Thunder Thighs or Plus Size?

What?! No red or green sidebars or glittering Christmas pirated clip art? Well, at the bequest of my most faithful Muse reader, and in the spirit of holiday shopping, I am dedicating this blog to plus size fashion, or should I say, the lack of it. I just spent about 2 hours book-marking all sorts of fabulous sites to use as back up, and then I somehow lost them- so I will begin with what impressed me from my vast research.

But first, a bit of personal history. As a little skittle, I was normal sized. Edging into puberty I plumped. Not huge, but a good solid 10 pounds or so extra. My best friend was a toothpick and she used to chant "heavy hippopotamus" when she wanted to make me squirm. Worked every time. Growing up with two older brothers, I was pretty active, but I could plow the chow with the big boys. My skinny brother used to refer to my Michelin Man rolls as my "shelves" since to him, whom we referred to as "skin flint", it seemed that objects could be stored between the rolls of flesh. Suffice it to say that I became aware of my less than perfect body image at a tender age.

I remember one of my brothers remarking that I was getting fat, and my stock reply was, "No I'm not. Mom won't let me get fat." The sad part about that was that I really believed this. My mom watched her weight closely and sported a perfect hourglass figure. She was great about buying me really good quality clothes that both fit and flattered. And she sewed them for me when we couldn't find them. But she couldn't stop me from flagging down the ice cream truck and binging on the BBQ chips before dinner. I'd go into stealth mode. I also had a nice little business at school of trading pencils for peanuts.

I wasn't fat to the point of standing out in a crowd, just bigger than I wanted to be. And it all seemed to be stuck in the middle. I sprouted up and the weight shifted and settled. I was never comfortable with my jelly belly in a bathing suit, but in my clothes, I was okay. At least my boyfriend at the time thought so.

I only managed to successfully slim down at one point in my life- during the college years. I took a Nutrition class and designed my own vegetarian diet and took off the tonnage. It was a wonderful feeling. I was the same size as those I admired for the first time. I managed to stay this way for a number of years and used it to my benefit in snagging my husband, who prefers his women slender. Well, dating him, the vegetarianism went out the window and the bacon and rib eyes came back into the picture, and along with it the pounds, but I was still maintaining a nice size 8.

Then the babies came. After the twins, I was able to take off the baby weight gain within the year. After Buddha Boy it came off, but after Princess was born something changed hormonally. I just couldn't drop those last twenty pounds. And then the mood swings. Doc put me on Progesterone and I managed to gain more weight (10 pounds in 2 weeks and it never came off!!!!!) and become more depressed about it. It has been a battle ever since. I know deep down inside that it is as simple as eating less and moving more, but it is much easier thought about than carried out for me.

With the sit down job came the dreaded middle aged spread. Now I have the matronly body of an older woman. Functions just fine. I can roller blade and walk Bubba for miles, lift heavy objects, practice Yoga, wash windows, tie my shoes and all of that good stuff, but what I can't do is buy a button down blouse which doesn't gap, a pair of pants that fits in both the butt and waist or a coat which doesn't feel like a straight jacket. It's just a struggle that I wish I didn't have to deal with. I look around and see plenty of other women, who to me, seem to be about the same size as I am , if not a bit bigger, who are always dressed nicely. Where in the world do they find their clothes???? I think some of them have a lot more money and time than I do and that the shopping assistants at Nordstrom's are worth their weight in gold.

Fortunately, I am able to find decent clothes that fit at Steinmart, Coldwater Creek, Chicos, and Target and also in the Casual Living and Soft Surroundings Catalogues. I might get lucky at Macy's, but not that often. I am just 20 pounds from the threshold of a safe size 10, but it just ain't happening. I've accepted the reality and try to not let it consume me. This takes work. You'd think that with all of the energy I spend whining and worrying that I could just say ' "No" to drugs, I mean carbs. But I can only do this for about one or two weeks.

