Shut up Catherine!
I know I am what is generously called a big girl, and I know that no one wants to see that. I get that, I’ve given up trying to look attractive. I have 3 main aims with my clothing and I have never actually succeeded at them so attractive is completely unrealistic. Decency, comfortable enough that it doesn’t overwhelm my ability to cope, not too weird are my highest aspiration for my clothes.
Okay lets go back in time. My fashion/beauty icons were fairies and then Audrey Hepburn. I was not overweight as a child/teen, but still not the delicate waif. I am big boned!
Shut up I know that is a common claim but I am actually in the 97th percentile for bones. Big skulls are common in autistic people, I know this junk because a paediatrician asked permission to test the whole family to demonstrate to her panicking medical students to always look for the simplest answer first. Before trying to work out if the big headed infant has some terrible malady like encephalitis check the size of their other bones, check if big skulls run in the family etc.
So I do actually have big bones. When I lost weight as a teen my flared ribs poked out uglily. I was an early bloomer, very round. I was encouraged to consider other icons; Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell etc. By the way I am not that old, I just liked old movie stars. I liked them but my idea of beauty & style was Audrey, I love Audrey Hepburn.
Even when I looked my best I hated how I looked and was never particularly interested in showing it off. And when I got a boyfriend in high school that was it, I never had to try again. So I don’t believe its me wanting to flaunt myself. It is a possibility I admit, I am awfully keen on my bust, I’m fat and fat rolls have disguised my previously curvy behind, I need my breasts to show I am not a giant dumpling come to life.
But my priority has to be comfort. Because I am autistic & have sensory issues. I can work with feet in pain from rheumatics due to the cold, but I can not do my work with giant wrappers wound around my feet trying to kill me, aka shoes, or with the constant cutting of lines as the sock hems act as cheese wire on my helpless toes. I can’t wear stiff pants because I can not bend, I can not wear things that are too floaty or I will knock everything in my path over. I can’t wear, well there is a ton of stuff I can’t wear and even more stuff I can’t wear if I want to move while dressed. This massively cuts down on my clothing options.
Then there is temperature, I overheat rather rapidly. I think it may be a hypothalamus issue (part of the brain) I do not physically respond to temperature changes in an appropriate way, ie sweating. I don’t remember to drink & blah blah blah but basically I can get mild heat stroke & faint on a mild Spring day & I live in Perth, summer days can be 45 degrees Celsius. I live in an oven. If I cover the back of my neck & or my upper arms with cloth no matter how thin I overheat. I think it might be like dogs that detect heat at the back of the neck and if you accidentally cool only that part they will stop panting & can overheat. So it is not that I am unaware that my flabby upper arms are ugly, it is that I do not wish to faint and get yet another bout of heat stroke been there done that was probably wearing a T-shirt.
Then there is the owning pets thing, pets have claws and teeth that can destroy the wrong fabric &/or skin. I look at lace or delicate fabrics and say “no, I have pets”. I look at sturdier fabrics with deliberate holes as part of the design and realise that someone is going to get a claw stuck, panic and injure themselves, I look at ornaments & books and all kinds of beautiful items and say “I can’t have nice things, I have pets!”
Now the opposite side, clothing manufacturers. They hate big women. Clothing for bigger women doesn’t fit. It either is designed to cover as much of the body as possible, preferably with billowing. Or it plunges. But again I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the unmentionables.
Panties for big women have to be big, well obviously they have to be bigger to cover the same parts, but no big sizes often cover more parts than the panties for smaller sized women. Uncomfortable elastic pinching and cutting and rolling up. And of course big women want corrective under garments, hell I can’t sit down in denim I can not move in corrective wear if it even stays in place. Most particularly big busted women need minimizers, yeah because I want to minimise my only remaining asset, lets draw attention to my tummy. I can not stand the pain of wearing a minimizer; the pain in my back & chest, the struggle to breathe (yeah yeah I know part of it is psychosomatic, it is still there) and then there’s the searing pain in my ears.
“Why in the hell did you buy a minimizer, this is insane, I will not have a wife of mine in a minimizer!”
I know, normally he is so easy going but he has his pet issues that really set him off. My husband is extremely dedicated to women not being forced into unhealthy negative body issues. Or he’s a breast man!
So with almost all of the range being minimizers what is left? Huge scaffolding in white or beige, 3 inch straps and metal boning that could probably double as body armour. Big women need their entire breast covered, cleavage is nonsense for the younger gels. We are matrons that need no nonsense undergarments that will dispel males at first glance, husbands included, there are far more important things for us to be doing than entertaining our husbands’ juvenile desires. Even if we need a larger size at 13. An adolescent matron, well it gives you head start if you start repelling them before they’ve even noticed you. My message 99% of the bras made for either over size 16 or over cup size C are incredibly ugly.
But so what it’s not like anyone is going to see my undergarments? I may be married but I am not a pervert, shut up Cat!
Wait a minute, big women’s clothes come in two forms; nun’s habits and plunging. Both dresses & tops in my size plunge down at the neck and arm to show my bra. Do I hear you ask why don’t you buy a nice modest buttoned blouse? Because at the Shop for Giantesses the blouses don’t have buttons up to the neck so I can decide how much I want to show. Wearing a fitted shirt with buttons I have to get one two sizes too big so the buttons don’t gape over the bust, because women unlike men who traditionally wear button up shirts have these inconvenient protuberances in the chest area that spoil the smooth line of the shirt. So if it is sleeveless the arm hole finishes where it shows 2 of the 3 inches of bra strap. And the buttons generally fall two inches lower than my bra in the front.
I was brought up that nice girls don’t let their bra show from beneath their clothes. Well I gave that up, that’s not how fashion works. And you can’t make your own! Have you seen the prices at haberdashery shops? My youngest had a school project to make a pair of shorts; they are 5 times more expensive than any other garment she owns, and we got the cheapest suitable fabric they had. So we buy what they want to sell. So I am not flaunting cleavage I am flaunting a bloody big beige monstrosity with a ribbon in the middle to make sure no one misses the fact that it is a bra.
And there is a big rise in semi translucent fabric too which just ruins things even more. I can not wear layers, I feel like I’m losing control of the outer garments. And if I have to wear a T-shirt under my summer dresses I will bake. And don’t get me started on camisoles, they are almost always manufactured in sizes up to 18. I can wear a size 18 but it progressively rolls up my body until it starts rolling up the straps. The first halt to their climb is generally my arms. To combat this process there are the constant gross hauling at the outer garment trying to snag and move the roll down. I was also brought up that nice girls don’t yank at their clothes in public. I do it but I feel self-conscious and embarrassed, not helpful for someone battling anxiety & agoraphobia. It adds a new layer to my personal hell.
So I am trapped, trapped by my disability and by the modern world. I am not an exhibitionist I am a victim of fashion.
Victim of fashion not fashion victim!
Okay, maybe both!