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More Than Just The Next Big Thing
September 10, 2011 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Despite previously stating that plus sizes were not their targeted demographic, troubled clothing store American Apparel recently announced a contest looking for a plus-sized model. Nancy Upton responded with a series of provocative photos (Photographs NSFW: 1, 2 3) mocking the contest. Unexpectedly, Nancy won the contest after bringing in the highest user vote. (American Apparel previously on Metafilter)
posted by SkylitDrawl (222 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ha! Good for her.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:05 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is a LOT of ranch dressing. Bet it was no fun cleaning out that bathtub.

But the one with the two strategically placed gallons of ice cream and the syrup was my favorite.

American Apparel is just to creeepy in its attitudes; I hope she doesn't actually go work for them.
posted by emjaybee at 8:07 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, so size 12 is plus size? Yeesh.
posted by Wordwoman at 8:07 PM on September 10, 2011 [26 favorites]


OK, so size 12 is plus size? Yeesh.

My understanding is that plus sizes typically start at size 14. That's just how out there American Apparel is, though.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 8:11 PM on September 10, 2011


I have one t-shirt from American Apparel. It's pretty snug-fitting. It's an XL. I...am a pretty thin person. Particularly on my top half, I have a really small frame. I've never attempted to wear any American Apparel pants or skirts, but if they run anything like their shirts, I have a sneaking suspicion that they wouldn't make it halfway up my thighs.

The one good thing I can say is that my ultra-petite friends can finally find clothes that fit. But my ultra-petite friends make up an ultra-petite percentage of the population. I have no idea how they're going to be able to pull off "plus size" clothing. They can't even wrap their heads around clothing-for-thin-people-who-ate-breakfast-today.
posted by phunniemee at 8:15 PM on September 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


Wow, she is wonderful. Also, pretty great-looking even emptying a whole bag of potato chips into her face.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:15 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm confused. Not sure if I should side with Nancy for (deservedly) mocking American Apparel, or I should feel good that she was actually the best choice and ultimate winner. Like emjaybee, I really hope she doesn't fall into that pit of a company (disclosure: I own some AA clothes, and I think they're pretty comfortable).
posted by Gilbert at 8:16 PM on September 10, 2011


I should note that my XL t-shirt is several years old...whatever Jezebel's quoting about an XL being a size 12/14 is either a recent change, or the guy holding the tape measure needs to lay off the rock.
posted by phunniemee at 8:17 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't get it, what's wrong with her (great) looks that she shouldn't be having to discard modeling offers right and left daily, if she chose that for a career? I suppose I should browse through more than one fashion or lifesytle magazine in a decade to understand this nonsense.
posted by Iosephus at 8:18 PM on September 10, 2011


I'm confused. Not sure if I should side with Nancy for (deservedly) mocking American Apparel, or I should feel good that she was actually the best choice and ultimate winner. Like emjaybee, I really hope she doesn't fall into that pit of a company (disclosure: I own some AA clothes, and I think they're pretty comfortable).

She states here that she will definitely not be working there.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 8:18 PM on September 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Unfiltered hetero male reaction?

This woman is beautiful.
posted by tantrumthecat at 8:20 PM on September 10, 2011 [20 favorites]


American Apparel? This Nancy Upton could be the next Cindy Sherman.
posted by jonp72 at 8:29 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I voted for her and I'm glad she won. Not just because she's awesome, but because I love seeing AA's marketing gone awry.

You ignored women who wore anything higher than a size 8 for YEARS, American Apparel. Then you made a stupid ploy to win our affection, and you got served up a dish of disdain.

You had it coming.

Also, your clothes are made of COTTON, not diamonds. They are way too fucking expensive.
posted by duvatney at 8:31 PM on September 10, 2011 [22 favorites]


I don't get why this is such a coup. She's an attractive woman, but she's not particularly large. Is this supposed to be a victory for 'plus-size' women?
It reminds me of the hoopla around Halle Berry winning an Oscar, or Barack Obama winning the presidency: black people can succeed in America (as long as you're not that black).
posted by Flashman at 8:41 PM on September 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


It reminds me of the hoopla around Halle Berry winning an Oscar, or Barack Obama winning the presidency: black people can succeed in America (as long as you're not that black).

Okay, I'll give you Halle, but what are you saying with Barack?
posted by cashman at 8:51 PM on September 10, 2011


American Apparel usually goes for the much slimmer hipster look. Can't afford the clothes, but I love the ads, creepy as they are.
This dosen't fit in with that, IMHO.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:53 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]



I voted for her and I'm glad she won. Not just because she's awesome, but because I love seeing AA's marketing gone awry.

You ignored women who wore anything higher than a size 8 for YEARS, American Apparel. Then you made a stupid ploy to win our affection, and you got served up a dish of disdain.

You had it coming.

Also, your clothes are made of COTTON, not diamonds. They are way too fucking expensive.


As a skinny guy, it's often been difficult for me to get well-fitting clothing in your regular department stores, so AA was one of the places where I could get well-fitting clothing. Just because a business is catering to skinny people doesn't mean they necessarily have any malice against bigger people. I know the owner is a pretty well known d bag, but I don't really get this hate for AA just because they don't cater to a specific segment of the population when just about any other clothing retailer out there doesn't cater to the skinnier population.
posted by gyc at 8:56 PM on September 10, 2011 [21 favorites]


One of the things that bugs me about Tumblr is thatI can be on it and not know that thi is happening.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:08 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'll give you Halle, but what are you saying with Barack?
Halle and Barack are both mixed race.
posted by delmoi at 9:16 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, your clothes are made of COTTON, not diamonds. They are way too fucking expensive.

I'm not a skinny kid, but I'm not fat, either. It's tough finding clothes to fit me.

Either stuff is "slim-fit" and buttons pop out, or I end up looking like a gangster with my pants hanging off my ass. Finding clothing in that happy medium is challenging.

AA clothes are still a lot cheaper than most other brand-name clothing out there — and they fit well and look good.

It's nice not having a logo printed on stuff that is generally well-made, and not made by children in sweatshops in Asia or South America. So I really can't be manipulated into feeling bad spending money on AA clothing, given the process and end result. Sorry, Jezebel. :P
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:19 PM on September 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't really understand the "This woman is plus-sized?!?" comments. She looks quite obviously plus-sized to me. That says nothing one way or the other about her attractiveness, her suitability as a model, or anything else of that nature. Just that as a factual matter I don't see how anyone can look at her and not see someone who would be classified as a plus-sized model.

If people are only saying they don't think most models should be so thin, hey fine, but "she's a plus-sized model!?!" is a pretty lousy way to make that argument. Yeah, she's obviously a plus-sized model.
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on September 10, 2011 [19 favorites]


OK, so size 12 is plus size? Yeesh.

The last time I bought women's clothing, size 12 was much smaller than this woman. I've heard how the numeric sizes are constantly redefined to--allegedly--make larger people feel better. If so, where does it stop?--Will size -56 eventually be considered "plus?" Kind of reminds me of how taboo words are constantly redefined--"pussy," for example, was originally a euphemism, as I recall. That said, this woman doesn't even seem particularly "plus" to me.

Valuable story, though--I appreciate it, and her. We live in a fast-food and air-brushed generation, and the two are locked in a tight battle--body parts are flying as if in a scene from Braveheart. Think I just saw a splotch of blood on my screen.
posted by ottimo at 9:29 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is awesome and makes me very happy.

I don't care what sizes American Apparel carries -- businesses are not obligated to sell all things. The creepy porn-ads, though, are so dreadful I cannot imagine a young woman looking at them and going yes, I want to give my money to this company now. Which, apparently, they do not -- or not enough -- and so young, sexy, fun™ Dov Charney will have fewer employees to harass. Win! Yay women!
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:32 PM on September 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


What gets me is that a model with a great figure pours ranch dressing on herself and people are surprised she won. Despite the best efforts of Madison Avenue, that's still pretty darn appealing to a lot of people.
posted by Saydur at 9:37 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mmmm. Pie.
posted by Trochanter at 9:38 PM on September 10, 2011


Next Media's take. The best part? When Jezebel beats Dov Charney with his own sign.
posted by lesli212 at 9:43 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Think I just saw a splotch of blood on my screen.

No, that's just the cherry pie.
posted by phunniemee at 9:44 PM on September 10, 2011


The one where she's in the pool devouring a bag of potato chips is pretty darned loltastic.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:47 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, that's just the cherry pie.

But what if we look at that picture metaphorically?
posted by ottimo at 9:50 PM on September 10, 2011


Justinian, I would say that as a model she's plus-size, but as a person, she isn't.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:02 PM on September 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


That is a gorgeous woman.
How do the kids on Fark say it?
Something something fist of an angry god.
posted by The GoBotSodomizer at 10:12 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The kids on Fark mostly say it on Fark.
posted by Justinian at 10:15 PM on September 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


This lady is way too awesome to work for that creep-factory.

Eff AA and their insanely expensive t-shirts.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 10:16 PM on September 10, 2011


I don't really get this hate for AA just because they don't cater to a specific segment of the population when just about any other clothing retailer out there doesn't cater to the skinnier population.

Well, except for AA, and Forever 21, and H&M, and Winners and the Bay (in Canada) - and just about every place that sells clothes except Sears or Fairweather. Neither of which are terribly stylish. But maybe it's different for men than it is for women.

I feel your pain on having trouble finding stuff - I range between size 12 and 18 (depending on cut, make, etc), which puts me at the top range for regular stores and at the bottom for plus size -- with the result that just about all regular clothes are too small, and all plus-size are too big and look sloppy.

The ideal store, of course, would sell clothes in all sizes, and the ideal designers would design different cuts of clothing to look good on different types of bodies (there are enough of them out there - it's not like we have a dearth of people who wish to design clothing). Also, clothes in different colours available at all times.

Man, I seriously need to learn how to sew, just to keep myself clothed in clothes I like.
posted by jb at 10:32 PM on September 10, 2011 [10 favorites]


Sometimes the less-than nice advance the ball in areas you don't expect them to. They are scoundrels for doing so, but you can't argue with the results.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's visible now, but over half of the other contestants were thin. As in far, far below any remotely reasonable definition of plus-sized or XL. Not terribly surprising, but god, the cognitive dissonance of this whole thing. I wish I could link to a picture of the contestant who was #1 before Nancy got involved, but to my eyes she basically looked like any other model you'd see in a clothing company's photo shoot.
posted by naju at 10:40 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bet the tumblr and the ensuing outrage were part of the marketing for both Jezebel and AA from the start.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:46 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the less-than nice advance the ball in areas you don't expect them to. They are scoundrels for doing so, but you can't argue with the results.

What do you mean, Ironmouth? Which party is less-than-nice, and in which area did a ball get advanced?
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 11:09 PM on September 10, 2011


I bet the tumblr and the ensuing outrage were part of the marketing for both Jezebel and AA from the start.

They are certainly both getting the attention they want. Meh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:20 PM on September 10, 2011


Eff AA and their insanely expensive t-shirts.

Yeah, for real. I mean I can get shirts at walmart for third of the cost. And I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I am destroying people's lives wherever the factory is.

Fuck american made products.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:21 PM on September 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


On the one hand, we've got most of the world telling us how "fat" Americans are, as a society.

On the other, we've got lots of people (err) weighing in that this gal is hot stuff.

On still another hand, supposedly our society has been brainwashed to idolize stick-thin emaciated models, yet here are all these (outlying?) opinions stating otherwise.

I dare not touch this topic too recklessly, but I'll risk stating that perhaps there is nothing more iconically "American" than being somewhat "heavier than healthy."
posted by ShutterBun at 11:21 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Man, I seriously need to learn how to sew, just to keep myself clothed in clothes I like.

Just 50 years ago, my grandmother made all my mom's clothes. Thanks to capitalism and industrialization and such, that's no longer necessary. We can buy them at places like Walmart and this AA place, within the acceptable range, of course. Additionally, we can now microwave a lasagna or a chicken piccata dinner for four. And thus we all have extra time to go to work--for places like Walmart and this AA place and such. Some of the polar bears and corals are getting the short stick, though. And so far, we just have to deal with models whose hip bones stick out further than their breasts and often their brains. Or maybe I'm underestimating. Maybe we are that much better off. I'm just gonna forget it and go take an indoor shower, eat a tasteless tomato, drink some canned beer, and fall asleep in my bedroom which is a full 20 degrees cooler than it is outside. If my lips get chapped from the air, I'll apply some Blistex and probably pop some Zoloft. God bless SSRI's.
posted by ottimo at 11:25 PM on September 10, 2011 [9 favorites]


It's perhaps using a blunt instrument to say that all clothes items made in developing nations are in fact the product of sweatshops, or that bringing the global economy to those areas is poisoning their ways of life. That said, people shouldn't complain about paying a bit more for something made in the USA.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:26 PM on September 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Every time I go into the Children's Place store, I see a tone of cool shirts that I want for myself real bad. I settle and by some for my son, but I'm always wishing/hoping they'll make the same shirts in adult sizes. L to XL, actually. It'd be so sweet if they made clothes that fit me. But oh well, I'm not their demographic. That's fine.
posted by BurnChao at 11:34 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just googled for American Apparel ads. I don't think I'm their demographic, either. That's fine. Kinda skeeved myself just looking at their ads, actually. (Why would anyone actually be upset that company isn't pursuing them?)
posted by BurnChao at 11:54 PM on September 10, 2011


And here we see the internet winning in its natural environment, stalking the douchebag before leaping in for the kill.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:58 PM on September 10, 2011 [5 favorites]


The message this photo series was trying to send also kind of fell flat for me. Only because it kind of screamed "art school final project commentary on body issues and the male gaze."

