Living large in a medium world

For too many years I’ve struggled with my weight.  As is the case with many, I gained weight during my college years.  Though I was active, I wasn’t regularly participating in sports as I had in high school.  Time passed, my lifestyle grew more sedentary as medical issues cropped up.  I’m fairly intelligent so I know being heavy is not a good thing.  It’s not as though I ignore it; it’s a daily challenge.

I work diligently to maintain a pleasant appearance.  However, if you’ve tried to buy women’s plus-sized clothing you know it’s a challenge.  I’m not a dressy person but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to look nice.  My fashion sense runs to “sporty.”  I’m most comfortable in slacks.  But I’ll be darned if I can find any that are decent for my body type.  And if I do find some, the company discontinues the style after a year.

I’m also not a fan of shopping and do most of mine online.  If I leaf through catalogs and find a piece of clothing I really like, it’s not usually offered in a plus size.  It must be assumed that fat people don’t want to be well dressed.  News flash:  I’m an obese individual who not only wants to look nice, I also exercise and like to look nice when I do that as well.

I will say my physique presents its own unique challenges.  Since I am an avowed slacks wearer, I like them to look tailored and neat.  I prefer straight-leg casual pants.  And I’m very low-waisted.  Even though I carry plenty of heft through the middle of my body, my behind and legs are not that big.  Because of the clothing offered to me as a “big girl,” I often find myself garbed in pants that are too tight in the waist but very baggy in the seat and legs.  Oh yeah, since a 30″ inseam is standard for women my pants are always too short.

Wear a dress or a skirt and top you might say.  No thanks, I don’t care to do so.  Besides many styles of dresses have built-in waists or require belts.  Did I mention that I’m low-waisted?  My real waist falls a few inches below the standard.  Makes for an uncomfortable fit and not so attractive look.  And, frankly, I don’t want to wear dresses and skirts unless a situation requires it.

Now, let’s talk about being a woman with overly long arms.  As a child (I was skinny then), I had chronically chapped wrists during the winter due to my arms being longer than the sleeves on any garment I wore.  Since the parka ended a few inches short of my wrist, and gloves only covered a certain amount of surface area, it was a perfect setup for exposed wrists.  Given I was a child who loved to be outdoors in any weather, that meant I always had chapped wrists.  I can rectify that situation fairly easily now by wearing men’s long-sleeved tee shirts but then when I put the woman’s plus-size sweater over the tee shirt, the sweater sleeves ride up allowing a few inches of tee shirt to show.  Wear a man’s sweater you might suggest.  I do but there is not the color selection and since I’m all woman, there are times I would like to look feminine.  That problem is also solved by pushing the sleeves up my forearm but that stretches the clothing and makes me look rumpled.  Don’t get me going on not being able to button blouses.  Not worth the hassle since the sleeves are too short anyway.

That leaves footwear.  One foot is a woman’s size 11 1/2 and the other is an 11.  Most stores carry up to a size 10.  I order online but it’s tough to order from a picture, sizing is inconsistent, etc.  I’ve given up the idea that I can wear cute shoes.  In fact, it seems most manufacturers feel we overweight women aren’t entitled to the really nice clothing shown in catalogs since many of the most attractive styles are not offered in plus sizes.

I’m sure by now there are some readers who may be saying, “just shut up and lose weight.”  I wish it was that simple.  If I was handy with a sewing machine maybe I would be tempted to make my own clothes.  If I was wealthy, I could have clothes made for me.  Since neither applies, I will keep working to reduce my body size and I will keep looking for the elusive pair of comfortable and flattering slacks.

About thequarryschild

A self-described forensic junkie, Beth Anderson spends her days shaping young minds to ask critical questions and wonder “whodunit.” Beth resides in the Capital District of New York and spends her free time reading and solving the great mysteries. Her love of swimming, tennis and sports provides the basis for one of the lead characters in her new book The Quarry’s Child. Beth is one of the founding members of the Upper Hudson Valley Chapter of Sisters in Crime (aka Mavens of Mayhem), a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy, a survivor of a visit to an active aircraft carrier while it was at sea, and a published poet in Soundings, a literary journal. Beth continues to instill a love for mystery fiction in her students as she has for over twenty years. Photo credit: Quinn Mulvey
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