Allie Griffith

Allie Griffith
Memphis, Tennessee,
Writer, game developer, artist. Also raconteuse, dilettante, and passionate advocate. I've been called an angel of wisdom and I've been called a judgmental idiot. Sooner or later I'm bound to say something that you disagree with; feel free to tell me your side of the story. I listen to other people's opinions and have occasionally been known to concede that they might have a point and alter mine. I use too many semicolons and I have terrible taste in music. I'm the sort of person who thinks it's more telling to mention that than that I'm married and had a foster daughter but she's grown now. By objective standards, my life is probably a disaster - no health insurance and a chronic illness - but my happiness quotient is the highest of anyone I know. Sometimes I tell sad stories but please don't let them make you sad.

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MARCH 28, 2009 12:47PM

Size DDD Boobs and Regional Department Stores

Rate: 42 Flag

Taking a break from my usual bitching about my diet to say:  YAY!  My boobs are smaller!

Not what most women probably think of as a reason to rejoice, but then, most women don't have E cup boobs. See, the thing about E cups (or DDD depending on the brand) is that stores don't carry them. The largest size you're ever going to see in a normal, non-specialty clothing store is DD. Even Walmart only goes up to DD. And specialty giant industrial strength bras cost a lot of money.

So yay!  Back to off-the-rack sizes. Back to being able to choose from more than one color. Back to being able to choose, period.

My primary reason for wanting to lose weight is my health, but I'd be joking if I pretended that buying clothes wasn't an important consideration. Apparently the average American woman wears a size 14. Okay. So, why don't any stores sell clothing of that size?  In the normal clothes department, the one with the pretty clothes in the latest normal designs and colors, not the plus size department where everything is mysteriously turquoise and made from printed stretch knit. The largest size most stores carry is a 12. 

Are the stores crazy?

I'm thinking that the average woman in Memphis (according to Forbes magazine, America's fattest city in 2007)  is probably even bigger than a 14. And there are a lot of women bigger than that. I'm way bigger than a 14, and I see dozens of women every day who could fit two of me in their britches. 

About two winters ago, just before Christmas, I made the mistake of visiting Macy's.

Now, I had a grudge against Macy's to begin with. Memphis has a long tradition of beautiful department stores, mostly founded in the reconstruction era by local Jewish families. Shainberg's. Lowenstein's. Goldsmith's. One by one, during the 80's, they all disappeared, except for Goldsmith's, which seemed strong. Goldsmith's bridal department was where I bought my wedding dress. Goldsmith's makeup counter was where I first had my makeup done. It was a luxurious store, with people working there who cared about their customers.

Macy's bought Goldsmiths. They appended the Goldsmith name to their own for the sake of "local branding," but the merchandise was now Macy's merchandise. Innocent that I was, I thought this would mean that now Memphians would be able to buy the same clothes as people in New York, and that this would be a good thing.

Back to my story. On this day about two weeks before Christmas my husband and I were finishing up shopping. My mother feels wealthier and more optimistic when the family has a lot of packages to open at Christmas, which means that for years my husband, father and I have colluded in shopping for ourselves and saying, "Okay, now you 'give' me this shirt, and I'll 'give' you the shoes and the tool box."  We organize so everyone has about the same number of presents. And this year, my husband's gifts for me were coming up a little short, so we stopped at Macy's with the idea of him buying me a couple of things to wear, maybe a pretty sweater and a pair of pants or a party dress.

Although it was rush shopping season and the shopping center's parking lot was solid with cars, the store was almost empty. The few shoppers I saw were empty-handed and glassy-eyed. Soon I would find out why.

"Oh!"  I said, dashing to a display. "I love that color of blue!"

At that time I wore  an 18. I could generally fit into a woman's extra-large but was more comfortable in a 2x. And of course there was nothing on the rack in my size. I hadn't really expected there to be. But I had expected to find sizes larger than a 2. That's right - there were three sizes on the rack:  00, 0, and 2.