The pictures take themselves almost a little too seriously and are too good to be poking fun or showing any real disdain at AA. Considering AA's usual "underaged runaways Polaroid kiddy porn found in your creepy uncle's rec room back in thes 70s and that's why we never mention his name at Thanksgiving," aesthetics, guzzling ice cream and chocolate sauce or seductively digging into some pie in a pool would be the exact type of thing Dov Charney probably had in mind when he though, "Man, how do I get these chubby broads off my back and make some money??" The wording of their search for the "XLent" models with all the "next big thing" puns pretty much screams it.

I kind of feel like the photos missed the mark. Not that she had to take terrible photos or make herself unattractive, but photos actually showing how awkward a non-model, plus-sized body looks in AA clothing would've been way more to the point. These photos just look like something Terry Richardson might produce. By the way, linked photos are of Crystal Renn (who just can't win) back when she was "plus-sized" and was the poster child for more different bodies on runways/in magazines talking about how miserable she was as a skinny model-sized model trying to maintain the weight when people kept telling her she wasn't skinny enough. She recently lost weight and is now getting criticism for that.
posted by kkokkodalk at 11:59 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


But maybe it's different for men than it is for women.

I'm pretty sure it is. As a slightly tallish (6-ish) slightly thinnish (160-ish) man, it is extremely difficult for me to find something as simple as a t-shirt that fits properly. Mediums billow out like a churchbell at my waist. Smalls are short enough to approach looking like halfshirts. It's deeply frustrating. I'm not a small guy-- why the fuck is a medium too big for me? AA, for all their many, many faults is the only widely available provider that I have found of an item as simple and basic as a t-shirt that actually fits me.
posted by dersins at 12:09 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck. The only place that makes a tshirt that actually fits me is caving to all the folks who can't be bothered to monitor their input and work their bodies a bit.
posted by mmdei at 12:19 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


In Europe, I can't even buy shoes in normal stores. I can get shirts, but only because I don't need to button the neck. But that's a good thing, because by the time a neck is big enough to fit, they've added enough fabric around the middle to house a small herd of camels. God bless Pierre Cardin, who makes some quality trousers in sizes that fit large men. And fuck Hugo Boss (my neighbor), who does not seem to make large sizes.

What sucks even more, it doesn't matter if I get my weight into a healthy range, because my chest isn't getting any smaller, and I'm not getting shorter. And I'll still hate the European-cut trousers that seem to think a man needs no room for his junk.

Learn to sew? What do you know. Been there, done that. Consumes a lot of time and space, but it is fun. So I pay a couple hundred bucks for a pair of trousers. At least they are good quality, even if the price makes me faint. Obviously I have lots more shirts than pants.
posted by Goofyy at 12:22 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


ottimo: The last time I bought women's clothing, size 12 was much smaller than this woman. I've heard how the numeric sizes are constantly redefined to--allegedly--make larger people feel better.

Women love to quote the fact that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12. If you look at some of the historical documents from the wardrobe departments at the movie studios, you'll find her measurements: 36/24/36.

When those were my measurements (25 instead of 24), I was a size 4-6.

So, yeah, they definitely keep moving those numbers up so that heavier women aren't looking at "big" numbers.
posted by tzikeh at 12:26 AM on September 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


mmdei: The only place that makes a tshirt that actually fits me is caving to all the folks who can't be bothered to monitor their input and work their bodies a bit.

Oh, you did not.
posted by tzikeh at 12:27 AM on September 11, 2011 [34 favorites]


I did. America has both an input problem and an output problem. The human body is a remarkable machine that demands care. You have got to work it. Overweight and Obese folks are expected to make up a staggering 75% of the population by 2020.

And for the commenter noting that H&M was an option for skinny folks, they recently resized their wares such that they no longer fit snugly for someone with a normal BMI.
posted by mmdei at 12:40 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


mmdei - after an 8 week hiking trip, where I walked about 20 km every 6 of 7 days, I was in terrific shape.

And still a size 12 - too large for AA (until now).

(I had great calves, though).
posted by jb at 12:47 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


to add: my BMI was normal, but I had muscle mass and still had hip
bones that would fill at least a size 10 if I were dead and skeletonized.
posted by jb at 12:49 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


These women are size 12s. Notice they really, really vary by height and body type.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 12:51 AM on September 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


jb, don't bother - obviously mmdei is of the "fat people are just lazy" mindset and I bet he/she cannot be convinced otherwise. I mean, all you have to do is "bother" to monitor your input, dontcha know!
posted by tzikeh at 12:51 AM on September 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just to play devil's advocate, I'll point out that "monitoring" one's intake isn't enough. "Regulate" would appear to be the key term.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:54 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


(as long as you're not that black).

Fuck you.


Which do you have a problem with, that darker skin equates to more severe racial discrimination, or the fact that someone had the balls to say that yes, it happens in this country?

(third option: that it was kinda poorly phrased, whatever ugly truth it portrays)
posted by ShutterBun at 1:00 AM on September 11, 2011


Eight weeks is 0.19% of a lifespan. The choices we make on a daily basis over the course of years matter.

When I look at photos of this lass, I see someone who is recklessly and needlessly marching towards a future dependent upon pharmaceuticals to maintain basic survival at far to young an age.
posted by mmdei at 1:03 AM on September 11, 2011


Fuck. The only place that makes a tshirt that actually fits me is caving to all the folks who can't be bothered to monitor their input and work their bodies a bit.

What? You do realize that AA's version of XL is everyone else's Medium? I have a friend who is not even remotely overweight and she can't fit into any of their t-shirts (it may also be because she has DD breasts). I'm usually an XS in most places and I can't even fit my arm through the sleeve of an XS at American Apparel.

Also, there are quite a few people considered to be "fat" who take very good care to "monitor their inputs" and are still XL in clothing. And if you're over 5 ft 6 in, chances are your frame is much bigger than someone who is 5 ft tall, regardless of how much body fat you have. And what is this attitude that if AA starts offering XL clothing, that is somehow going to deprive skinny people of access to small-size clothing?

A good clothing brand should offer their products in a wide range of sizes, but the American Apparel brand tries very, very hard to cultivate the image that people who wear their clothing are young, trendy, and skinny. Most clothing brands do this, but the difference is that their clothing is very plain, and so the only markers of "trendiness" they have is that they use very skinny, sexually inviting models. Because t-shirts are pretty much the same, give or take, wherever you buy them, so they try to emphasize that their t-shirts are the sexy ones. They can sell an ideal of the holy trinity of the American Beauty Ideal: young, thin, and beautiful. If they started using non-skinny people (by the fashion world's impossible standards), then the whole aura of "fashion" would dissolve from their ads and all we would have are average-looking people (beauty and youth notwithstanding) wearing t-shirts. That is what is meant by "not our demographic".
posted by adso at 1:05 AM on September 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


So their whole demographic and marketing campaign would collapse if they suddenly started making (though not strictly advertising) larger versions of their boring T-shirts?
posted by ShutterBun at 1:18 AM on September 11, 2011


mmdei, that woman is nowhere NEAR overweight enough for her health to be impacted. She is well within the range of normal and healthy in spite of being larger than non plus-size fashion models.

Either you have a very disordered way of looking at the human body, and you should get help for that before YOUR health is affected, or you're just stirring shit, which is a very childish and unpleasant thing to do. Either way, this thread isn't the place for you.
posted by Wroksie at 1:19 AM on September 11, 2011 [28 favorites]


Adso, the fear those of us have with AA expanding their target body shape is that like nearly every other company in the last 20 years, they will embrace the middle market and abandon the niche they've served well. H&M's tshirts from 2009 are sized in a trim manor, while their 2011 tshirts are now aimed squarely at the increasingly overweight average american market. Each week on ask.meta some tall guy is searching out a place to buy clothing that fits, H&M is an oft-cited resource. Now, sadly, they are becoming less of an option. The 60%+ of America that is overweight dominates the fit of clothing these days — it's nice to have a store that sizes for those of us who aren't.

For instance, once upon a time, The North Face catered to taller than average athletic guys while Patagonia catered to shorter than average athletic guys. (one founder was taller... one was shorter. go figure.) ~12 years ago, the north face started transitioning their line towards the 'middle' — that is, the growing bulk of the population that is not actually active, but wants to present itself as. Four years ago, Patagonia did the same. Now the genuinely athletic types are having a genuinely difficult time finding technical ware that isn't bulky.
posted by mmdei at 1:27 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Funny thing is, AA seemed quite likely to use a campaign of this sort, given the puns and their track record of tasteless pictures. And Jezebel would be one of the first to complain if it happened. She's not wearing a lot of clothes in the shots, for one thing.

Even the "ironic" mocking tone seems perfect for the AA hipster demographic.

On a less cynical note, I could have done without ever hearing the phrase "fans of full-size fannies". That word clearly doesn't mean what I think it does.
posted by Kaleidolia at 1:28 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll never understand the obsession with establishing exactly what size Marilyn Monroe really, actually, honest-to-god was. As if she bought her clothes off a rack at the Gap. As if there weren't hours upon hours of film and a million and one pictures of her that we could all use to check whether she was fat or skinny to our own personal satisfaction. I mean, size 12, size 8, size 4, good god: as SkylitDrawl points out in their link, those numbers just don't mean anything in practice. It's obvious from looking at photos of Monroe that while she was basically thin, there were times, or angles, or whatever, when she did look decidedly voluptuous, and plausibly equivalent to a 21st century size 12. And the world, I might add, was much better for it.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 1:32 AM on September 11, 2011 [7 favorites]




Attacking women for how they look, and suggesting women whose appearance you don't like or stupid: it's the new feminism!

Or something.

posted by rodgerd at 1:40 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


HTML fail: the above referred to this noxious little brain-fart:

And so far, we just have to deal with models whose hip bones stick out further than their breasts and often their brains.
posted by rodgerd at 1:41 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wroksie, her body fat percentage appears to be far north of 25, if not 30. Frankly, I'd put my money on about 38%. While this may well place her within a contemporary average range, it does put her at increased risk of developing one or more of a number of long-term degenerative disorders — just like her average contemporaries.
posted by mmdei at 1:44 AM on September 11, 2011


She is well within the range of normal and healthy in spite of being larger than non plus-size fashion models.

Obviously it's pretty subjective territory, but I'd put her at around 5'7" and 160 lbs. BMI of about 25, which is borderline overweight, but still "normal."

On the other hand, as mmdei hints, in which direction is she likely to move, as she grows older? At what point do we go from accepting, to embracing, to encouraging heavier frames, to the point where (what was once) "overweight" is the new "normal"? Given human sensitivities, it seems entirely plausible that certain industries who rely on such statistics would be quite acquiescent to moving the goal-posts, as it were, provided that other developments in the medical industry can provide corresponding longevity & other health benefits.

Again, it's an extremely delicate subject to tackle, given that one side is telling us that our society overweight to an unhealthy degree, and another side telling us that we're beautiful just how we are. But then we're back to the question of "what is the point this model is making?"

Is she saying "being somewhat overweight is the new "normal", so you'd all better get used to it"? And if so, are we supposed to be OK with that?

Is she saying "despite what you may think, people this size are not just a bunch of overeaters, so please make some clothes that fit us, lest we hate you"? What's the point of that, exactly?

Would those who find themselves "outside of AA's demographic" feel alright with a thin woman protesting Lane Bryant for not making any clothes small enough for her? Is one's weight as "out of their hands" as one's height? Should stores therefore be expected to cater to all variety of pants-lengths as well, lest they be accused of catering to their own idea of "normal" height customers?
posted by ShutterBun at 1:55 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only place that makes a tshirt that actually fits me is caving to all the folks who can't be bothered to monitor their input and work their bodies a bit.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 AM on September 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


For the people debating Upton's size, on her blog she calls the Daily Mail article "very well researched." It shows a photo of her straight-on with only a bikini top, and states that her size is a 12 at the Gap, and she is 5 foot 7 inches. I find the Gap sizes to run large, but specifically their size chart gives these measurements for their size 12: 39" chest, 30.75" waist, 41.75" hip.
posted by Houstonian at 2:28 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


{half-heartedly pats self on back for accurate height estimate, while bracing for tomorrow's pile-on }
posted by ShutterBun at 2:37 AM on September 11, 2011


[ mmdei, seriously consider backing away and not turning this entire thread into a you vs. everyone fight over "is she overweight or not" and "are all overweight people lazy and/or overfed" ]
posted by mathowie at 2:53 AM on September 11, 2011 [13 favorites]


My favorite Metafilter comment on this topic. Warning: geese.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:23 AM on September 11, 2011


Those FINKS

How DARE they start selling their items in an additional size or two in order to stave off bankruptcy
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:25 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


From an interview with CultureMap Austin, she says:

"For the most part, the articles have been positive, but if someone pops up tomorrow and is like, 'This is why we’re disgusted by Nancy Upton,' I would post it, because it enters into that dialog. That’s why I added something about how I respect women’s decision to enter the contest, when a few of them were upset with me – I’m trying to encourage people to keep a healthy dialog open and see all sides to the argument. They’re valid.... It’s very telling that fifty percent of the comments are thoughtful discussion, and fifty percent is trying to decide if I’m actually a size twelve or not."

