I know it’s not Tuesday, but I got excited about it being November and it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I updated this thing.
Top: Lane Bryant; $7.49 (14/16)
Cardigan: Forever XXI; $14.80 (1X)
Skirt: Lane Bryant (Thrifted); $3.80 (18/20)
Tights: Forever XXI; $6.80 (2X/3X)
Shoes: Avenue; $10.00 (8.5W)
Necklace + Earrings: My Roommate’s Kloset; $5.00
So these tights made me SUPER EXCITED. It’s shockingly difficult to find well-fitting tights when you’re a plus sized person in colors that range outside the neutral zone. It’s like some mass conspiracy to make sure us fat folks can’t buy trendy colors. Even brands that carry plus sizes like Hue become a tease. I was in a Macy’s when I saw they had a bunch of colors I loved stocked, and picked one up to check the sizing on the back — completely expecting disappointment — only to find that they actually had listings for sizes that would accommodate someone up to 6′ and 300lbs! Like Paul Ryan with a tacky photo op I dug in, hunting through pile after pile of beautiful teal and mustard tights, only to find that the sizes stopped at a three– max weight capacity on those was 200.
Psh. That doesn’t mean anything, I thought. Maybe Macy’s doesn’t carry their larger sizes. Or they sold out. The rack had, in fact, been well rifled through before I even got there. So I went to their site and looked up their colored tights. So many beautiful color options! But as I clicked first on the color I’d been hunting for and then the rest, I found that every single one of their colored sizes stopped at a three. In fact, the only color option they had in a five was black. Despite having that chart on every pair of their tights lumped right in there with all the “normal” sizes, the only tights they offered if you were above 200lbs were plain black.
And this is incredibly typical. Even sites that offer significant plus size sections their leggings and tights section are remarkably both limited and muted, especially in comparison with their smaller sized counterparts. And even those links provided are apples to oranges; while ASOS offers smaller size options for leggings and tights both and in a range of styles and colors, they offer no plus size tights and the leggings they offer are very one-note color-wise. Though they do get props for offering multiple styles and even some patterns, a large step above it’s competitors.
So what’s a working girl to do? As nice as a lot of these styles are, I can’t wear leopard print leggings to the office. Working in an office is what gave me my love for diversity in a wardrobe’s color palette. I can wear a perfectly normally subdued outfit, like the above, and just give it a pop of color. A little edge. In something that’s completely appropriate in any office environment. Plain solid colored leggings and tights are a great way to accent any outfit regardless of where or if you work, especially as you reach the colder fall and winter months. Unless you’re fat, apparently. Then the same old issue pops up yet again.
Fat people aren’t allowed to wear colors. Walk into any store and glance over the plus size section. You’ll see a lot of blacks, browns, creams, whites. The occasional teal or pink. Now glance at a women’s or junior’s section. Pops of color everywhere, in all different styles of clothing so you can draw the viewer’s eye to wherever you want the focus to be. Bust, hips, legs, arms, whatever it is you can buy a vibrant skirt or top to give your outfit that extra bit of visible punch. Which is what it all boils down to, isn’t it? While there’s certainly been a lot of development and attention given to the fat clothing industry in the last decade, we’re still not really supposed to be visible. We’re sometimes given the option look cute and stylish, but in a way that blends into the background. We can look professional, but not fashionably so. Unlike the other size ranges, we have to choose. Neutral colors are all well and good, but they shouldn’t be our only options.
But they are. So when I see color options, I grab at them where I can. Forever XII is completely guilty of giving us nothing but clothing in the mega neutral range, but at least once in a blue moon they put up usable colored accessories. They seem to only put up tights once a year; last year I think they did a spring line, and then this is the first round of colors since early 2011. It’s a decent line of colors, most notable to me are the mustard and the royal blue. The 2X/3X fits me perfectly with my size 18/20 butt (leaning more towards the 20 when we talk about ass-huggage), and they don’t do that annoying bit where the crotch rides down and chafes if you walk around in them too much. Even more awesome is the price– $6.80.
The only other site I know of that does amazing plus size colored tights is WeLoveColors, and though they’re a higher quality (I’ve never had a problem with Forever 21 tights, but WeLoveColors definitely does a nicer feeling fabric and also goes up to 375lbs) you’ll pay $15 a pop plus shipping, since store pickup isn’t an option. They also have a set in there for $9, though I can’t vouch for them and they themselves note that they aren’t as high quality and don’t fit as well. But the color variety can’t be matched.