|Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi|
More recently, I went shopping in the Dorothy Perkins online sale and treated myself to this lovely dress in a size 20, note a full size ABOVE my actual size (because dresses are weird shapes, basically!). I collected it from the store and took it to the changing rooms to try on. So far so good. Unzipping the dress, I tried to pull it on in the normal fashion-over the head. I couldn't get the waistband (which if you look at the picture you'll notice is quite tight) over my boobs. I thought this was a little odd but nevertheless continued undeterred. Thinking perhaps that you had to get into it in the more unconventional method of pulling it up over your hips, I tried this. This time I couldn't get the waistband over my bum. I thought perhaps I hadn't unzipped it all the way, but on closer inspection, I had, from neck to hip level. I tried again to get it over my head, thinking I had originally got the underskirt tangled up thus preventing my success. Nope, even with pulling the underskirt down first it wouldn't go on. I ask you this: why would a designer make a dress that was a size 20, when a size 18 woman can't even get it on because the designer waistband (which I'm sure would have made it look lovely on) is un-stretchy and ill-sized? Normally I don't have a problem with Dotty P's stuff, I own a lot of their clothes and regularly fit into a size 18 with no issues at all, so I can only conclude that this was a spectacularly poorly designed dress that can only be worn with people who don't have any body fat at all or who are made of elastic, and therefore can stretch themselves thinner to get into it. I'm sure it would have looked absolutely lovely on Mrs. Incredible.
It's bad enough that so many shops don't even make ranges in any sizes above a 16***, maybe an 18 at a push, like just because you're a larger person it means you can't shop in fashionable shops if you want to. Then the shops that do stock our sizes appear to be squeezing us out (pun totally intended) as well by making their clothes just a smidgen too small to be comfortable, or to do up correctly, or for us to fit in at all. Let's face it, clothing designers, Britain is getting fatter. If the UK average is a size 16 then if the rest of the data fits on a bell curve there are as many size 18 people out there as size 14, as many 20s as 12s (Yes, I'm dumbing all this down for the purposes of this post, don't focus on my [lack of] knowledge of statistics and averages, OK?). Surely then, you should be looking out for us larger ladies as much as your skinnier clientele, surely you should be wanting us to spend our money in your shops and look amazing in your clothes as a walking advertisement too, instead of driving us away by making ill fitting clothes that clearly aren't in the sizes you proclaim them to be. Here's a hint, when you're making them, GET PEOPLE TO TRY THEM ON IN EVERY SIZE. That way you'd know beforehand when you were making a dress that has a waistband rendering it utterly useless to anyone with lumps and bumps and could rectify this before rolling them out to the shops.
Instead, I'm complaining to Dotty P's and writing this blog post. HEY. I'm a size 18, not some magical made up size in your head, Mx. Designer. I want to buy clothes that fit me, thanks. Make it so.
*Disclaimer: The other day in this instance actually equals a few months ago now. I started writing this then ran out of steam in the middle.
**admittedly I am an 18/20 in dresses due to my gargantuan shoulders, but still.
***Don't even get me started on this, that's another blog post for another day!