I turned and scanned the store again. Three groups of customers:  a droopy middle aged mom with two exhausted children in tow, probably around a size 16. Three  Hispanic girls, very hot, little on the thick side, the thinnest maybe an 8, the thickest maybe a 14.  A handsome black woman in business clothes with a bosom like the prow of a ship. Shorter than I am but heavier for her height, probably at least a 20. 

Moved to the next display, and the next, and the next. Nothing there larger than a 4. I called my husband's attention to the situation and it became a game for him. "Hey!  I found a 12!"  he called, from the back wall, behind the sales rack. We stared at it and marvelled. It was a horrifying piece of clothing, possibly intended as a dress, chiffon with sequins and ruffles. 

It was the only size 12 in the store.

Okay, on to the the plus department. Where all the lovely colors had somehow been put through an ugly filter. The clear bright robin's egg blue I had admired was transformed into dirty 80's teal.  In other parts of the store, the racks were neatly organized, with display items in front and a selection of sizes and colors behind. In the plus department the racks were circular and random clothes were jammed onto them. And the clothes - the clothes!  Instead of chic Jackie-inspired dressy dresses, there were pastel peach taffeta monstrosities that looked like something someone from a small town wore to the prom in 1984.

I like to think of myself as self-confident. Yes, I'm fat, but I was a model all through college, and my self-image was formed in that era. Plus, I look good fat. Men jump to open doors for me and strangers try to pick me up. My husband jokes that I went from being a violin to being a cello, but I didn't change shape.

By the time I had gone through three racks in the Macy's plus size department I was shaking, almost in tears. I could feel myself starting to hyperventilate. It was like being trapped in the worst grade school bully nightmare ever. The racks had a message:  You are ugly. We hate you. You don't deserve nice things. Wear this ugly piece of crap, you ugly cow. Why would someone like you even try to look nice?

And even here, I couldn't find my size. I could find a 28. I could find a 24. But 18 was too normal. There were no 18s, no 16s, no 14s. People had bought them all.  I'm exaggerating. There were two 18s. And here I'm not exaggerating - this is exactly what they were - one was a floor length cream colored taffeta party dress with little sparkles on it. It was vaguely A-line, and it had no sleeves. A single glance could tell you that a woman of the size and shape to fit in that dress would be a series of highlighted belly rolls with two massive upper arms on parade. The other was a teal and burgandy nylon print skirt and top which came with a fake suede jacket, buckskin colored, with dark brown lacing all over it. The jacket came to exactly the most unflattering point of the hip and the top wasn't fitted, so the wide deep neck would gape and then the waist would gather into a crumpled mass. I tried to laugh at the ugly clothes but it wasn't funny.

"Stop,"  my husband said finally. "Just stop. It's their problem. It's not you."

"There have to be clothes here somewhere," I said.  "This is too stupid!  No one in Memphis wears a size zero! I didn't wear a size zero when I was an underweight professional model!"

I looked around. The Mexican girls were gone without buying anything. The black businesswoman was looking at men's sweaters - which went up to a size XXXL. The droopy mother was in the perfume department, looking shell-shocked. Below us I could see a round, cute little grandmotherly woman picking at one of the Jackie dresses, an adorable navy blue number with a sheer overskirt and a slightly Empire waistline with a belt for structure. It was a dress that would have been incredibly flattering to a size 18 woman. I knew, having looked, that unless the grandmother was shopping for her 12 year old grandchild, she would not find her size.

I approached a saleslady. She was about my size, maybe a little smaller since she was short. Maybe a size 16. I noticed that none of the sales people in the store were occupied, and unlike the usual shark swarm found in stores where salepeople work on commission, they hadn't even tried to approach us.

"Um," I said. 

"I know," she said. Not, Welcome to Macys/Goldsmith may I help you, not, Finding everything okay today?  Just I know, as if it were obvious what I was thinking.