She adds that she is 5 foot 7 inches and 180 pounds, and has some interesting things to say about whether or not the photos were retouched, and why/how the poses were selected. It's a good and thoughtful interview. I think the part I liked best was sentence: "Can we just say that plus-sized people are attractive, without saying 'plus-sized'?"
posted by Houstonian at 3:38 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Should stores therefore be expected to cater to all variety of pants-lengths as well

Speaking as a short female person: yes, dammit. Why not? Women's clothing manufacturers are bizarrely stubborn about the idea that we all have the same length legs, and I am very appreciative of shops that at least do the short/regular/long thing with jeans and long skirts.

But then, women's clothing manufacturers are bizarrely stubborn about a lot of stuff. Women's clothes are typically designed to fit clingier and more contoured than men's are, matching the shape of our bodies rather than just being worn over them, and yet shops sell these same clothes to us like our bodies are all exactly the same shape. If your hips are this big, then your waist must be this big; if your dress size is lower than this, then your boobs must not exceed this size. My boyfriend can find a pair of jeans that'll fit him in just a few minutes, because he knows his waist and leg measurements; I know every single one of my measurements, too, but it's an exercise in shopping hell trying to match those measurements onto the clothes available.

Also, the ideal body size we're all seemingly supposed to match changes every so often anyway, based on... well, who knows. I have a pretty hourglass-y figure, the kind all those Betty Draper dresses were emulating and emphasizing in decades gone by, but my waist and hips now belong to different size brackets for a lot of manufacturers. Wear the waist-fitting size that'll pull really tight and look squeezed over my hips, or wear the hip-fitting size that'll be baggy and ill-fitting above them? Well hey, at least women aren't subject to any social pressures to wear stuff that fits and flatters us perfectly lest we look sloppy/frumpy/unattractive/careless and generally fail at being female, or anything! Oh, wait.

So even if you're not plus-sized (I'm around a US size 8 at the GAP sizing charts Houstonian linked above), women's clothing sizing is infuriating and frustrating at making you feel like you've got the wrong kind of body. Clothing retail seems less about selling clothes that'll fit you than it does about a) telling you that you must must must wear these particular things if you want to look professional or sexy or fit for public viewing, and b) that you only get to wear them if you've already passed the Acceptably-Shaped Body test.

So when it comes to companies deciding a plus-size cutoff point, beyond which anyone who likes your clothes will just have to stand outside with their noses pressed to the glass longing pathetically from a distance, I find it hard to believe this is somehow being calculated based on public health issues and genuine concern over obesity as a risk factor. in fact, I'd go so far as to say we'd all be better off by just selling clothes that fit us, rather than worrying about what message they're sending by permitting particular groups of people to wear their clothes at all.
posted by Catseye at 3:42 AM on September 11, 2011 [23 favorites]


Catseye, I can't wait until MyBestFit comes out to all malls. They measure you with a body scan, and then give you a list of your size in all stores. Also, I was surprised to learn that vanity sizing is happening with men's clothes, too -- I didn't think that was possible, but apparently it is.
posted by Houstonian at 3:53 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck. The only place that makes a tshirt that actually fits me is caving to all the folks who can't be bothered to monitor their input and work their bodies a bit.

mmdei, I am 5'7" and 150 lbs. I'm pretty hourglass-shaped. I am a "healthy" weight and have a very fashion-friendly body type. I can find clothes that fit me in almost every single (non-petite, non-plus size) store.

American Apparel's clothes do not fit me.

As I noted somewhere above, I have an XL AA t-shirt, and it is very snug. On my within-all-medically-healthy-bounds-of-normal-weight body. That's not to say that they should have to start making clothes that fit larger frames, but maybe let's cool it with all the armchair nutritionist stuff? If you're going to judge someone's health and well-being based on how able they are to fit into American Apparel's clothes, it's probably time to recalibrate your commonsenseometer.
posted by phunniemee at 3:56 AM on September 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


And for those playing along at home, this: I am 5'7" and 150 lbs. I'm pretty hourglass-shaped, translates into anything from a 6 to a 12 from various clothing retailers. I'm at the end of XL at American Apparel, and I have a loose-fitting XS dress from DKNY. There is no rhyme or reason to women's clothing sizes, so saying that size blah-blah-blah=plus size or whatever is a pretty ridiculous metric to go by.
posted by phunniemee at 4:02 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


vanity sizing is happening with men's clothes, too

The reaction to vanity sizing with men's clothes (at least as far as that article is concerned) seems to be much more one of outraged indignation (once the ruse is dicovered) and "this must stop" though, doesn't it? Whereas the women's apparel industry's capricious sizing schemes have apparently fostered a whole new business of converting various manufacturer's sizes into real numbers (for a price.)

Is vanity sizing a marketing tool, or an enabler for what is often criticized as an overwhelmingly overweight society? (or both?)
posted by ShutterBun at 4:13 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not so easy for men as well, although thank goodness we can get away with basic jean/t-shirt/buttondown combos.

But if I find something that actually fits in all areas (e.g. trousers: waist, hips, length, overall fit, doesn't look like a sack with two legs) I can buy two or three at once just because I know they'll fit.
posted by carter at 4:36 AM on September 11, 2011


vanity sizing is happening with men's clothes, too

Holy crap!--I'm at the corner of first and first. Wait a minute. How can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe! The clothing industry must be trying for their own version of a unification theory.

And while we're at it, I'm 6'4" (assuming my doctor isn't lying to me) and constantly discriminated against for it--knees shoved into the airplane seat ahead of me, having to bend over to wash my hands or stoop to rinse my hair in the shower. Sometimes I even have to duck to walk under trees that have purportedly been trimmed.

***
As an aside...re: this noxious little brain-fart, methinks you didn't completely grasp the tenor of that post, and the practice of pulling one quote out of a post and replying to it out of context served you particularly poorly in this case. That was a kindly way to express your thoughts, though. But not particularly fair to farts.
posted by ottimo at 4:59 AM on September 11, 2011


It’s very telling that fifty percent of the comments are thoughtful discussion, and fifty percent is trying to decide if I’m actually a size twelve or not."

See, this what makes me despair.

Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I'm pretty sure that society wasn't always so bugshit crazy. It's some kind of mass insanity. Probably we were always this crazy, but just about different things... I don't know. I wish we could all move on.
posted by taz at 5:13 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, was someone actually saying that women not making their own clothes killed the polar bears?

Oh yeah:

Just 50 years ago, my grandmother made all my mom's clothes. Thanks to capitalism and industrialization and such, that's no longer necessary. We can buy them at places like Walmart and this AA place, within the acceptable range, of course. Additionally, we can now microwave a lasagna or a chicken piccata dinner for four. And thus we all have extra time to go to work--for places like Walmart and this AA place and such. Some of the polar bears and corals are getting the short stick, though.

Of course, off the rack clothing has been around for longer than 50 years; ever since the late 19th/early 20th century, in fact, largely fueled by the invention of the sewing machine, and allowing non-rich-people to have more than one or two outfits to wear at a time. And allowing women to get up from their sewing machines and go do stuff like agitate for the right to vote and hold jobs.

Anyway, you actually can make a good argument that textile manufacturing, which has been/can still be a toxic process, has hurt the environment. But sewing your own clothes (or getting a female relative to do it for you, because hey, that's what women should be doing with their time) from already-dyed clothes isn't going to help it any.

In short, your grandma was killing polar bears too. And probably using sweatshop labor, if those textiles weren't made in the US. Growing cotton isn't exactly impact-free either.
posted by emjaybee at 6:05 AM on September 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Yes, taz, and I'm realizing I can't really even comment without participating in one of our society's favorite activities: closely observing, evaluating, judging, critiquing, reacting to and perhaps shaming a woman who has dared to put herself in public view.
posted by Miko at 6:08 AM on September 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Are the AA t-shirts they sell to other retailers (Threadless, Woot, all the other people who sell graphic tees that are printed on AA shirts) differently sized than the ones you can purchase directly from them? Because I'm 5'9", 160lbs, and have no problems fitting into small and medium AA shirts that I get via Threadless, et cetera. (For what it's worth, I'm female-bodied but generally buy men's clothing; at least in Levi's and H&M's low-rise and skinny/slim styles, I'm a 36" waist.)

I haven't ever worn any of their other clothing, so I can't attest to their sizing.

(Also, even though the ranch dressing photo kind of grosses me out [because of ranch dressing, not her], I think the photos are great and Nancy is gorgeous.)
posted by naturalog at 6:16 AM on September 11, 2011


I am a size 4 or 6 and generally fit into smalls. If I want to wear AA, I have to get Mediums and they don't make many of their skirts and dresses in my size because I am "too fat" for those cuts.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:42 AM on September 11, 2011


(For what it's worth, I'm female-bodied but generally buy men's clothing; at least in Levi's and H&M's low-rise and skinny/slim styles, I'm a 36" waist.)
That makes me think you probably don't have huge boobs. I find American Apparel shirts pretty problematic, but I'm busty. I think my body just doesn't fit with their kinderporn aesthetic.

I dunno. I'm as spoiling for a fat-related fight as anyone, because it would sure distract me from all the maudlin 9/11 bullshit, but this seems to me to be pretty clearly about making money. American Apparel over-expanded, and in the U.S. there's not much of a market for ultra-slim-cut clothes outside of a select few urban neighborhoods. If they want to sell clothes to Middle America, they have to cater to Middle American tastes. If they wanted to continue to sell clothes to people in Williamsburg and Wicker Park, they shouldn't have put a store in every mall in the country.
posted by craichead at 6:44 AM on September 11, 2011 [6 favorites]



>>But maybe it's different for men than it is for women.

>I'm pretty sure it is. As a slightly tallish (6-ish) slightly thinnish (160-ish) man, it is extremely difficult for me to find something as simple as a t-shirt that fits properly. Mediums billow out like a churchbell at my waist. Smalls are short enough to approach looking like halfshirts. It's deeply frustrating. I'm not a small guy-- why the fuck is a medium too big for me? AA, for all their many, many faults is the only widely available provider that I have found of an item as simple and basic as a t-shirt that actually fits me.


This becomes even more true if you are tall enough to need "tall"-sized shirts for the extra back and sleeve length. The assumptions by most clothing companies are that a) if your shoulders are broad enough to need an X or XL, your stomach must be even broader, and b) if you need a "tall," you also need a "big." And in terms of actually selling clothing to the most actual modern Americans, those are good assumptions; I'm sure I would do the same thing if I had a clothes company. It's just a huge pain in the ass for me, personally, as someone who appears to be a size outlier both on height and build.

vanity sizing is happening with men's clothes, too

No shit. In college I was 175 pounds, plus/minus a bit, and XL shirts fit ok (a bit loose, the way I liked them to fit then). I'm 20 pounds heavier now, with larger shoulders, and size L shirts fit about the way those old XLs did, and in some brands I have a choice between M (to fit chest and waist) and L (for the sleeve length). A coworker is 40 pounds heavier than he was in college, mostly in his belly, and the other day was telling me proudly that he has only gone up one increment in jeans size. So yeah, it's definitely happening in men's clothing; whether it's just companies adapting to a new reality or a more insidious enabling is a different question.

I'd never try and defend AA's skeevy owner, but there is a lot to like about the company. I like that they manufacture in the US, and have been out in front (in ways that have probably hurt them more than helped, marketing-wise) on both immigration and gay rights. They have a clearly defined image in terms of what shapes they are designing their clothes for (I'm the wrong shape, but my partner loves how their stuff fits); I don't really understand why the "plus-size" market is so poorly served in the marketplace (given how much demand there would seem to be), but if a company wants to stay ignore it that's their business.

The language in the contest description was clearly trying to be edgy and funny, and failed on both counts. It would be great, though, if (whether through this contest or some other way) AA started having models of different shapes, just as they already have models of different races. But that's pretty general -- I can't think of any of the many clothing catalogs that show up in my mailbox that routinely features models of widely varying shapes, and I can remember reading that when it has been tried, it has hurt sales. We consumers are funny creatures -- we may be becoming fatter, on aggregate, but we punish depictions that reflect that reality.
posted by Forktine at 6:45 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Are the AA t-shirts they sell to other retailers (Threadless, Woot, all the other people who sell graphic tees that are printed on AA shirts) differently sized than the ones you can purchase directly from them? Because I'm 5'9", 160lbs, and have no problems fitting into small and medium AA shirts that I get via Threadless, et cetera. (For what it's worth, I'm female-bodied but generally buy men's clothing; at least in Levi's and H&M's low-rise and skinny/slim styles, I'm a 36" waist.)

I've found that the women's sizes definitely run small, although I think the shoulders or top matter more than the waist. I'm usually an 8/10 in shirts but am a solid XL at threadless, with the shoulders being a little snug sometimes. These are the "girly" shirts; the guys M is bigger than that, so there are major differences there.
posted by bizzyb at 6:48 AM on September 11, 2011


"Plus-size fannies" must be a weird phrase to hear for the mefites hailing from the UK.

