Summer is the perfect time to rock a cute crop top or fun short shorts that show off your great legs. I always look forward to this season of barbecues and beach days and (fashionable) fun in the sun.
But this year has started out a little different.
"My shorts don't fit."
"Neither does this pair."
"All my skirts are too small,"
I complained to my mom, tossing item after item out of my closet. That's when I realized it: my endocrinologist had said PCOS can cause continued weight gain, even during treatment. I'm still gaining weight. Fuck!
Don't get me wrong: I love being fat. I love my body. And I consider myself a fat activist. Learning to love myself means accepting myself at any size, whether it's a 2 or a 32. But growing out of your clothes at a rate that feels unhealthy and puts a dent in your (already half-empty) wallet? It's hard to cope.
So off I go to the mall. The biggest mall in the biggest city in Canada. I have limited funds, since my disability means I can't work as much as I'd like to, but I'm sure I'll find something.
With multiple floors and hundreds of stores, you'd think there'd be at least a hundred that carry sizes over 16.
Nope. Not even 10.
Let's count them:
1 Forever 21
Three stores. In an entire mall. The scary thing is that I have more luck at the Eaton Centre than I do at other malls in Toronto.
I'm fortunate that I can sometimes fit into a 16 or XXL, the largest straight size available, so stores like Old Navy and the Disney Store are not entirely off limits. Still, who wants to squeeze into t-shirts and cotton dresses, crying "I'm so lucky this blouse is cut big!"? And as a fat woman, I'm already not taken seriously in the office, so do I really want Tinkerbell's face on everything I own?
I'm glad the three fatshion- friendly stores above exist. But... why aren't their plus sizes mixed in with their "normal" clothes? Why is the fabric quality superb in straight sizes and so-so at best, ghastly at worst in plus? Why should fat girls wear low quality clothes that cost more, just because they're bigger? And why are the few stores in Canada that specialize in plus sizes extravagantly priced and rarely in malls?
We're being punished for our size. We're being punished for eating 'too much', for having illnesses like PCOS, for our genetics, for happening to have double chins.
Do I begrudge my slenderer friends their fast fashion, their hundreds of stores, the breeze that shopping is for them? Not at all. I just want my experience to be as good as theirs.
Image source: Reitmans (one of the few stores at Eaton Centre which caters to plus size shoppers).