Now I know that going out and hiring someone to make or alter all your clothing can be expensive. If you do it yourself, it is expensive in time and energy to learn the new skill. But I think it’s worth it, especially for those of us who are larger, and don’t fit in “normal” sizes.
There is a lot of discussion as to the question of “why don’t they make ‘normal’ clothes in fat sizes?” This is a valid question. And one I complained about loudly for years. Now I’m not so sure it’s as easy as we’d like to believe.
Why? Because as we gain weight, NONE of us expands at the same ratio. If you really look around, you’ll see that when you get into “fat” territory, we’re all shaped extremely differently. Smaller people require alterations, too, but frankly it’s a little easier to fudge the shapes between sizes 4 and 12. (Personally, I’d recommend they get something personally tailored and see what a difference well-fitting makes, too… fudging your size and shape is never comfortable.)
Also, as you expand the size of a super-structured design, the shape can get lost. This means that it would be better if designers would start designing for real people instead of clothes hangers, but right now that’s not happening. When you start expanding that size in different ways, as for a larger bust or a short waist, as one of my friends found recently, you really begin to risk changing the design completely. This is why there are some designs that designers such as Michael Kors says will NEVER be made above a certain size. Once they’re enlarged, they are no longer the same silhouette. They aren’t the same design! We need to understand this. It’s not that some designs won’t look good on me. It’s that some designs won’t exist if they are cut to fit me. A couture house can make changes to the design to suit their client. The designer works closely with a fitter, making changes to the design so that the finished clothing looks like the same design. But it isn’t. The pattern pieces are completely different, and the shape of everything is different. Only the finished item looks like it’s the same!
So in order to fit the most fat bodies, ready to wear plus sized clothes at the low end of the price range tend to be more loose fitting (ease is more comfortable, generally if the clothing only sort-of fits) and tentlike than the normal-wear options. (I can’t explain the bad color choices.) It’s sad. It’s hard. And while a plus-size clothing line can do otherwise (Juno, Kiyonna, and e-Shakti come to mind) keep in mind that they start designing from size 18. This gives them a leg up on pattern piece shapes, and makes grading the pattern and keeping it looking the same easier.
End conclusion on ready-to-wear? Plus size designers will most likely always be separate designers from those of “standard” wear. What I’d like to see is encouragement for more designers to design for the plus woman’s variety of shapes. I’d like to see more of them, and I’d like to see them featured in stores rather than making me pay huge amounts of shipping to try things on (vanity sizing exists in these, too… <sigh>). I’d like prices to be comparable to smaller sizes. And I’ll keep working for that. But shapes and sizes… Yeah. I think I’m going to be sewing a lot in my future. (And I dislike sewing. I’d much rather be embroidering.)