"They fired all the local buyers," she said. "The buyers are in New York, they don't come here. They buy what they want to and they don't care what Memphians want. There's nothing in this store you can wear."

"That's crazy," I said.

"I don't even care at this point. They've already announced they're going to close this location after the holidays."

And they did. It took them nearly a year to finish the place off, but it's a gutted shell now. This past Christmas, that property stood vacant, in one of the prime retail locations in the Memphis area.

My husband and I drove by it yesterday. "Do you feel vindicated?" he asked. "Because I would, I would feel vindicated."

But I don't. They were stupid and hateful and they killed the store, and the saleslady I talked to  had to look for a job, and I bet the New York buyers are still gainfully employed making fat women hyperventilate in the face of so much meanness. Don't they want to make money?  With the economy in the crapper and retail numbers down, doesn't it make sense to stock things that people might actually buy?

They were so stupid and mean that they literally committed business suicide rather than take my money. And I can't feel vindicated, because here's the thing:  I still can't buy a cute dress without going online to a specialty store. No one is learning from their mistakes.

On our way out the door, two years ago, I touched a scarf that was 25% of its original price. It was the robin's egg blue which was so trendy then, beautifully chunky and organic and soft. "I could wear this," I said. "It's that same blue, and it's a scarf,  so it's not a size."

"Don't you dare," my husband said. "Not one penny in this place."

Which is one of the reasons I love him - he fights my battles harder than I do. He thinks I look good at all different sizes, and that means a lot to me. I think he's probably going to miss the DDD boobs - but he hasn't said so. "Are they really smaller?"  he said. "They look bigger. Probably because the rest of you is smaller."

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Hey, couldn't pass up the chance to use "boobs" in the title of my post!
Your husband is golden.

Yes, you deserve beautiful clothes. Even disregarding sizes, the styles are all wrong. Baby doll shirts that look like maternity clothes on short girls... Thong underwear (what sadist thought of that, really?)... Bell bottom jeans that are meant to show off the thong underwear... (please... that goes over SO well in the PTA meeting!)
I was a 34 C when I was 13 and weighed 105 pounds. Speaking as a lifelong DD'er I know what you go through. I can't find those cute little bras in my saize at Victoria's Secret. Forgeddaboutit. This is a world that celebrates flat chested women in 3 piece suits.
I'm so with you on this! I've been a 16 for years now, and before that I was an 18 with bouts of 12 in there along the way. I wore a 10 when I was a teenager. Most department stores these days don't go up past a 12 and then when you get to the plus sizes they don't have 14s or 16s. I end up shopping at discount stores like TJ Maxx which seem to have more selection in the sizes I wear. If I go to outlets I can find affordable stuff at jjill and sometimes Jones New York when they are having sales. I find it very frustrating! I feel like I'm too big for the regular stores and not big enough for the plus size stores like Lane Bryant, that actually might have something attractive. Oh and your husband sounds like a wonderful guy!
BTW--to add to my last post I HATE MACY'S. I live in Chicago and MACY'S KILLED Marshall Fields which was a wonderful store, everybody loved it, it was quintessential chicago customer service, great merchandize and terrific displays and shopping. Everybody hates Macy's here and their MO is MUDD.
This is why I shop almost exclusively online. Retail store that don't offer what customers want deserve to die, but of course the people that suffer are the those that work there.
Hooray for boobies! No matter the size.

And Macy's can suck it - I'm a 5 or 7, depending, but I still find the nice clothes only in a 2, or 0. Pfft.
Yeah, your hubby is a good one! This story made me pissed off but I did laugh many times. You did a good job here!
It's a little different where I live in the Washington DC area. Macy's has more sizes, but nothing fits me as being on the short side with a size 34DD bra. Plus, what they have on the racks is butt ugly. I hated tent dresses in the 60's when I was a self conscious teen, and they're back! Plus, there are all the baby doll designs destined to make everyone look pregnant. Another thing that bothers me is the limited colors that get shown from season to season. If I have one black/brown/brick red dress, why do I need more? More colors/patterns = more sales.

