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TW: This article contains brief mention of disordered eating.
My first clothing haul with ASOS didn’t go as planned. I found myself thrown into some serious haul disappointment paired with body shame.
Its been a long time since I’ve been able to get my fix from shopping online and buying myself some killer new threads. Mostly because I spent the last two years busting my ass getting my Bachelors of social work, having an internship, needing multiple part time jobs, and then maintaining a 9-5 in the field while learning how to be an adult and budget. (hint: its not fun and no one is perfect at it at first…).
But I can’t blame it all on lack of funds. I’ve also shied away from online shopping for clothing because well, if you’re a plus size shopper, you know the anxiety around that moment of finding out whether or not your items fit. It can get real discouraging to constantly spend money on clothes that never end up fitting. I didn’t want to continuously be reminded that my body was evolving, or rather, growing. My bumps, curves, and rolls were changing shape and size. The unpredictability of online shopping is terrifying and had proven not to go well. I was over it.
Not actually over it. Just passive aggressively over it.
Situations change though, ya know? I had the privilege of being able to shop at ASOS for the first time ever recently! I was so excited. I’d been eyeing ASOS for a long time. Their Men’s section is my aesthetic GOALS. I really don’t know how to describe styles, since I’m new to this whole “writing about fashion” thing. But I love me a “crisp casual bro with a hint of femininity” look.
I ordered quite a few pieces. 5 shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 1 bomber jacket, and a 2 pack of undershirts. Unfortunately, ASOS didn’t have any pants or shorts in my size. No worries though, I was in dire need of some casual shirts anyway. So, bring it on! I was actually looking forward to checking the mail everyday like when I was a kid expecting a gift.
Check me out!
My partner and I dressed up and went out to take some studly photos once our clothing came in the mail. You’ll see below I’ve got that palm tree tee and a navy bomber jacket on. The joggers were a pair I’d already had, along with those sunnies that make me feel like a badass.
The tee and the bomber were the only items that fit.
And even using the word “fit” is kind. Just in case you’re wondering, I do know what size I wear. I’m a 5x/6x in Men’s tops and a 28/30 in Women’s jeans. And I’d say I’m generous and tend to size up on my online orders just to be safe. “I’d rather it be too big than not fit at all!” That’s always been my motto. Which still sucks because it severely limits my options.
So I ordered up as best I could. Barely anything fit.
Do you know what it is like to be reminded that stores really don’t care about you? If you’re able to hit up the mall and shop in-store at places like Old Navy, Target, and JCPenney…you probably don’t know the feeling I’m talking about.
You have to wait until you’re in the right mood; the most courageous mood, to try on those clothes you ordered. You ordered them online because the sizes in store ended about two sizes too small.
You make sure you’re trying them on when your body feels okay…not right after you eat because you don’t want to feel bloated. Queue the disordered eating feels. “If I skip a few meals maybe these will fit better…”
You do it alone; you don’t want anyone to see your disappointment as you try and squeeze in.
Slowly pulling the jeans up, breathing deeply. Nervous. Scared even. Wiggling, sucking in, hoping you can stuff your rolls in some hidden pocket. Accompanied by whines, gasps, and groans. Here come the tears.
They barely come up past your thighs. You force them up and realize there’s no way they’re going to button and zip.
But instead of blaming the stores, inaccessibility, and lack of universal sizing…you blame yourself. The world blames you, anyway right? “Maybe I’ll just hang onto these for one day when I lose weight…”
You throw them in the closet in that same section that holds the various items you’re saving for when you shrink yourself. Toss on your sweats and your hoodie. At least those fit, even if it does end up making you feel like a slob. That’s how the world sees fatties in baggy, comfortable clothing, right?
What message are we supposed to gain from that kind of experience? It tells us that we aren’t good enough for clothing that fits well and makes us feel good. We are shamed into wearing clothing that pinpoints us as lazy, gross, and undesirable so that we will feel obligated to change.
But accessible clothing is the bare fucking minimum.
