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A call for plus sizes

March 08, 2009

Many readers responded to Emili Vesilind's piece last week on the difficulty women over size 10 have in finding stylish clothing. Here's a sampling of the letters. See more, and join the discussion, at

I am the former editor in chief of BBW magazine (in the early '90s) and a former plus-size spokesmodel (under contract with the Spiegel catalog from '89-92).Thank you, thank you for pointing out the ridiculous snob mentality.

My company, Makeover Media, always recommends branching into plus sizes when manufacturers or retailers complain of slow sales, sluggish business . . . and they always refuse. One company, a swimsuit retailer, has spent ridiculous amounts of time and money "chasing new customers." But when I broached the subject of adding plus size swimwear to the website store only, the company refused. In the meantime, I buy most of my clothes online.

Linda Arroz

Studio City


Here is a fact -- let's get this out there -- many real women are not curvy and hourglass-figured, like most plus-sized models I see. We have thicker waistlines in relation to our hips.

Even when I weighed quite a bit less than now, I was never curvy. I have always felt that most clothing designers have designed on the (sexist?) assumption that women have tiny waists no matter their size. Most larger sizes keep the same waist/hip ratio as smaller ones.

Do you know how many women out there cannot find a pair of pants that do not create the "muffin-top" effect so laughingly pointed to in fashion "do's and don'ts" photographs?

Cynthia Murphy

Chino Hills


I have resorted to "shopping in my own closet" rather than continue to tromp through Nordstrom, Macy's, etc. It seems as if even sizes 10-plus that are in the stores are all geared to the twentysomethings. Where are the cute, fashionable clothes for the 10-pluses and 50-pluses?

Judy Kelly



The first national designer/retailer combo brave enough to make and stock real fashion sized for the average American woman is going to make a fortune, and then hopefully the rest will begin to follow.

Arlene Wszalek

Sherman Oaks


I'm 33, 5 feet, 10 inches, and wear an 8 or 10 depending on designer. Finding clothing that fits well is a nightmare -- it seems all of it is cut for anorexic 12-year-olds. Hopefully, those in the fashion industry opposed to clothing women who wear over a single-digit size will recognize that not all of us are built like Gisele Bundchen -- nor are we willing to spend our lives with an eating disorder so we can be "thin enough" for their clothes. While I'm on the subject, the model in your article is wearing a great gray/blue dress -- whose is it, and where can I find it?

Jeana Mamer

Van Nuys

Editor's note: The dress is by Rachel Palley and available at Nordstrom.


For whatever reason so many of us are overweight these days, it doesn't mean we want to dress badly and don't enjoy having fun, well-fitting clothes. When I was at my heaviest -- size 20-22 a couple of years ago, Wal-Mart was really the only place I could find clothes, and boy was that depressing. Lane Bryant was an option, but their prices are usually more than I want to pay if I'm looking for several outfits.

Now that I'm down to a 16-18 I still find Penney's to be the easiest, online or through their stores. It's not super-hip, but they have variety and good prices if you look hard and often enough.

Sarah Archer

San Diego


It comes down to sexism. Male actors can be old and fat and get work (Val Kilmer, Vince Vaughn). But the women have to be fit and emaciated (Jen Aniston, Courteney Cox, etc) -- and it doesn't help that "curvy" actresses/performers/musicians come out and say they "love their bodies" but lose 50 pounds (Jennifer Hudson, Tyra Banks, America Ferrara, Jennifer Love Hewitt). I am waiting for Jessica Simpson to go on some master cleanse and be a size 2 again.

Maybe heavier (not obese) women wouldn't look like sausage casings and buy bigger clothing if they de-stigmatize sizes above 8 and make affordable big clothing.

Stephanie Steese

Redondo Beach

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