This post encourages to love the body you have. It’s the only space you can live in. Read to learn how to deal with body discrimination and not settle for just having clothes to not freeze to hypothermia in winter and to not get into trouble with the police in summer.
- Body Discrimination Occurs on Both Ends of the Size Chart
- Loving Fashion Is Independent of Age
- Mature Fashion Doesn’t Know a Size 4
- Most Youth Departments Are Fast Fashion
- The Meat Show Is Not So Us
- Youth Clothing May Look Like Trying Too Hard When Worn Head to Toe
- How Do experienced style and fashion bloggers cope with body and age discrimination
- Sabine Gimm
- Monika Faulkner
- Tina Kersting
- My facit?
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.
Body discrimination occurs on both ends of the size chart
It is a well known fact (unfortunately) that many plus size women experience body discrimination. What’s less know is that many petites face the same fate. While the former and latter are called real and not real women, respectively. Both is body discrimination par excellence.
Being on the petite side and having the great body of John Wayne – wide shoulders, small hips, and ears like saddle bags – I rarely find clothes in Fairbanks that I like and which fit me well. I am lucky when I find a great score in one of Fairbanks’ consignment stores once in a while. In Fairbanks, the smallest size you can find for woman is a US size 6, when you are lucky to be a size 6, you like the item and the one size 6 that the store ordered is not jet sold to another woman. 🙁
The lack of possibilities for shopping locally has made me an experienced thrift and online shopper. I shared my experiences selecting the right size when shopping online. The trick is shop by measures, not by size. Read more on the how to shop by meaure and the reasons to avoid relying on your usualy size tag.
Why Is Loving Fashion Independent of Age?
We all need to dress. Thus, what’s wrong about dressing stylishly over 40, when it is totally accepted when you are half that age? Recently, some of my fellow bloggers blogged about body/age discrimination they had encountered when shopping in department stores or fast fashion stores. These negative experiences were not just about shopping per se, but also about being a fashion/style interested 40 plus or petite woman. The latter isn’t amazing at all, when your goal is to
turn current fashion into personal style over 40.
Mature Fashion Doesn’t Know a Size 4
… “A size 4? This item only comes in women sizes. You better look in the youth department”. I have heard this a hundred times, thirty percent of the time with that look “I wished I could shop there.” So far, I have suppressed to ask whether I am not a women when I wear a size 4.Can't a woman over 40 asking for a size 4 without being sent to the youth department? #fashionover50 Click To Tweet
A Size 4 Is Not Only for 20 Somethings
Who hasn’t faced to really love a piece of clothes, but they don’t have it in your size? That’s ok. I can deal with it as the next gal. It happens. But it is not ok to think that every size 4 women is a high school gal or at least a twenty something prior to gaining weight due to being on birth control.A size 4 is not reserved for 20 somethings. #bodybashing Click To Tweet
In Fairbanks, you can’t find a size 4 top, blazer, skirt, pants, adult jeans, dress or coat in a quality of a basic item (read to be worn over and over again). You may have some luck once in a while in a consignment store. Thanks to the military! When you asks women who look like a size 4 and wear good quality clothes, where they got the items, the answer is: Online.
Most Youth Departments Are Fast Fashion
Most young women have not much money. Therefore, the fashion industry produces clothes for the youth department that these young women can afford. Doing so is the right thing to do. Since the fashion industry is interested in profit, they use cheap fabrics and often less experienced seamstresses or pay them by items produced, i.e. these women go for speed not attention to details. If the price-performance ratio is good that’s fine too.
While even the twenty somethings still look great in these clothes, the over 40s don’t. There is no reason to enhance the hard earned laughing wrinkles with wrinkled darts. While pinning a pin on top of a wrinkled dart in an awkward place looks cute and cool on anyone under 30, the hiding is obvious when done by an over 40. Even in a size 4, a mature women’s body just can’t handle ill fitting clothes anymore.
The Meat Show Is Not So Us
Not to mention that most of the times the skirts would be too short to be comfortable, and to not be worrisome. We want to pick up our keys when they fall down in the parking lot without having to think what happens with our skirt. We never thought that a “Y” showing over the top of our jeans is cool. That was the It jeans style at the end of the 90s. But we rooted our style in the (late) 80s or even earlier. And yes, we have grown out wearing all trends of the season in one piece. We wear two at a time when we are brave enough on weekends.
Youth Clothing May Look Like Trying Too Hard When Worn Head to Toe
Wearing youth clothes would just look like trying too hard, not trying at all or as having rioted our daughter’s closet, which of course I don’t and wouldn’t even if I could! So why do you send me to the youth department? Over 40 women come in all sizes and shapes, and we want mature clothes that flatter us. Why does the fashion industry adjust to the youth market, but not to us over 40?
How do experienced style and fashion bloggers cope with body and age discrimination?
For this month’s blogger roundup I asked fashion and style bloggers over 40 for their best advice to cope with body discrimination (i.e. to not feel hurt) when shopping for the fashion and style they want.