Part of the conundrum is that the larger bodies have more pronounced differences. Think about it this way, if you draw a little circle, and it isn't perfectly round, it's not all that noticeable. Take that same circle, and increase its size by 100 (pounds or so) and the imperfection will be the first thing you notice. There has to be a word to describe this phenomenon, but that's a different blog. I am just straight up and down with large ta tas. No more waist for me. After my internet research I am not yet sure if I qualify as an "Apple" or a "Rectangle". Definitely not a "Pear" like the other 70% of the size 12+ set. Most things with buttons gap. Things that fit around the bust are too big everywhere else. Stretch fabrics work but accentuate my back fat and muffin top. I just want a tailored button down blouse with a nice collar, that fits the bust, doesn't gap, allows me to lift my arms without fear of ripping the underarm seam, preferably made out of Sapphire blue wrinkle free cotton. Designers?????

To be honest, I did find such a similar garment in red. A talented designer had the brilliant idea to make a cotton button down blouse and use stretchy fabric on the side panels! It is very flattering and comfortable but the doggone thing wrinkles to sin every time I wash it. My daughter says I need to get one in every color they offer. I purchased it from the Casual Living Catalogue. I buy most of my bathing suits there too. Good stuff and very well made.

According to ABC News, 50 percent of American women don a size 12 or larger, yet Women’s plus-size clothing makes up only 17 percent of the women’s fashion market. If I had any capital, I'd be investing in plus size clothing manufacturers. Seems that "Apples" are popular for both electronics and body shapes these days, not to forget that they are a healthy alternative to ice cream. I found a lovely little resource on "Plus Size Fashion" on eHow. You might want to check it if you have time. Turns out that there are some decent Plus Size fashions out there. You just have to hunt for them. I don't know why we have to categorize from "regular"- size 10 and below (which is no longer all that regular) to "Plus Size" size 14-22 (?) How would the skinnies feel if we called their clothes "Minus Size"- It would be an interesting concept of a minus becoming a positive. Wait- that cancels and lands at a perfect runway size 0. Is that how they decided on that size and number for the runway models? Who knows.

The reality is that most of the women in this country are not a 0. Why can't the retailers accept this and provide the sizes that are actually in demand? Might it have something to do with marketing? After all, their goal is to get us into the store in the first place. If we identify ourselves with the attractive models in the ads, we are likely to visit the store to shop. But of what value is that if the stores fail to carry the sizes we wear?

A few are beginning to catch on. The mega stores like Walmart and Target get it. Chico's and Coldwater Creek offer designer plus size apparel in beautiful stores with helpful staff. Lane Bryant figured this out a long time ago. They offer lovely fashion and well made clothes for us buxom gals. I've broken through the barrier and ventured in a few times. I have to admit, the larger sized mannequins in the window do not pull me into the store. It was more of a , gosh -do -I- really- have- to- resort-to shopping- here- maybe - I - will- come- back -to -the -mall- after- I -starve- myself- for -three- weeks-and-can-shop-in-the-normal-stores kind of feeling. Turns out that most of their clothes were too big for me and the arms were cut way too long- styles designed for Nephilim.

During my research I also learned that several designer brands did provide clothing in retail stores up to size 16. They claimed that these sizes were the last to sell, took up more storage within the store, cost more to ship, yada yada yada. But my gut tells me that the fact that these sizes didn't sell might have a little more to do with the stigma attached to being over size 10 while shopping in a store where they cater to the runway models. Too much stress. Makes me want to go eat something buttery and sweet. Preferably vanilla flavored. See's cashew brittle is just around the corner from Lane Bryant.

Another article addressed the style quotient of different sized gals. What a concept. Turns out that the size 12's and under dressed fine. The size 16's and over dressed fine. But the size 14's were seemingly fighting a fashion battle- either trying to fit into size 12's with limited success, or just giving up on fashion. Might it be that clothes this size are difficult to find?