Macy's is on the bandwagon of most of the women's clothing stores around here. I have basically quit shopping. I wear pants and the same v-neck ribbed sweater (in different colors) every day now. It's all I can find that I like. I miss the '80's. Clothes were fun then.
We have a store in the French Quarter that buys up Macy's overstock and sells it at a deep discount. What this translates to is:

1. tissue-thin "vintage" t-shirts sized for the 12-year-old anorexic crowd.

2. pants and shorts to match that.

3. heavy designer winter coats for women who wear size 24 and up.

4. clothes of a size, material, color, and design that could only be worn by drag queens.

I sometimes go in to gawk at the horror, only occasionally do I find the needle in a haystack--something that's normal-looking and my size.

Don't get me started on Target--apparently now they've decided that only pregnant women want normal looking clothes...I keep finding pretty clothes in the sale racks there, only to realize that they're the Liz Lange maternity line! Everything else is at Target is coming up 1986 this year. Skinny acid-wash jeans and neon were ugly the first time around...why, Lord, why is this back?

Can you sew?
Keep resisting Macy's nationalization of their image.

They sunk landmark stores with generations of heritage and class, in Chicago and elsewhere. Particularly offensive was when this past Christmas they tried on national television to claim Marshall Field's traditions as Macy's traditions.
Women and men come in all shapes and sizes. These clothes are cut and designed for super models. I'm 5'4" and nowhere tall enough to fit in most of the pants even when I am looking for a pair in a smaller size. I think no matter what size we are, we can all relate to not being able to fit in the clothes on the racks unless we are built like a Victoria's Secret model. I agree with annette - your husband is golden and loves YOU.
I know this isn't as helpful as it could be, since I'm over on the left coast, but I've been fighting this battle since the early 80s, and it is getting better! At least we can count on some brands that are made just for us (We Bebop has been a godsend, and Junonia for athletic stuff, and I would kill for a dress from Persephone.) I mean, it sucks having to shop online if you don't have a local store that understands, but at least there is the online option now - back in the early 80s, I remember having a clothing stipend (I was in Job Corps), and not being able to find anything but shoes and scarves that I could spend it on. But if you ever get over to Portland, Oregon, I could show you incredible local stores - it's like curvaceous woman heaven here. Plus, there's no sales tax - it's worth coming over just for the shopping!
Fortunately I'm still in the DD Bra section. I mostly buy from catalogues now. We have a decent Macy's near me, but the prices are mostly more than I can afford. I've been to Ross Dress for Less, but they have synthetics as far as the eye can see, and even though I could afford to buy them, I wouldn't particuarly care to OWN them or be seen in public wearing them. It may make me a spoiled princess, but I want natural fibers, thanks much. Especially for summer. I want nice colors, too. Fortunately, JJill, Devalifewear and Land's End can supply my needs in the clothes department most of the time.

I'd say yes, it DOES make good economic sense to stock sizes that fit locals, and to choose nice colors. I hear you about the 80's ugly teal! Like turquoise that took a bath in orange juice. Ugh! But your husband is a gem.
Oh this made me so mad I wanted to go throw a rock through Macy's window. They are failing in Philly too, bought a local family-owned store and turned it into Cloned City.

I understand some things better now, and btw, I was a 36D at 13, made it up to 38E in early 20's and now, oddly, back to 36D no matter the smaller rest of me. I was meant to have boobs and my husband is grateful too. Your husband is a real keeper. What an outlook, you're both lucky.

As for stores and manufacturers, they're selling to tweens of all ages, I think they make everything smaller now anyway, it's cheaper. No wonder most are failing, they don't get that the average woman is NOT Paris Hilton.

