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WHO THIS ZINE IS FOR I hope this zine will help stylish folks by providing info on retailers from the people interviewed, as well as relatable experiences and not-spotlighted-enough opinions about shopping and sizing. I also hope this will provide designers with useful information on how to size with a wider audience in mind. And if they weren’t thinking about a more inclusive audience before, maybe this will help wake them up. VOICES IN THIS ZINE I picked the three people interviewed in this zine by imagining who I could see wearing the colorful sweaters and accessories I make, and coming up with questions specifically for them. These three people, by coincidence, identify as fat, large-breasted, and/ or having body shapes that prevent them from fitting into the way many retailers size their clothing. They are all also light-skinned. I am a light-brown, skinny, multiply-disabled, Peruvian American designer. I feel that sharing the information on my own identity and the identity of the interviewees is an important aspect of how you will read and interpret the questions asked and issues discussed. FORMAT As I was only trying to gather info for my own personal understanding of how to size garments, and not to create a riveting zine, I asked the same questions to all three people via private messaging. I decided the best way to present the info in a zine would be to present the text as I received it, as I felt editing would distort the voices of those interviewed. That means you’ll be reading the same questions over and over, but something tells me you’ll find the answers truly unique and insightful.


THANKS So much thanks to Caitlin, Hannah, and Alyssa for their generosity in the time and effort they put into sharing their thoughts. Special thanks to Melinda and Tae of Magpie Collective for their guidance in a parallel publication that helped inform the process of this zine. Major S/O to Amy Adler, whose encouragement made this zine possible. FANCY BUT FERAL #2 INVITATION I would love to help share the words of people from marginalized groups, especially ones not represented with this zine. If you: • have any questions, comments, or concerns • would like to answer these sizing questions and have them published • have ideas for other questions on this topic, or related clothing topic • want to conduct an interview yourself • have an idea for a column in a next possible issue • are interested in collaborating in any way Please don’t hesitate to contact me at: incacolors@gmail.com and we’ll make it happen! Yours Truly, Nicole 2016


INTRO As a consumer, it’s often hard to find clothing that fits. As a designer, it’s often hard to make clothing that fits. How do we bridge this gap? As a person who has experienced difficulty on both sides of the consumer-designer spectrum, I knew that asking myself this question alone in my room was not going to bring about any authentic answers. I needed help. I went to some friends with questions I had about their personal style, their experiences shopping, and how they felt about the sizes of clothes they encountered. They were extremely generous, and I found their answers invaluable, and hope you will, too.


CAITLIN Atlanta, GA

How would you describe your style? I’ve described it as “gramma femme,” though I suppose it could also pass as “naughty librarian” or “‘50s co-ed.” Vintage fashion and accessories inspire me, and I like to incorporate heirloom pieces into my styling, such as a great-grandmother’s silk scarf or gramma’s watch. I also adore the punk and post-punk styles of my


mom’s youth, so I draw inspiration from that as well. I have a lot in common with Molly Ringwald’s character in Pretty In Pink, I suppose! I adore floral patterns, sweater clips, and cardigans. What are your favorite clothing stores and brands? Lately I’ve made a conscious effort to minimize my consumerism, especially with fashion. I’ve noticed that while a lot of stores carry clothing that looks cute, it is usually poorly constructed with very cheap materials and not built to last. I like to support retailers like Modcloth for their active effort to stock clothing in wider range of sizes, and also because their marketing embraces bodies of diverse shapes and colors. However, most of their clothing is still (sadly) rather cheaply constructed for their prices. So that’s something I keep in mind when/if I purchase from them. Recently, clothing I’ve purchased has been from the St John’s Bay section at JC Penney, because I discovered their XL shirts fit me very well; and from Torrid, because their jeans look good on me and are much more durable than those from other stores that carry “plus” sizes. I don’t mind spending $40-$100 on garments that I know will fit me well and also won’t disintegrate within a couple weeks. How do you feel about the way these stores and/or brands size their clothing? I love the way Modcloth prefers the term “extended sizes” rather than “plus sizes” because it’s more inclusive for smaller-than-average sizes as well as tall or petite. But they can be a little inconsistent in their clothing sizing. It’s best to read their reviews before purchasing, thankfully there are always lots of detailed reviews on their items and they embrace feedback very well. I do think Torrid uses vanity sizing a little bit. Their 14 is certainly not a Target 14. As for St John’s Bay, I’ve only bought tops from them so it’s hard to say. I’m pear shaped so shirts anywhere from


