I remember, way back in my youth that was ever so long ago, getting fired up over fall and the idea of going out and buying all sorts of cute new outfits for school. I say “idea” because, as a young chubster, buying all sorts of cute new outfits simply wasn't going to happen because they didn't actually exist. I would buy the fall issue of Seventeen magazine, big and thick and crammed with all sorts of fashion ideas and tips and tricks and ooh and ahh over the assorted ensembles on their pages, and of course not a stitch of the ensembles came in a size bigger than 12.
I would try to cobble together something that could be interpreted as being sort of hip or current, but I had two stores from which to cobble – Lane Bryant (back before they decided to make clothing for women under 60) and Sizes Unlimited (lots of basics. Lots...of basics. LOTS). I remember buying a hot pink studded belt from maybe Claire's or Contempo Casuals or maybe Express (since all I could buy were accessories if I went shopping with my thin friends), a belt that was meant to go around one's torso twice. Of course, it only got around me once with perhaps another six or seven inches available, and I spent ages tweaking it so at least I could wear a COOL BELT (it was 1985). A particularly disagreeable male classmate decided to call me out on it, of course, since what business did I, Fat Girl, have trying to look like the thin girls?
Oh, there was so much polyester in my life. So much damn polyester. It wasn't until junior year of high school came along that it seemed like clothing from a planet closer to mine began to be made for the fat chick about town, and I had settled into my “I Am Robert Smith of the Cure In Drag” phase so I could slap together lots of black and skirts and such that made me feel more like ME than someone being forced to wear god-awful shit because that was all that was available. I want to say Mode Magazine appeared around that time as well, but the internet is not helping me and at some point, there's a lot of blurring beyond a certain date, if you feel me. Reader, I'm 39. BLURRING.
Had Torrid appeared when I was 16? HOLY. SHIT. I don't know what I would have done with myself from all the joy that would have been coursing through my veins. Mind you, I'm referring to version 1.0 of Torrid, when it was Goth-esque and DARK and I WEAR BLACK ON THE OUTSIDE BECAUSE BLACK IS HOW I FEEL ON THE INSIDE awesome for suburban teens such as myself. And I'm glad that Torrid exists for fat teengirls now because Lane still just doesn't quite cut it if you're below a certain age. Well shit, Lane doesn't really cut it for me at 39, but so few clothiers do. If I do decide I must buy something, my first stop is going to be Vive La Femme in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood because owner Stephanie Sack is made of 100 percent pure awesome and makes shopping for clothes so festive. I always thought I was sized out of what is carried at Vive La Femme, but Stephanie is magic. I also will snarf around LucieLu.com and I have some dresses from her that are also magic. Lane gets my business for my unmentionables and jeans and that's about it because I'm sniffy and refuse to be anything other than comfortable these days. That may mean I dress like a 20-something fat skater kid, but I'm not constantly pulling or yanking or adjusting something to get it over my belly/out of my ass/up above my knees. I can't present myself in a manner which I appreciate if I'm in shoes that are making my size Tenleven gunboats hurt.
I'm looking at my closet right....NOW and there are so many items in it that I haven't worn in literally years, but it's as if I'm keeping them for a rainy day where I'll suddenly come over all I MUST DRESS UP. I just hope they'll all go with jeans.