This weekend, while visiting an out-of-town friend, I stopped in a mall to look for bras. I used to buy Lane Bryant bras online, but they discontinued my favorite style, and the store near me closed. So I jumped at the opportunity to go to an LB store and look for a new bra style.
Luckily, after much searching, I did find one–although they only had three available in my style and size, so I had to have a fourth bra shipped to my home in order to qualify for the “buy 2, get 2 free” deal. And the only colors they had were beige and black. Blah.
Before trying on the bras, I poked around at the clothing, which was almost uniformly ugly. There were a few cute things, but they were expensive, like these $90 leopard jeans and these $60 (on sale!) pink skinny jeans. (I’m normally very anti-skinny jean, but I love pink, so I would’ve maybe considered trying them on if they’d been cheaper.)
Then, for nostalgia’s sake, I stopped in Hot Topic. I hadn’t been to one in years, as there are no locations in my area.
Yeah, I know that Hot Topic is not punk rock.
But I like a lot of their clothing and accessories, and I’ve gotten some awesome stuff there in the past, like the shiny platform combat boots you can see in this post. I’ve had those boots since I was 15, and while I rarely wear them anymore, I still love them.
I was a little afraid that Hot Topic would be full of Twilight or Justin Bieber or some other disturbing kids-these-days trend, and was pleasantly surprised to find it much as I remembered from the early ’00s.
But unlike the early ’00s, they didn’t have even a few token plus-size items of clothing. They just had walls of awesome clothing that didn’t come in my size: pink glittery tutus, purple plaid miniskirts, black corset-style tops, studded lacy bustiers. It catapulted me back to high school, to the hours I spent sifting through clothing racks trying to find my size, to the frustration of seeing so much fabulous clothing unavailable to me.
I had almost forgotten what that felt like, after years of shopping mostly online and in thrift stores.
The contrast between the ugliness of the clothing at Lane Bryant and the awesomeness of the clothing at Hot Topic was extreme. In a mall, my only options are ugly and uglier.
And even on the internet, it’s not easy to find clothing I like. It was better back in Torrid’s brief heyday, when they were still associated with Hot Topic–when they still carried clothing with zippers and studs and corset-style lacing. They still have some cool things here and there, but they’ve gone over to the mainstream side. And so there’s hardly anything out there for fat chicks who want to wear wide-leg skater jeans and plaid bondage pants and shirts covered in zippers.
I know there are worse things than not being able to find sufficiently punkified clothing. I know that, as a size 18-22, it’s still easier for me to find clothes than for someone at the top of the plus-size range. And as much as I hate most of the clothing at Lane Bryant, at least it’s something. There are many women who are sized out of LB’s range, and that sucks a lot.
All in all, it could definitely be worse. But it still frustrates me that my options are so limited–especially in malls, but on the internet as well. I hate that what I wear reflects my shitty shopping options as much as it does my style.