M to 1X are still in my wardrobe. When fitting tops I’m mostly looking at how my arms feel and where it reaches my waist. In your opinion, what store or brand has standard sizing? None that I have found. Standard sizing is something I’ve only noticed while buying sewing patterns. Even if a store or brand offers a size chart with Bust/Waist/Hips measurements, it rarely includes information about fabric ease or stretch, so buying online is a gamble. What are your opinions on “vanity sizing”? I hate it. For one thing, every store/brand does it to varying degrees. It’s also a huge pain trying to remember what size fits me depending on what store I’m in / site I’m browsing. Are there any types of problems you keep running into when you try on clothes? For me, it’s arms and thighs. I’m really thick in those regions but most clothing for people of my size is not constructed for those proportions. If you could share a critique with a specific designer or brand about their clothing, who would it be and what would you tell them? Haha, not sure where I could start with that. In general I just want garments to be made more ethically and with more quality material/construction. I’d be more willing to buy from places that stressed those values. Is there a blogger that you feel writes things about clothing and body image that you feel really nails it? I’m sure there are a lot out there, but I don’t follow many bloggers


that cover both of those topics. I like Fat Girl Flow as a resource for shopping. Mainly I follow blogs that are specific to sewing and fitting your own garments, such as Idle Fancy, who is part of a larger group called the Curvy Sewing Collective. They have been a valuable resource for me for not only sewing clothes but also studying fit, material, etc. They also post articles about body positivity that I really appreciate. http://curvysewingcollective.com/category/curvy-confidence/bodypositivity/ Should one brand have sizes that range from an extremely tiny adult size to an extremely large adult size or is it better to have different brands specialize in different size categories? In an ideal world, true size range in every brand would be fantastic. That’s something that Modcloth has expressed to be their top goal and I appreciate their work towards that. But I have to acknowledge the difficulties in trying to accommodate so many different sizes. Bodies come in so many different shapes that even “size” is such a difficult concept to standardize. I think brands that can specialize in one “size” and do it well can inspire a great amount of loyalty from its shoppers. The problem is that most brands just focus on “straight” sizing so this is still a huge obstacle for shoppers of extended/plus sizes. You find a sweater you absolutely love and maybe even need. Which scenario would be more upsetting: (A) You’ve tried on their largest size and it’s baggy. You’re not sure if you could rock it. Their next smallest size is too small. (B)They can make your size to order, but it’s going to take forever and it’ll cost a fortune. You decide to order it. When you get it, it fits, mostly, but is maybe a hair too short. I’d be more comfortable with a “hair too short” than baggy or small. I would rather pay more for a quality, better-fitting garment, especially if custom size were an option.


You come across a website that has this sweater you love. The measurement is based on the bust. You order a sweater based on your bust size, but when it arrives, you find that the shoulders are a weird fit for you. You couldn’t really have predicted that from any sizing chart. What, if anything, should be done about this? (You can talk about what you would do, what the designer should do or should’ve done, etc.- interpret this question however you like!) Again, one of my problems in trying on clothes is sadly, arm fit. Compared to common garment cuts, I am smaller in the bust and thicker in the arms, so this actually happens to me quite frequently. Most shoppers are not able to, or know how to, get properly detailed measurements; and stores do not provide such detailed measurements for their clothing, anyway. I do wish more store measurements included things like arm thickness/shoulder to shoulder width/sleeve length in their charts. Is there a question or questions I should have asked you that I didn’t? Nothing comes to mind. Were you comfortable with all these questions? Yes. I’m happy to speak openly about shopping as a woman of size in an industry where I’m commonly devalued. I appreciate you for asking for insight into my perspective. Do you have any final insight, complaints, cautions, crazy ideas, or words of advice you’d like to share? I very much recommend reading into sewing/knitting collectives that center on women of size. There is a wealth of information out there if you look for it, as a small community every member is happy to share tips. Facebook groups are a really good way to meet experienced sewists/crafters/etc.