The thing about us fatties is that we endure some of the most pervasive ridicule and discrimination, especially when we have multiple intersections of oppressed identities. And still, we are resilient. We challenge beauty standards. When the world knocks us on our big fat asses, we get right back up. We change the shameful narrative over and over again in our heads to a positive one.
And so will I. My super-fat body is beautiful; it carries a loving, tender soul with a killer sense of humor. My big fat arms embrace the most incredible woman on the planet as we lay in bed together every night. My super-fat body creates, inspires, and teaches. Companies like to pretend we don’t exist. As if there aren’t a lot of us out there. No need to prioritize such a small population, right? Well, guess what? We’re fucking out there. Make us some damn sexy ass clothing. We’re not hiding ourselves away anymore.
I love how that T-shirt and jacket look on you! So perfect for this time of year☀️ I just brought home a pile of clothes and I think I found a pair of overalls that fit in length and size? Truly a miracle! I look like a weeble, but I don’t care. I love overalls❤️
Oh, do I feel you! I have had that experience so many times I can’t count. The self flagellation takes a while to get over. It often leads to a long dark funk, sometimes complete with self destructive binge behavior.
Pants are the worst! Past a certain size it’s hard to find things that fit that aren’t stretchy.
Yeah, thanks, I’d like to wear something other than leggings. Lort, deliver me some jeans that are not two sizes bigger at the end of FB day.
Been there… done that… got the I’ll-fitting t-shirt. ? You look great in spite of the stupid clothes!
Thank you for sharing this, bb. <3
Thanks for the support <3
You are so amazing and brave to write this down. Those feelings are so familiar to me.
Also thanks for the heads up re. sizing on ASOS. I’ve been thinking about buying from them. Carry on the good work!
Thank you so much for reading! Make sure to size up from ASOS if youre buying from the mens section. Womens section seems to run pretty true to size!
Oh J, your comments really hit home with me. I am in my late 50’s and have always dreaded trying to find new clothes. The choice when I was young was abysmal – much worse than it is now. Hardly any clothes manufacturers catered for us larger girlies and trying to find something that was trendy was nearly impossible. I used to weep buckets when the jeans I had lusted over, and finally bought, wouldn’t go past my hips. It is a little better now, but there is still such a long way to go – not only in combating peoples’ prejudices and ridicule but in educating clothing companies about the REAL shape of their customers and what they should be doing to cater for them. You look brilliant in this outfit – but that shouldn’t be the exception, it should be EVERY outfit you buy. Sending much love to you and Carissa xx
Nothing but respect for writing this down…
I’m in the UK but my partner uses Bad Rhino and Jacamo for 5xl AND long tops so hopefully you’ll find something there. Bad Rhino is super affordable as a sister company to Yours Clothing.
Best of luck.
Dude it is *definitely* the store’s fault. I’m not sure what it’s like in the states but here in the UK sizes do differ from store to store. And as ASOS is a UK company, I’m guessing that’s what’s going on here. It creates such a shitty sense of insecurity. I’ve tried on two tops in Primark in THE SAME EXACT SIZE on the exact same day: one fit, one didn’t. I don’t think they realise this lack of regulation around sizes makes people feel horrible about their bodies: or at least I hope they don’t realise? Otherwise it’s effing evil.
Anyway! You are absolutely rocking that outfit! I love the combo of slouchy sweatpants, tough workboots and the hipster tee and bomber jacket. Nice work 😀
thank you so much! you’re right, these brands with their inconsistent sizing really does create a shitty sense of insecurity about our bodies. I’m learning more and more to shrug it off though! its the stores fault! thanks for reading <3
I feel you! I’m a short guy, and nothing fits!! I’m so fed up with all the clothing industries for ignoring us demographics and making us go out of our way looking for clothes that actually FIT. Thank you for writing this!!! It needs to be said and hopefully we will be heard
absolutely! there’s a lot of us short and/or stout folks out there and the more we express that we WANT access to clothing, the more brands will hopefully listen!