I'm having a hard time not imagining the form and variety such a thing take.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:52 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


s/thing take/thing might take/
posted by clvrmnky at 6:52 AM on September 11, 2011


Also, why is it that Uniqlo manages to make slim-fit t-shirts that work with my big boobs, but American Apparel can't seem to manage it?
posted by craichead at 6:55 AM on September 11, 2011


It's nice not having a logo printed on stuff that is generally well-made, and not made by children in sweatshops in Asia or South America.

Yeah, why go all the way for non-unionized undocumented labor when we have that right here in the USA!
posted by FJT at 6:55 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want this girl to team up with Beth Ditto and conquer the world.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:56 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obesity has become immoral. I'm not sure when it happened or why but it has become a stick by which we measure people's character and ethos: Fat people are bad and they should feel bad about being fat is the subtext. I know it is often crouched in concern for the health of the person but what other medical condition do we demonize and offer opinions on?

Anyway, aside from the morality of it all, I do find the relationship between the Fashion Industry and the human body fascinating. Watch Project Runway and it becomes clear that most designers have a fear of any part of their model that they consider "not normal." We are often treated to the sight of a designer moaning about their model's bottom or breasts when the said model is a size 2. They usually have a complete melt-down when they have to make clothes for some average non-model. I say it is interesting to me because the job that clothing designers take on is to design clothes for the human body, yet they don't want the human body to interfere with the lines of their designs. What they really want to do is design clothes for a three dimensional stick figure, a robot perhaps, but something without any variation in shape.

So yes, the large clothing manufacturers have a conundrum, how do you make form-fitting clothing for women when women come in such a vast array of shapes: long torso, short torso, wide shoulders, narrow shoulders, small rib cage, wide rib cage, big stomach with small breasts or big stomach with large breasts and so on and so forth. There really is amazing variation forcing everyone who doesn't have a personal tailor to buy what is on offer in approximately their size and shape and put up with the imperfections.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:02 AM on September 11, 2011 [15 favorites]


I thought there was some issues with the labour employed by AA, even though it was situated in the US? Not sweatshops but questionable practices?

Regardless, I can't buy anything from AA because I'm embarrassed to look at their website at school. Or at home for that matter. I can't believe that a store can get away with such objectification. Plus they're expensive, poorly-made and don't fit right.
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:07 AM on September 11, 2011


Obligatory link to Claudine Ko's interview with Dov Charney where he masturbates all the time.

Honestly, I liked American Apparel way back when - until I read that interview. And then friends of mine that had worked at the stores told me some horror stories about the company's hiring practices.

At 61 inches tall, NOBODY makes clothing that fits me right - but I'll pass on lining the cum-stained pockets of a misogynist just because I can, even though I LOVE the way AA's stretchy bras fit me (in the large size - I'm a 36B and it barely fits, for those of you speculating on boobage allowances and AA size charts).

I've got friends with D cups who just sigh or laugh nervously when AA comes up in conversation. I'd LOVE to support a company that manufactures in the U.S., and that's one of the reasons I continued to shop there for awhile.

In my mind, the only difference between Dov Charney and Larry Flynt is that Flynt's honest about what he's peddling - and he has managed to do it successfully for half a century or so, something Charney's likely not going to be able to do thanks to expanding too rapidly in a saturated market, overspending on advertising, and poor business practices.

I'd MAYBE respect Charney if he just came out and said "I run this company so I can get paid to clothe underage women and fetishize them, and then with my social cache, live out my sexual fantasies on the ignorant consumer's dime" - but until then, hypocrites can't have my money.

All this "fat wank" (including the contest itself) is just a desperate distraction from the company's more horrific sins, and hey, if it gets Nancy Upton some much-deserved press and attention while causing people unfamiliar with the brand to examine and criticize it on a different level, then fucking BRAVO, I say.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 7:13 AM on September 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't shop there but live near the factory. The ladies at my bus stop who work at AA tell me it's the best place they've ever worked. For their sakes, I hope AA stays in business. These photos are pretty funny, but I'm guessing that her viral marketing has more to do with her winning. Pity the innocent who took it seriously.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:14 AM on September 11, 2011


Secret Life of Gravy: I know it is often crouched in concern for the health of the person but what other medical condition do we demonize and offer opinions on?

Alcoholism.
posted by tzikeh at 7:23 AM on September 11, 2011


I know it is often crouched in concern for the health of the person but what other medical condition do we demonize and offer opinions on?

Having loving and consensual sex while wearing animal costumes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:26 AM on September 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


This reminds me of when the seminal Japanese acid-rock band Acid Mothers Temple came on thier US tour with only xl, xxl and 3xl t-shirts. They said they never sold any smaller shirts because Americans eat cheeseburgers.
posted by fuq at 7:37 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there another store where I can buy comfortable bras for very small-chested women? That's why I shop there, and their pretty stylish modesty undergarments. They are well-made in America and don't irritate my skin.

It's too bad the company has chosen to make women uncomfortable: unstylish, ugly, overweight, skeeved out. Maybe that's why they are doing so poorly.
posted by melissam at 7:38 AM on September 11, 2011


The only place that makes a tshirt that actually fits me is caving to all the folks who can't be bothered to monitor their input and work their bodies a bit.

So you couldn't be bothered to find an original way to make that same tired argument? Might monitoring your output be a potential answer to the problem?
posted by blucevalo at 7:43 AM on September 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Women's clothing sizes are incredibly arbitrary. One company's XL is another company's M. Usually the more upscale lines run large, but not always.

This woman would be beautiful by any definition, and the photographs are terrific. Sadly I think this whole thing sends a somewhat confused message. Ironic campaigns are nothing new.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:05 AM on September 11, 2011


Secret Life of Gravy: I know it is often crouched in concern for the health of the person but what other medical condition do we demonize and offer opinions on?

Alcoholism.


Dammit Otto, you have lupus!
posted by Sandor Clegane at 8:09 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


She adds that she is 5 foot 7 inches and 180 pounds, and has some interesting things to say about whether or not the photos were retouched, and why/how the poses were selected.

People carry weight differently - I'm lucky in that I carry weight well and look about 20lbs lighter than I am (based on blunt friends' reactions to my actual weight).

Of course, off the rack clothing has been around for longer than 50 years; ever since the late 19th/early 20th century,

Actually, off the rack clothing (pre-made shirts, shifts, jackets, stockings, etc) go back to at least the 17th century, if not earlier. Not shipped in from the other side of the world, of course.

/pedantry - finally all that research into early modern consumption is becoming useful
posted by jb at 8:49 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know it is often crouched in concern for the health of the person but what other medical condition do we demonize and offer opinions on?

Nicotine addiction. We first demonized it to counter years of marketing that said smoking was cool, and even made it acceptable for the general society to confront smokers with their thoughts about the choices that the smoker makes: It is stinky, disgusting, and the associated health costs are enormous. It's pretty easy to convince people that it's ok to confront others who are different or who make different decisions. Some smokers are shamed, went into hiding, began lying about smoking and making tremendous effort to hide it.

Next we added a sin tax. This worked out well -- a decrease in the number of smokers, and increased tax revenue. Coming soon to the US: Graphic photos on tobacco products, just in case anyone missed the message.

So now it moves to the next group, the obese. Following the same path, people will openly share their opinions that it is gross and costly, without civility or a "live and let live" approach. Some obese people eat in secret, lie about their consumption, and make effort to hide it.

The sin tax was tried (soda tax in NY), and failed to gain support in NY but according to this NY Times article, it is already in place in Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Chicago. I would guess that it is just a matter of time before broader measures are put in place and adopted by more states, to be followed by graphic photos and grim statistics on food products.
posted by Houstonian at 9:24 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Size inflation is real, but it's hard to explain just how bad AA sizing for women has historically been. I used to be involved in bulk tshirt printing orders. AA tshirts for men and women are most definitely entirely different beasts. For men, they run just a half size or so small, with maybe a bit more trim shape, so someone with a belly will need to size up. Generally a more trim and athletic shape than a typical t shirt, but not an entirely different sizing universe than other clothes.

For women, M used to sometimes be labeled OS (for one size fits all). In AA, M is supposed to be a 32-34 inch chest, which is approximately the same as an XS at the gap, 32.5-33.5 inches. M at the Gap is 36.5-37.5 inches, and M at most makers is usually described as 36-38 inch chest. I always remember a 36 inch chest being described as "ideal", well before the current size explosion.

I just took a tape measure to an L men's shirt and an L in women's. The men's was 21 inches across, so a 42 inch chest. The women's was 17, so 34. AA says Large in women's is a 36-38 inch chest, so they would like women to wear their shirts with two to four inches of what's called negative ease. Otherwise known as "stretched across the boobs." The L in men's is supposed to be a 42-44 inch chest, or about the same size as the actual shirt.

FWIW, the M or "one size" from my closet was 15.5 inches across the chest. That's below Gap's "XXS" or 00, worn with zero ease. My ribcage is about 33 inches, and I am neither a particularly large nor small person. Medium, I would actually say, as would about 95% of non AA clothing makers (edging into a small at the Gap these days, though). I don't think this has a damn thing to do with the obesity epidemic.

So if you're buying a bunch of t shirts to promote something, what size do you buy? AA's chart says M/OS, so a lot of times someone goes, hey just throw in a few 'ladies' shirts, and that's what you get. Not comfortable squeezing into a 31 inch chest? Guess you end up in a shapeless men's L. The negative ease designed into the sizing charts means that anyone who wants to breathe a little (or has a less than perfect body and isn't interested in showing off their stomach fat to the world) is either in an XL or nothing at all from them.

tldr; ladies, this is why AA shirts make you feel like a stuffed sausage.
posted by pekala at 9:35 AM on September 11, 2011 [21 favorites]


On the one hand, we've got most of the world telling us how "fat" Americans are, as a society.

On the other, we've got lots of people (err) weighing in that this gal is hot stuff.


There's no contradiction there. When non-Americans marvel at how fat America is, they're talking about the huge number of people you see walking around everywhere who are fat enough to cause themselves trouble doing so - those poor people they film from behind from the neck down for fat-panic features when there's no actual news to report. It's true that you don't see people like that in a lot of other places in the world - not nearly as often if at all. But a woman like this, who's shapely and just sort of thick? She's really not the same thing. I would have thought that would be obvious. I mean I'm not making any value judgments here, I promise, but I think it's deeply weird that so many people, regardless of what "side" they're on, don't seem to acknowledge a difference between these two groups of people who look very different, and whose health profiles (while of course unknowable to random passers-by) wouldn't seem to have anything to do with each other either. It's like some kind of national, collective body dysmorphic disorder. If you're not thin, then you're just fat, full stop. It's like the way a lot of white people don't seem to perceive different shades of blackness, and the way it took me, at least, a long time to perceive different shades of whiteness. Except... so many of the people who think this way are some kind of fat themselves, so why are they not more sensitive to these distinctions?
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:38 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


those poor people they film from behind from the neck down for fat-panic features when there's no actual news to report.

Oh, you mean like this?
posted by phunniemee at 9:49 AM on September 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


The ideal store, of course, would sell clothes in all sizes

And that is why my ideal store is the thrift store. I spent $130 at Goodwill yesterday and got 23 shirts, two blazers, a leather jacket, three pairs of pants, and a CD rack. Everything except the CD rack fits amazingly.
posted by limeonaire at 9:50 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everything except the CD rack fits amazingly.

You're probably just not part of its targeted demographic.
posted by phunniemee at 9:51 AM on September 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


Oh my god, phunniemee, that's hilarious.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:54 AM on September 11, 2011


Ugh, and I forgot to add, while AA is patting themselves on the back for adding XXL women's, they have offered 3XL for men's for YEARS. At least five years, probably longer. Why? Because people come in that size, presumably, whether they ought to or not. Their weird shaming tiny-sizing is only for women.
posted by pekala at 10:05 AM on September 11, 2011 [17 favorites]


The thing that drives me well and truly bonkers about AA- aside from the extraordinary mismanagement, the exploitation of employees, the misogyny, the weird sex thing, the objectification of EVERYTHING etc.- is that here is a company making things in the US, with great labor standards, a big "fuck off" to the idea that we had to exploit Chinese kindergartners to get cheap threads and...

This is what happened? Argh. ARGH. You could not ask, nor wish, nor create a worse example.
posted by GilloD at 10:17 AM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


The unintended effect of this thread is that I will now consider shopping at AA because it sounds like their shirts will actually fit me and not look like shapeless sacks. I'm probably past their age limit, though.
posted by desjardins at 10:19 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


There seems to be this disconnect here where for some reason we have to argue whether Nancy Upton (or Adele, or Beth Ditto, or whatever) is fat or beautiful, like those are mutually exclusive. They're both! My subjective opinion is that she's pretty hot. The objective truth is that she's fat. Being fat is unhealthy; doing coke is unhealthy too but that generally doesn't affect whether we think skinny models are attractive or not.
posted by modernserf at 10:48 AM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


>The message this photo series was trying to send also kind of fell flat for me. Only because it kind of screamed "art school final project commentary on body issues and the male gaze."<

Yes. I didn’t totally understand her point, other than "Angry Young Woman who says she’s fine with her weight, but is still angry so it must be someone else’s fault". I personally like a woman that size (and don’t pictures of them naked covered in food) but these pictures were just sort of poorly done and lazy and made me think "I don’t need good execution because my point is so important". Which really means "I know no one will question the actual work, they’ll just argue about my weight".

