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double standard evil fat fatties

I’m now an official expert on women’s fashion

By David Futrelle

Last week, there was a little dustup on Twitter over one online clothing store’s rather limited selection of sizes, and their goofy names.

Rabbit Goh Co sells women’s clothing that is, in the words of one journalist, “understated, classically tailored and slightly twee.” Trouble is, they only sell clothes in three sizes, which for some reason they’ve decided to call “dainty,” “fair,” and “grand.” Making matters worse, the “grand” size isn’t very grand — it’s only a US size 6.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how grand or not grand that really is, given that I’m not actually an expert on women’s fashion at all. But according to legit fashion expert Cora Harrington, who got the controversy going with a tweet complaining about the “cutsey” names for the sizes, it’s not very. As an assortment of women on Twitter confirmed:

I'm size chonk
I guess my size would be oh lawd she comin

All this is covered in somewhat more detail in a post on the controversy on the entertainment/fashion site Her, from which I borrowed these tweets and the description of Rabbit Goh Co’s style I quoted above.

And, oh yeah, the reason for my headline? Well, the post on Her also quoted a tweet by noted fashionista me.

David Futrelle
@DavidFutrelle
Replying to @lingerie_addict
I'm a big fat dude but I am dainty as fuck, dammit

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go drink some tea with my motherfucking pinky out.

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YV
YV
1 year ago

@AsAboveSoBelow

You can always make a Square Circle Skirt. Which, despite the slightly confusing name, is simply a square of fabric with a hole cut out.
And sometimes, if you get a fabric that doesn’t fray, and you cut neatly, you can even get away with not hemming it. It’s great.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@WWTH:

Off topic, but if anyone wants to mock an incel, I’ve got a live one here and he’s a doozy. He’s got quite the plan to fight male celibacy.

“Gays have no rights in the ideal society”
Ideal?

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@Tosca:

Buy a sewing machine, hit up YouTube, and learn how to sew.

Is there a list of functionality one should look for in a machine suitable for beginners?

Sheila Crosby
1 year ago

Well the US Mammotheers have made me feel better about my life. I can walk into Punta Roma, pick up a size XL, and it nearly always fits. Same with M&S size 22 long when I’m in the UK.

Some years back (20? 15?) UK clothing manufacturers got together and measured a load of British women and rejigged the clothing sizes to fit modern British women. Apparently we have bigger boobs and bigger waists than our grannies did. It’s not perfect, but the USA sounds far worse.

Still, this is a small island and the choice is somewhat limited, so I’m glad I can sew a bit. I’m 5ft 9″ which is a good bit taller than the Spanish average, and there’s less choice in larger sizes. Last year I made myself some loose fitting trousers for summer and a kaftan top. I just wish I had more time and/or coul sew faster.

I can only manage basic sewing. Every 5 years we have a really big fiesta, and my niece was in the Minuet (17th century dance, for those who don’t know it) . My sister in law sewed a gorgeous 17th century costume for my niece.
This kind of thing.
comment image
I’d get the vapours even trying.

iknklast
iknklast
1 year ago

Buy a sewing machine, hit up YouTube, and learn how to sew.

I have a sewing machine, I know how to sew, and I wouldn’t sew my own clothes on a dare. I hate sewing with a passion. Besides, I have so many other things in my life, and working 90+ hours a week leaves me precious time.

I think it’s always easy to tell someone a way to go in their life, but sometimes people have reasons not to go that way. I decided when I was 20 that I would never sew my own clothes again, because I absolutely hate it, and I have kept that promise to myself, even in the face of breaking many other promises I made to myself.

Fishy Goat
Fishy Goat
1 year ago

@Moggie:

I would say keep it as simple as possible. For example, this one is very close to what I have now (it’s a slightly newer model):

https://www.brother-usa.com/products/SM1400

And these ones are non-computerized:
https://www.singer.com/machines/mechanicalhttps://www.singer.com/machines/mechanical

You don’t really need anything else until you start doing fancier embroidery/more tailored sewing.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
1 year ago

Oh, clothing sizes. As I have always been a big person (even as a child I was shopping in the husky section) shopping for clothes has always been one of the worst activities I ever have to do. I have a friend who used to laugh at me because I would have the same shirt in many colors – that’s because if I found something that miraculously fit I bought it in all the colors they have!

I’ve never been a clothes horse with closets packed with clothes (same thing with shoes) because I’m lucky to find much of anything that fits.

