Dear Department Stores, I Hate You, KTHXBAI.

| | Comments (7) | TrackBacks (0)

We're deep into holiday party season - also known as "the holidays" - and part of the supposed fun of it all is getting together, all glitzed up, and show a side you don't normally get to during work/school/whatever. Sam's party for his office, for example, was supposed to be a "cocktail attire" affair, so it was supposed to be suits for men and long dresses for women. Sam didn't have a suit, so we had to go out and buy one. That's cool - he should have a good suit. I choked at the price tag, though. Boy howdy. I thought I was spending a lot of money when I bought my suit for ~$200.

Then there's me. I have no cocktail dress (other than one in a size I'm not anymore from several years ago), so we went to try to find me one as well.

The first store we went to is Von Maur. I've heard fantastic things about them having reasonable exchange/return policies - important when you're spending a lot of money on good clothes, and I've seen their selection of dresses. They're gorgeous.

What I hadn't seen was the size tags on these dresses. When I checked for my size in the first dress I liked, I was disappointed to find that the largest size they had it in was 8. That wasn't true for all of them, of course. I found dresses all the way up to size 14. (For reference, Marilyn Monroe was a size 14-ish.)

I'm not Mariyn Monroe. I'm not a size 14. I'm approximately a size 20 or 22, depending. Yes - I'm a big girl. Fat. I'm also about 6'1", which means that I can carry the weight fairly well. I'm about fifty pounds heavier right now than my looking-good weight, and when I'm there, I'm skinny and cute and I still wear a size 16, just because of how tall I am. Proportions matter.

So - I'm completely unable to find not only a dress that would fit me, but one that would ever reasonably fit me. I ask where the larger sizes are, and they direct me to the third floor, where the "misses" dresses are. There are approximately six of them, and they are atrocities I would not wish on my worst enemy.

I find Sam and tell him we're going to Lane Bryant. Ten minutes of searching the mall later, the nice girl at Lane Bryant informs me that they don't sell dresses. We check JCPenney. No luck. By this point, we're going to be late for the party real soon. Sam makes a case for me wearing my suit - a brown pinstripe pantsuit that's admittedly really nice. We go home, I wear that, enjoy the party.

Now that you have the sanitized version of events, let me tell you how the entire episode felt. It felt approximately like every time I go clothes shopping, but worse.

Every time I saw a dress I liked - something really pretty, but not available in my size, oh no! I cringed, feeling like maybe I just wasn't worthy of a dress like that. Every time I saw a dress in my size, I looked at it with disgust, revulsion, knowing that was what women like me hide in. By the time we'd hit several stores, I was hurting, convinced that I wasn't worth a goddamn burlap sack to wrap myself in. I was going to buy myself a pair of thigh-highs at Victoria's Secret in a fit of self-pity, just to believe that I could wear something pretty (even if no-one saw it). I couldn't make myself buy them.

We left the mall, sans dress. I didn't mean to cry, but I did - all the way to the car, all the way home, and through my half-hour shower.

I felt so fucking ugly. The explanations I could summon for why I wouldn't be able to find anything pretty, feminine, in my size - they hurt. Maybe I was so hideous, they didn't want me shopping in the same section and scaring off the pretty, skinny, worthy girls. Maybe they didn't want me disgusting those same girls by showing up in an upsized version of the same dress. ("Oh, look. You showed up in the same outfit as the beached whale!" It's a faux pas and insult in one, for double points!) Maybe I wasn't worth that much georgette, silk, satin, tulle, ribbons, beading.

This is how I feel almost every time I shop. I hate myself for having to go to Lane Bryant. I feel like hunting down the manager of these stores, and shaking them and screaming, asking how hard it would be to put a few bigger sizes of the pretty stuff out on the floor, and leave them in with the other dresses instead of making me trek to the third fucking floor like I'm some sort of deformed freak and not a real woman at all?

Not a real woman at all.

That's how I feel so often.

I went home and put on my suit. It's got a level of sex appeal in its own right, but it's still pants. I want something soft and feminine and curvy and flowy, with sequins and beads and colors and patterns that aren't strategically calculated to hide me. I put on my shoes - a pair of point-toed BCBG pumps that hurt my feet. Usually the comfort instinct wins and I wear something that isn't going to make my feet cry, but I needed to do something that made me feel sexy, and I feel sexy in those shoes. Almost like a real woman.