Great post. Hey, Persephone designs clothes and has her own website, you should ask her about it.
This was well written, funny, and relevant!
After the Revolution, you will not only be comfortable in your skin sister, you will be a role model for the people.
First, your husband is just an awesome human being. Second, this is how it is out here in California. All of the cute clothes are sizes that a child would wear. ANYTHING bigger than an 8 is butt ugly and rare in the store. All the places that sell "fat" clothes (meaning the sizes of normal women) have the ugliest, more ill fitting, badly made clothes I have ever seen.

And these are not clothes for fat people. These are clothes for NORMAL people. And despite all the hype, there are only a handful of people who fit into a zero or a two or even a four.

I don't understand it. Don't they want to sell their clothes? It makes no sense.
You should talk to Persephone. From what I read here on OS, she could start a clothing line just for women on OS as initial clients and build a brand from there. SInce we don't get paid to write here, maybe we could all earn a little something something from her creating a line inspired by the women of OS! Rated for having a great husband among other things.
Allie, I'm flirting with yet another round of attempted weight loss and I know precisely what you mean. The first place I lose weight is the chest. I drop from an E to a retail-respectable DD in the first 5 lbs.

I've never understood why retailers don't work harder to cultivate the fashion-conscious average-to-larger woman. We're the ones (over 40, usually) with money to spend, but there's no merchandise to spend it on.

I so can relate to this. I fall into that no-woman's-land between "regular" and "plus-size": extra-large is often too small (especially on top) while 1X is usually too big.

I start hyperventilating as soon as I think about bra shopping: according to one manufacturer, I am a 34G, but they don't make seamless nude bras in that size. According to another, I am a 36DD, but their bras are so flimsy that they do a DD cup no good.

How hard can it be to make appropriately-sized clothes that actually look good on people of that size? It baffles me.
Don't forget that sizes differ from store to store. I've recently noticed that Fashion Bug (do they have stores down there?) and Old Navy are particularly forgiving.

Approximately six months ago, I was a "2" at Old Navy & Fashion Bug, a 4-6 pretty much everywhere else, and a 28 inch waist according to H&M's fabulous jeans.

Then came the medication. Gaaaaaaaaahhhhh! Possible side effect: weight gain. Eeeehhhhh...I knew I was susceptible to that particular side effect, having gained 15 pounds per Depo-Provera (birth control) injection in my late teens (I quit after 2 doses, and the extra pounds stubbornly persisted for close to a year, then suddenly vanished within a month). But the med was the only treatment approved for my condition, so I consented. Big (BIG!) mistake.

Extra pounds sneakily clung to my thighs after the first couple of weeks and steadily multiplied. Saddlebags appeared, and spread to my behind (the Sigoth was wise enough to break the "no lying" rule and feign enthusiasm despite the dissipation of the ass he loved into orange-peel obscurity). I really noticed the extra weight when my feet disappeared; my normally petite boobage had sustained impressive growth (the Sigoth did not have to fake his delight). Unfortunately, so did my hips and belly.

All told, I've gained 30-40 pounds (and counting), and I have no idea what to do with them; my old style isn't particularly accomodating. Well-cut jeans and tailored, hip-length jackets are my new best friends. The only items in my wardrobe that still fit are the shoes. Always a fan of them before, shopping for them has suddenly become an obsession; the fat has yet to attack my feet.

Shoe shopping is not without its dangers; the risk of passing out from lack of oxygen (due to the fact that I hold my breath and suck in the fat as I bend over so as not to see the belly rolls while I fasten the shoe) is ever-present. Fortunately, the Sigoth actually enjoys shoe shopping, so-- if he's not already burdened by the role of pack mule--he can play Prince Charming to my Cinderella.

I have the feeling that my new, tricked out sewing machine is going to become my new best friend.

At any rate, I thought it ironic that your boobs are shrinking as mine emerge. And, grasping at straws for any other explanation (as the-meds-did-it means I will likely continue to gain in undesirable places) I propose the improbable theory that there exists a certain number of extra pounds in the universe at any given time; nefariously lurking on one's person until they are discovered and shed and passed on to another, where they surface with fiendish glee.