My particular problem is I’m an apple! I have a very large stomach and comparably smaller butt/hips. Most of my weight seems to be from midsection down to thigh. This is NOT a shape manufacturers’ design for.

However, even shopping from plus size catalogs causes difficulty. I have measured myself and look at the size charts where they map measurements to sizes (like 1x, 2x, 3x, etc.)
Those are even a joke! I was trying out a bunch of different sizes to figure out what to order in the end, so I bought a pair of pants that matched up to my waist size. OMG, I looked like one of those clowns that has the huge pants that look like a hula hoop attached with suspenders. I laughed so hard trying them on – I could have fit two of *me* in there!! I ended up going down about 5 or 6 size “numbers” to get pants that fit-ish.

Most plus size companies assume if you are plus you are a pear, with all your weight in your butt and thighs.

So this whole thing about dainty, whatever – it’s like a whole other universe to me that I don’t even comprehend, like I’m a 3D person in a 2D world.

I dream of the day a plus size company has three lines – for apples, pears, and hourglasses.

BlueNinja
BlueNinja
1 year ago

Yeah…I’ve always been thin and wear a 6. To think that is “grand,” wow. Is this store for tweens? Or simply designed for those suffering from an eating disorder and need smaller clothing than normal? :\

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I’m usually a size US 12. When I was a bridesmaid about 5 years ago, I had to get a size 24 dress just to fit my boobs. I had the waist taken in as far as it would go and it was still big everywhere but my chest. I’m apparently so offensively shaped to dress designers that even alterations can’t help me. That’s why I only skirts or pants with sweaters, tee shirts, or knit tank tops (with a cardigan if I’m at work). I stopped being able to fit into a dress when I grew boobs. Why no one makes dresses with more room in the chest and less room in the waist, I have no idea. Even though hourglasses are traditionally considered more conventionally attractive than pear shaped, I would trade my body for a pear shaped one any day. Big boobs and arms are damn near impossible to clothe.

Sometimes I think the reason for the stereotype about women loving shoes comes from the fact that it’s so hard to find clothes that fit, but the majority of women can find shoes. I can’t wear tall boots because my calves are too muscular. Other than that, I can easily find shoes that fit properly. I like fashion, but can’t really be fashionable without a shit load of effort and money because most cute clothes don’t work on my figure. So I get all my fashion impulses satisfied by shoe shopping.

Full Metal Ox
1 year ago

Lindsay Ferrier describes her experience with (now defunct) Singapore mail-order clothier NastyDress–and how her disappointment proved to be someone else’s jackpot: http://suburbanturmoil.com/this-is-what-happens-when-youorder-ridiculously-cheap-clothing-from-singapore/2014/11/21/

Ferrier’s account would seem to support the notion that Singaporeans average smaller than Americans–although, in another context altogether, I’m pretty sure I–a hefty load by U.S. standards–am not even one Asian wide:

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/Cj_QyxPZE8M/hqdefault.jpg

Virgin Mary
Virgin Mary
1 year ago

I hate buying womens trousers. I bought some black ones from Sainsbury’s with no pockets for a uniform, they were supposed to be 28″ waist. Then I buy some much nicer and more expensive Farah men’s ones, with pockets, size 32″. How the hell are they the same size?
I buy Mens suits in a 38 size, the trousers are usually 32″ or 34″ and fit me fine. I’m (women’s UK) size 14 top and size 12 bottom.

Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
Redsilkphoenix: Jetpack Vixen, Intergalactic Meanie
1 year ago

I haaaaaave a sewing machine that’s an older model Singer (though with a fair bit of fancy switches on it). I think I even have the instructions for it, so in theory I should be able to figure out how to do simple stitches on it.

My main problem will be finding a sewing table similar to the one my mother has. One of those small wooden ones that can fold up and double as an endtable, in a way. But the new sewing tables I’ve seen for sale are closer in size to the kind of folding tables for eating off of. Far too large for my little apartment. :/

Which means, I guess, doing some haunting of the secondhand stores in my area, plus assorted yard sales, to find the kind of table I’m looking for.

