It’s Really Not Fair

My husband and I were talking about fashion yesterday. No – he’s not really interested in fashion – but he is very observant. While at a conference earlier in the week, he said he noticed two things. He said that no matter what size the men were, they all wore basically the same outfit. Khaki or dark pants with a polo or button down shirt. Put a belt and a pair of dress shoes with it and the men were done. From the thinnest man to the man at the opposite end of the spectrum, all the men looked similar.

Not so with women. John and I talked about how difficult it is for women of any size to dress. Although it may be “easier” for an average sized woman to find flattering clothes, there are a lot of choices for women.

Knit shirt or blouse?

Skirt or pants?

Tucked in or out?

Heels or flats?

Hair up or down?

Short dress or longer?

Before I gained a lot of weight, I enjoyed the variety of choices fashion offered. I liked picking out work clothes, casual clothes and church clothes. Getting dressed in the morning was relatively easy. However, once I gained 150 pounds, finding fashionable clothes got more and more difficult. Clothes hanging on a store hanger didn’t “hang” right on me. Honestly, it was frustrating trying on clothes that looked semi-cute on the hanger but then looked awful once I put them on. I ended up with clothes that looked like this:

Purple Pants

Unlike a man, whose clothing choices are simplier, I had choices, but they weren’t simple or flattering on me. I found it very difficult to find clothes that I liked and looked good on me. Throughout my obese years, my clothes got sadder and sadder. I made jumpers, bought men’s t-shirts and felt worse and worse about myself. I resorted to wearing dresses all the time as soon after the above picture was taken, I gained another 30 pounds.

I always thought it was unfair that plus sized clothes weren’t as cute as regular-sized clothes. It’s better now, but not a whole lot.

As I lost weight, I began to choose clothes that were more fitted and flattering. Here’s me at about 200 pounds or so. I felt good about myself, even though my dress was still a plus-sized.

Cuter Clothes Coming

The more weight I lost the easier it was for me to find cute clothes that I liked and could afford. I often thought about how awful I felt in clothes as a 300-pound woman. Once I lost all my weight I was happy to wear jeans for the first time in years. I was also happy to be able to be active with my children for a change.

In Jeans and Skating!

Β I finally felt like I looked “regular” in clothing. I not only had all the choices that every other woman had, but I had the potential to look good in the clothes for a change. I admit that I am not a woman who enjoys shopping and getting dressed up. At home I wear jeans and t-shirts, but when I go out I have a decent selection of clothes that fit properly and I feel comfortable in.

Yes, it’s easier to be a man and wear khakis and polo shirts, but it’s fun to be able to wear clothes that don’t have horrible patterns, unflattering cuts and make me feel like a person with a head sticking out of a tent.

How do you feel about fashion choices these days? Enjoy clothes or not so much?Β  Diane

35 thoughts on “It’s Really Not Fair

  1. Miz says:

    when I owed my training studio it surprised me—INITIALLY—that my clients’ biggest lament was precisely that.

    Lack of clothing choices as they worked their way to a healthier them.

    I will never forget when JUNONIA opened (are they still around? I think so?) as FINALLY there were myriad choices in the swimsuit realm if not every other.

  2. vickie says:

    I think clothing helps GREATLY with maintenance. Zippers and real waist bands are very good reality checks. and it is absolutely wonderful to have everything in one’s closet FIT.

  3. blackhuff says:

    I totally agree with you. There is just not such a nice selection for overweight women than there is for thinner women. And not just that, it seems that the clothes for overweight people are more expensive than the ones for thinner people. I know it’s because of more material they use to make the clothes but jeez, it’s like double or triple more in price.

  4. Alissa says:

    There isn’t much of a selection of plus size clothes and if you want anything stylish- you’re going to pay a lot for it! This is one of the most exciting things about losing weight- for me! I am finally starting to fit in the regular sized clothes and finding cute clothes is much easier and affordable!

  5. Marcelle says:

    I love being able to wear whats going and not being too fat and feeling uncomfortable in them…
    Love going to a shop and knowing I can put something on and look and feel good…while overweight I dreaded clothing shopping…pants/jeans were my nightmare….

  6. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I love clothes shopping but my bank account doesn’t, so I don’t do it that often. I wish I had saved a link, but the New York Times had an interesting article a few weeks ago about why it’s so hard for clothing designers to make fashionable plus-size clothing.

  7. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    At least plus sizes have more options these days.. cuter than they were years ago…

    Me, fashion clueless & no idea what to put on myself. My clothes budget goes to running shoes these days…. πŸ˜‰

  8. Deniz says:

    In the UK I think there’s a ‘reasonable’ selection of clothes for larger ladies (Ann Harvey, Evans, Marisota to list a few), some of which are well cut and pretty flattering, but they tend to be quite expensive. I usually found something I could feel ‘happy-ish’ in for business. Jeans, on the other hand…. oh dear.

    But, it is a whole lot easier now at a smaller size and the choices are much greater. I’m still no fashion plate (and never will be) but it is less stressful looking for clothes these days.