To the people upset because the store you want to shop at doesn’t have your size; it’s Capitalism, it’s not personal. If they could make enough money selling one size that’s what they would do. They’re not in business to clothe people.
posted by bongo_x at 10:53 AM on September 11, 2011


ShutterBun writes "On still another hand, supposedly our society has been brainwashed to idolize stick-thin emaciated models, yet here are all these (outlying?) opinions stating otherwise."

If nothing else people aren't slaves to a single body type.
posted by Mitheral at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2011


To the people upset because the store you want to shop at doesn’t have your size; it’s Capitalism, it’s not personal. If they could make enough money selling one size that’s what they would do. They’re not in business to clothe people.
So you know what else is Capitalism? If you say that you don't want a certain kind of person to shop at your store because they don't fit with your image, then it's going to be hard to market clothes to them later on, when you find yourself on the brink of bankruptcy and it finally occurs to you that you can't afford to alienate a huge part of your potential customer base. Not pissing off and insulting potential customers is also Capitalism!
posted by craichead at 11:07 AM on September 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


I've never wanted to be a cherry pie so badly in my life.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:26 AM on September 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I've never wanted to be a cherry pie so badly in my life.

For me, it's forever spoiled by that idiotic hair metal song.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:28 AM on September 11, 2011


Right here, it's about 175 pounds at 5'7" and a smidge. Would like to lose weight...but being an archivist means I've got wicked muscle mass, because yes, some of us have to lift 40-50 pound boxes on a regular basis, and for me there's pushing a fully-loaded wooden book cart filled with about 80 pounds of collection materials up a 10-degree or so grade a couple of times a week.

Having spent a number of years (cumulative time) shopping for clothes that invariably don't fit, I can say that every shape has its issues in terms of shopping luck, and so if there's a niche-size store out there, live and let live.

So unless I become something other than an archivist, I will continue to be a plus-size, Rubenesque archivist. I've learned to love stretch denim, now that it's available in black.
posted by datawrangler at 12:48 PM on September 11, 2011


In honor of this thread, I'm tempted to go to my town's AA store, but a T-shirt, and then write several "MetaFilter:...." taglines from some of the comments.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:52 PM on September 11, 2011


I assume this is going to be about as meaningful as the Topshop/Beth Ditto thing (she criticised their sizes, ended up with a Beth Ditto branded line for the retail group's plus size shop, Evans, Topshop remains unchanged).

It's exasperating not being able to buy clothes that fit. I'm tall and fat - I'd scale down great - so I end up flitting between the meagre plus size range and equally meagre but not remotely overlapping tall range in shops, and American Apparel's t-shirt cut is much better on me than the high street standard - too short, too wide! - so oddly, I really feel for the slim people who've the same issue at the other end of the sizing.
posted by carbide at 12:59 PM on September 11, 2011


If AA were a skinny-person niche store, I'd have no issue. Their retail locations are like that, yes. But what they're largely known for is making high-quality, made in the US t-shirt blanks. They are one of the only easily obtainable, well-cut, well made t shirts with no logos on them, available in a huge variety of colors. And like i said, running from XXS - 3XL in men's sizes, true to actual chest size. I know there are alternative brands now (ie, Alternative Apparel, among others), but American Apparel has the street cred. When people talk about getting T shirts made, the first question is usually, can we afford American Apparel, or are we stuck with Gildan/Jerzees? And if they can get AA, conversation over, that's what they get. People love them, and for good reason, as they do tend to fit people well (for those whom they fit at all) and last an incredibly long time. I love the ones I have too, but I don't think that precludes being upset about their sizing.

So what this all means is that your 'favorite band name here' shirt is only available in super-tight women's cut or else a shapeless men's sack. Or your company logo shirt. Or that cool indie pop art design. So if you're over size 10-12 or so, you are just totally out of luck. Not enormously obese, just a little plump, or, honestly, average-ish these days. I don't think it's too much to hope or expect that the standard for higher end custom printed T shirts come in sizes that fit the middle of the bell curve for women.

It's horrific how sexist some of the T shirt buying conversations I've witnessed have been. If it's a bunch of guys buying shirts, they will buy XL for themselves, hey they like their beer on the weekends. When it comes to buying some for women, they care more about getting their brand on the 'hot ones' and anyone else should go wear something else until they lose some weight. I assume that's about how the conversations go at AA headquarters, too.
posted by pekala at 1:22 PM on September 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


Just like my time is probably wasted wishing that women who go to their favorite band's concert can buy a commemorative T shirt that fits them. Or you can at least be aware that there's an issue and work for a future where men see all women as people, not just the ones they think will serve as the best advertisements.
posted by pekala at 1:43 PM on September 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Or you can at least be aware that there's an issue and work for a future where men see all women as people, not just the ones they think will serve as the best advertisements.

Its not just the men, lady. Go check out the first few pages of cosmo, elle, vogue or whatever and notice the gender of the editors, owners, writers, etc.

Thats what I have issue with. You seem to think MEN are the ones doing this rather than PEOPLE who are looking to make that dolla holla.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:57 PM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Except that the owner of AA is a sexist pig so you can actually imagine him saying horrible things like 'Let's not make t-shirts for fat women because that isn't the image we want to project'.

I mean, he might not, but it doesn't seem like it'd be totally out of character.
posted by hydrobatidae at 2:03 PM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Except that the owner of AA is a sexist pig so you can actually imagine him saying horrible things like 'Let's not make t-shirts for fat women because that isn't the image we want to project'.

You're absolutely right. And I heard that the CEO of Hanes has a copy of the Seneca Falls Manifesto on his desk. Isn't that soooo awesome?!?!
posted by hal_c_on at 2:06 PM on September 11, 2011


You're absolutely right. And I heard that the CEO of Hanes has a copy of the Seneca Falls Manifesto on his desk. Isn't that soooo awesome?!?!
What does that even mean?

There have been a whole slew of controversies about American Apparel's CEO and his attitudes about and behavior towards women. These go back almost ten years and are really well documented. I don't know anything about the CEO of Hanes, but we're not exactly dealing with an international man of mystery when we're talking about AA or Dove Charney.
posted by craichead at 2:17 PM on September 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


So what this all means is that your 'favorite band name here' shirt is only available in super-tight women's cut or else a shapeless men's sack. Or your company logo shirt. Or that cool indie pop art design. So if you're over size 10-12 or so, you are just totally out of luck. Not enormously obese, just a little plump, or, honestly, average-ish these days. I don't think it's too much to hope or expect that the standard for higher end custom printed T shirts come in sizes that fit the middle of the bell curve for women.

I'm a size 12–or–so woman. I don't even try to buy women's shirts if I can't try them on. I find a men's medium to work well in American Apparel, Royal Apparel, and Woot shirts; I bought a whole stack of band T-shirts in that size at a music festival last year and I've worn the shit out of them. Ditto MetaFilter shirts in that size.
posted by limeonaire at 2:31 PM on September 11, 2011


I have no particular opinion about clothes sizing, but if we're going to start choosing what we buy based on what we thinkg about the company's CEO or perceived politics (i.e. he's a misogynist, he's skeevy, the stores are size-ist, etc.), then I would suggest that there are much better places to start, like Koch Industries. According to wikipedia, that would mean boycotting Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Stainmaster carpets and anything with Lycra.

(But now that you mention it, I've worn 16.5/34-35 shirts for as long as I can remember and they didn't used to be so loose that you could carry comfortably carry a basketball on your stomach.)
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 3:45 PM on September 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


The thing is that the cuts of men's and women's t-shirts are not the same. That's the reason for having a separate women's line at all - otherwise all t-shirts would just be unisex, like in the olden days. I don't want to just buy a men's shirt in a size that fits me, because I don't want to wear a cloth box.
posted by Miko at 3:48 PM on September 11, 2011


Nthing the fact that AA women's clothing is outrageously small. There's a difference between Juniors sizing (H & M, say) and Women's (Land's End), but even for Juniors, AA is crazy small. I was just in a store with my sister, who's 5'1" and wears a petite 4, and the larges were snug on her. The "XL" was probably a size 6 in standard Juniors sizing. I also noticed that all the employees were unusually petite, small-boned women--I don't think one of them was over 5'4". I wear a 12/14 (in fact, I'm built very much like Nancy), and I've accepted that trendy shops won't always have something that fits, but American Apparel has the smallest sizes I've ever seen.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 4:34 PM on September 11, 2011


Hal_c_on, I was referring to specific t shirt ordering conversations involving multiple groups of males. One band and 3 different tech companies. They were groups of men ordering shirts and none were interested in meeting the needs of their fan base in one case or their few female employees/associates in the other case. I am not sure who to blame female wise in that group, other than myself, since I was the only one involved vs 8-10 different men. I tried pretty hard to get them to order mostly AA Ls and XLs instead of those teeny 31-inch Ms, bringing up specifics of who needed them, and was dismissed.

And it sounds like the almighty dollar has finally won in the case of American Apparel - thus their expansion at last into a wider range of sizing.
posted by pekala at 5:22 PM on September 11, 2011


Except that the owner of AA is a sexist pig so you can actually imagine him saying horrible things like 'Let's not make t-shirts for fat women because that isn't the image we want to project'.

But he's not the solo decision maker. Charney has to answer to a board of directors, and since he's trying to stave off bankruptcy, spreading a wider net makes sense. Companies aren't like little kingdoms, where 1 guy can say "I hate pink, I'm not selling anything pink".

Since they're only expanding to an XL, which is 12/14 in their universe, I wonder how much extra production will be run. Large sizes require larger outlay of expenses, but most consumers won't pay extra for a bigger size.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:29 PM on September 11, 2011


One band and 3 different tech companies. They were groups of men ordering shirts and none were interested in meeting the needs of their fan base in one case or their few female employees/associates in the other case.

This seems more like a personal or workplace problem than it does an American Apparel problem.

And it sounds like the almighty dollar has finally won in the case of American Apparel - thus their expansion at last into a wider range of sizing.

Yeah, I mean I don't like it when clothes don't fit me. But there are clothes that don't fit me as a man. They seem to be higher end stuff, and they kinda are saying "these clothes are NOT for your body type"...and I'm ok with that. I also wouldn't look good in a yellow derby hat.

Whats the problem with that? Skinny clothes for skinny people. Being AMERICAN Apparel, I'm kinda surprised that their sizes don't START at XL and get bigger from there. But so what? They get to choose what they make and maybe its based on a belief that their clothes are designed for the skinnier body in mind, or maybe its based on the economic notion that there isn't a large enough market for an XXXL American Apparel women's shirt.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:23 PM on September 11, 2011


American Apparel is basically the only shop that sells ready to wear clothes I can buy. Giant-ass people—that is people bigger than me—basically have a lock on every other clothing chain on the planet. An XS from most anywhere else I shop—assuming they even carry XS stuff for men—is usually baggy. I try not to moan about this, because no one's required to make me clothes for my skinny frame.
posted by chunking express at 7:51 PM on September 11, 2011


Ideefixe writes "Companies aren't like little kingdoms, where 1 guy can say 'I hate pink, I'm not selling anything pink'. "

I wonder how true that is, at least as long as the company is making money. EG: if Steve Jobs had said, before he stepped down, "No Black iPhones!!!" I imagine there wouldn't have been much blow back.
posted by Mitheral at 7:53 PM on September 11, 2011


Giant-ass people—that is people bigger than me—basically have a lock on every other clothing chain on the planet.

I don't understand how someone could possibly think this. I guess you and I just have totally different experiences, and this goes to show just how poorly the clothing world services anyone, but it's extremely hard to shop for clothes if you're large. Extremely hard.

Average-sized people have it easy. It's blissful to shop, if you're average-sized. Giant-ass people like me and you tiny-ass people share the difficulty of shopping for clothes.
posted by meese at 8:57 PM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not wanting to offend the women, but I don't understand something. All you women who say you don't want to wear a "shapeless bag" of a men's tee, I can't help but ask, exactly who is "objectifying" who?

I don't have a dog in this race. I'm not in to women. But clearly, you feel a need to show off your boobs. But if AA does it, it's a bad thing? Or it's a bad thing when the guys like it? I have always found the edges of this issue entirely confusing.

See, if I woman catches some guy starring at her as she walks down the street, she might cop an attitude about it, and some say that's okay. But we're not talking about rape here, and the guy might be reasonable, I suppose, to say "She was asking for it", because, after all, she was dressed in a way to catch a man's eye.

Would the guy in assless chaps complain because everyone kept starring at his ass?
posted by Goofyy at 11:08 PM on September 11, 2011


All you women who say you don't want to wear a "shapeless bag" of a men's tee, I can't help but ask, exactly who is "objectifying" who?

Hi. I'm fat. Since we're getting all technical with sizing and shit, I'm approx. 5 foot 9 inches if I remember to stand up straight, and I'm not sure of my current weight but I'm sporting 44DDDs up front and I usually take a size 16 in pants, and L-XXL in shirts depending on manufacturer and whether it's clothing intended for male or female bodies. I'm also broad shouldered and big-hipped, and when I'm at the lower end of my weight range I'm very hourglassy.

