I have been discussing at length, to anyone who will listen, my overwhelming anticipation of the upcoming 3.1 Philip Lim x Target collaboration the past couple of weeks. I'm a huge fan of the impossibly chic, yet wearable aesthetic of Lim's designs, and this particular collection (dupes of seasons past) is of course no different. As always, I am disappointed in the fact that Target makes no effort to offer their collaboration lines in plus sizes. (Trust me- they have the money. They have the technology. It is BEYOND possible!) And yet, I still plan to grab whatever I can squeeze into from this collection.Why? Because not only is it totally affordable (prices will range from $19.99 to $299.99), but I also feel like it's how I would dress myself if it were up to me.
Part of the reason why I started this blog is because I'm mad about my lack of a signature look. Posting outfit photos is a good way for me to see what works, what doesn't, and go from there. I always thought of it as my fault that I didn't have a "look." Could it be that I just didn't know of enough plus size retailers? Is it because I wasn't willing to spend enough money on clothing? Did I have bad taste and just didn't want to admit it? In ruminating on why I am so obsessed with this Philip Lim for Target thing, I realized that it's not me, it's that what I'm looking for simply doesn't exist. What even is my taste? How would I ever even know when I have access to so little?!
Plus size clothing is SEVERELY limited in the variety of styles available. It seems almost everything fits into one of the three following categories: vintagey, adult babyish, old ladyish, or poor-quality trend salad consisting of two seasons old trends. It is nearly impossible to find anything good-quality, structured, or tailored over a size 12 at any price point, let alone an affordable one. There is no plus size equivalent of Zara, a brand I feel exemplifies the missing link between straight and plus sizes. By the way, can we please somehow make Fat Zara a thing?
Could the fact that designers don't take plus size women seriously contribute to this lack of "serious" clothing? Maybe I can't look expensive and pulled together because designers and manufacturers just assume that anyone who looks like me is a destitute slob. I'm flipping through the new J. Crew fall catalog as I type this, and I got overly excited when I saw that they carry up to a size 16(!!). "I'm totally going to spend all of my dollars!!!," I screamed internally. Then I looked at their size chart. Their idea of a size 16 human has a 42" bust and a 34.5" waist. Ooook then, Jenna Lyons.
It becomes increasingly clear to me as I become involved in different facets of the fashion industry that there is a huge disparity between what clothing companies think plus size women want, and what they actually want. Perhaps sometimes I want to take a break from my junk food print dresses and just wear a nice cashmere sweater and a pair of tailored trousers. But I can't... they don't exist for me. I asked my Twitter followers what they would wear if it were available in their size. Here are just a few of the responses I got:
Come September 15th, I'm going to try to squeeze my fat ass into anything I can in the name of exploring my personal style. Even if I just come home with a knockoff Pashli bag, at least I will have shown that plus size women do indeed have interest in designer collaboration lines with a company that could potentially expand their size range. And yes, while it's been hard for me to find my niche, we also can't forget the issue of classism when it comes to access to fashion. I don't really think I am qualified to speak on that end- so if anyone has anything they want me to signal boost in that regard, please share. What would YOU wear if it came in your size/was affordable?