Sabine Gimm, the blogger at Blingbling50, wrote:
Fitting rooms are creepy. They often show you in a bad light. You should simply ignore negativity and accept your body as it is. In a fitting room, you have the possibility to see how the clothes fit in the back. This is a big advantage.
When a sales person tells you “We don’t have this piece in your size”, just answer “Then I won’t bother you any further. Too bad that I can’t recommend your store” and then just leave. Shop only where you are welcome and where you are treated like a Queen.
An alternative is online shopping. The advantage is that you can combine the clothes with the clothes you have already at home and try them on at home.
Monika Faulkner, blogger at Style Is My Pudding, is a petite woman living in the outskirts of Vancouver, Canada. She has the following advice:
What’s my ‘secret’ to dealing with a fashion industry that focuses on customers who are a good 3 to 4 inches taller than I am? Honestly, it boils down to some creative styling and lots and lots of shopping around!
Tops are generally not at issue, since I prefer to wear my sleeves pushed or rolled up anyways…so if they’re too long? Who cares!
Skirts and dresses? I make sure that I’m happy with the way a ‘midi’ silhouette, for example, might fit more like a ‘maxi’ on me.
And skinny jeans are super easy right now; with the raw hem trend still going strong, I just cut them off to the length I want! Flared jeans and trousers are definitely a challenge, though; I’ve hung many pairs back on the rack once I realized that hemming them would effectively remove most of the flare. So that’s where some patience and marathon shopping might come in.
Of course a visit to my local alterations shop is always an option, too. But then I make sure to factor the cost of the alteration into the garment; will it still be a worthwhile purchase.
Tina, the blogger at Tina’s Pink Friday, is a tall woman. She is also great at sewing her own clothes. See what she has to say about shopping for clothes:
First, I had to think hard. I buy online! Most of the time, most stores in our city don’t have clothes in my size, about 48-52 (US size 2X-3X). Thus, I buy my clothes almost exclusively online. The choice of fashionable clothes is just larger online.
One time, I was very disappointed at the mall when I came to a H&M store that used to have a section with clothes in my size and I couldn’t find that section anymore. When I asked, the saleswoman explained that they had decided to offer large sizes only in a few selected stores. At that very the moment, I decided to buy my clothes just online except for TK Maxx, and certainly NOT at H&M. I also buy them online in other countries, for instance, in England. Online that’s not a problem.
Except for this incident I’ve really never had bad experiences and all sales persons are very friendly when I browse the stores on Fridays. Well, I am friendly too. As a matter of fact, I have never experienced obvious body or age discrimination. I openly approach people and so they approach me.
I don’t run my blog as a plus size blog. I see myself simply as a woman, not reduced to my dimensions.
Shelbee, fashion blogger at Shelbee on the Edge, answered:
I don’t know if I can accurately answer this question, but I will do my best. At this stage of my life, age 43, I have become so confident in my body and my style that I can’t really think of what type of body discrimination would hurt me. I know what size my body is and I know that there are certain styles and certain brands that simply don’t work for me. I may still venture into a store that targets juniors knowing full well that none of their clothing would work on my body, but I can always find a fabulous accessory at a juniors price point!
I don’t set my mind on a specific size that I wear, I simply wear what fits my body. I have clothing in my closet that ranges from size 10 to size 24 and from Large to 6XL. Those numbers are completely irrelevant to me. If it looks good and feels good, then I am going to wear. And I will wear it with confidence! So I suppose the way cope with body discrimination is to meet it head on with plain unadulterated body confidence and self-love! Love what you have and adorn it with confidence and you will always look fabulous!
In other words and summary:
- Love your body. That’s the only place you can live in.
- Be self-confidence. You deserve great service at any age and any dimension.
- Shop where your chances are best to find your size and what you want. Or in other words, you can’t buy a bike at a car dealer.
- Have a great tailor on speed dial for alterations and factor the costs in when you buy.
- Take advantage of trends that work in your favor. For instance, cropped pants are full length on a petite, normal pants length works as cropped pants on a tall woman. This is just one of the many tricks how to save money on petite style.
- Be aware that in other countries, the mean population is taller, smaller, bigger, tinnier, etc. and shop there online. For petites, Italy, Spain, and East Asian countries are good options. The former two are also great for plus size petites. Tall women may be lucky in Germany, Great Britain, or Scandinavia. Plus sizes have great chances in US online stores. You get the idea.
- Learn to shop by measures not size. Size is just a number.
- Know that you are unique and that’s beautiful.
My facit?Love the body you have. It's the only space you can live in! #selflove #positivelifestyle Click To Tweet
Never worry again what to wear when. Just look it up in my style book How to Dress for Success in Midlife. Buy the book now.
You may enjoy reading How to Master the Style Challenge Top Heavy and being invisible over 40 wearing pastels.
Photos of me: G. Kramm
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