Getting Fancy, the plus size story

Hello all!  It has been quite some time since I have written a post.  I have been very busy with my art and getting a book together.  In fact, I’ve been so busy with my art that there is a great show I’m working with this summer, the Chashama 2017 Art Gala: Art is Everywhere. In case dear reader you could not tell, I LOVE any excuse to dress up.  And when I get an opportunity, I create an idea, a look, in my mind that I try to achieve.  This blog post is about, me trying to find something to wear for the gala.

Now I am a little backwards and decided on all my accessories and hair first.  Green pendants, green bracelet, green earrings and green shoes all to accent the red hair.  The next thing I needed was a black dress. I had visions of being Katherine Hepburn with stunning Hollywood waves hair and a long 1940’s black dress. I just wanted to feel like I could tackle the world while looking for my pet tiger Baby, is that too much to ask?!

Now for those who know, Rent the Runway is a great place to get great dresses for events like these at a fraction of the cost. The idea is simple: choose the event, choose the dress, pick your dates and they ship it to you with a back up size for free! But when you are a plus size person, you know that this could be the worst case scenario, get the dress and nothing fits and you are shit out of luck for the event.  I wanted to prevent this from happening.  I chose about ten dresses I liked that according to the web site came in my size, 16/18.  So, with accessories and undergarments in tow, I went to go try on at the flagship store in New York City.

Rent the Runway’s flagship store in New York.

I recommend making an appointment and NOT going on a Friday or Saturday.  And if you are plus size, maybe call first and ask if they have your size in store to try on on. These were all my first few mistakes.  After I signed up for their waiting list, I went to look at the dresses.  A few things looked good and seemed great choices, and I was told, “Don’t worry about the size, we have more in back to get your size if the sample on the floor is not correct.”  So, I was unfazed by sea of size 4 or 6 that surrounded me.  I gave the dresses I liked to be held and waited my turn.  Fortunately, I did not need to wait the whole hour.  I was greeted by this clearly busy and well dressed and very tiny woman.  I explained to her why I was there and when she found out that my event was a month out it was as if her eyes said “Why the hell are you wasting my time then, can’t you see these other girls have things this weekend?” But, I persevered and told her my size, 16/18 and she went off to fetch what she could from in the basement.  A few minutes later she came back with two dresses in my size from my favorites list.

I changed into the proper undergarments (seriously everyone, try on clothing with the undergarments you will be wearing!) and accessories and was ready to get these dresses on.  Dress one, was a size 16 and it did not fit.  At all.  I was like, “OK, clearly I’ll need an 18 for the day!” (BTW, this is usually because dresses like this are cut on a bias which means, this dress is actually three sizes smaller than the tag so the fabric is super tight and ‘looks good’ on you). The next dress was actually a size 14.  Nothing makes you feel worse than trying on a piece of clothing three sizes too small.  I poked my head out and waited to catch the consultant.  When I did and told her I would need an 18, she said “We do not have any in the store.  But you can order backup sizes for when you need it.”  I decided to just get back into my clothing and give them back the room.  This was not off to a great start. And I know I am probably projecting, but I swear this consultant was judging my big butt. The other girls there, thin, pretty, and fitting into everything with too many choices at their disposal, were easier to serve and help than someone like me.  This is 100% why I hate going to the store.

That night I went home and thought, “J.Crew will save me! Wedding line here I come!”  Little did I know, J.Crew stopped making their wedding line a few months ago. SOB!  Then I scoured Nordstrom’s, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Davids Bridal and everything was just not my vision.  The choices were just so boring or would take a long time to custom make, or really crazy expensive for a dress that I might only wear once? I tried the vintage stores, Pin Up Girl Clothing (they have a perfect dress but it is two sizes too big and at $275, plus alterations, I could not justify the expense), Unique Vintage (I’m getting a 1920’s dress from them later!), and more.  Nothing was right.  I just want to look like a pretty 1940’s film goddess, is that too much to ask?! Apparently for a plus size person with limited funds and time it is.

Plus size women deserve to have fancy clothing they can buy or rent and wear.  We deserve to be pretty.  I 100% get why movie stars who are not a sample size get so frustrated.  You want to look good and feel pretty.  It’s really hard to do that when the entire rest of the world is telling you that you should just be happy to put on a sack with sequins and call it an evening gown. After looking at the White House Correspondents dinner photos, and women showed up in short dresses, I decided to adjust my idea, and be willing to have a short dress. I ended up getting this dress from Banana Republic. Gap Inc for the win, again.  I swear, the only clothing that fits me is from this brand.  If they go out of business I am screwed. (Oh, BTW, this dress has pockets! POCKETS!! I will be 100% happier for this reason alone.)

Lesson: Ladies of the plus size world, I don’t know about you, but basically I feel that we have to shell out more money and keep our wardrobes at the ready for any and all events because we cannot expect the rest of the world to have what we need.

All in all I think this will be a great compromise for my outfit and I can wear a bolero or tux jacket with it and now I have an excellent LBD for all occasions.

If you have a great go-to store for fancy attire, let me know in the comments below!

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