I have a bunch of men's XL shirts from Threadless that I don't really wear unless it's cold. They're short sleeved, but I can't wear them without a cardigan or hoodie over them because of the way they look on me. The neckline is really close around the base of my throat, and the shoulder seams are thick and bulky and make my broad shoulders look even larger. The body of the shirt is completely straight and hits me right below the widest part of my hips, effectively turning my torso into a giant rectangle. With a sweater or something over it, I can at least hide the neckline. But there's not much I can do about the way it takes my curves and makes them completely disappear. When I wear those shirts, even though I love them because they have super cute designs on them, I look horrible.

I'm not sure how acknowledging that a garment that is not meant for my body type looks awful on me, is somehow objectifying the body type or gender that the garment was intended for.

Giant-ass people—that is people bigger than me—basically have a lock on every other clothing chain on the planet.

That's news to me. Here is a list of shops I have been in and cannot find women's clothing to fit me, aside from socks and winter accessories:

H&M
American Apparel
Gap
Banana Republic
J. Crew
White House Black Market
Ann Taylor (but I acknowledge other people who wear my size have had luck there)
bebe
Club Monaco
The Limited
Benetton
Victoria's Secret (I mean, why try?)
Lululemon Athletica
Urban Outfitters
Anthropologie
North Face
Forever 21 -- not even their "plus size" line, I think, looking at the measurements is not encouraging
Lane Bryant, surprisingly -- their stuff is still too short and boxy for my body, last time I tried
Torrid -- same problem as Lane Bryant, also most items are geared to the teen glam-rockabilly enthusiast and I am bordering on middle age and not that into skulls and glitter anymore

There are definitely more stores that should be on the list, but when you have the exact same experience at every store in one mall, it's pretty easy to assume that that's going to happen with most other stores, especially if you don't see anyone that looks like you going in or out of the store.

I didn't list stores like Abercrombie, American Eagle, etc., because while obviously they do not carry my size, also I've never tried to shop at places like those, because when I was a chubby teenager going shopping with my girlfriends, we'd go into one of those stores and I would be treated like a leper. Every single time. However, some of my coworkers shop there.

Stores where I currently shop, because at least the basics fit me if nothing cute and fashionable does:

Old Navy
Fred Meyer (regional "general merchandise" store)
Macy's for bras/more fashionable items if I'm very lucky -- most stuff there that will fit my chest is also matronly

I pretty much just dress in the basics. The same two pairs of shorts and six or seven t-shirts and tank tops all summer. Winter will be the same two or three pairs of jeans, and six or seven long-sleeve shirts and tank tops. Sometimes I will find something cute and currently fashionable and it will fit me and I will leap on it like a crazed wolverine, and then wear the ever-loving fuck out of it, but that only happens maybe once or twice a year, and the garments are not well-made so they don't look good for long and don't last long either.

If you could please point me to the bounty of options I've apparently been blind to my whole damn life, that would be great. I'm so tired of never having any options, and of always feeling frumpy and matronly. I keep meaning to learn to sew but I hear that will kill all the polar bears or something, I'm not sure, plus I'm really busy and frankly not very good at some crafty pursuits due to my ADD, so sewing and me might not be a love match anyway. I'm very confused right now. Can you tell me where to find the H&M that has the shirts that will fit me?
posted by palomar at 12:16 AM on September 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh, wait. Now I see that you're actually saying a woman who wants to wear a flattering garment is "asking for it", whatever "it" might be. That's lovely. That's really lovely.
posted by palomar at 12:18 AM on September 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Not wanting to offend the women, but I don't understand something. All you women who say you don't want to wear a "shapeless bag" of a men's tee, I can't help but ask, exactly who is "objectifying" who?
Ok, seriously? WTF.

There's about a ten-inch difference between my chest measurement and my waist measurement. If I wear a shapeless t-shirt, it hangs straight down from the fullest point of my breasts, and it hides the fact that I have a waist. That's a really unflattering look. I don't like to wear tight t-shirts, but I do prefer fitted t-shirts, because I look a lot better in clothes that allow you to see my actual shape.

Is your argument that women must spend our lives in shapeless, unflattering garments or we're asking to be sexually harassed?
posted by craichead at 1:18 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gooffyy,

"assless chaps" is a meaningless phrase. If they had an ass, they would be pants. I think you mean "chaps with nothing worn underneath".

And if you really think that a woman wearing anything that isn't a shapeless sack giving no indication of the shape of her breasts, waist, or hips is asking to be leered at, you might need to stay indoors until you sort yourself out. Men and women who can't stop themselves from staring at other people's bodies - no matter how those bodies are clothed - those men and women are the problem, not the people who are being stared at.
posted by cilantro at 2:18 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not wanting to offend the women, but ...

You know that anything you say after that preface is going to offend women. It's a weak opener. You should be more direct in your writing.
posted by chunking express at 4:57 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or, you know, just not say stupid stuff.
posted by chunking express at 4:57 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's news to me. Here is a list of shops I have been in and cannot find women's clothing to fit me, aside from socks and winter accessories:

H&M
American Apparel
Gap
Banana Republic
J. Crew
White House Black Market
Ann Taylor (but I acknowledge other people who wear my size have had luck there)
bebe
Club Monaco
The Limited
Benetton
Victoria's Secret (I mean, why try?)
Lululemon Athletica
Urban Outfitters
Anthropologie
North Face
Forever 21 -- not even their "plus size" line, I think, looking at the measurements is not encouraging
Lane Bryant, surprisingly -- their stuff is still too short and boxy for my body, last time I tried
Torrid -- same problem as Lane Bryant, also most items are geared to the teen glam-rockabilly enthusiast and I am bordering on middle age and not that into skulls and glitter anymore


My partner is petite and hourglassy, not plus-sized at all. Looking at that list, I think she can buy stuff at maybe five or six of those places, and at three of those (eg Gap) only very selectively. Of the places on your list that sell men's clothes, I can buy either nothing, or maybe jeans. There are people within some set of "average" sizes out there who can go into every store in the mall and shop freely, but pretty much everyone else is forced to know the few places that have clothes that fit, and can shop only there. In other words, there is plenty of suckage to go around.

One of the good things about AA is that their sizing is pretty consistent and targeted; if you are a certain shape, AA will fit, while many of the other places won't. I wish more places were that focused, because it makes shopping a lot easier. Someone above described how the North Face and Patagonia shifted their sizing towards the average middle; I remember when that happened and how irritated I was that all of a sudden the North Face stuff was being designed for a totally different body shape.
posted by Forktine at 5:28 AM on September 12, 2011


"But clearly, you feel a need to show off your boobs. But if AA does it, it's a bad thing? Or it's a bad thing when the guys like it? I have always found the edges of this issue entirely confusing."

Oh, dear. Look: I barely fill out an A cup, which is why I fit into the handful of AA shirts I have from WOOT, size S. (The rest of me fits anything from a zero to a size ten; I refuse to shop at AA's actual stores because I'm allergic to porny ads and gold lame romper suits.) So no, I'm not showing off my boobs, because trust me: that's basically impossible. But wearing the lady's fit rather than my usual favorite, Children's XL, means that there IS enough fabric to reach to my jeans, and it means I actually have a waist, instead of playing dress-up in, you know, children's apparel. The dude S or M is going to look like a shapeless bag. Too heavy to run in; too much fabric to belt properly at my waist; no delineation whatsoever of the actual person. An acknowledgement of my body is not "asking for it." Tailored garments look more professional, and the same still holds true for even stupid things like t-shirts. My shoulders are smaller, and even things like the placement of my clavicle are markedly different than usual male anatomical specimens. But wearing clothing designed to fit me is....pandering to the male gaze? I'm so confused as to how this is even an issue.


Oh, and I thought the content lingo was, like everything AA does, porny, cheesy like a fondue pot in the Alps, and insulting. I'd love to buy their stuff (the Woot shirts were gifts) because I'm down with paying for Made In America garments and I love brightly colored basics, but Dov is a total raving juicebox, and I refuse to suggest that those pubes-under-lace-undies ads were actually attractive. But I get that there is a market for them, and seriously, their lines run very, very small, so I hope more women do get to enjoy their products. Nancy's ironic pictures were pretty hilarious and I hope someone does pick her out for a photo shoot soon.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:44 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not wanting to wear men's t-shirts is not about "showing off my boobs," for heaven's sake, but about not wanting to look sloppy. Loose, baggy, too-long clothing does not contribute to a neat, presentable look.

There is a part of all this that comes down to the fact that bodies don't come in sizes. Up until the past century, almost all people except sailors and the very poor had clothes that were made to fit them. The 'slops' system was developed for sailors, when pursers laid in a store of clothes that were in a range of generic sizes and tailored in an undifferentiated manner. The slops required a lot of customization by the sailor - but as you can see, the clothes were one the influences helping to give us the term 'sloppy,' which basically meant 'unkempt-looking because your clothes aren't made to fit you.'

The truth is that sizing is a compromise between the reality that every individual actually has a combination of different proportions that don't occur in a predictable way, and the goal of creating clothing by mass manufacture. If you're going to make clothing a commodity, you need to make a decision about how much you're going to worry about fitting a wide range of individuals well. Most clothes, let's be honest, really don't fit anybody truly well, and shopping becomes a total crapshoot where you just try to find some label, cut, size, fabric, etc. that is going to work for you. But we shouldn't be surprised that it's hard for us to find clothing that fits all of us exactly. It's mass manufacturing - it's aiming to find and please some subsector of the total marketplace that has money to spend on clothing.

That doesn't make the statement of some companies that 'girls should be super skinny' any palatable, but they are performing a mass manufacturing service and it's aimed at teens and pre-teens and twentysomethings, and is promoting a particular aesthetic. I have major problems with promoting that particular aesthetic, especially to the exclusion of others, and they deserve to be mocked for it. But I also think it's unreasonable to expect that mass manufactured anything is going to be perfect for you. It's just lucky when your body measurements and taste coincide with what a designer or label is providing.

I definitely wish, as someone suggested above, there were more of a range of clothing designers who address different body types - because there is no shortage of designers. I've gotten more interested in the many online retailers who cater to specific body types and I think they're going to be more and more worth supporting as more and more 'mall' type retailers dumb down and the clothes get ever junkier. One of my frustrations is that I'm bustier than the rest of my body size should indicate, and that just ruins a lot of clothing for me - a shirt can fit at the neck, waist, armholes and sleeves, and gap open across the chest. That means no matter what, I can't ever be a 'perfect' size 12, and will always need to look for styles and labels that cut the bust more generously -- or go up a size and have clothing that looks loose and sloppy. But online retailers have started to specialize in this, and that's a great help.
posted by Miko at 6:05 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hope someone does pick her out for a photo shoot soon.

I'm not sure that's her goal; she identifies herself as an artist and actor, and this whole project looks like conceptual art to me. I don't think breaking into modeling was her goal.
posted by Miko at 6:07 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


By "asking for it", sorry, please learn to read. The "it" was well defined.

Way to perpetuate all the problems of which you pretend to complain.

In the future, instead of politely asking for clarification and understanding, I'll remember that it is best to just stick to the old stereotypes and misconceptions. Or, I dunno, just say the hell with it, and risk pissing off the poor readers.

Cilantro: "assless chaps" gets 69 hits on Metafilter. Stupid term? Yes, of course. But it's used on Metafilter, which is where I learned it.
posted by Goofyy at 6:28 AM on September 12, 2011


I think it's fairly obvious that the problem is not poor readers, but rather your poor and unoriginal way of expressing yourself, and your misunderstanding of the issues around AA and their sizing and what Nancy Upton was trying to express by her actions.

AA seem, to some people, to discriminate against women who are not small and/or thin (and who, therefore, do not fit their 'aesthetic') by the fact that they only make clothing to fit smaller-than-average women, while they offer men's clothes in extra-extra large sizes. Men are not, for the most part, subject to their aesthetic judgments in the same way that women are.

This has NOTHING to do with the (misogynist) view that women in form-fitting clothing are "asking" to be leered at, and it's sad to me that you could read through all the thoughtful, insightful comments here (you did read them, right?) and all you could think of to say was... that.

And, regarding assless chaps, just because 69 people misused a phrase is no reason for you to do the same, is it?
posted by cilantro at 6:57 AM on September 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


I wonder if all the people who complain about tee-shirts that fit across the shoulders or the bust being too big for them at the waist realize how trivially easy it is to take in a tee-shirt. I'm broad-shouldered and not fat so I do this all the time, you don't need a cover stitch from a serger or a two-needle machine, any old sewing machine will do:

1. put the tee on inside-out
2. put a few pins in the sides till it fits nice
3. run a straight seam from the end of each sleeve right under the armpit and down the pins, gently stretching the jersey as you sew
4. try it on!
5. run a zig-zag stitch next to each straight seam
6. cut off the excess
7. PRO FIT!
posted by nicwolff at 7:14 AM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I do not personally feel that the photos are powerful. My initial thought was that a wedding photographer took them, and I was correct. A previous commenter linked to Terry Richardson's Crystal Renn photos and said that they were similar, but I really really really have to disagree. Uncle Terry's photos are striking and 'fashion'. One, two. They are composed and lit well. You want to look at them. Shannon Skloss's are composed like senior portrait and wedding photos. They are lit only with natural light or with terrible indoor lighting. These 'American Apparel diss photos' do nothing for me visually or intellectually. The photos would have been much better if they'd copied American Apparel's signature style. The original concept was cheesy and Skloss does not have the background to make a cheesy idea relevant. For me. Not you. Because these photos obviously touched a lot of people.


