Spring is finally in the air and what better way to celebrate than shopping for some new outfits! That probably would have been my level of enthusiasm had I found anything in my 4 hour shopping excursion on this past Sunday. I woke up feeling like I needed some color in my mostly black, white and beige wardrobe for work and took to the local mall. I finally have the time, some extra cash and the weather seemed to be in my favor. Everything was going my way until I went into the changing room…
Let’s start by first assessing the “average” Canadian woman. According to Macleans magazine, the average Canadian woman is 153 pounds and is 5’3 tall and makes about $32,500 a year. I would say I am fairly average. I am 149 pounds, 5’6 tall and make a little more ( not that much more…) than the average salary. So why can’t I find anything at my local mall if I’m so average? When did it become so hard to find something to wear? It seems to me that maybe the average retailer is not so “average Canadian” friendly. Not so long ago, there was that whole shit show of a PR scandal with Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jefferies ( who closely resembles some type of Orc out of lord of the rings ) who openly admitted that women of a certain look, size and body shape just don’t belong in his stores. More recently, home grown store lululemon was also accused of hiding their bigger sized yoga pants off the sales floor in order to discourage women of a certain size from wearing their product.
You actually don’t have to look that hard to see what I’m talking about. If you are like me and like to window shop online, just click for a selection in size 6 and you will find that there are almost 1,500 results in the search. Bump up the size to a 10 and that result drops to a mere 600. Which means that retailers are making it harder and harder for the average sized girl like myself to scrounge for clothes to wear.
I spent the better part of my day on Sunday at the local mall looking for work appropriate pants. Not leggings or demin although I probably could get away with some dark demin but in a corporate office, I wouldn’t want to take that chance. Leggings can work but on a daily basis when dealing with clients from government and Parliament, it may not be always the most appropriate look. I dress fairly casual. Mostly black skinny pants, dressy top and a blazer and bling it up with some jewelry. Nothing too fancy but nothing too laid back either. I won’t name the retailers that I visited but let’s say I hit up every clothing store for women in the mall and came out empty handed.
My first stop had a huge sale going on. SWEET! I can probably find at least 3 pairs of pants in here and maybe 2 new blouses. The sales girl was happy to help and sent me off with an arm full of clothes to try. Discouraged after the first 2 pairs of pants were too small, I went to the next size up. Still a little snug fitting and would probably be uncomfortable if I had a big lunch. Again, next size up. This time, the pants fit like pair of worn in sweats. Sure they were comfortable but I looked like I was the after photo in a weight loss commercial wearing her before pants. ” Do you maybe have something in another style or cut that would be a better fit? I can’t seem to find anything that isn’t either painted on or baggy” I asked the fitting room girl. She quickly sized me up and said ” I might have something but we may not have your size.” Ugh. Great. Fine. Just let me try and get this over with. Sure enough, the pants are far too tight. Can’t even get them over my knee caps. So off I went to another store, then another and again, another. Same story, different brand. After trying on what seemed like every pair of pants in almost every size in every fucking cut and every design ( even tried pants I thought were ugly as sin but if they fit, I didn’t care ) I was willing to give up. My second to last stop has always been a fail safe. Sure their prices are a bit higher but I usually love their selection and style and love their bright colors. I went around looking for ANYTHING in what seemed would be my size. There was 1 pair of pants in particular I couldn’t wait to try on. Totally my style! Straight leg, subtle matte dark leopard print with a higher waist and zip closure on the side. SWEET! Still work appropriate and I can have some fun with these. As soon as I got them just to my hips, I couldn’t get them any higher. Fuck. Not this shit again. I called the fitting room girl over for some help and asked her for the next size up. “Hmmmm… That’s actually the biggest size we have.” I think my jaw dropped. ” Are you serious? This is the biggest size you carry? Do you mean for this pair of pants or in general?” ” No in general. We don’t carry anything over that.” What are you KIDDING me?! I’m not plus sized, I’m not obese, I’m certainly not fat. Sure I’m not a size 4 anymore but when did I get to this point? ” I guess we just don’t carry anything for your shape.” I closed the curtain to my dressing room and thought “What shape is that? Humpty dumpty? When did I become humpty dumpty? What the HELL is going on here?” I felt like shit and headed to my last store. The last store I hit up I will name. I went to Michael Kors hoping to find something. At this point, a $200 pair of pants is better than no pants at all… Well, in some cases 🙂
I was surprised to find that Mr Kors actually does carry a plus sized line! Did you know that?! Me neither! I asked the girl why don’t they advertize they carry bigger sizes for the average girl. ” Hmm I don’t know! ” Of course she wouldn’t. She’s still a size 4 and has yet to face this common dilemma. Still, at almost $400 for a pair of pretty red pants, still out of the question even if they do fit.
I certainly am not alone in this battle of the fitting room. More and more women are finding it hard to find clothes that fit and are flattering. So ladies, let me end with this:
We aren’t the issue. The fashion industry is. So while it may take us longer to find that perfect fitting pair of jeans or pants for work, a blouse that fits like a dream or even bra that doesn’t give you quadraboob, let’s take a minute and realize that the fashion industry has yet to catch up with our OBVIOUSLY perfectly shaped bodies and the only conclusion I can come up with is that the fashion industry is still designing for the heroin chic era. So maybe the designers aren’t so fashion forward and we are just way ahead of our time.
Happy shopping, ladies!