When I first had this thought it was one particularly shitty Saturday night where FEELINGS were tender -- more than usual anyway. You may remember the post I did about my abridged history ofwearing clothes as a fat teen and now in my early-20s. The post is word-y and full of expletives, so I've put a page break for the interested. Still appreciate your visit regardless. xx

south african plus size blogger, south african plus size blog,
Circa 2012 - here's how the dress fits these days, shoes are now gone the jacket's the best thrifting decision I've ever made. Ever.



That evening I got to thinking about the lack of size diversity and was struck by a ridiculous thought: maybe we, South Africa, don't have that much fat body positivity or fat acceptance. And because of this cultural flaw wonderful, trendy, basic, lovely clothes in varying fat sizes will remain a pipe dream for most women. Why would retailers design shorts (of any variety), flirty summer dresses or silly "skorts" to fit fat women when fat bodies are supposed to be sites of shame and loathing hidden in ugly sacks (don't get me wrong,  love shapeless, huge dresses ka lerato)  and 'scoop'/'cowl'/warreva necklines? Maybe the clothing industry doesn't know that most fat women aren't trying to hide their bodies nor "accentuate" their curves as we've been conditioned to. Maybe the image they have isn't that of women who work hard, play hard and eat hearts -- while wearing what their hearts desire -- and just also happen to be fat. Women who are all these things and want to wear boyfriends jeans or flower motif summer dresses. Maybe the image they have is of fat women (especially young, since this is my demographic) hiding, not wanting to show their legs during Vezi thanga season let alone wear trends such as sports luxe, kimonos or crop tops. Maybe fat women have bad PR!

You may remember this post I did about being excited about Forever 21 coming this side. The press day happened with Cape Town's blogging lot sometime in August or September. Not only was there no mention of a Jozi shop opening any time soon but the plus size line (formerly known as Faith 21) was nowhere in sight. It's an awful development because I was excited about having variety and the local retailers probably being kicked into gear by seeing all the fashion-forward pieces in the Forever 21+ line. The decision unfortunately is probably because of this school of thought, this single story that's pervasive in south African fast fashion. Whoever was buying/advising on bringing Forever 21 here must have said "South African fat girls and women wouldn't  like this. They enjoy sad fashion." And I'm  pissed. I felt blindsided when I found out because I hadn't even imagined the possibility of Forever 21+ not landing here along with the main line. Why wouldn't it? I'm fat. I'm here. I want it.

My name is Nomali, I'm a fat girl and I like wearing shorts and short dresses. I want to try crop tops and currently want to own all the kimonos and slouchy, striped tees. Sometimes I have a bad day with my arms and will wear some armour in the form of sleeves but I still want to wear whatever the fuck I want. Wearing "whatever the fuck I want" is close to impossible when most of the clothes I want to wear  don't come in my size fat. I am not a frump unless I'm feeling grunge. What I'm saying, dear retailers, is whatever you're making and putting in your straight size lines -- I probably want it too for my fat body.

Fashion is more unpredictable than a game of dice. Sometimes something looks better in the dressing room, sometimes an item takes on a life of its own and works even better than you'd imagined. Fat women aren't afforded the chance to be sartorially complex in this country. If your plus section/line looks like something that 50-year-old women would wear -- fuck you very much. I’m not saying 50-year-old fat women do not deserve clothes – but they too are probably not even trying to touch the messes in a lot of these store’s plus size sections. There should be distinctions: you can't be a young brand with clothes targeted at people as young as 15 to about 26 and then turn around and make your plus size line (hidden in the darkest corner of all your stores, might I add) one that's designed with a middle-aged woman in mind. It doesn't compute.

Not only are fat women being left out of great projects like the Legit and Mr P collabos – my heart wept when I saw items in the first Anisa Mpungwe Project – but we aren't even getting the all too cute 'sets' (is there a fashion “rule” that says fat women shouldn't wear matching items?) and bodysuits and camisoles.  Why do the cute tees not extend to plus sizes? I'm a huge mean girls fan but I doubt the 'you can't sit with us' tee would fit me as it's not in my size. Statement sweats are cute – can we all and by 'we' I mean retailers agree to stop putting hashtags on clothes? Thernks – but there aren't any in fast fashion plus size sections. Nor are there jeans that are great fits – it's not 2001 anymore, I do not want to wear bootleg jeans.




Here's a sizing problem I'd like to discuss, raised by this gorgeous Mr P mesh top. It goes up to a size 46 on their website. But wait there's more! Most clothes in their straight size lines go up to a size 2XL. The curious thing is that in the sweat's listing it goes from 2XL to 42, 44, 46. So your 2XL is a size 40? Whet? Whut? What's your L then?

Ackermans button up jersey with faux fur trimming, skirt is old Insync Curve, tights are Jet

 I bought a double-slit, tie dye skirt from Ackermans earlier this year and it was an XL (44/46) -- I was elated. Thisdress is the same. As was my favourite button up this winter. I haven't had much money to shop this year so I can't attest to there being more variety and styles in that vein of sizing at Ackermans. I can't say whether the sizing isn't only limited to their Mozaic brand.

I wanted this vest more than anything but sadly it stopped at size 40. I debated getting it anyway over and over.


If you follow me on twitter then maybe you had front row seats to my emotional breakdown over these Edgars shorts just last month. They were a size 42 and were on sale. I was as elated to unearth them from a congested rack as I was to realise that Edgars has real sales. I'll probably always wonder about them.



Maybe there is room for the current middle-age "hide everything" aesthetic that plaguing plus size sections for a segment of the market. BUT I know that there's even more need for the trendy, up-to-date silhouette that is obviously missing, has been for years. Why aren't retailers giving fat girls and women a chance to explore what works for us and our bodies? A bloody playsuit for the summer!

There's also the problem of basics, brilliantly covered by UK blogger, Bethany, here. A simple blue jeans and a t shirt look will take a lot of doing in South Africa when you're fat. I believe in health at every size, happiness at every size and style at every size. I discussed why I find the narrative of fitness having a look problematic hereI'm fat and I like to look phly. I don't view my fat body as a passing phase anymore and I'm trying to treat is as such -- a permanent fixture, the only one I'll ever have. The more I grow in my body peace and fat acceptance the better it is for the world I exist in. The better I am as a person.

I dunno,  I'm probably clutching at straws. But if you too are fat woman who is disgusted by the plus size sections in most of the local retail stores.;if you're not trying to hide or 'flatter' your fat body; if you want clothes that don't make you feel as an after thought or grandma from 2002 who had no style please lend your voice and maybe this will be a manifesto of sorts. Let's discuss this thing. Also share brands that are outside of the mainstream making current, stylish and beautiful clothes for fat women and girls. What's been your experience with sizing? Am I in the minority in finding practically all plus size lines in the local retail industry to be disappointments?