Bina
1 year ago

This is why I never order clothes from online shops in Asia…their sizing system is completely out of whack from where I sit. And where I sit is at a regular US 14/UK 18. In other words, dead average. And even then, that size doesn’t fit me in all the places: I’m not a large woman, I’m a medium-sized woman with big boobs, a relatively small waist, and big-ass hips and a big-ass ass. I’m thankful that at least a couple of places (the Gap, ASOS, etc.) have some cuts that will at least somewhat and sometimes fit my curves. If I had a dollar for all the times and places I’ve burst into tears of frustration and rage in the fitting room, though, I’d be rich enough to hire my own designer.

Also: Finally, a meme I, who am An Old, can relate to!

comment image

OH LAWD HE COMIN’! So cute, he’s even cross-stitched:

comment image

Dreamer
Dreamer
1 year ago

I mostly buy second-hand clothes in the U.S. The sizes range from small to XX -large, rofl! I ignore the size tag, hold it against me, and if it seems possible, try it on. I do not understand sizing and have no idea what I am. Best guess is 12. Mind you, I have a size 6 petite sundress that fits fine. Wtf?

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

@Lainy:

I’m 5″2 with an hourglass shape, a skinny waist but larger breast

Smurfette? Is that you? 🙂

@YV:

A lot of people in my generation just don’t seem to have the confidence to even believe they could learn skills that only a few decades ago were commonplace. But they can! We all can.

It might not be just a matter of confidence, but also of expense. Not many people have the money to spend on ruining large amounts of $(material_resource) before they have mastered a skill sufficiently to be using rather than wasting the raw materials. Access to scrap material obviously helps, but is likely dependent on location and one’s social network. For sewing, the surest source of scrap material would be one’s own worn-out clothes I suppose … but of course anyone who’s money-constrained will not have a large wardrobe, nor be particularly quick to toss an item and seek a replacement, so this would produce a trickle of material to practice on rather than a flood.

This is leaving aside the fixed costs: a multi-hundred-dollar machine that would be the needed “startup capital” for such an “enterprise”. If it’s not something ubiquitous in every household anymore, and it’s not cheap, it’s not going to be accessible to a big set of people.

Things like this suggest the need for an expanded “maker” movement, with workshops in any substantial town with heaps of donated scrap materials and an assortment of machines and tools for a wide variety of crafts, both those coded male and those coded female. (AFAIK at this time “maker spaces” are male-dominated, activities-coded-male-dominated, and limited to particular “happening” neighborhoods in larger cities — precisely the neighborhoods no-one can afford rent in anymore, thus putting them geographically out of reach of the very people who could use them the most.)

Of course, a third issue is how little time working people have these days to devote to anything that isn’t work, food, or sleep. Making your own clothes (or anything else) takes much more time than a five-minute stop at Wal-Mart on the way home. So these ideas could help people with “more time than money” but not the growing portion of the precariat who have precious little of either. At least not without combination with major reforms to the economic system, like a sizable minimum wage hike.

Shadowplay
1 year ago

Learning to make clothes is great, but it does take time and, as Surplus said, a willingness to waste materials.

Learning to modify clothes to fit you (at first) or look better (second level) is far, far quicker and cheaper. Charity shops have a ton of dirt cheap clothes. Another plus with modifying is that, while a sewing machine makes it faster, you can get away with hand work for a surprisingly long time – certainly long enough for you to decide if it’s worth doing enough to buy a machine.

I learned when my sewing kit consisted of two needles, three spools of thread and a razor blade – but there were a powerful motivator (half days pay docked per instance of “Uniform, untidy in two particulars.” Not pleasant when you’ve got kids.)

Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
Lumipuna (nee Arctic Ape)
1 year ago

In a blatant display of privilege, I recently saw a men’s underwear ad joking with the following notion:

“Covering women’s clothing sizes requires half the alphabet and a fruit basket. For us, it’s a bit easier.”

Skylalalalalalala
Skylalalalalalala
1 year ago

Tosca, Chaos made Flesh, Servant of the Purring Jew
January 28, 2019 at 8:32 pm

Buy a sewing machine, hit up YouTube, and learn how to sew. Smash this particular patrio-capitalist dystopia with direct action.

I have a sewing machine. I learned to sew in junior high (my school had home ec & shop and all students had a semester in each for each year) & my mom sewed a lot of my clothes growing up. I still can’t make myself try to do it for myself. I haven’t hauled out my machine to repair stuff in about 3 years.

