Unlike most women, I actually don’t like shopping. I mean looking at clothes is fun and all but when it comes to having to buy something for myself, it causes an unnecessary amount of anxiety and stress. You see, as someone with a fat body, finding clothes in my size is difficult. Finding modest clothes in my size is difficult. Finding modest clothes that I actually like in my size feels impossible.
I can only remember a handful of times where I actually owned clothes that I loved. Many times my wardrobe was filled with clothes that I would wear, simply because they fit me. I’m not a fashionista or anything, so this wasn’t something that was hard to accept. But when you need a specific outfit for an event or envision yourself looking a certain way, the lack of options is frustrating.
In Canada, they have stores dedicated to plus size clothing. You can walk into a store with a wide selection of clothes in your size. Although some of the popular brands offer plus size clothing, when you browse their selection, you find that they only go up to a size 14 or 16; hardly plus size when the average woman in America is a size 14.
Plus size clothes have long been condemned for being unfashionable, unflattering or just flat out ugly. Designers and big CEOs have even been criticized for admitting they don’t want curvy women wearing their designs or brand.
Therefore, online shopping can be favourable because you don’t have to subject anyone else to your misery. No friend or family member has to be dragged around to 50 different stores and spend an eternity while you mope through your options, unable to decide on which one you hate the least and doesn’t break the bank. Seriously plus size clothes are expensive!
At the same time, online shopping allows you to shop in peace. No one to argue about your size or insist that something will fit you when you know it won’t. I know the sales clerk means well, but I don’t have the time or energy to try on clothes that I know will be too small simply because they don’t believe me when I tell them my size.
Unfortunately, online shopping is only convenient if you have time to wait weeks to receive your package and possibly even longer if you have to send it back for a new size.
On the other hand, Pakistani fashion is different from the West; they like to mix and match different patterns and designs. The traditional shalwar qameez; shalwar like pajama pants and qameez like a tunic or long shirt, is extremely comfortable. It can be made with light flowy material to keep you cool in the blazing hot summers or thicker material for the cool winters. Shalwar qameez can be casual or you can dress it up with beads and embroidery for formal wear.
They do have some western styled clothes and they have ready-made clothes for people of the S-XL sizes which you can have altered to fit your body. There are also fabric stores with matching shalwar qameez and dupatta (scarf) ready to be stitched into your size. You can even customize your own outfit by showing a picture and choosing the fabric. Because having your clothes stitched and altered is so common, you can easily find competent tailors at reasonable rates. More importantly, there’s no feeling demoralized or like your body doesn’t belong.
My wardrobe still isn’t full of clothes that I love. Already having fashion apathy, I don’t understand Pakistani fashion and I have no clue how to know what goes together. Therefore, many of the designs and patterns are not of my taste and the plain outfits are kind of boring. But the fact that I can pick an outfit that is already put together and have it stitched to my size makes finding modest clothes in my size a whole lot easier.