Here’s an article (and a video here) by Tim Gunn with some salient info beautifully said. My fav quote here is this:
This is a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.
This is what I have done for my clients for decades – I’ve done it for one differently-shaped client after another. Not a one of them were exactly the same, and they had large figure problems.
Customers for years have felt that they have to loose weight to fit into what’s available, and they do. That’s what the industry tells us and makes us feel horrible. I’m not out of shape (I ride my bike 3 times a week), but I am short and carry more weight on my bottom, and to get something that fits my bottom, would be huge on my top. This is a design failure, unless I sew for myself.
When I first started sewing, I wasn’t all that irregularly shaped as I am into my 6th decade of life. But I was always short. There wasn’t anything I could do about that, but at that I couldn’t find anything to wear, or not much. And I had trouble finding what I wanted. It wasn’t available. So after one frustrating trip to stores after another, I thought, dang I can learn to do this, and did.
Since that moment I have found that it’s not only easier, but a lot better (quality wise) to make my own clothes. But here’s the kicker….in those 6 decades, my shape has changed, and so has the shape of my clothing. I don’t look sloppy or ill-fitted because my clothes are designed for my shape and as a result, even though my figure is anything close to model perfect, because they are in proportion to and designed for my shape, size and style, I look like I haven’t gained weight or have any figure problems and let me tell you that I do have a lot of figure problems.
But reading through the rest of the article is really slashing the RTW industry. Not only do certain companies not want to carry these sizes (saying that it’s too expensive to produce or too time-consuming and difficult to fit something other than skin and bones), but they don’t want these people as customers. Imagine having so many customers that you can tell certain people to fluff off.
And finally Tim’s salient words that this isn’t a customer problem (like the customer needs to loose weight to wear certain clothes), Tim says it’s a design problem, because everyone can look good if the fit, proportion and design is right. The trick is how to do that. And it’s no wonder women of ALL sizes don’t know how to do this, cause with the likes of Abercrombie and Fitch and Lululemon telling people they need to loose weigh instead of designing clothes for plus size or fuller or normal figures.
I’m with Tim. I’ve done this for years for my clients and not only do I know it can be done, I’ve seen it over and over and over again. There are some clear guidelines and clear steps to take to get you on the path to fitting yourself and looking really good in clothes that fit – no matter what shape you are. This isn’t brain surgery, it’s working with steps and rules that aren’t that hard to learn and are a joy to use, because they work. Now if you’re expecting to look like you’ve lost 50 lbs., that ain’t ever going to happen. If you’re want to look responsible and professional – and who doesn’t even if you are retired and not working any more – and comfortable all at the same time, you can do that.
Be a revolutionary and try something that works – even if the stores don’t want you, there are lots of options out there.