So what's a gal to do? Why turn to the Internet of course! Just Google "Plus Size Fashion" and you can spend the day shopping from the privacy of your own home. You won't need to brave the questions from the sales staff- "What size do you need? 14? Oh we don't carry that size." But it's just not the same as being able to go into a retail store, touch the fabrics, try it on, buy the matching shoes and be good to go for that evening's outing.

I think this is why stores like Target and Walmart offer a good solution. At least for casual clothes. I bought my favorite pair of jeans at Target and I love their T-shirts! All kinds of folks shop there for all kinds of things. Not just clothes. There are no sales staff asking questions. But they don't carry a huge selection for eveningwear. For those occasions, I start shopping early at Steinmart, Chicos and Coldwater Creek. If I strike out there, I shop online.

So on that note, I need to get busy deciding on what to wear this Christmas season. But not until after I walk my dog.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays whatever you may be celebrating. I am celebrating life.

Here are some links to look at. Some are resources listing other sites and others are direct links. There are some deals to be had right now with free shipping and "Plus Size" discounts:

1) Pasazz- Plus Size Clothing Online

2) Jessica London- sizes 12-32 Free Shipping until Dec 12th

3) City Chic sizes 14+

4) Alight- fancy stuff on this site

5) Kiyonna- sophisticated style, size 10+

6) Figuresque sizes 14+

7) Shop Translated Plus Size

8) Fashion Bug- sizes 6-30

9) Ulla Popken sizes 12+

10) Sonsi size 12+

11) Carissa Rose- fitting the full bust

Click Here For A Great Article About Why There Is A Lack Of Stylish Clothing For The Size 14's!!!

SHAPE YOUR STYLE- FIND CLOTHES FOR YOUR BODY TYPE:

Click Here for a link to this fabulous site.

Facts From The Washington Post

Click Here For The Complete Article

1. The average 10-year-old girl weighed 77 pounds in 1963; today, 88. The 10-year-old boy weighed 74; today, 85.

2. A 2006 study tracking 2,000 low-income children in 20 cities found that a third were overweight or obese before age 4. Most at risk: Hispanics.

3. Even more than smoking or drinking, obesity triggers significant health problems and pushes up health spending.

4. Children and teens consumed 110 to 165 more calories than they burned each day over a 10-year period adding up to 58 pounds of extra weight, according to a Harvard University study.

5. Only 2 percent of U.S. children eat a healthy diet as defined by the USDA.

6. "Husky" car seats were developed several years ago. In 2006, more than 250,00 children under 6 exceeded the weight standards for regular seats.

7. Soft-drink consumption has increased 300 percent in 20 years, and is the leading source of added sugars for adolescents.

8. One-fourth of all vegetables eaten in the U.S. are french fries or chips.

9. One-fourth of all Americans eat fast food at least once a day.

10. We consume 20 percent more calories than a generation ago; most comes from fats and oils (up 63 percent), grains (up 43 percent), sugar (up 19 percent).

GOV'T. RESPONSIBILITY

1. America's weight problem can be fixed. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation points out:

* In 1965, 43 percent of Americans smoked. Today, 21 percent do.

* In 1982, drunk drivers killed 22,000. Today, 12,000 do.

* In 1983, 24 percent of U.S. drivers used seatbelts. Today, 82 percent do.

2. Trans fat bans or limits were proposed in 15 states last year. None passed.

3. For 32 years, the U.S. Women, Infants and Children program subsidized eggs and cheese for poor children, but no vegetables. In 2007, vegetables, fruits and whole grains were added.

4. James Hill of the University of Colorado has found the "energy gap" ¿ the difference between what's consumed and what's burned off¿ to be 100 calories daily for the average American adult. That's about equal to: two-thirds of a can of Coke, or one-fourth of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder. Walking a mile would burn off roughly 100 calories.

5. A quarter of teens drink an average of four colas a day - the equivalent of an extra meal.

6. "A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. To lose 1 pound a week you will need to expend 3,500 more calories than you eat that week, whether through increased activity or decreased eating or both. Losing 1-2 pounds of fat a week is a sensible goal."