Perhaps your boob loss is my gain; I shall anticipate the arrival. Until then, I'm hitting the Fashion Bug, where the jeans fit and sizes tell me I'm smaller than the image in the mirror.

For those with stupendous boobage, offers the Butterfly bra, which purports to contain excess without bulges, comes with removable straps which provide support in 6 styles, and is offered (in the "strapless" version--which comes with straps) in sizes up to 44DDD.

Apologies for the length.
I hate bra shopping so much that I cling to old bras, despite the fact that they are falling apart. I'm 42DD approx., sometimes DDD sometimes 44.I just want something that fits, with an underwire, that I can be comfortable in without feeling like I'm donning a suit of armor.
As for clothes...I was always a thrift shopper, since my grunge days, and I still love going to Salvation Army, Goodwill, consignment stores. I look for Eileen Fisher (as someone mentioned above), Chico's (weird sizes 1,2 and 3 like garanimals for grown up women, but well made and they FIT), Land's End for cotton trousers, and my favorite t-shirt - the Old Navy "perfect fit" v-neck tee.
OK. Old Navy , on occasion, will make the "perfect fit" v-neck tee - but it's also apparently on whim. I have discussed this with Old Navy employees. They tell me they have spoken to countless other women who want the "perfect fit" v-neck tee.
It's Old Navy! All they do is make piles of the same thing in different colors! Why won't they make this tee every year? Why do I have to hunt for it near and far? Why,why why why why? (I collapse in a fit of sobbing and hand wringing.)
It's the BEST t-shirt for busty women - totally flattering neckline, falls perfectly just below the hip line to obscure the belly - and impossible to find.
Anyway, I do better at thrift stores than I do at department stores, and save money to boot. If it doesn't offend, I recommend it highly!
I laughed all the way through this. It's an analogy for the whole country of Wall Street and Bankers seeing only what they wanted to see. I live in a "gentrified" town in which they KILLED it. Like clothes, no one "normal" can find a place to live that's affordable. We have tons of vacant store fronts, but landlords keep raising the rent. You're right, it's business suicide. Isn't it funny how men are so often the biggest of boobs?
Amen to all the praise on the comment board, but I just wanted to add: I your husband. Where on earth did you find him?
"They look bigger. Probably because the rest of you is smaller."
Your husband could write a book teaching men how to flatter their wives. He is a master at it!
Anyways- great article about clueless dept stores.
Macys killed Filene's, too. I've never seen if Macy's stocks decent sizes in the Boston area -- I never found anything I like in there, except Filene's had a good bra and underwear section and Macy's stinks.

My big beef is the teen stores. My daughter is 11, she's about 5'4" and she has big bones. (She could stand to lose 5-10 pounds, but that's not the problem). All the teen clothes, aside from being poorly made and overpriced, are made for people who have bones like twigs. If she was anorexic, my daughter couldn't fit into them.

She has a nice figure and doesn't look like a football player. You'd probably never notice that she's larger boned than the average teen until you took her into a dressing room at Limited Too or Aeropostale with a handful of size 18 (yes 18!) and discovered that the sleeves are too long and the top still doesn't fit around the shoulders/bust (she's about an A+ cup).
Excellent post. I, too, went shopping around the holidays, thinking up upgrading my wardrobe. What did I find? Everything in the women's department at Macy's was either

TOO TIGHT, (I work in construction. I cannot go to a site visit looking like I'm on my way to the bar, or a hookup.)

TOO SHEER, (See above comment, PLUS, I live in the PNW. It is damned cold around here, even indoors. I need sleeves!)

TOO TEENAGERY. Why in the name of all that's holy would some designer think that a woman of my size, 18, WANT to wear a big chunky sweater STRETCHED OVER MY (big, chunky) ASS?

I love your husband - what a treasure! Mine, too, was honestly gobsmacked that a "women's size" department even exists, like some sort of ghetto in the sea of "other sizes."