I never thought I'd see myself defending Uncle Terry OR American Apparel...I also feel bad posting negative things about a small-time Dallas photographer. Is this comment wrong? Shannon, if you ever read this...you're doing YOU. Let the haters hate && watch tha money pile up, girl!
posted by 200burritos at 7:18 AM on September 12, 2011


P.s. I am a size 4-6 and I've struggled fitting into medium and large sizes at AA (and I wear my clothes TIGHT normally). I'm glad that they're expanding into plus sizes so that I can finally purchase clothes there.
posted by 200burritos at 7:21 AM on September 12, 2011


The problem is not poor readers, dude.

The problem is that you seem to think women who want to wear clothing that actually fits their body, are women who are secretly seeking out "the male gaze" so they can pretend to be upset by it.

That is fucked up.
posted by palomar at 7:37 AM on September 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think Goofyy is pretty much correct that women who wear clothing that hugs their body are asking for people to notice them. Not to be stared at, mind you, because that's rude, but noticed. I'm a guy. If I wear a deep-v fitted shirt, or a button up that exposes my chest hair, or a shirt that hugs my arms, I get girls looking at my body. I don't get stares, because I live in a patriarchal society, but I do get looks. That's just what happens when you show off your body, which is what fitted clothing does. There's nothing "fucked up" about this. It's a normal human reaction.
posted by smorange at 7:51 AM on September 12, 2011


I can guarantee that if you are (a woman) wandering about wearing huge, ill-fitting clothing, people look at you too.
posted by jeather at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Somewhere between Slut Walks and slut shaming lies the truth of the matter.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 7:55 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


smorange and Goofyy, Do you think men are also sending some kind of special message to the world by choosing to wear rectangular t-shirts rather than ones than go in at waists they don't have, or that leave room for breasts that aren't there? Men are not the default humans, their bodies and the clothes that are designed for them are not the only normal ones, and women are not deviating from some kind of universal standard by choosing to wear shirts that are shaped like us rather than shaped like you. You wear clothes to fit your body, we want to wear clothes that fit ours. It doesn't mean anything more than that, and it certainly doesn't make it okay for strange men to leer at us and harrass us.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:02 AM on September 12, 2011 [12 favorites]


I think Goofyy is pretty much correct that women who wear clothing that hugs their body are asking for people to notice them.

No. This may sometimes be true when it's your intention to be noticed, but as I said above, sometimes I'm seeking to avoid notice, the negative notice that would come if I were wearing a too-large, ill-fitting, sloppy-looking shirt.

As a female, that kind of wear gets you the opposite side of the lose-lose question about the roles women are supposed to fill. Looking sloppy you will get one of the following: "She must have low self-esteem; why does she hide her body? She must be so chunky she wants to fool people into thinking she's skinny under there. She's a slob. She doesn't care about her appearance. She's not comfortable with her sexuality. She's ugly; she should be covering that shit up. She dresses like a guy. She must not have a lot of money, or she'd buy some clothes that fit. She must be crazy enough to think that looks good. She dresses like a kid. She's a dyke. She's probably gained some weight recently. She's probably got a muffin top. She doesn't look professional. She doesn't want to be taken seriously. She doesn't know how to dress - she doesn't know what looks good."

You really can't win. As I said above, my goal anytime I'm not slouching around on the weekend is to look neat and presentable and otherwise unremarkable. I'm in a happily committed relationship and not on the prowl. If going out, I want to look festive and nice. I don't want my appearance to be something people dwell on and I don't really want to stand out. I want to be considered mature and grounded, appropriate and not attention-getting. It's actually not that easy when you regularly encounter crazy and intrusive ideas about how you're dressed - not least of which is the idea that anyone is welcome to evaluate how you dress, uninvited.
posted by Miko at 8:03 AM on September 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


I wear clothing that fits because it's comfortable. Men's shirts have too much fabric that gets in the way.

Most men don't wear pants that fit because they want to show off their junk. Most women don't wear shirts that fit because they want to show off their chest.
posted by desjardins at 8:04 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe women who seek well-fitted clothing want to please the female gaze - their own, and that of other women. We have a life outside of our relationships with men.

and frankly, the female gaze is the one I dress for. My SO thinks I look great in whatever, so dressing for him would be pointless. I dress well so that other people will see me and think "she looks neat and tidy/funky/elegant/tough" (insert and replace adjectives for different contexts).
posted by jb at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, so let me get this straight. If I wear shapeless, sloppy clothing that makes me feel horrible, I am free to go about my daily business without interference from anyone else. But if I wear clothing that is actually cut so that the shape of my body is even slightly visible, I should expect any level of attention from other people, because I am "showing off my body".

Is that correct? Because that's what you and Goofyy are saying, smorange.
posted by palomar at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look at this guy showing off his ass! I mean he is just asking for it!
posted by desjardins at 8:07 AM on September 12, 2011


If I wear shapeless, sloppy clothing that makes me feel horrible, I am free to go about my daily business without interference from anyone else.

No, like I said, you'll be harassed and judged for that too.
posted by Miko at 8:10 AM on September 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me add that if you think men don't harass women who are wearing sloppy or dudely clothes, you're very wrong. The most disgusting thing a man ever said to me, he said while I was walking home from an emergency trip to the vet in a baggy bleach-stained t-shirt and track pants at seven thirty in the morning.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 8:12 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Noticing or appreciating someone's looks or clothing? Great. Fine. I do it all the time. I think 'damn that is a nice top' or 'I wish my breasts looked like that' or 'jesus christ I can see that guy's butt cleavage" or "why is she wearing a wedding tiara with a business suit" (saw that this morning). I am capable of gathering the visual information I need to make these quick judgements without staring, without leering, and without making anyone uncomfortable.

I like to think I dress well for my body, such as it is, and I like it when my husband or my friends notice and tell me I look nice. I DO NOT like it when someone stares at my breasts, it makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I shouldn't have to wear tents to avoid this.

Let's make this simple. If your staring is noticeable enough to cause someone to "cop an attitude", even if that someone is wearing a latex shirt with the breasts cut out (a breastless shirt?), you're doing it wrong. If your staring makes a woman pull up her top, or twist around to avoid your gaze, or frown at you, you are doing it wrong.

This isn't a difficult concept. I understand it. Most (non-sexist, non-sexually-inappropriate) men I know understand it. If you don't understand it, you need to work on your social boundaries.
posted by cilantro at 8:13 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


totcputs: the vast majority of men's t-shirts don't fit me. Why? Because I'm not fat. If I wear a slim-fit t-shirt, then yeah, I'm asking for a bit more attention. That's why I went to the trouble of finding a t-shirt that fits. But actual harassment, which I don't receive but I realize that women do, is never okay.

palomar: not "any" level of attention, but to be noticed, yeah. I mean, that's what fashion is for. And what jb said is certainly true, in my experience. That's why my girlfriend dresses well too: for me, sure, but mostly for other women. That's why I didn't say women are asking for looks from men in my first comment. They're asking for looks in general.
posted by smorange at 8:14 AM on September 12, 2011


Oh, and as someone who has to wear a suit on a regular basis, and in a city with a more casual dress code, there again this issue presents itself. I get flattering comments if I wear a tailored suit, and I get looks, sometimes long ones. I also get better treatment in shops and restaurants. I don't get any of this if I wear off the rack. The thing is, humans judge other humans based on appearance. If you dress a certain way, you're going to get attention, and people will judge you. Staring is rude, and so is making comments, but judgment itself is human.
posted by smorange at 8:41 AM on September 12, 2011


All you women who say you don't want to wear a "shapeless bag" of a men's tee, I can't help but ask, exactly who is "objectifying" who?

I haven't read past this comment yet, so maybe another lady addressed it already, but, dude: have you ever had boobs? I'm gonna guess no. It's not about the t-shirt showing off the boobs. It's about the t-shirt being aware that you have boobs.

See, I didn't have much boobage for a long time, so men's t-shirts suited me just fine. I'd get a small, or something with a narrow cut, make sure it was short enough to sit on my hips without blousing too much, and it was great. And then I went on birth control, and these puppies exploded from an A to a holycrap C almost overnight. And suddenly, none of my t-shirts fit anymore. (My other clothes fit better, but the men's t-shirts were right out.)

You know why? Because the t-shirts all had roughly the same width from right under the armpit down to the tail. They don't accommodate a lady chest. Not at all. And it's not even about having the boobs look large or ample or whatever under the t-shirt. It's a simple problem of "is this shirt going to flatten my boobs down so much that they squash under my armpits?" And in the case of men's t-shirts, for me, the answer is "yes. Yes it does."

That help?

Also, I have now posted enough of my body stats in this thread for someone to fashion a proportional doll of me. Please don't do that, yo. That would be creepy. Thank you.
posted by phunniemee at 8:47 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread isn't about the type of shirt that shows off one's boobs. This is the type of shirt under discussion. (That's just the first link I picked from searching for "women's t-shirt.") That.

I have plenty to say about the idea that women are "asking for it" when they're harassed while wearing sexy outfits.... But if even just wearing a t-shirt that fits leads to questions about "asking for it" when harrassed on the street, I.... I don't even know where to begin.
posted by meese at 8:54 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think Goofyy is pretty much correct that women who wear clothing that hugs their body are asking for people to notice them.

People who wear clothes that fit their body properly are asking people to notice they know how to dress properly, and not like a slob.
posted by chunking express at 9:16 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been surprised by the description of AA shirts as expensive. Is there anything as good or better for cheaper? After a tip on MeFi some years ago that you could get them by the 10-pack on Ebay for $65 they've been mostly what I've worn, and they've held up much, much better than any other t-shirt I've had.
posted by Zed at 10:21 AM on September 12, 2011


I wear clothing that fits my body because I have an active job. I am an admin for over 200 people. I work between four different buildings, not only doing the desk portion of my job but also pushing fully loaded carts of supplies (computers, monitors, catering orders for meetings/morale events), cleaning offices, moving furniture, rearranging storage rooms, et cetera. On average I take about 17,000 steps a day.

I also have ADD, and I take medication for it. The medication raises my heart rate, my blood pressure, and my metabolism. I sweat a lot. It does not take a whole lot of effort before the back of my head is soaking wet from sweat -- I just experienced that last week, after running up three flights of stairs, then back down, then pushing a cart loaded with four computers and six monitors around for about ten minutes.

Have you ever worn loose fitting street clothing and then run a 5K? Have you ever experienced the groin and armpit chafing that often comes from exerting yourself while wearing clothing that's loose and floppy and not soft and absorbent like workout gear?* The level of activity I engage in at work on an active day is equivalent to running a 5K, and right now I've got about three active days per week, and two days that are less active but still have me on my feet and moving an awful lot, and sweating.

Go try that, instead of telling me that I deserve whatever level of attention I get, be it a simple notice that I'm wearing clothing or a leer and an unwanted come-on, if I wear clothing that doesn't hide my body like a damned burqa.

*I can't wear workout gear to work, but I can wear what I'm wearing today -- a pair of cargo shorts that come to my knee and that fit close to my body but still leave room for movement, and a men's XL t-shirt from North Cascades Nat'l Park that I just picked up yesterday because it has a big graphic of the lookout where Jack Kerouac worked as a fire spotter. It's an Alternative Apparel shirt, cut similar to the American Apparel shirts, but with a more flattering neckline and shoulder seam. (Heads up, ladies with boobs who don't like AA fits -- look for Alternative Apparel.) It's loose fitting, but as Miko said (and I've experienced myself a thousand times over), that sure doesn't prevent unwelcome stares and comments. Usually I wear a tank top under my shirts to add a layer of absorbency and weight/thickness to my clothing, so that my form isn't as obvious, but today I did not. I have already had someone speak to my breasts instead of my face. That's kind of a daily occurrence, for me. It's mostly not a big deal, but it is annoying, and being told that I deserve it somehow is just ridiculous.
posted by palomar at 10:28 AM on September 12, 2011


The problem is that you seem to think women who want to wear clothing that actually fits their body, are women who are secretly seeking out "the male gaze" so they can pretend to be upset by it.

Yeah seriously. Ludicrous. Everyone knows that women dress for other women, not for guys! Jeez.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:25 AM on September 12, 2011


I've been surprised by the description of AA shirts as expensive. Is there anything as good or better for cheaper? After a tip on MeFi some years ago that you could get them by the 10-pack on Ebay for $65 they've been mostly what I've worn, and they've held up much, much better than any other t-shirt I've had.

I think its generally acceptable for mefites not to like something and then claim its all about the richies. So yeah, $6.50/shirt does not seem expensive. But then you will get someone coming in and saying that they live off of $6.50 worth of food every month in portland or something.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:26 AM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Are you just spraying machine gun fire at strawmen or what? Chill out.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:27 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think its generally acceptable for mefites not to like something and then claim its all about the richies. So yeah, $6.50/shirt does not seem expensive. But then you will get someone coming in and saying that they live off of $6.50 worth of food every month in portland or something.

