Dear Bathing Beauties,
I recently discovered the the H&M in my work neighborhood now offers a plus size section! I am not quite sure what H&M’s deal is, because I used to shop there back in 2005, when they carried up to a size 18, and then for a while they seemed to only carry up to a size 12, and now they have this teeny-tiny plus size section squirreled away at the back of the store.
Readers, I must say I was not exactly blown away by H&M’s plus size section, for the following reasons:
1. It’s TINY. A miniscule fraction of the store, it takes up about half of what used to be the lingerie section. And the majority of American women now wear plus sizes, so this makes sense how?
2. It’s only women’s clothing. Oh that’s right, because men’s clothing doesn’t feel the need to segregate clothes for bigger men to a tiny fashion ghetto in the back of the store.
3. It’s expensive. The rest of the store has racks of $5 tees and $15 sweaters. While the stuff in the plus size section is not prohibitively expensive, it’s not exactly a hotbed of bargains, either. A cute dress will run you $50.
4. The sizing is weird. I wear an 18/20 which is a 2X or a 3X depending on where I shop. The H&M 3X leggings were huge on me. But when I tried on a size 20 dress, it was too tight in the bust and hips (and I have not gained weight since the last time I went clothes shopping.)
5. Most of the stuff is BORING compared to the fun stuff in the rest of the store. It’s all flowy blouses and teeshirt dresses. Gag.
One thing I don’t hate about the H&M plus size section? They carry a plus size bikini (one style only, but still). And they carry it up to a size 24.
This is THE FIRST TIME in my life, that I’ve seen a plus sized bikini in a mainstream brick and mortar store.
There is a general assumption that fat women would NEVER EVER want to wear a bikini (which probably IS true for many women), which means you find a lot of plus size one-pieces and “tankinis” which seem like a fucking copout to me. Why not just wear a one piece?
I sees it like this- if I’m already showing my thick thighs at the beach, there’s no harm in showing some belly, too. I’ve cobbled DIY fat girl bikinis from tankini bottoms and bras made from material that can pass for swimsuit fabric. (I have a huge chest, so even bikini tops specially made for plus size women don’t usually fit me right.) And thankfully, there are lots of places you can buy these online now, but almost NEVER in stores. (Check out Gabi Fresh and Brazilian designer Lehona’s line for additional fatspiration!)
I HAVE taken serious shit for being a fat girl in a bikini. But as with any other situation, I honestly have no patience for people who think it’s their job to tell me my body is inappropriate.
So of course, I had to try on the H&M bikini. it only comes in one style- black with polka dots, with a halter neck and high waist. It’s cute, and looks kind of 1940s style. I didn’t wind up buying it though because again, not enough boob support. Nevertheless, I am stoked the H&M is selling this, and hope they offer more styles in future.
All bikini talk aside, I also love retro-style one piece suits. The one at the left is from H&M, the one on the right is from Old Navy, and I’d happily wear either to the beach. (And I currently live a 10 minute bike ride from Lake Michigan, so I intend to be at the beach A LOT this summer). That said, neither of these would be really ideal for swimming, as I’d probably have some undesired boob spillage.
So, fair readers: swim suit shopping! Love it, hate it, or indifferent to it? One piece vs. bikini? Weigh in in the comments.
From Chi Town with love,
UPDATE: XOJane posted this rad gallery of fat girls! More inspiration!