I’m a firm believer in fuller-figured women experimenting with different sizes of clothing. A common issue we thicker gals have is checking out the labels of items in stores and dejectedly placing them back on their hangers after seeing the largest piece is a 12. If I were strict about these things, I’d technically be a size 16, both in bottoms and tops. But I’m not strict, so if you were to take a peek at my wardrobe you’d see everything from an 8 to a 20. This can be quite fun – certainly more fun than running for the hills at stores that don’t carry technical “plus-sizes.” Even if something doesn’t fit quite right, you’re at least left with the knowledge that you tried. You didn’t just back down at the first sign of a lack of range. And hey, if something is a little snug it doesn’t automatically mean it looks bad. All this nonsense that any belly roll or extra pudge noticeable through clothing should be quickly concealed truly and immensely irritates me!
Today is my first day at Marie Claire, and as most first days go, I’ve had a lot of free time. The problem with me – and I loathe admitting I am this much of a female – is that when left with a lot of time and few responsibilities, I turn to online shopping. I don’t always buy something, of course. I’m an intern for God’s sake. But it gives me a decent idea of what’s out there – of what sizes are catering to my extra large bottom and busty top half. As I was going through Nicolette Mason’s “Europe Chic” slideshow from last winter (and can I just say I really hope I actually meet Nicolette Mason while I work here), I came across the “A La Mode” skirt by Dorothy Perkins. I’d never actually heard of Dorothy Perkins, but the skirt was cute, so I clicked on the link… what else was I going to do, really?
It turns out that Dorothy Perkins is not only an AMAZING collection of vintage meet nerd chic meet prep items, but it’s also really affordable for my intern/student budget, with most items in the $20 to $60 range. Though not a plus-size store, DP does sell up to size 18, something most non-curve-friendly shops don’t come close to doing. I also observed that many of their items are elastic as opposed to zipper-based, so this is probably the perfect opportunity to do that experimenting thing I was talking about (see paragraph one).
As thrilled as I am that plus-size departments are opening up throughout youth-based stores and by some of the top designers out there, this doesn’t by any spectrum of the imagination mean I am giving up my love of places like H&M, American Apparel or Urban Outfitters, and I can’t help but get a little glum when I hear plus-size ladies say, “I can’t possibly shop ______! They only carry ‘skinny’ sizes!” We can make smaller sizes work sometimes – more often than you’d probably assume. But this is why I’m glad that I’ve found Dorothy Perkins. With a decent range of sizes, and lots of stretchy apparel, I feel like it’s a great example of making varied sizes work for you. I made a makeshift shopping cart based on the items I would love to get, and the smallest is a 12 while the largest is an 18. I’m not totally naïve; I know there’s no way in hell I’d ever get something like size 10 jeans to go anywhere higher up than the bottom of my thighs! But when it comes to dresses, tops, skirts or anything that looks comfy and stretchable, it’s not that difficult to find something just right – and even if for whatever reason you find yourself in an impossible jean situation, you can always take the route of amusement rather than depression.