    Vickie has it spot on with a close-fitting waist band being a great reminder for maintenance too πŸ™‚

  9. Pam says:

    I am not at a stage where I like them yet, hopefully one day. I am still able to fit into different sizes, and none of them flattering.

    I agree, its not fair, not only do men not have to worry about clothes, they can lose weight faster, too LOL

  10. Carla says:

    I will be going back to work in a couple of weeks, and I was pleased to discover that all my old work clothes are too big on me now! I will have to do some shopping for a smaller size which made me really happy.

  11. Lori Lynn says:

    I’ve been enjoying clothes more since I’ve been losing weight. The difficult thing now is I’m not at my goal weight yet, so clothes don’t fit quite right b/c they’re too big! I suppose that’s not a bad problem to have, but it gets kind of expensive to having to keep buying clothes. I might need to try Goodwill, but it seems like I can’t ever find anything that I like.

  12. Stacy says:

    I love clothes, but I’m not a big trendy clothes buyer. If I buy something it is something I’m going to wear a lot and not a throw away fashion. Right now I’ve got some rather nice work clothes that no longer fit me. They are too big, which is a good thing, of course. Unfortunately, the clothes budget has shrunk to nothing, so I won’t be making many new purchases for quite a while.

    Dressing is much more fun in the morning since I’m not working on covering up my flaws, and I can fit back into my “skinny” clothes. πŸ™‚

  13. Hope says:

    I’ve always kind of had a secret love for clothes, but losing the weight opened up a whole new world of clothes for me, one that I was never really able to experience much. I love just simply putting on the right clothes can give you (or at least it does me) confidence to take on the world. πŸ™‚

    But I do definitely feel for the plus size woman out there. There is very little to wear; most of it just makes you look like a tent. I still remember like it was yesterday not being able to shop anywhere but Lane Bryant and LONGING for a day when I could shop wherever I wanted. Now that I can, I admit, sometimes I can go a little crazy. πŸ™‚

    P.S. I’m a jeans and t-shirts girl too!

  14. 'Drea says:

    When I was really overweight, I was able to find flattering clothes but they were usually by designers and the price, even on sale, was hefty.

    Now, my taste has completely changed and, ironically, I’ll wear something with flowers which I wouldn’t wear before…

  15. erin says:

    It is SO true that there is a huge disparity between fashion for men and fashion for women. I always hated having to wear plus-sized clothes because there were so few cute clothes, and if I did find something cute, it probably cost $60, so I couldn’t buy it! Now that I am out of plus-sized clothes, shopping is a lot more fun, but it also overwhelms me sometimes because now there are SO MANY options, and I was used to choosing clothes from about 4-6 racks instead of half of a store.

    Of course, now that I’m pregnant, maternity clothes are a whole other story! πŸ™‚

  16. Sandi says:

    One of the saddest parts of being overweight for me was the clothes. I hated having to shop in that section of the store. It is so much smaller than the regular size section. I hated trying on one outfit after another and not liking how any of it looked. When I hit maintenance I went a little crazy with clothes shopping. I love all of the clothes in my closet and they motivate me to stay this size so they will continue to fit πŸ™‚

  17. Julie from Cannes now USA says:

    Hi Diane,
    It’s so so true what you wrote. And i add it is the same for shoes. On holidays my husband just need to take a pair on shoes and they will fit for going out, walking, casual etc…While for us it’s so so hard to walk with hills but going out with comfortable shoes are not the same than with a beautiful dress and the shoes that comes with.

    I HATE doing shopping now and it’s a nightmare to get dress with 30pounds more. I don’t even remember if i liked shopping but i think yes as i had beautiful clothes before. Now it’s just something to put on me not to go out naked (lol). Hidding my body..

  18. Dr. J says:

    One of the things I remember feeling when I got fit was that I could wear anything I wanted ands feel good about it!

    Choices for men might be simpler, but men still don’t look too good to me when they are obese no matter what they wear.

  19. Bringing Pretty Back says:

    Oh my gosh! That is so true! khaki’s and a polo, belt and shoes! ha! YES! Thgat is my husbands uniform for such events! Since I have put 20 pounds back on I hate clothes. Hate the way I look in them. I need to get back to loving clothes!
    Have a pretty day!

  20. julie says:

    It is one of the truly liberating things about losing the weight, to be able to wear clothes that fit and look good. In the past, I just had to wear stuff that fit, without regard to how it looked, now I can be picky. I still don’t have flat belly (probably never will), but I can wear things regardless. I told the bf, to his disappointment, that I’m unlikely to ever be comfortable in a bathing suit, but I have skimpy swimming shorts and a tank top, for the 2x a year that it’s warm enough to swim.

  21. Tami says:

    I love clothes and how I look in them when I am at a normal weight. So right now I am loving my clothes!

    It isn’t easy to find much selection in my size now, since the average size is larger than my size there are not as many choices for me.

    Who would have thought being smaller would be an issue. That’s ok as I would rather be thin than over weight.

    I like going into my closet in the morning knowing that my clothes are going to fit and that I will look nice in them.

    When I was overweight I was always looking for something, anything that might look good and make me look slimmer.

