Saturday, October 15, 2011

Have you noticed?

What do you think about the design and variety of clothes for the plus size woman?

I'm particularly interested in the perspective from an Australian point of view. Each season my hopes build up that we're going to see some really good styles, good colours and good fabrics. And each year, I have to admit I experience a little disappointment. Not that everything on sale is bad, but the majority I have to say lacks imagination.

Even some of the better labels seem to be undergoing a shrinkage phase. By that I mean shirts and tops are no longer tunic length or knee length or even mid-thigh length. They're back up around the waist or four inches lower. Now these may look good in photos, especially when they're modelled by women who have a nice figure (and let's face it, many plus size women do have nice figures and even dare I say it, flat tummies). But for the rest of us, there comes a time when a "saddle" appears. It sits nicely between the waist and the thighs and it can range from being a "bit" to a darn LOT.

This means that the shirts and tops might sit nicely around the bustline and even the waist, but .............. The lower your eyes take in the reflection of the garment in a long mirror, it's obvious to all and sundry that this saddle is protruding under and beyond the shape of the top or shirt. How many plus size women look at the profile or side view in the dressing room mirrors at stores these days? How many plus size women look at the rear view reflection in the dressing room mirrors these days?  And how many women have a full length mirror in their home these days?  Come on, be honest. A lot of women we know NEVER look at the side or rear view.  

Not doing so has a couple of consequences. They don't see themselves as others see them. And they do a dis-service to themselves by not being aware of how the garment looks. Because I think it's about time we showed the courage of our convictions and made stores and retailers aware that we're NOT happy with garments that they sell, and which are NOT made according to most of our needs.

As a postscript to this post, I'd also like to add my comment relative to the fabric we see everywhere today. There's something called "mesh" which is being sold through the small discount outlets in shopping malls, and this fabric is also seen in the much more expensive lines being sold through the major retailers. It's used as tops, and as a top layer in skirts and pants. It may well be a practical fabric, but it certainly is not an attractive fabric. It looks what it is - a second class stretchy fabric that pretends to be a good quality material. It really isn't. It stretches - sure. But it also goes out of shape. It also tears easily, and a number of women associated with our newsletters have complained that inadvertently they've managed to tear holes in this mesh fabric even by putting the garment on. I don't know where this fabric is "made" but it sure doesn't appear to be made locally. For a country known around the world as the grower and supplier of beautiful cottons, linens and fine wools, we're subjected to some mighty awful fabrics here.

I'd like to hear what ladies in other countries think.

© 2011 Autumn P of Victoria


  1. Hi, what did you mean when you said you were interested in the perspective from an Australian point of view? Your article could apply to many parts of the world. Isn't fashion fashion? Well, if it's one of your interests I guess, maybe you see subtle differences.

    As for the models. I imagine some of those flat tummies and lack of saddlebags is due to the help of photoshop. Muscles won't pull in fat.

  2. I guess it's natural to see things from a "local" perspective, Janet. But over here most if not all our "fashion" seems to be a cheaper version of what is available overseas. If I compare garments from at least a dozen suppliers over here, the designs and styles and even the colours are the same as each other. And to top it off all those designs and styles seem to be aimed at the young market (20s up to 30s).

    Yet when I compare garments from the US, Europe and even New Zealand, there's always something new and refreshing about the styles, so that I am constantly aware there doesn't seem to be anything that is "Australian". It's been my contention for a long time that we could and should have a fashion element based on the indigenous perspective, using colours and fabrics created by our young aboriginal women.

    Yes, those saddlebags are a subject in themselves and they too need good designers. Photoshop has to answer for a lot!!