It’s fair to say that I am a large man. While that’s something that can be frequently admired in the bear community, it’s not something I’m particularly proud of, though I’ve learned to live with it. Maybe I’ll eventually manage to drop some weight, but I’ve had (no pun intended) bigger problems to deal with over the last 12 months than my ample size.
Being a big man though exposes me to a particularly nasty side of the fashion industry – that being:
Fat people don’t deserve good clothes.
Now, I’m not obsessed with my appearance in public. I like to not look frumpy or dishevelled, but past that I can put up with looking fairly plain, for the simple reason that it usually lets me blend into the background and partake in my favourite social past-time – observation.
What drives me nuts though is this that while thin, muscled or even just mildly plump people can get a large selection of clothing with often witty comments or cute cartoon characters on it through regular, department stores, the selection available to – well, let’s be frank – much larger people is about as exciting and interesting as being the recipient of a punch in the crotch from an angry monkey.
Let’s take a typical shirt from Target, for instance:
I’m not exclusively picking on target, either. In Australia the three main department stores that even deign to carry larger clothing are Big W, KMart and Target. None of them are any better than the other on this front.
Fat shirts from the more regular priced department stores come into 4 main categories:
- American Universities – No, I never attended Arizona State. I don’t give a flying fracas about it, or any other American University. I don’t have anything against them, but I don’t see why I need to wear them.
- Sporting – Because all fat people are either avid, unfulfilled sports fans, or it’s an expression of irony from the fashion industry – “Hey look, here’s a fat person wearing a shirt about sport. Ha! What a joke!”
- Motorbikes – Because all fat people ride motorbikes or get obsessed about them. Now, I admit since I’m growing a longer goatee I and have a mohawk I seem to get confused quite regularly as a bikie (including having someone, via a hacked Facebook account, recently contact me and call me a “bikie looking c_nt”), but to be perfectly honest, the last time I was on a motorbike was apparently when I was about two and a half years old.
- Ironic Sex – “Haha, a fat person pretending he’s sexy!” For example, the current one from Target, typically heterocentric: “Don’t worry ladies, there’s plenty to go around.”
There’s a psuedo-fifth class of shirt – the plain coloured shirt. However, these are one-use shirts; they’re designed to expand at least 16 sizes, or shrink 4 sizes, on the first wash.
If I want to get clothes that fit and I like the look of, I either have to go to specialist big mens stores (a rare breed of store, these days), overseas stores, or come up with my own custom design from online printing stores, such as Zazzle.
What’s the likelihood of me walking into a department store and picking up a reasonably priced larger mans shirt that doesn’t fall into one of those four main categories above? I’ve got buckleys. Maybe I should be thankful. Ten years ago the only fat shirts that you could get either had vertical or horizontal stripes – both explicitly designed to make you feel like a walking sack of shit.
Still – it could be worse; I guess if I were as thin as the waifs that stagger up and down the catwalk looking like they’re one step away from total collapse, I’d not be able to go outside in anything more than a mild breeze.
I don’t think that it’s too much to ask for that department stores actually stock the same styles of clothes in the 3XL+ range that they do in the XXL and under range. Surely, in a period where every business needs to trim costs, it would be easier to employ one set of designers working on clothes for the entire range, rather than a quirky and cool set of designers for the XXLs and under, then a sarcastic, bitchy and nasty set of designers for the 3XL+ range? Surely this would also help morale at these clothing companies?
Well, you’d think so, anyway.