HANNAH San Diego, CA

How would you describe your style? Eclectic and colorful hand me downs. Costume jewelry. Japanese Fairy Kei. What are your favorite clothing stores and brands? TokiDoki, Nordstroms, Target, Animal Adoption Thrift Store, Ross.


How do you feel about the way these stores and/or brands size their clothing? TokiDoki has the cutest brand style. You can tell Simone will have prominence as a clothing designer for a long time with his collaborations with brands like Sanrio despite the company’s relatively young age. It is a combination of Italian and Japanese influence. Nordstroms carries large and supportive bras that I would normally have to spend about 40 more dollars on each at specialty large bra stores. Target has comfortable and cheap XL size clothing I can find on clearance. Animal Adoption Thrift Store has unique clientele that donates and has some of my favorite clothing finds. Ross has cheap XL size clothing and some brands I like such at Betsey Johnson. In your opinion, what store or brand has standard sizing? Target seems the easiest to navigate as far as sizing. What are your opinions on “vanity sizing”? I had to google this to understand it. I thought it was in reference to bust size. In places like Victoria Secret, bras that are labeled D are actually B. So me trying to stuff my GG size boobies into their DD was actually trying to stuff them into a C. Ridiculous. But vanity sizing is apparently the opposite, where larger sizes such as XL are sold as L instead despite being the same size. That’s just confusing. Are there any types of problems you keep running into when you try on clothes? Too see through in the wrong places. I love tulle and thin fabric but


typical seeming shirts that are too thin when you put them on are annoying. It makes it harder to go braless. Not accommodating for all my fat deposits. Tight waists irritate by internal organs, so jeans and slacks are impossible. Leggings have saved lives. But chub rub has destroyed those lives. Bras. Bras. BRAS. So non standard and expensive and delicate and smelly and I hate wires that dig into my painful allodynia locations. Please I need a bra that ends at the end of the ribcage rather than directly under the heavy breasts. I need distribution or I get deep welts under my breasts. If you could share a critique with a specific designer or brand about their clothing, who would it be and what would you tell them? Target: Please make larger sports bras. I need affordable bras but your XXL cannot fit on me and so I have to pay 90 dollars for one instead of 25. Also, make spats that have thicker thigh material so chub rub stops obliterating my leggings. TokiDoki: Makes XXL sizes of all clothing articles. I want to look super cute but your sizes squeeze me to death. Ross: Clothing so out of order it’s hard to find the already hard to find large sizes. Is there a blogger that you feel writes things about clothing and body image that you feel really nails it? Not yet. Should one brand have sizes that range from an extremely tiny adult size to an extremely large adult size or is it better to have different brands specialize in different size categories? Hard to answer that. I would say one brand with all the options. Seems like it could be cheaper that way and easier to access. You find a sweater you absolutely love and maybe even need. Which scenario would be more upsetting: (A) You’ve tried on their largest size and it’s baggy. You’re not sure if you could rock it. Their next smallest size is too small. (B)They can make your size to order, but it’s going to take forever and it’ll cost a fortune. You


decide to order it. When you get it, it fits, mostly, but is maybe a hair too short. B because I trusted someone to help me whereas the clothing designer doesnt seem to know I exist. You come across a website that has this sweater you love. The measurement is based on the bust. You order a sweater based on your bust size, but when it arrives, you find that the shoulders are a weird fit for you. You couldn’t really have predicted that from any sizing chart. What, if anything, should be done about this? (You can talk about what you would do, what the designer should do or should’ve done, etc.- interpret this question however you like!) Busts fluctuate a great deal from chest and waist- bras typically run from 28-46. And breast tissue, or cup size, fluctuates as well, making a huge myriad of possible breast to sweater ratio. Selling clothing based on bust size is helpful because my abundant chest makes the L size I would probably fit into impossible. I’d rather have something be loose on my shoulders than bursting my breasts. Is there a question or questions I should have asked you that I didn’t? How does shopping make me feel? Were you comfortable with all these questions? Yes, except I wish the vanity question went more into detail, I’m not sure I got it all. Do you have any final insight, complaints, cautions, crazy ideas, or words of advice you’d like to share? Help fat girls with chub rub between their thighs via thicker material and fluctuating breast demands with MORE bra archetypes.


