Revenge of the Pencil Skirts (and Other Fashion Woes)
I’m not one to lecture people about what they wear, but I am one to bitch and moan to high heaven about not having a choice in what I wear.
Here I am, job-hopping once again and trying to find decent interview and work clothes that won’t break the bank. I didn’t think it would be too hard. I could stop at a department store or two and find everything I need.
I’m an in-betweenie. When I’m trying on clothes, I can fit into anything from a size 10 in misses to 1X in plus sizes, depending on the clothing item, the size, the cut, etc. In that respect, I’m fortunate because I can almost always find SOMETHING that fits me that I will like, even at high-end retail outlets.
What I can’t stand is the selection.
Granted, I live in semi-rural Maine, which is NOT the place you want to be if you’re shopping, no matter WHAT size you are. The selection is just non-existent, but as all plus-sized women know, it’s worse for us fat women.
My personal style varies, but for dressy clothes, I love anything classic, schoolgirl-ish, or retro. In fact, my favorite skirt of all time is a plaid, pleated skirt, which very much looks like it could be part of a uniform. I bought one at Target in fall 2010 and I never saw them again. I see great contemporary styles too, but it’s hit or miss. Anyway, it’s next to IMPOSSIBLE for me to go to a brick-and-mortar store and find the kind of clothes that I like. Tops aren’t that hard to shop for, but finding good bottoms, especially skirts and dresses, is a total nightmare.
I went to FIVE stores today looking for professional-looking skirts, of which I found plenty, even in my size. There was only one problem. They were all pencil skirts.
Sure, there were other styles for casual wear, but they were too casual for work, so I was stuck rifling through the racks checking labels before I headed into the fitting room.
I even asked a sales person if she could find me ANYTHING that wasn’t a pencil skirt. By this time, I was desperate. She actually cringed and said that would be hard, because just about everything these days is in pencil form.
Sorry, but I’m not a fan of pencil skirts. I’m not a fan of that style, and I’m really not a fan of how they look on me. Even if I was a pencil-skirt-wearing kind of girl, sometimes I want to wear something ELSE. Something flowing. Something with pleats. Something that’s not pencil. Looking through the junior section, of course I could see plenty of skirts — flowing, pleated, etc. — that were not pencil. I guess I’m too old and fat to have variety and attractiveness in clothes, I guess.
Then it happened. A breakthrough. I found a cute skirt with a belt and a long zipper (not one of those tiny ones that barely allows you room to slip the skirt on). I went to the fitting room, put it on, and looked in the mirror. To my horror… it was a pencil skirt.
But it didn’t say that on the label. It said “pointe.” It’s a pencil skirt.
DAMN IT TO HELL!
I banged on the wall in frustration and cursed to myself. There’s NOTHING in any of the stores I have been to that suits me (and doesn’t cost a gazillion dollars).
I can’t prove this, but I have a theory as to what brought about the revenge of the pencil skirts. We are all about “slimming” clothes these days, even in straight and petite sizes. I see jeans and dress pants that have “tummy control.” I see Polos that “instantly slim you!” And in most of the pencil skirts I checked out, it advertised that they were cut specifically to trim you down. They even included “before and after” graphics on the tags demonstrating the thin-making miracle that is the pencil skirt.
I guess retailers want all women, but especially fat women, to wear pencil skirts to save their precious eyes from our offensive fat rolls. In their eyes, everything for us is too frumpy and makes us look too fat for their liking.
I finally found something that I like, but I wish I had more options (and much less frustration). When I get the chance, I’m heading to a couple of malls and maybe even cyberspace for better luck. For now, all I can say is, I’ve seen enough pencil skirts to last me a lifetime.
By the way, is it just me, or are retailers these days downsizing their clothes? I have two pairs of size 16 jeans that I have worn for two years. Yet when I try on size 16 jeans lately, it is crap shoot whether they will fit or not. It is the same with button-up tops or any top other than a T-shirt. I can fit into my clothes at home, but try on the same size at a low-end retailer like Wal-Mart and it’s too small.
Forget shopping in the men’s department. I love men’s clothes, but it’s next to impossible for find clothes that will accommodate my figure because men’s clothes are designed for MEN’S figures, obviously. Whenever I pick out a shirt, it fits great everywhere, but won’t close over my rack of doom. I go a size bigger and I’m swimming in it.
Pants are even worse. I find pants that are long enough, but that do not accommodate my hips or my ass at all. I go a size bigger so they fit around my waist, but the pants are too long and WAY too baggy every place else.
Yes, I have some sewing ability, and if I had the materials (and the time) I would make my own clothes. For the time being, however, making ALL of my clothes is not practical. For the record, buying fabric that you like isn’t much easier around here than buying clothes you like.