  22. MamaBearJune says:

    I much prefer shopping for clothes in a size 10 vs 22. But I still don’t like shopping much. I’m happier shopping online than trying a bunch of stuff on in stores. I get hot and cranky in dressing rooms. πŸ™‚ Plus there are more tall types of clothing available online than in stores. When you are almost 6 ft tall, you can wear more styles, but it’s harder to find them with a long torso.

  23. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    I enjoy clothes a lot, although I am not a fashionista at all LOL! I still buy at consignment stores, even though my size has been the same for quite some time.

    I find it so liberating to be able to go into any store (except 5-7-9 or whatever they call it now) and know I could find something that fit if I wanted.

    If I had my druthers, I would be in cute workout gear all the time.

  24. Kate says:

    I don’t know that I’m enjoying clothes a ton, so much as I am enjoying being social again. I am a people-person, and hiding was really hard for me. I’d hide from church people (and dread going each Sunday morning, for lack of suitable clothing options), hide from my husband’s co-workers and work events, hide from old friends, hide from, well, my own husband. Hiding is hard, and I’m so happy not to be hiding anymore.

  25. Cynthia (It All Changes) says:

    This was a huge complaint for me. I couldn’t fit into anything at the normal teenage stores so I shopped in what I call “the old lady department.” Even in college I often wore jeans and a sweatshirt all the time.

    Now I have so many options it’s ridiculous. Men don’t know how lucky they have it.

  26. Fran says:

    I love clothes and shoes even more. I’ve got a lot of clothes and it makes me sad that most of them don’t fit anymore. I’ve collected my wardrobe over the years and it’s going to cost a lot of money to replace it all so I’m taking one step at a time with that.

    I’m a management assistent so I have to dress up for work which means that after I got home, done my workout and showered I end up in jogging pants with a sweater. And because I have to dress up during the work week I don’t like to do that in the weekend and wear mostly jeans with a shirt or something comfortable.

  27. Amy says:

    So right – men have it easy! I can relate to your clothes journey – I wore my maternity pants for too many years after my babies were born than I would care to admit! It is so much nicer now to be able to go into a regular store and find something that fits in a regular size. My only problem is that I still have to hem most of my pants – not much I can do about short legs!

  28. Christine says:

    Losing weight has been really — eyeopening — for me when it comes to shopping and fashion. When I got to the mall, my first instinct is to go to Lane Bryant or the Women’s department in JC Penny. I have to force myself to look around the Petite’s and Missy departments. (What’s the difference between Petite and Missy anyway??) The few times I’ve ventured over to the JUNIORS section and thought, “what the hell??” and tried on a blouse from there, it fit! The last time I went to the mall I FORCED myself to enter stores that I’ve never ventured into because I always perceived them as “skinny people stores,” such as Abercrombie and Fitch or Charlotte Russe. I don’t even know what stores are even OUT there that I might like! The options seem ENDLESS these days. It’s a far cry from the days when my only options were Women’s departments in big-chain stores, or Lane Bryant. Period. That’s it. Now, the world is my oyster!

  29. Emergefit says:

    Well, if one distills it completely; women dress for women, and men dress because they have to.

    That said, and not being a big fashion guy, in my business I have observed many women and many men lose weight. As they have gotten closer to their goals, women become more motivated to lose even more because they can wear “cuter” clothes, and this motivation becomes primary to their agenda.

    This does not happen with men at all — if anything, a business man who has to get expensive suits re-cut, or replaced to accommodate weight-loss almost give themselves a pass as a means to back off on the dieting.

    I have seen both of these scenarios play out multiple times.

  30. Sophia says:

    I think it’s tougher than ever for women to find clothing. For me, I’m 5’2 and am a 34DD. Shopping for swimsuits is horrible. I need to find ones that have separate tops and bottoms. It’s a challenge for us all, and I wish there was an easy way to fix this.

  31. Shannon says:

    It is not fair! I have noticed the choices ar eeither large floral or animal print ar tacky to the end of the earth! It is to bad there is not a middle ground here for women. There should be.
    Your pictures and the difference are just amazing but your smile is the same, beautiful!

  32. Leah says:

    While Lane Bryant and the like have made it possible for the overweight women to dress beautifully, they are higher priced and quite frankly I still felt huge. I may have felt cute in my outfit, but I knew inside I was so big and dreamed of the day I could shop in the “normal” sizes.

    Great post!

  33. Pubsgal says:

    What’s funny for me is that I finally had clothes that I really liked and worked best for the body I had (Coldwater Creek, JC Penney, Sears), and then I shrunk out of them when I lost weight.

    I had some mixed feelings, because I needed new clothes but wasn’t sure how “done” I was and how much to buy. Not only that, it had been so long since I’d shopped at “regular” stores. It’s kind of bewildering, too, because clothes sizes vary among stores. I found that looking at the size charts online did help me gauge what size to try on when I went to the store. (This, and awareness of my measurements, made me notice why I will never find a pair of pants that fit me properly: I have a 5″ difference between waist and hips, and most pants are made to fit a 10″ difference.)

    I’ve had some really good luck with Goodwill…and when something hasn’t worked out as well as I wanted, at least I didn’t feel the loss as keenly when I passed the garments along.

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