel confident and beautiful.
Clothing stores want to make money, and they do that by making shopping an enjoyable experience as possible. Which in itself can be hard and challenging because we women can be our own worst critics! That dress is the wrong length, that top makes me look like a sausage (I said that this week), and so on and so forth. Clothing companies have seen the great big void in the area of attractive plus size clothing, and the market is now pretty saturated no matter what your style and needs. It is a great thing to see.
I believe confidence can change lives, and enhance lives. When I personally feel more confident I am more caring and aware of my own body and my own needs. I make different food choices and fitness choices. I feel more vibrant and able to attempt and achieve more. So good clothing, clothing that brings a feeling of confidence is a wonderful thing.
So let’s take a look at the various options available for the plus size shopper, now we have moved on from Evans as the only choice;
Pink Clove is a name I hadn’t come across until today. Glancing through, the prices seem very reasonable, and the styles seem very varied. Certainly I would be able to incorporate items into my vintage style. What I really love is that the items have shape to them! The prices sit around £24 for a dress, and there are some very cute sale items that would see wearers into Summer.
For those with a little more to spend Anna Scholz continues to be a stalwart in world of plus size fasion. The website has exclusive items over £400, but also the odd sale bargain under £30.
As far as catalogue sites go, the list is pretty extensive these days with Yours, Marisota, BooHoo, Curvissa, Simply Be. With a variety of styles and shapes and prices, there really is something for almost everyone, especially with regular sales and clearance sections.
Plus size clothing is also available for those who like to dress alternatively (showing wonderful body confidence and individuality in my opinion, maybe this is what pisses off the weight loss messiahs?)
DangerousFX has a range off items from Pin Up, to gothic, to victorian. Alternative items can be a little bit more, but still around the £35 mark in general.
Blue Banana has some gorgeous little pin up cardigans and dresses. In a variety of sizes.
My Little Halo is a very cute little site for the gothic lovers!
The ridiculousness of a Fat Tax on clothing is that people make do where needs must. And if I’m going to spend a substantial amount of clothing on an item I want to know that I will get wear out of it. So for me, paying extra would keep me at the weight that would support being able to wear the item!
And ridicule as a stick of motivation? Well that horrid boy who encouraged an impressive weight loss with his wide load comment kept me motivated and changed for a couple of years. Then weight came on again.
The funny thing is, the only time that weight loss is been ongoing or at least stable is when I finally found myself and my style. The confidence that brought about, and actually feeling attractive and pretty, that is what has encouraged me to be more caring to my body!
Yesterday I was wearing a pair of size 16 trousers. High waisted, a little bit glam. I put on my make up, and I felt good. The clothes cost £1:50 in total, and that was the top from a charity shop. The other items and accessories were from a clothes swap party.
Compare this with a couple of years ago, and the difference, not only in clothing but in confidence is obvious.
So a fat tax on clothing? Would it work? Well considering there seems to be something of a fat tax in the US, and considering it hasn’t motivated the masses, I’m pretty confident we can let this stupid idea slide, yes?