ALYSSA Long Island, NY

How would you describe your style? Lol that’s a big question. Aging punk with hippie tendencies. comfort loving tropical fish. Courtney love meets stevie nicks with no budget. What are your favorite clothing stores and brands? I love old navy for comfortable basics. the simplicity of plain


layers that i can find on sale. torrid has been getting back to their roots lately and improving their image, but the price point doesn’t match the quality. modcloth is unbeatable for how customer friendly their web shopping is, but the quality of their brands is hit or miss. igigi is beautiful, but out of my price range. thrift stores are always great, bc i can modify without risking too much income. as far as plus sizes go, they’re typically expensive. i don’t know if i have go to brands as much as i keep my eyes open for deals and opportunities. i know a lot of plus size folks i’m aware of on the internet love asos curve, swak, and pin up girl clothing for their plus sizes, and from what i hear the quality justifies the price. i haven’t ordered from them yet, but chubby cartwheels is a small company run by a seamstress that can customize the items they offer. i have heard nothing but praise for this brand. it’s also run by a very large woman who understands a lot of the issues with finding clothing that not only fits, but is comfortable for the plus sized customer. she even adjusts sleeve length (which is a huge insecurity for a lot of larger bodied folks). How do you feel about the way these stores and/or brands size their clothing? part of me wishes there was a universal way of sizing, but that’s just not realistic. i wear a 44G and have a big belly, but my legs are on the smaller end. i know looking for flare and fit dresses is what works for me. it’s comfortable. i also know i need to look for the magic words “fabric provides stretch” bc we all carry our weight differently and as a top heavy woman, i like something somewhat fitted that i can still breathe in. elasticity allows me to not have to wear a tent. if i’m shopping online i tend to gravitate towards brands that just do lettered sizing to avoid returns. In your opinion, what store or brand has standard sizing?


i guess old navy would be my base line honestly. it’s also hard for me to say, bc i kind of stretch what sizes fit me. i haven’t bought a pair of jeans since i’ve had finn, so i’m not sure what size i’d be in pants. i have dresses in 18, 20, and xxl. some of those i had before the baby and i can still wear now, some i got after. some i had in those sizes before the baby and are too tight. What are your opinions on “vanity sizing”? i have mixed feelings. torrid sells a lot of clothes 0-4 that correspond with sizes 12-26 (i believe they’re expanding on that if they haven’t already), and i don’t really mind it bc it seems more like their version of s, m, l than anything else. for the most part, i dislike the idea of vanity sizing, bc i hate that folks feel anything about themselves based on their clothing size at all. i have sweaters from torrid that are a size 1 or a 2, but i KNOW i’m not a 1 or a 2 in straight sizes. i haven’t worn single digits in clothing sizes in my adult life. i don’t even think i did in my junior years and it took me a long time to figure out that that is 100% ok. i’m a big bitch, but that doesn’t mean i’m not beautiful. you’re a petite woman and you’re gorgeous. there’s room for all of us to represent our own style and shape and playing numbers games only messes with our heads. “vanity” sizing only furthers the belief that it’s flattering to be smaller, when that’s just not what all of us are meant to be. Are there any types of problems you keep running into when you try on clothes? i have the same dress from (you guessed it, old navy!) in 6 different patterns bc i bought one and it fit like a dream. the rest...do not. one of them fits perfectly, but the others are tight on top to varrying degrees. do you have any idea how frustrating that is? i long for consistency! i also long for clothing that accommodates my shape without just hanging there. i also want clothing that’s going to last. i don’t want to be reinforc-


