Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm Big, I'm Beautiful and I'm not bashful about it!

Style and Company at Macy's
Warning this is a rant blog. Please forgive me I'm sick of the whole weight issue in America.
"Fifty Years ago, the fashionable American woman was size 16 going on size 18. Today she is size 12 going on size 10. Tables of statistics have made her health conscious. Mass media have made her youth conscious. Size has become a status symbol." ~ Adele P. Margolis 1969 from How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter

Those same statistics, media messages and society pressures are still present toady. Some times so much I want to scream stop please and lets instead except everyone as they are. Size really does not matter but living a health lifestyle does.  It's interesting to me when media tries to get it right how quick the haters come out to continue pushing the pressure on any group of people that do not fit into what they presume to be the correct way. For large woman the number one criticism is get up off your tail and do something.  The number two criticism is well if you wear something that flatters you you'll look better.
I want to look at both of these criticism in short so if I get ranty for give me.
Me made
If you wear something that flatters you you'll look better
Who determines what the current look or trend is? The fashion industry of course. RTW has for a long time over looked the plus size market. Either down sizing or limiting styles to plus size woman. The few stores that cater to nearly half of the adult female population like every one else move up and down with the economy. But often as a plus size woman we don't understand how the fashion industry works. Recently NYT put out an article that attempts to explain the problem. See the link here.  Pattern Reviews very own Kathleen Fasanella was quoted in the article. She further explains her quotes on PR in this discussion of the article. It's funny how and industry that should be helping solve the problem also seems to be the cause.  As mentioned before I work in a shop as my second job. I see woman who have been told for years wear something baggy and it covers your bumps, lumps and other things. They don't understand or are too conscious when told that outfits that skim the body actually make you look thinner and feel better. Those who have embraced wearing the correct foundations, finding a good seamstress for alterations and only buying what really fits and flatters them are some of the most fashionable women in town no matter what size. For me and many of my fellow sewist we have found a way to limit the problems for our own unique bodies and that is to create wonderful garments for our self. Yes some times we create a wader but there are alot more winners the better we get with knowing our body. The funny thing to me is that the problem of what to wear is not just limited to the plus size market but to womens clothing in general. My youngest daughter is a size 00 an we have a hard time finding things to work for her too. So the next time you see a friend, stranger, or co-work dressed to the nine tell her you love her look she probable spent hours looking for or making that great outfit.
Get up off your tail and do something!
"I'm a size 20 who just finished dance teacher training.. six hours of dancing and yoga a day for 10 days. I wonder how many of the people posting nasty comments could keep up?" BoredNowPhillyJuly 29th, 20102:56 pm Comment from the NYT article above.
Lane Bryant top and thrifted pants 2005
Let make it clear not every plus size woman is large because they eat wrong, are lazy, don't exercise or are poor. Recently when I was watching CNN they interviewed a former Secretary of health who made it quiet clear that the current science of things can and does have extremely health people being categorized as obese and overweight. I've often told well meaning friends, relatives and students I really don't loss weight. Only twice since graduating high school have I been less than a size 14. The first time they discovered that I was a diabetic. Being put on food plans, exercise plans and medicine plans brought my weight up to higher than what it currently is. The second time was five years ago well I was on what I call the "divorce diet". Again once the stress of things was off my body the weight came back. Today I focus more on just living a healthy life style making sure my body stays on the strict food plan, walking 2 to 6 miles every day, having enough sleep and just trying my best to be active. I'm a much happier person today because of it.
 It saddens me to see woman who have been dieting and exercising for years hating them self because they cant fit into the model that is so often thrown at us. I often tell these women buy your self a new outfit and enjoy life you might just be at "your perfect" weight. I found it interesting that this study shows that overweight elderly live up to 10 years longer than their thin counterparts. I'm not and advocate for fat or for thin. I do believe we all need to live has healthy as we can.
I'm done ranting and will be back to sewing. Still working on Lutterloh pants. My friend D~ was nice enough to provide me with a playlist (music) the other day so I could do surgery on the pattern. Today I will be making a muslin.


  1. Excellent rant. My pet peeve right now is that darn BMI chart. The only thing it considers is height...nothing else. Everybody that is a certain height should weight withing a certain range or they are at risk for all sorts of ailments. Give me a break! It doesn't take into account age, build etc. Who came up with that crap?

  2. Here, here ... I hate when people assume you are lazy if you are larger. I also hate to see larger women wearing ill fitting garments. A past male coworker dared me to kick him on the top of his head. I did and he was astounded. The other coworkers fell out laughing and keep reminding him of the event. I tell people that I'm very agile. I told him I could kick him on the top of his head. He assumed that I couldn't raise my foot up that high. He's about 6' tall. So happy that I sew and can make garments that fit and flatter.

  3. I know that my size is one of the major reasons I sew. I was sick of finding cr@p in the plus size section of Target. Why oh why can't they make the cute stuff in bigger sizes???? I've never understood it. Ironically now I've lost weight & fit into the cute stuff, they have cute stuff in the plus sized section!

    Oh & I'm with knitmachinequeen on the BMI.

  4. Good post! I've been looking for that Adele Margolis book, I have another one of hers that is really good too. I find her quote interesting you think that was a reflection of the "Twiggy" phase just really taking hold?? Before Twiggy, the prevailing "ideal" body type was much curvier so that would make sense!

  5. No I actually think the Twiggy stage was out post of a media push trying to change the image of women. But you are correct prior to Twiggy curvy was more prevelent and excepted. Even the size 12 that Margolis spoke of in 1969 had more curves. If we think about it Twiggy model a very short time between 1960's and early 1970's. She stood only about 5'6" and weight a little over 90 pounds her mesurement were extremely fair some sources say 31-22-32. She to me was the birth of the current craze for waffy looking models. When I think of it even in the early 70's I dont think it was to the extreme it is today. I'm glad to see little bits of correction going on with a few more average and plus size models coming into the scene.