By Erika, Resident Fashionista
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a little heart to heart.
My freshman year of college, printed Guess jeans were ALL the rage (yes, I’m dating myself here). Cheetah print. Snakeskin. Didn’t matter. Everybody who was anybody had a pair to rock and a matching tee with the word “Guess” emblazoned across the chest so everyone one knew exactly who you were wearing. In my quest to fit in (hey – it takes some of us longer than others to embrace our individuality) I went out and got myself a pair of blue snakeskin jeans. I was so PRESSED to wear them every chance I got – especially when I went home to Toledo, OH. I was ready to show them what DC was all about! On one of my trips back home I wore the jeans to church with a white t-shirt, matching blue Coach belt, and blue snakeskin pointy toe boots (it was the early 2000’s, no judging!). I remember a particular friend (and I use the term very, very loosely) looked at me and asked where I got the jeans. I proudly told her I got them from “Guess.” She immediately scoffed and said “I didn’t even know Guess made clothes that big.” Her tone wasn’t that of a person who was impressed. She was disgusted.
I was so blown. Not only was I not “that big” (I lost weight my freshman year so I was a size 14!) but she was also a fellow curvy girl (like, we wore the same size curvy girl). I couldn’t believe it. I went home, stuffed the jeans in the back of a drawer never to be seen again and, to this day, have never bought anything other than shoes from Guess. I let her, and whatever hangups she might have had, intimidate me from shopping where I want to and wearing what I liked (OK, LOVED).
Even now, at 30, I constantly find myself encountering raised eyebrows or high pitched “hmmms” (think Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada”) whenever someone asks where I got a particular piece and I answer Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Elie Tahari, or any other designer they didn’t know “made clothes that big.” My fellow curvy girls are often impressed and inspired by the fact that these designers make clothes for full figured woman – but many others appear to be (I can’t speak definitively for them) annoyed that high end clothing isn’t an exclusive right for skinny chicks. While this attitude no longer bothers me – listen Bloomies, Gucci, and Chanel will take my money the same way Lane Bryant does – I know many a full figured girl who still believes that she is relegated only to Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, or online shopping.
I am not here to knock plus size brands and designers – heck, I’m leading the “we need more of them parade!” But, I wanted to take a moment to encourage my full figured girls NOT to be intimidated by a particular store or brand just because you’ve never tried them. A recent style assessment I had with a client inspired this post and the video below.
Side note: Please ignore the “s” I kept putting on the end of Nordstrom. When I’m passionate my grammar and good sense go out the window!!
It breaks my heart to hear woman think their options are limited by their size. While all stores and designers haven’t gotten it right – a LOT have. I understand that hearing certain names (Bloomingdales, for example) can be intimidating on it’s own. But don’t add to the intimidation factor by thinking they don’t carry clothes in your size (trust me, they do – and they’re fabulous!). The only thing you should have to concentrate on is how to stay upright when you see the price tag on the latest Tadashi Shoji dress! Take the time to visit the women’s section and scope out the designer clothing. I bet you’ll find some things you absolutely LOVE. You definitely don’t have to buy anything – but, if you find that Ralph Lauren is really flattering on you, then maybe you won’t shy away from it the next time you’re in Marshalls or TJ Maxx. The only way you will know is if you try.
If you never take away another thing from YCS please be encouraged to step outside of your comfort zone, flaunt your fabulousness, and love who you are! I love you; so that will make two of us!!!
As always, I want to hear your thoughts!! Please weigh in below.