FASHION

The struggle of finding clothes for plus size women

Many women who have embraced their curves are demanding that retailers cater for their clothing needs

In Summary

•Research shows that clothing companies say that it's hard for them to make and stock larger sizes because it requires more fabric, more patterns and more money.

•"That's all technically true," says Fiona Dieffenbacher, who heads the fashion-design program at the Parsons School of Design.

Curvy and plus size woman
Curvy and plus size woman
Image: FILE

Tired of being ignored when it comes to their clothes, plus size women have laid bare the frustrations they go through when looking for the perfect attire.

Even with the popularity of body positivity which many thought would lead brands to capitalise on the trend, many plus size women still struggle to find their clothing.

Many women who have embraced their curves are now demanding that retailers cater for their clothing needs.

A Wellington fashion entrepreneur says the “fat tax” charged on larger sizes is one of the drivers propelling her to build her own plus-size clothing line.

Research shows that clothing companies say that it's hard for them to make and stock larger sizes because it requires more fabric, more patterns and more money.

"That's all technically true," says Fiona Dieffenbacher, who heads the fashion-design program at the Parsons School of Design.

Hilda is a plus-size woman and every time she wants to go shopping for her outfits, she freaks out because she is not sure if she will get the exact type she is looking for.

She says she cannot risk shopping online because the one time she did so, everything she bought did not fit. 

"Sometimes one buys a trouser that you really think will fit well and it does not even go past your knees, it's really frustrating," she says.

"The case of oversized clothing trends is only one of the many disappointing aspects of shopping as a plus-size woman," she adds.

Hilda says she wants and wishes to see more plus models used in campaigns to compel brands to start considering plus size women.

For Miriam, she says innerwear and tops are another headache because it is not easy to find a perfect fit.

Many are times that she had to walk without one as she only has two.

"I want to see more labels that cater to plus size coming onto the market," she says.

Sometimes it is not always about plus size women, there are people with small bodies but have bigger breasts.

"I am not a plus-size, just that my breasts are bigger, and finding a fitting bra is not a walk in the park," she said.

It's a struggle to find a perfect fit and this is very uncomfortable... Sometimes I would wear two bras to at least feel like my breasts are in place," Alma says.

She has given up on going shopping only to go back home with nothing.

"I wish the companies that make this kind of clothes would consider people like us," she says in finality.

Ann Wanjiku, a businesswoman from Thika, narrates how when they once visited a women's prison where the plus size women lacked some clothing.

She says their church group once visited the prison and took foodstuffs together with some inner wears and bras for the women.

She noticed that some women don't get their sizes and they have to stay indoors during their monthly period starts.

"Many people come to visit and bring inner wears but many plus size women like me miss out on the wears," Grace, one of the inmates, said.

Oftentimes, many women try to alter the design of a piece by adding extra seams to accommodate a bigger body.

Some of these changes are necessary to maintain proper fit, but it is a shame when the original design of a garment is compromised.

In this age of inclusivity, some women have said that it’s time to move away from even using the term plus size.

This will help more people to be comfortable with their body size and embrace the thought of shopping for clothes that actually fit them without anybody labelling them as plus size.

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