I could go the rest of my life without ever setting foot inside another department store.

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Dear Department Stores, I Hate You, KTHXBAI..

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Oh how I feel your pain! You look around at work, at school, in the grocery store, at the mall - everywhere you see women of "plus sizes" and none of them are wearing these clothes you are describing - so apparently we all have better taste that those department store buyers! (good for us)

When I need to find something right away I go to Catherines. Yes, they are pricy - but the sizes are right. And I don't know if it is planned, but the sales clerks actually where the same clothes that are found in this store. When I have actually planned ahead and can wait for shipping time, I shop at Lane Bryant and/or Roamans ( or

I could ramble on and on about the injustice's of the world with respect to plus size figures - but for now, just know that you are not alone. Hope this helps!

Dear Dean Berry,

I have no idea why you left a comment shouting about 'confusatives' and Jesus removing blessings. It is completely irrelevant, with regards to this post. It contains a link which has no relevance to this post.

You ended the comment with "Don't be a censoring commie; be man enough to keep this post up." First of all, removing an irrelevant comment with an irrelevant link is not censoring, it's simply not providing you with your own little forum. You're being deleted as spam, which is what your comment is, as it lacks relevance. A 'commie' would not take this approach. A communist would not draw a distinction between private property (such as this blog) and public property (such as a public forum, where concerns over censorship would be valid). I do, therefore I am not a communist.

Furthermore, and quite material to the post you left your idiotic comment on, I am not a man. I am a woman. If you'd even read the post, you would know that. I don't want to be 'man enough' for anything, thanks.

Oh, and by the way? Typing in ALL CAPS is considered REALLY FUCKING RUDE. It's the online equivalent of shouting.

Go away, and don't come back.


Honey, don't I know your pain all too well! Especially now that I'm pregnant, because, of course, women larger than a size XL shouldn't getget pregnant, you know. (Or women smaller than a S, as my XS niece can attest to.)

Perhaps we should open our own store with be-a-u-ti-ful clothes that women our size would feel sexy and wanted in! Hey, it's an idea anyway...maybe someone we know will feel the need to do so someday and we can benefit. ;)

I know this are sexy, damnit! Sam, buy your woman some slinky thigh highs... and have a very Merry Christmas! ;)

Love you!

Hah. Sorry - I *just* read this post, so my comment is a little late...BUT...totally feel your pain too. I was miserable finding something to wear for christmas, and felt like a beached whale in what I did wear. I can't remember the last time I bought an outfit that I actually felt sexy in, ya know? Bah...I'm not going to depress myself. But yes - clothing makers REALLY need to learn that the world of women at large ARE large, and deserve pretty things.

They say Marilyn Monroe was a 14, but she was a 14 when sizes were much larger than they are now. Now she would be something like an 8 I guess.

I found your post when I googled Department Store + Plus Sized buyer. Because I hate hate hate them too. Damn, you are right on the money and something must be done. Gottschalks is my personal nemisis, because its the closest to where I live so I keep giving them another chance just to leave practically in tears from anger and frustration at the sheer hideoousity of what they carry. First of allabout half the clothes are sweatsuits and sweatsuit-related articles. (Hel-lo are fat chicks more likely to wear workout gear? Logic tells me no.) T-shirts and tanktops. Elastic-waisted slacks with matching elastic-waisted short-sleeved (elastic there too) collared shirts in patterns of mauve and seafoam. And godman capri pants. Lots and lots of brightly-patterned capri pants. The dresses are that lovely combo of chiffony (sleeveless, of course) patterned long dress with not-quite-matching in color and totally clashing in fabric polyester jacket. No suits. No skirts at all, in fact.

Okay, I'm rambling. I won't even go into the stupidly trendy and young young young clothes that Lane Bryant carries. If I never see another tiered skirt it will be too soon. And the abuse of sequins must stop. And why does the Avenue seem to carry nothing but unshaped flowing tunics and big-ass pajama-bottom-looking pants and skirts with a lovely hip-enhacing mermaid styling or the gored skirts with a few extra gores sewn in for added bulk? Couldn't they take the extra yarn they use in making their sweaters extra long, nicely forming to every bulge in torso and ass and add it instead to make the long-lost final quarter in the length of the sleeves?

What's a good alternative to Lane Bryant?

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Erica published on December 18, 2005 1:02 AM.

Math I Can Do was the previous entry in this blog.

Fan Mail is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.