Chin up, sister. At least your Macy's got what was coming to it. Mine took over our local Bon Marche and ruined it. I still shop there, as Nordstrom's is even LESS likely to carry larger sizes that don't look like they belong on my mother. (I will say that Nordy's RACK has some cool things, but it's an expedition, like Ross, to dig through the detritus.) Coldwater Creek online has some very nice things and on sale, they are great deals.

I'm going to start wearing the same thing every day, I think, like the mother in Garp who wore her nurse's uniform. Minus pantyhose, of course.
Oh my good lord. Thanks so much for the excellent post, the laughs, and the fantastic stories about your husband. He's a keeper. I love the "violin to cello" analogy. What a great guy.

Out here in Portland, Oregon, Macy's ate up our local department store, Meier and Frank, which had been in existence since the 1800s. All that's left of the store is a charitable trust in the family's name.

The end of the road for Macy's and me was last Christmas. Macy's inherited the Meier and Frank tradition of sponsoring the local Christmas parade. It had been a tradition for years that local middle school marching bands got a chance to march. Except that Macy's told a few middle schools at the last minute that they didn't get to participate, because they had to shorten the parade to keep it within a time limit for television coverage.

You can bet the local newspaper ate up that story. There was Macy's, all over the front page, kicking middle school bands out of a parade that they'd been rehearsing for since September. Priceless. Macy's back-pedaled quick, and re-invited the bands to play, but not before the whole city quickly knew that television ratings are MUCH more important to Macy's than middle school band kids.

And yes, the clothes suck too. I'm fortyish, short, and certainly not as thin as I used to be. I'm also in that no-woman's land where the "normal" clothes are too small, and the plus sizes are tents. And ugly. Lucky for me there are several smaller independent stores in Portland. I'm also a fan of Coldwater Creek--nice clothes that don't make me feel like someone's grandma or a masquerading teenager.

Excellent post. Thanks for the laughs! I feel your pain, my sister.
Your husband sounds dreamy. Lucky!
I have never understood why the sizes left on the clearance racks are always smalls. Good for me since I wear a 6, but stupid for the stores. Please tell me they have someone working for them who can actually track sales data by size and realize how much of each size they sell and when. The reason there are never any 12-16 sizes is because those are the most popular sizes. Therefore, a retailer should stock more of those sizes and less of the smaller sizes. Duh. Plus, they get the smaller sizes wrong too. I know very few women my size who have a large chest. I can’t buy shirts or dresses with a defined chest because I don't fill them out and they look terrible on me. My daughter has the same problem. Retail Buyers, please look up from your desks and notice what real women look like.
Ok, try being on size on top and another on the bottom. I can't wear dresses, can't find bathing suits. I'm a 12 on top, and a six or a four on the bottom. I have no ass, and I'm short. All pants are too long. If they fit in the waist, the ass is too big and the legs are way too long. Everything needs to be taken in. If the tops close around my boobs, the sleeves are way too long. I need a custom tailor but hey who can afford one? I need to buy very expensive clothes but can barely afford off the rack. It's nuts. I buy lots of tee shirts that stretch, pants with lycra, and hav everything hemmed. And never get a pretty dress. Which is why I love shoes. They ALWAYS fit, sigh.
Federated Department Stores destroyed Marshall Field's, ruining the State Street flagship store that was as much a Chicago icon as Wrigley Field. I so miss the tradition of having an elegant lunch by the beautifully decorated Christmas tree. It will never be the same since it has become Macy's.

I'm there with you on the clothing, I feel your pain! The clothes in Macy's suck and forget shopping for a bra!