I have a few issues. Despite having made cloth diapers & baby carriers, I find the idea of clothes daunting. Partially because of my tendency to start projects & never finish them (see my cloth diaper making home business & my baby carrier home business as 2 examples in a vast number) I’m scared of wasting money on supplies and not ending up with any clothes – a major fear when you’re poor and tend to avoid spending any money on yourself even when you desperately need things. The last time I planned sewing actual clothing was when my 17 year old was about 2. I was going to make him & his dad matching shorts. The pattern & fabric are still in my closet, untouched.

However, my main issue is I can’t understand sewing patterns. It may as well be hieroglyphics to me for all the sense I get from them. The aforementioned diapers & baby carriers were made with patterns that weren’t written with lots of sewing lingo, mostly just plain English. With pictures. Lots of them. And even then, the diapers all wound up being preemie size somehow. I ended up making a whole bunch of flat diapers out of old sheets instead. The baby carriers were awesome, but the directions were so straight forward, it was impossible to mess up. If anyone is interested, this is the kind of straight forward, impossible to misunderstand pattern I need (& have never found in bought patterns) http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/man-tai.shtml It originally came with exact measurements as well, but they were pulled for copyright reasons. If anyone is interested I have pictures of a couple that I made I can link to, but you get the idea from the instructions. I didn’t bother with the pocket, though.

Hambeast
Hambeast
1 year ago

Inklast said

The entire women’s clothing industry appears to be in some sort of conspiracy to make women feel terrible about themselves, whether they are larger women, smaller women, or somewhere in between.

Not to mention that the entire fashion industry in general exists to get everyone (but yeah, mostly women) to buy new clothes regularly for no other reason than to be “in fashion.”

Re: home sewing – There are a lot of YT channels that specialize in upcycling thrifted clothes. Two of my favorites are Coolirpa and Annika Victoria. Annika Victoria is Australian and apparently there are the most enviable thrift stores there that seem to have lots of fabrics and craft supplies! Even in the US, some thrift stores have bed sheets that are great for sewing projects or even just practice.

That being said, I totally get that sewing can be intimidating and frustrating and it’s not for everyone. One thing I learned working for a fabric and craft chain is that every crafter seems to have that one thing that they hate. Mine is quilting. *shudder* Needlepoint and embroidery are second and third.

I love beading, knitting, crochet, tatting, and lucet cordmaking, though. And don’t get me started with the gift box making; that’s the new thing for me. At least now I have a way to use some of the paper and cardstock I acquired when I was working.

I also have a stockpile of fabric from that time. I do plan to start making my own pants (pajama pants and cargo pants with lots of pockets!!!) as soon as I clear of enough horizontal space.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
1 year ago

I’ve found, at least in in the US, that decent, stylish, petite women’s clothing can be rather tough to find. The situation has gotten better over the last 20 or so years, I have to say. I don’t understand why we height-challenged women don’t have more options…I ‘v e read that over 50% of all women in the US are 5’3″ or under.

AsAboveSoBelow
AsAboveSoBelow
1 year ago

@Shadowplay:

Learning to modify clothes to fit you (at first) or look better (second level) is far, far quicker and cheaper.

Oooh, yes! Makeovers are so satisfying, even if it’s just taking in the seams for a good fit. I love ReFashionista: http://refashionista.net. She makes it look so easy.

Aron
Aron
1 year ago

When in doubt, pinky out!

jone (social justice cleric)
jone (social justice cleric)
1 year ago

@Buttercup Q. Skullpants

It never seems to occur to clothing manufacturers that being fit, as a woman, doesn’t mean you’re size 0.

Or that being a size 0 woman doesn’t mean you necessarily want the world to see the cleft of your labia, due to the skin tight pants.

Meanwhile, men’s athletic clothing is tailored loosely, to accommodate biceps and movement. Men are allowed to take up space while exercising, but women are supposed to disappear.

Ouch. I’m bringing back sweats.

@Catalpa

True, I did express myself in an insensitive way.
At least I learned not to do that, and the reasons why.
If only every unintentional racist could do the same, then maybe we’d really get somewhere.

I do wonder how much of the alt-right and manosphere racism and sexism originates from the fact that these people realize they (hopefully unintentionally) hurt someone from a marginalized group, and are embarrassed about it…but can’t confront their feelings because of????
A multitude of personality and emotional problems (I guess).

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

Or that being a size 0 woman doesn’t mean you necessarily want the world to see the cleft of your labia, due to the skin tight pants.

But being a size 0 woman does mean that men want to see it, and men design most of the clothing for size 0 women, so …