ing seams after the second time i wear them. i don’t mind paying for an item of clothing if it’s going to last. If you could share a critique with a specific designer or brand about their clothing, who would it be and what would you tell them? i have issues with the new beth ditto line actually. while i do see where having high end luxury plus lines is a step forward and while i appreciate that creating quality clothing that is socially conscious comes at a cost, it also bums me out that a former poor kid put forth a line where one item would cost a lot of folks their entire paycheck. i don’t expect a $15 dress, but i also don’t feel like something can truly be radical if it’s not widely accessible. i’m not rich and i’ve never been rich. i’m also a hopeless consumer and i’ll bend my budget to make magic happen, but there’s only so much bending anyone can do. Is there a blogger that you feel writes things about clothing and body image that you feel really nails it? gabi fresh is pretty badass bc she rejects dressing for your body type. do YOU. she also has a line of swimwear based on bra size and i believe tops and bottoms are sized separately, which is soooooo awesome. virgie tovar is a body positive powerhouse. i don’t know that she speaks too much about fashion, but for any insight into larger customer base, she’s totally worth looking into. there are a ton of worthwhile plus size voices out there, but i’m honestly not a big blog reader. badass plus babes on instagram (most have some degree of fashion) in no particular order : fatshionqueen truefat


chubbycartwheels kaelahbee nataliemeansnice chubblebubble tangledupinlace quincyspice Should one brand have sizes that range from an extremely tiny adult size to an extremely large adult size or is it better to have different brands specialize in different size categories? there’s something to be said for both, honestly. i think the ultimate in inclusivity is to have there be brands that have something for everyone. i hate seeing something super cute on someone tiny that i can’t get my hands on in size fat, BUT a plus size retailer is also a port in the storm. i know they are going to be more forgiving of my gut and tits. i know they know the joy of ruching and the comfort of a high waist. realistically, not every garment is going to fit every body type well. when i was younger i felt othered if i didn’t fit correctly in the garments of a particular store, but now i’ve grown to appreciate plus size stores as safe(r) spaces where i’m surrounded by others of similar body type. You find a sweater you absolutely love and maybe even need. Which scenario would be more upsetting: (A) You’ve tried on their largest size and it’s baggy. You’re not sure if you could rock it. Their next smallest size is too small. (B)They can make your size to order, but it’s going to take forever and it’ll cost a fortune. You decide to order it. When you get it, it fits, mostly, but is maybe a hair too short. b for sure. if i know there are only two options i might be comfortable with one extreme or the other, but if i paid for something custom i’d be pretty heart broken if it didn’t work out. You come across a website that has this sweater you love. The measurement is based on the bust. You order a sweater based on


your bust size, but when it arrives, you find that the shoulders are a weird fit for you. You couldn’t really have predicted that from any sizing chart. What, if anything, should be done about this? (You can talk about what you would do, what the designer should do or should’ve done, etc.- interpret this question however you like!) with something like a sweater, it’s harder bc you can’t really cut or customize a knit yourself once the item is made. i would try my best to style the item in a way that worked for me and if i just couldn’t get it to work i’d really hope for a lenient return policy. i would suggest to the retailer to consider featuring the item on a variety of body types. (one of the best things about modcloth are the numerous reviews that can include pictures and the measurements of the reviewers.) there is no better way to show the fit of something to someone who doesn’t have the option of trying the item on. Is there a question or questions I should have asked you that I didn’t? not off the top of my head. Were you comfortable with all these questions? absolutely! Do you have any final insight, complaints, cautions, crazy ideas, or words of advice you’d like to share? i love the unconventional ways people are layering things these days. i’ve seen a lot of folks thinking outside the box with the way things are cut or how sheer they are. a lot of items created with the expectation of layering. so many opportunities for creativity! if i can think of anything else, i’ll let you know! and if there is anything else you think to ask or want me to expand upon i’d be more than happy to get back to you. good luck and i can’t wait to see your work!


Thanks for reading!

Š 2016 Inca Colors

Profile for FERAL BUT FANCY

FERAL BUT FANCY #1  

our bodies, personalities, and experiences as they relate to clothing. issue one: interviews with three ladies who talk about sizing, shoppi...

FERAL BUT FANCY #1  

our bodies, personalities, and experiences as they relate to clothing. issue one: interviews with three ladies who talk about sizing, shoppi...

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