Thursday 12 June 2014

Plus Size Problem: An Open Letter to Geek Fashion

By Courtney Lockhart

Dear Nerd Wear Companies,

I want to start by saying thank you. You are wonderful, creative people who have put your talents to good use.  You make us ladies able to rock our fandoms in beautiful creative ways.  I have found myself truly inspired by you to take the time for me and dress in ways that make myself feel awesome.  I love you.  So please try not to see what I’m about to say as an attack. This is a friend, coming to another friend, to try to make the relationship better. 

You hurt my feelings.

I know you didn’t mean to, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  It’s not the first time either. It happens quite a bit actually. I found something you made and fell in love with it. I really wanted it in my wardrobe and wanted to show of your wears to the world.  But you didn’t make it in my size.  Or you made it in something you call my size, but is actually much smaller.

Most retailers 3X is a size 24

I’ve talked to you about it before. Usually you blame the manufacturer. Or tell me it’s available in that size in the unisex style. Or tell me that you did have one of them in that size but someone already bought it and you’re not sure if you’re getting any more.  You agree it’s dumb, you apologize and sympathize but  considering not much seems to change, I wonder if you really get what your actions are saying to me.

When you tell me the manufacturer just doesn’t make that size, that means that when you chose them to make your product, one of two things happened. One: You didn’t think to ask the question, or  Two: You asked about it, but didn’t consider limiting your offerings in that way was to be a big enough problem to not give them your business.  That makes me feel like I’m not very important to you.

When you tell me it’s available in unisex, it means that you thought about the big guys, but not the big girls. I know there are lots of  ladies who like unisex shirts and that’s great, but with very few exceptions, straight cut t-shirts make me feel awful.  They hide the curves I like and amplify the ones I don’t.  Despite having the same design, they are not the same product. It’s like asking for a ballet flat and being offered a sneaker. Both will cover my feet but one makes me feel better about myself and the other will simply do the job. It makes me feel like I don’t deserve to be pretty.  

When you make the item in my size, but in a small quantity, to be honest, this one perplexes me the most. You know that we are out there, that we want  to spend our money, and in a lot of cases you charge up more than the regular sized folks. So if you get three dollars more per shirt than a size small, why wouldn’t you stock just as many 2X shirts as you do XS?  It makes me feel unwanted. 

So, friend to friend, can we fix this?  

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.


  1. Here! Here! I really enjoyed this post and I couldn't agree more. It might take a while but I have hope that one day the retailers, manufacturers, and other powers that be will figure out the consumer power plus size geeks and nerds hold. Great article!

  2. Yes! Absolutely! I could create a laundry list of the ways the unisex shirts don't work for me.
    My brother jokes sometimes that it's obviously the 'man'ufacturer at fault... Oh, for an alternative for us plus size ladies. Whoever creates one will gain me as a fan.


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