What Would You Wear If You Could?

philip lim x target
3.1 Philip Lim for Target, in stores and online September 15th.
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?

33 comments:

  1. I should've answered that question on twitter, but I didn't think I would change my style. There are just certain designers I would splurge on if I could like Rachel Antonoff and Lauren Moffat, most indie, vintage-inspired deaigners don't make styles past a side 10 and even then, they are tiny sizes.

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  2. Oh man, there's so much I'd wear if it came in my size, I'm probably going to end up writing my own blog post. I'd definitely wear more goth clothing, especially stuff with plaid and zippers and tulle (think late '90s Hot Topic, or pre-pink Torrid), more florals (like the Prabal Gurung for Target collection, which also went up to 16, but none of it was stretchy enough to fit me), and more stuff that's generally super-girly and outrageous and over-the-top: bright colors and patterns, vintage, sequins, lace, tulle...all the stuff I see in thrift stores in straight sizes but can never find in my size. ARGH.


    Oh and prom dresses. I've seen so many gorgeous, colorful, poofy, glittery, tulle-y prom dresses in straight sizes in thrift/consignment stores for like $10, and if they came in my size, I'd wear them all the time with Chucks (if Chucks fit me--my feet are super-wide and need a ton of support, which seriously limits my shoe options...I could write a whole other post about what shoes I'd wear if fit and comfort were no object).

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  3. YES! jerks! i love rachel antonoff so much. i have the sads about never getting to wear anything of hers.

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  4. looking forward to that post!

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  5. You are so right about the limited styles available to plus size women...my dream style would involve perfectly tailored menswear pieces: structured blazers, flattering pants, cashmere cardigans, and silky blouses and t-shirts.

    I can't tell you how many times I've gone clothes shopping with money to burn and ended up at Sephora buying makeup I never wear. Bummer!

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  6. I'd wear something with kind of a dark elegance to it but still a touch of classic and a twist of 'adorable'--mostly like Mui Mui. I also would love to wear Marc Jacobs and when I was a teenager I would've done almost anything for a cute little bright, flirty Betsey Johnson dress in my size. Back then I had so many issues with my body and I always thought "I won't fit anything I like anyway"--that part of shopping was always really burdensome and draining. I really hate that for my teenage self--I spent so much time thinking I (my body) was the problem in the equation and not the industry. I totally agree with everything you said--and I vote in favor of Fat Zara!

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  7. I didn't know about the Phillip Lim line until just now. I'll add that to my list of clothing to daydream about.

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  8. More crazy print vintage 60s, since it's hard to find above a 34 bust. And probably more things with sleeves. What is it with tiny sleeves?

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  9. I would wear pants...in general they don't get along with me when I shop the usual plus stores. If I find a pair tbat fits the material is no fun.
    I still want a hoodie and dress I saw in Germany from Blutsgeschwister to be made for me. They showed up on modcloth recently as well but in the same small sizes. Actually, it would be nice to shop in Europe and bring back more than scarves...plus size there is so dismal!

    I would like tailored looking work wear in really lovely fabrics, extra wide and comfy boots and shoes, and for target to get their general plus size act together. I wanted soo much for their summer dress with the bicycle print to fit and the cut would not fit anyone since it was made as a compromise for *all shapes*. Nooo. And I would like a store that is for people who are done shopping at torrid because they are done with high school fashions.

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  10. I have the good fortune of being average-sized (size 12) so I'm not really limited. I DO miss my high-heeled shoes and can only wear them about once a week or for the mere moment of capturing an ensemble for the fashion boards (then off come the heels and on go the flats).

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  11. My favorite clothing retailer is Anthropologie. Most of their clothes and accessories represent the best example of my personal style, which I've yet to be able to recreate with any plus size clothing retailer. Some of them come close, but none of them quite get it. And I refuse to buy anything from Anthropologie because they refuse to acknowledge plus size people as a viable part of the retail clothing market. If they made clothes in my size (plus size only; I don't fit any straight sizes), I'd single handedly revive the American economy with how much money I'd spend at their store. Sadly, Anthro has no intention of ever marketing plus size clothes. Many plus size shoppers, including myself, have written to Anthro over the years, telling them how much we love their clothes and would love to see them in our size. But Anthro always responds with a no, they have no intention of ever marketing to plus size shoppers. ...So to answer your question, THAT's what I'd wear if I could. If Anthro ever gets the stick out of their butt and realizes that fat people deserve stylish, timeless clothing, too.

