Before getting into FA, I had never bought anything in a plus-size store. This definitely exposes some of my previous privilege, because I didn’t have to buy plus-size clothing. I could get by (however physically uncomfortably) without it. I do remember thinking once when I was at one of my smallest physical moments and still buying things in size large, “I know there are plenty of women larger than me–where on earth do they shop?”. All I knew was that I was repeatedly approaching the limit of clothing sizes, and I didn’t even let my mind approach the topic of what I’d do if I passed that limit.
I started exploring plus-size clothing when I got into FA because 1. its existence was brought to my attention, 2. the stigma of size and specifically “plus-size” was disappearing for me, 3. it felt like exploring an aspect of this community I had chosen, and finally, 4. because I thought maybe I could find clothing that fit me better! Even when I was smaller than I currently am, I was frequently too large for certain cuts of clothing at straight-sized stores–mainly anything that had no stretch over the chest area, and stores were also often out of the largest straight-size pant sizes (or just never offered those sizes in the first place). Currently, I have no chance of fitting into pants or non-stretchy tops at straight-sized stores, but honestly, I prefer to shop pretty much exclusively at plus-sized stores now (or ideally at stores that have the full spectrum of sizes, like Ross), because, being on the smaller end of plus-sizes, but pretty solidly in them (at a size 16, mostly), there’s literally no chance that they won’t have my size. I might not like how something fits me or like the style of something, but me not buying it won’t be because they don’t make it in my size. There have only been a few other short stretches of time in my life (during my thinnest phases) when that’s been the case! Maybe that’s why I liked those phases so much; apart from the other cultural rewards for being a more “acceptable” size, things like dressing my body were just EASIER. And now they are too–at least, in certain stores. I recognize that this is not the case for every fat person; I know that I have a body that is proportioned fairly similarly to the way clothing is frequently cut, and also I know that there are people who fall out of range of what any store will provide, or who fall more uncomfortably between straight and plus sizes. So I’m lucky. And these days, drunk on luck, sometimes I buy clothing too big for me just because I can’t tell which size fits me best and I have the option of a bigger size.