Great post and you have a wonderful husband.
I have found Sears (of all places) to be a good source of well sized stylish clothes. I'm a size 14 petite with professional office job. I'm at work right now and I look good.
Thank you for writing this. I am bordering size 14/16 and the clothes are so unflattering I want to cry.
I am in a very similar situation - a curvy girl on the border between regular and plus-sized (loved the cello comment, btw). I have searched and searched for a decent bra that doesn't look matronly, yet is supportive and comfortable. I know, I ask a lot, but hauling around these DDDs can be painful enough without an ill-fitting bra adding to the torture. I have been fitted at Neiman-Marcus and spent way too much money on something that was too painful to wear for more than 30 minutes (thanks, Oprah!). While I don't have to shop at Lane Bryant, I do love their Cacique line (and their t-shirts). They do carry DDD in their stores (at least at the LBs with a Cacique side) down to a 36. My favorite is the balconette (Yes - a balconette in DDD!).
I'll heap on the praise for your husband.

My bitch is my butt. I am a normal size, about a 12-14, with narrow shoulders, big boobs (size D's look huge on my frame), curvy hips, long legs and a fucking huge ass that seems to be my curse from god. Trying to find jeans or any pants really, that fit is a nightmare. Pant-makers seem to assume all women with asses like mine are short, so they always hit me at the ankles. Or if they're big enough for my butt, they taper way too much and make me look really top-heavy. And they gape open at the top, since I have a normal waist that descends into this huge ass. Belts only make the situation tolerable, not good.

And I second the hyperventilation about bra-shopping. Really, D's shouldn't be this hard to find. (Nor should anything else, btw) But the only cute, supportive bras I can find are designed for these teeny little flat-chested girls -- which is insane, considering how much time I spend trying to convince men to not stare at my chest. Really, if we as a society idolize bosomy women so much, why are all the bras torturous? Can't we be cute too?

I hate clothes-shopping. I hate it, hate it, hate it. It's always an exercise in "how low can your self-esteem go?"
I'm a 49A. So I don't shop.
First of all - MAN, I can think of nothing sexier than a guy saying "They look bigger. Probably because the rest of you is smaller"

and although i know it wasn't really the point of the post, may I say that perhaps we have the same mom - mine, too "feels wealthier and more optimistic when the family has a lot of packages to open at Christmas" - and I end up getting infuriated at the ridiculous season-induced spending we all end up doing.

But I digress.

Too true! And you have a marvelous husband!

I'm 5'4", size 10 (I've been everything from a 6-20), and wear a 34DD bra. And, as far as I can tell, there is no such thing as a 34DD bra that actually offers any support! Seems that the designers believe that anyone that small around, with that much up front, must have surgically enhanced boobs ... you know, the kind that defy gravity and have the consistency of a soccer ball.

I can never find clothes that are the right length (I'm on the border between regular and petite), the right hip/waist ratio whether I'm small or big, or the right proportions between top and bottom. When I was a 20, it seemed that everything was made for someone four to six inches taller; any size 20 (or 16/18 for that matter) pant's crotch would settle somewhere down around my knees.

No point to this rant ... it just seems silly and self-defeating for the clothing industry to cater to such a small percentage of the market.

Great post ... rated.
To make a long story short, when I lived in CA I had a restaurant in a major mall. One day the mall owner came in and said he had a problem, that he needed a store space filled and opened before Thanksgiving.

I was having lunch with the manager of Lane Bryant when he came in. We hatched a plan and opened a lingerie shop for larger women. What we wanted was a cross between Fredricks of Hollywood and what women who came into her store couldn't get.

She has since made a big splash on the internet and closed the retail store.

So go to see what you like and tell her Harold misses having her around.
your husband is fabulous, girl. im' so happy for you. great great post, as you already know. your writing is flawless and i love your point of view. sorry i don't get over here enough. please please pelase alert me to your posts. but not the spider one!!! i'm deathly afraid, could barely look at the picture. i know, i'm a huge wus. love love love and gratitude for another excellent piece.

and fuck the buyers. so you have lane bryant there? i thought they were pretty good. i'm a14 but the way things are going, im' heading to goodwill and then there pertty soon. wish i had your husband, girl.