HEALTH

1. Three to 5 percent percent of U.S. medical spending goes to prevention; the rest, to treatment. The public health community wants more for prevention.

2. A Canadian study found that 83 percent of doctors are less likely to perform exams on obese patients, according to University of Alberta researcher Tim Caulfield, research director in public health sciences.

3. Only 36 percent of parents with heavy children say their doctor suggested their child lose weight, a Consumer Reports poll found; 64 percent say the doctor didn't mention it.

4. Liposuction among teens has tripled, to 5,000 last year, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Next Post date: January 3, 2011
www.newseum.org

check out today's front page all around the world!

Click Here For Some Fascinating Facts From The Centers For Disease Control Regarding Obesity in the US!
December 6, 2010

What Size is the "Average" Woman?
By LB Lacey

click here to go to the Full and Fabulous Site!
The average American woman is 5'4", weighs 140 lbs, and wears a size 14 dress.

The "ideal" woman--portrayed by models, Miss America, Barbie dolls, and screen actresses--is 5'7", weighs 100 lbs, and wears a size 8.

One-third of all American women wear a size 16 or larger.

75% of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance.

50% of American women are on a diet at any one time.

Between 90% and 99% of reducing diets fail to produce permanent weight loss.

Two-thirds of dieters regain the weight within one year. Virtually all regain it within five years.

The diet industry (diet foods, diet programs, diet drugs, etc.) takes in over $40 billion each year, and is still growing.

Quick-weight-loss schemes are among the most common consumer frauds, and diet programs have the highest customer dissatisfaction of any service industry.

A recent survey found only 30 percent of 250 randomly chosen women age 21 to 35 had normal bone mass--the researchers concluded women are so afraid eating dairy products will make them gain weight that they are starving themselves into osteoporosis.

Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents.
50% of 9-year-old girls and 80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted.

90% of high school junior and senior women diet regularly, even though only between 10% and 15% are over the weight recommended by the standard height-weight charts.

1% of teenage girls, and 5% of college-age women become anorexic or bulimic.

Anorexia has the highest mortality rate (up to 20%) of any psychiatric diagnosis.

Girls develop eating and self-image problems before drug or alcohol problems; there are drug and alcohol programs in almost every school, but no eating disorder programs.

Click here to visit the CDC site with latest findings for Adult obesity

Obesity means having excess body fat. Obesity is defined by body mass index, or BMI, which is calculated from your height and weight.

BMI greater than or equal to 30 means you are obese.

Non-Hispanic black women and Hispanics have the highest rates of obesity (41.9% and 30.7%).

Obesity is a contributing cause of many other health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of cancer.

These are some of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Obesity can cause sleep apnea and breathing problems and make activity more difficult. Obesity can also cause problems during pregnancy or make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant.

Obese persons require more costly medical care. This places a huge financial burden on our medical care system.


Let's size up some fascinating facts as reported by The New York Times:


64 percent of women are pear-shaped, while 30 percent are "straight," which means they have little perceptible waist.

Black women have larger measurements than other women, but they are most likely to have the classic hourglass shape.

Women over 36 are the most likely to have bigger hips.

Black women older than 55 have smaller hips than those ages 45 to 55.

The fashion industry assumes these standard measurements for a woman: 35-inch bust, a 27-inch waist, and 37.5-inch hip. In the real world, women ages 36 to 45 actually average:

White: 41-34-43

Black: 43-37-46

Hispanic: 42.5-36-44

Asian: 41-35-43

Countries ranked from fattest to thinnest (may need updating)

1 United States
2 Egypt
3 Mexico
4 United Kingdom
5 Germany
6 Turkey
7 Iran
8 Brazil
9 Russia
10 Italy
11 Ukraine
12 South Korea
13 France
14 Thailand
15 China
16 Nigeria
17 Philippines
18 Japan
19 Pakistan
20 Indonesia
21 India
22 Congo (Dem. Rep.)
23 Vietnam
24 Bangladesh
25 Ethiopia

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