I was nineteen years old when realized I couldn’t shop for clothes at a normal store anymore. I was a 16/18 then, and I really just wanted a pair of pants. After four or five disastrous dressing rooms full of rejected pairs of pants, I realized it wasn’t going to happen. It was time to go to the other side.
On the other end of the mall were the outlands of clothes stores. Lane Bryant has been the most viable option for most women my size for two generations now. The other stores that opened to me were Torrid, Catherine’s, and a handful of others that nobody wants to name or try out. Better bloggers than I have taken on this problem, but here are the issues as I know them:
If you are fat
- The clothes available to everyone else will not be available to you. It’s cute, it’s trendy, it’s in the front window, and it is IMPOSSIBLE for designers to make it in your size, because SCIENCE.
- The clothes that are available in your size are ugly. They are shapeless, colorless, styleless, off-trend, asymmetrical, bizarrely patterned, or designed to create an optical illusion to lessen your overall mass.
- These clothes will not be made of a natural fiber. They can only be made from ultra-stretchy unpronounceable material that has a shelf life of about six wears and washes before it falls apart.
These clothes that you don’t like, that don’t really fit, that don’t look good on you or feel good on you or even last very long will be expensive. 15-50% more expensive than they are for people just a little smaller than you. Happy birthday, fatty.
I’ve been struggling with this for most of my life, and I know I’m not the only one. Fat fashion bloggers all over the world are asking the same question: why don’t they want our money? Even if you think being fat is a morally indefensible disgusting and offensive way of life, you sure you don’t want our money? ‘Cause it’s a lot of money. We’re waving it at you, we want you to take it. So we go through the boycotts and the complaints and the Abercrombie & Fitch fake conspiracy and the miraculous sellout of the fatkini and we ask again: You want this money? You know you do. Cough up the cute clothes, in every size.
So one of the solutions that I’ve found has been a website called eShakti. This site sells really cute and classic dresses and blouses and skirts at a good price, with the very affordable option to customize to your measurements. I’m a hard fit. I’m outsize in every direction, but I do not favor a muumuu. I want a cute dress that actually fits me for less than $100. I’ve bought three from them so far, and they’re glorious.
Minor drawbacks: they run large in the bust, so I corrected my measurement down two inches. Fixed it right up. They’re made of cotton poplin, a fabric that no woman over a size 12 will have any familiarity with. It wrinkles, it doesn’t give, it feels very different. I’m loving it, but it was an adjustment.
Major benefits: Customizable length, sleeves, necklines, and details. Be as modest or as immodest as you like, show off or cover up. Color options on plus size that aren’t black or gray. POCKETS in skirts and dresses; that is a revelation. Good-quality garments that come with extra buttons and a measuring tape. Also, eShakti is coupon crazy. The prices are already very good, but I haven’t paid full price yet. There are always sales and offers and incentives to buy. I have a feeling my closet is going to fill up with these, and I have no regrets.
Regular retailers may never catch on. I may never cross back into a brick-and-mortar store that sells decent looking clothes for someone like me, but I think that day has ended anyway. The better options are online now, and the one I recommend most these days is eShakti.com.
Note: I did not receive any promotional gifts or discounts for this blog post. I would absolutely not turn them down, however.
My straight dress size is a 22/24, but custom fits much better.
I live with a professional photographer, see his watermark on the pics for details. He’s amazing.
If you have any questions, ask away!