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  12. Yes! This! One of the things that's been so discouraging to me is the lack of choice in plus sized clothing, and I can't help but think that the lack of choices I have now is something that's really gotten me feeling horrible about the fact that I gained weight over the past couple of years.



    I tend to dig the pinup/retro motif that seems to be popular these days, so at least I've got that going for me... but I don't necessarily want to dress that way 100% of the time.



    I get why retailers choose to target their lines towards a more narrow line of sizes for the whole "you can provide better products if you narrow your focus" thing, but it doesn't explain why there are so many retailers for smaller sizes and so few for larger sizes. You'd think someone would notice the gap in the market and totally clean up....

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  13. I don't have anything to add (I'm still privileged in that most lines/stores/whatever carry up to my size...whether or not I can afford what they stock is another thing) but I just needed to say that this is the best response: like a cross between Stevie Nicks and Marie Antoinette with a dash of Robert Smith and a 19th century Russian poet.

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  14. Oh, but I would buy ALL the frothy strapless 50s prom/debutante dresses if there were ever any in my size (or that I could actually afford).

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  15. Poor-quality trend salad always tastes bitter.

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  16. I have had extreme half-naked stuck-in clothes over my head moments in dressing rooms as well. ugh.

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  17. Me too! I love floofy '50s prom dresses.

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  18. This is such a great post, and I might end up writing a post or posting some drawings or something as a result. I've actually been thinking about this a lot, since I've been doing back-to-school shopping and have found that I've gained weight again over the course of the last year.

    I think I'd just start off by wearing everything, everything from stores that I've always wanted to shop at - like Nasty Gal and J. Crew - that I can't now. While I like the retro/pin up style, I don't really identify with it or feel "me" when I wear it. High-waisted jeans, dresses with cut-outs, nice sweaters... I would wear collared shirts under sweaters and feel like a bookworm, and I'd look on websites like Etsy where the vast majority of '90s and '70s vintage clothing that I find are size S or XS.



    I just feel like a lot of clothes that I would wear are made to be so unflattering for people who are plus-sized. In pants, the cut is boxy and unflattering, or the legs are SUPER wide at the bottom, and when it comes to blouses I am sick and tired of looking at "flowy shirts" and peasant blouses. I want something with a bit more structure.

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  19. I would love to be able to shop at J. Crew! Honestly. I would actually love to shop at Nasty Gal too, now that you've mentioned it...

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  20. couldn't agree more! i think retailers like to say we don't spend money, but really it's just that they have shitty clothes ;)

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  21. I would LOVE to see a plus size spinoff of Anthro!! Such a good idea!

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  22. Haha that's why god invented Fast Flats, I suppose. ;)

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  23. No one knows how to make pants for plus women! Also, yes, something between Torrid and Lane Bryant would be excellent.

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  24. Ugh, I would also love to live in Marc Jacobs. Dream come true!

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  25. That is definitely upsetting, but yay for makeup. Also, I've found that Sephora has a super lenient returns policy!

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  26. urghh...I've had the same tiny-sleeve dilemma before!

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  27. urghh...I've had the same tiny-sleeve dilemma before!!

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  28. If there was fat J. Crew and or fat Zara I would be so poor but so cute!!

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  29. Elie Saab couture every damn day of my life

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  30. If it was available and I had the funds, my wardrobe would be completely obnoxious. I'd be up to my eyeballs in Lazy Oaf, Jeremy Scott, JC de Castelbajac and Romance Was Born.

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  31. I love the Black Dress .Sometimes girls get confused over dressing, especially when are shopping in a market.

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  32. More vintage style psychedelic prints and peter pan collars. Socks and boots that fit my calves without a struggle or loss of circulation. I actually was talking to my friend Andrew about how I have woken angry from dreams because I found perfect vintage dresses in my size... only to wake up and realize I merely dreamed it up.

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  33. I just recently bought a top from Forever21 straight sizes knowing it was too small in hopes a friend could could cut the sleeves off to use as side panels. It is bullshit I have to be this creative when I want to give them my money! Hahaha

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