I’m going to be honest – I struggle when clothes shopping for myself. It’s not that I don’t like shopping, I do. I often just can’t find anything that appeals to me and fits me. Some of my struggles are related to my size (I’m nearly 5 foot 9 inches, I have ladies size 10.5-11 feet and often have to go an extra size up to accommodate my bust), and sometimes it can’t justify the price for crappy quality. I don’t want to settle for just anything – I want something that fits, looks presentable and will last! I just feel like designers aren’t adjusting their production models for woman today – larger, taller, bigger feet, designed for wear and tear. Any other ladies with me?
Shoes larger than a size 10 are incredibly hard to find for women, let alone good quality and nice looking shoes and boots. I usually end up raiding a few of the factory outlets when I need something and rarely look at the regular department stores because their selection is so limited (or non-existent). I recently looked for winter boots at the Bay and what they had left in my size looked like something you’d where for deployment to space. I actually did find a perfect pair of short Fergalicious fashion boots, but that pair was not on sale… I’ve had a few stores offer to order the shoe and I have considered buying online, but shoes are something I need to try before I buy – I need to physically put them on and walk in them. Otherwise, I’m sure I would be making a lot of returns... I’ve even bought mens shoes a few times because they were all that fit or were higher quality than the ladies (usually related to the sole of the foot – where ladies shoes have zero grip).
As for shirts, I pretty much write off shirts with buttons (a few exceptions) and chest pockets. I also have a long waist and longer arms, so several shirts that are my size are often too short and won’t stay tucked in (for professional attire), look ‘airy’ in the mid-section because the fabric just drapes down from the bust, or the sleeves aren’t long enough. I usually have to go a size up to accommodate some shortfall, and it really makes me feel self-conscious about my size. Jackets and blazers have the same issue. And I always manage to find something I like, but the small or extra small left is never going to fit. And I’ve found over the last year that many of the ladies ‘classier/professional’ tops are completely see-through – why would you want a see-through top at work? Totally not classy or professional.
Finding pants that fit is relatively easy. It’s when you want to go above and beyond pants that it gets tricky. Dresses are hit and miss (more often miss) for the same reasons as shirts or because I feel chunky in them, and I typically avoid clingy dresses because they extenuate areas I don’t want attention drawn to (bust, tummy, hips). Again, you can pay the big bucks for a custom-tailored dress, but I can’t justify that unless it’s something I’m going to wear at least a few times.
Buying lingerie is literally a chore. Even if I know exactly the style of bra I want, good luck finding it in my size. I’ve been looking for a decent sports bra for over a year! So many products have thin little straps that clearly did not have bigger busted women in mind during the design phase. Even with more supportive straps, my shoulders already have permanent indents from bra straps, so I won’t even pick up a bra with flimsy straps. And there are so many brands that don’t cater larger than a C or D, and if they do, they look like granny bras. I won’t lie, I’m jealous of the girls who are ‘average’ and can buy the cute bras at virtually any store – if I want something like that, I have to pay the big bucks Victoria’s Secret or some other specialty store. I can’t even fathom what it must be like as a plus size girl – where do you shop for bras?! I usually go with what I know works and buy duplicates of same bra I already own because I know it offers enough support and doesn’t hurt me. No breaks for the busty girls – none.
For pajamas, all I look for is comfort. I don’t care what colour it is or what image/text is on it. All I want soft, loose and warm. However, most of the ladies pajamas I’ve come across lately seem to be focused on cute rather than functional. Short, thin, dainty products that are often provide little coverage, no warmth and are not soft/fluffy fabrics. There’s no way they will last more than a couple of washes. No one except you and maybe your partner is going to see your nighty, so who cares what it looks like?
Perhaps my expectations are too high? Does anyone else out there share in the struggle? I know I’ve got a little extra padding (‘curvy’ in acceptable social terms), but am I really one of few who encounters these problems? I wish more stores catered to larger women (not just in an overweight sense, but in a “I’m larger than 5 foot 2 inches’ sense), and not just Long Tall Sally. Do I need to start doing more online shopping and just send things back if they don’t fit? Am I missing something?
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.