Retail on American Apparel clothes is a lot higher than $6.50 a t-shirt. That's a great deal, but if you're buying them individually, women's are more in the $20 range (on the AA website). Jeans are $60-$80. I'm going to play devil's advocate for a second, and say that for a company that pays its sewing workers well ($10-$14 an hour), that's probably reasonable. (Sexually harassing said workers, and intimidating them so they don't unionize? Not so reasonable.) AA's manufacturing process is progressive--it's a shame so many other things about them suck.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 11:55 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


smorange: If I wear a deep-v fitted shirt, or a button up that exposes my chest hair, or a shirt that hugs my arms, I get girls looking at my body.

You might get boys looking at you too ;)

*tries to lighten mood*
posted by Lleyam at 12:02 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


On whether or not American Apparel's clothes are expensive:

When was the last time you paid 50+ bucks for shorts that don't even cover your ass? Or 60 bucks for a skirt you could find in any thrift store in America? Or two whole dollars for whatever the fuck this is?
posted by phunniemee at 12:18 PM on September 12, 2011


Well, that's kind of what happens if you don't have little Sri Lankan children making your clothing. Sucks, I know.
posted by chunking express at 12:24 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


When was the last time you paid 50+ bucks for shorts that don't even cover your ass? Or 60 bucks for a skirt you could find in any thrift store in America?

Well, never, because I'm not exactly in the market for hotpants or flowy skirts, but if I were, and preferred to buy something new, made in the USA, and sweatshop-free, I would be pleasantly surprised to find them at that price point.
posted by dersins at 12:41 PM on September 12, 2011


I just had a look at the AA site to see exactly what kind of things they were selling these days and came across this swimsuit. What. The. Everloving. Fuck. Is. That.
posted by cilantro at 1:25 PM on September 12, 2011


What. The. Everloving. Fuck. Is. That.

You're so behind the times, dude. "Grandma's Girdle" is really in this year.
posted by phunniemee at 1:35 PM on September 12, 2011


Can be used as a swimsuit OR as intimate apparel!

Eugh. No.
posted by palomar at 1:39 PM on September 12, 2011


Imagine how attractive that shiny bandeau top would be on some d-or-above cups.
posted by cilantro at 1:41 PM on September 12, 2011


What. The. Everloving. Fuck. Is. That.
I think some designer was given a challenge to figure out how many ways he or she could cause a garment to be unflattering to pretty much any woman.

(The high-wasted, retro swimsuit seems to be a bit of a thing this year. Here's Modcloth's much cuter, though still not anything I would be tempted to wear ever, version.)
posted by craichead at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, that's kind of what happens if you don't have little Sri Lankan children making your clothing. Sucks, I know.
I have a really hard time believing that skirt, which has a pretty simple construction and pretty cheap materials, costs three times as much to make as a t-shirt, which has more-complex construction and more-challenging sewing. So unless AA is having Sri Lankan children sew its $18 t-shirts but not its $58 skirts, I don't think that's the explanation. And if I wanted a skirt like that, I could thrift it or make it myself, although it's kind of moot, because I cannot think of any reason that I would ever want a skirt that was quite that hideous.
posted by craichead at 2:04 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks for sharing all the different ways you could avoid buying that skirt. I'm sure it will help a lot of people out.
posted by chunking express at 2:59 PM on September 12, 2011


Thanks for sharing all the different ways you could avoid buying that skirt. I'm sure it will help a lot of people out.
Whereas men lecturing the little ladies on such topics of the guys' expertise as whether we wear the clothes that we do because we want to be ogled or what the value is of various women's clothing items which we procure and wear and which you don't? That's super-duper helpful.
posted by craichead at 3:14 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


And for what it's worth (and after this I'll shut up), I don't think that AA's basics are overpriced. They may cost a little more than comparable clothes from other big mass-market retailers, but the prices seem fair for practical, well-constructed clothes made by people who are paid decently. I do think that their silly clothes are over-priced. The silly garments seem to be much more expensive than the basics, and they aren't the kind of clothes that it makes sense to spend much money on. You can wear a black t-shirt a million times and nobody will realize that you're wearing the same t-shirt you wore the day before yesterday. You're not going to wear leopard-print hotpants that many times, especially if they fall apart the first time you try to wash them, but probably even if they don't. It makes sense to invest in quality basics. If you are paying $60 for leopard-print hotpants and you are not rolling in money, you probably need to familiarize yourself with the local thrift store, figure out which of your mom's cousins was tacky and fabulous in the '70s and raid her closet, or learn to sew. If none of these things are going to work, then you probably don't need leopard-print hotpants anyway. $60 is too much to spend on throw-away silly clothes. For me, $20 is not too much to spend on a good basic t-shirt.
posted by craichead at 3:37 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've really been enjoying the lecture. Especially from the person who chose to MeMail me with their lecture, which included a nice chunk about how my inability to read, comprehend, and respond to honest questions is "seriously impaired" and took me to task for "imposing" myself on the discussion here.

Thanks for that, fellow MeFite. That was such a lovely thing to experience today. Truly.
posted by palomar at 3:39 PM on September 12, 2011


Thanks for that, fellow MeFite. That was such a lovely thing to experience today. Truly.

ಠ_ಠ
posted by phunniemee at 3:46 PM on September 12, 2011


I like boobies.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 3:51 PM on September 12, 2011


I like boobies.

No, you don't. You just think you do.
posted by phunniemee at 4:04 PM on September 12, 2011


Whereas men lecturing the little ladies on such topics of the guys' expertise as whether we wear the clothes that we do because we want to be ogled or what the value is of various women's clothing items which we procure and wear and which you don't?

That's stupidness too, which I also pointed out. I find people on MetaFilter—when they aren't telling you how much your favourite band sucks—are all about telling you, "that thing you like is so over priced, you petite bourgeoisie."
posted by chunking express at 6:37 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The petite bourgeoisie shop at Target.
posted by jb at 7:26 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wear clothing that fits my body because I have an active job.
Huh?
Yeah, I've really been enjoying the lecture. Especially from the person who chose to MeMail me with their lecture, which included a nice chunk about how my inability to read, comprehend, and respond to honest questions is "seriously impaired" and took me to task for "imposing" myself on the discussion here.

Thanks for that, fellow MeFite. That was such a lovely thing to experience today. Truly.


You are doing this wrong.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:40 PM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I want when I'm walking down the street is for someone to notice me enough not to walk into me or swing their fucking lighted cigarette in my way. I am not "asking" them to notice me as a Woman on the Prowl, or as a walking example of OMG BOOBS.

I mean, I don't care if someone thinks OMG BOOBS, think what you want, but I have nothing to do with the contents of someone else's head, and furthermore, I refuse to take any responsibility for effectively catering to/blocking myself out of some random idiot's fantasy sex life every time I walk down the fucking street.

Because I am not a walking billboard for your demented gender issues or a mobile decoration, I am a person, who happens to live in a female body, and if you don't like how I look or are disturbed by the way that how I look makes your pants feel funny (or doesn't), then you, my friend, are the one with the problem. Not me. Take your issues up with your therapist, not with women who are just trying to live their fucking lives without being skeeved on.
posted by emjaybee at 8:05 PM on September 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


hal_c_on, if you are confused about what I meant by, "I wear clothing that fits my body because I have an active job", your confusion could be alleviated if you continued reading the rest of that comment.

As for whether I am "doing this wrong", please explain what you mean, or knock it off right now. You're not helping anyone when you post cutesy little opaque comments like that. If you're interested in actually having a discussion about something like a grown-ass man instead of tossing off these snide little remarks, I'm all for it. If you're here to be snide to me, buddy, today is not the goddamn day for that. I don't deserve to be treated like that.
posted by palomar at 8:12 PM on September 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Palomar, you have taken a thread about someone winning an american apparel contest by being clever and turned it into a thread about how why you wear certain clothes and how everyone is out to get you.

Also, you're being kind of a dick to whoever memailed you. Discussing the contents of private memail is one of those "not cool" things on metafilter. You deserve to be treated well. But being kind of a dick to someone who memailed you to discuss their view won't really get people to respect you.

Good luck with your problems, I hope you find what you are looking for.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2011


hal_c_on, you've demonstrated that you will give the absolute least charitable reading to whatever I say here. I also feel like you're being ridiculously judgemental about what I said about the MeMail I received. Did I post the whole thing here? No. Did I mention BY NAME the person who sent it to me? NO. I did not. And THAT would be grounds for you to make this sad little call-out that you're making here.

I notice that you didn't even bother to address my request to clarify what you meant by your earlier comment, which indicates to me that you are not arguing in good faith.
It's great that you feel comfortable calling me names. It's great that you feel like you have the right to excoriate me for my actions, but maybe you need to be looking in a big ol' mirror when you do that, because I kind of think accusing me of turning this thread into a big ol' Palomar pity party (which is a big pile of bullshit, frankly) and also calling me a dick multiple times is worse than anything I've done. I figure if there was a problem with my behavior here, a mod would pull my comments and give me a talking-to. That hasn't happened. The only people who feel they need to "correct" me are you, and the mystery MeFite who mailed me and thus far has remained unnamed.

I am not the only person in this thread saying the things I have said, but as far as I know, I'm the only person you're attacking. Maybe you should examine why you feel like that's an okay thing for you to be doing, and why you've decided I should be the target of your weird, misdirected ire.
posted by palomar at 3:09 PM on September 13, 2011


hal_c_on...you feelin' ok there, kiddo? Usually I've found you to be a pretty nice guy. To me, at least. So I'm pretty inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt on things. I thought maybe you were just having a bad day yesterday, but on reflection, you appear to be on a little bit of a crapfest bender over here. Every single comment you've posted to this thread has been at least a little bit combative and snotty. Which is fine, I guess, I mean: I like to go for the easy lulz myself from time to time. But you really seem to have a hard-on for palomar, who has participated so far in this thread in what seems to me to be good faith, and now you and she seem to have this thing going on for reasons that are completely unclear to me.

I'd go on, but it appears that my roommate's mentally deficient dog is trying to pull something out of the garbage, and I probably ought to go deal with that. But hal_c_on. Dude. Lighten up. You're making me embarrassed for you.
posted by phunniemee at 3:24 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


hmm, good point, phunniemee. im out. Good luck with your hard life, palomar.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:42 PM on September 13, 2011


Confused here, too. Why is it not on to talk about how clothes fit on certain body types in a thread that's about a retail chain deciding to sell clothes for certain body types? We pretty much always employ anecdata about this kind of stuff; in a thread about browsers or operating systems, we're going to talk about what we use, what we need, what we like, what we don't like, what we want. Nobody's going to get upset if someone says, "for work, I need to do XYZ (where XYZ is detailed), and this browser/OS doesn't work efficiently for that."

Don't even think about joining a thread where people are talking about coffee! You're gonna get an earful of burr grinders, I tell ya!

so, yeah... maybe you're sort of on a grouch about something else? I don't see any reason to be upset here. Hugs?
posted by taz at 1:13 AM on September 14, 2011


You guys, he's just trolling. After all, trolls will troll. Best to put him on your "scarily batshit crazy, ignore permanently" list, I know I have.

Moving on to more interesting topics...

I spoke to a guy yesterday that I often work with to get custom tees made for work functions, and he told me that after American Apparel starting having big financial problems they quit using them as a bulk shirt supplier, fearing unreliability down the road. They switched out to Alternative Apparel for men and Bella for women, and aside from commenting on how suddenly the sizing seems less teensy tiny, no one has really even noticed the change. The quality is on par with American Apparel in regards to fabric, finishing, etc., but the sizing is more forgiving. So if you're looking for decent basics and you don't like the American Apparel fit, maybe try one of those.

I wonder how many other bulk orderers dropped American Apparel when they started having financial problems?
posted by palomar at 7:15 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


AA's marketing, as well, really pulls a snowjob on people: t-shirts made in America do not have to be expensive.
posted by Miko at 7:48 AM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


And AA has responded to Upton.

I liked this part:
Oh — and regarding winning the contest, while you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company.
I read that as "you're a nasty person who we don't want anywhere near our brand". (I can understand why they wouldn't want to choose her, but not their wording.)
posted by jeather at 12:52 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that response to Upton sounds super nasty - she either not beautiful inside (entering this contest to mock it makes her a terrible person?) or outside (too fat?). Or both. I hope that Upton can laugh and move on because she definitely comes out the better person in this exchange.
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:23 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


That whole letter from AA's creative director to Upton is just... wow. What a piece of work.
posted by palomar at 2:04 PM on September 14, 2011


Well, it sounds like Nancy Upton struck a nerve, anyway!
posted by craichead at 2:34 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The company managed to come out of this looking a thousand times lamer, which is hilarious considering they were making a bid for 'we're so enlightened!'
posted by Miko at 3:09 PM on September 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the letter is awesome.

In the past, American Apparel has been targeted for various reasons, many times by journalists who weren’t willing to go the extra mile to even visit the factory or meet the people in charge.

It wasn't that long ago that a journalist did just that, and was treated to Iris (author of this letter) talking about the importance of having four orgasms a day, and the big boss unbuckling his belt. What journalist wouldn't jump at the chance for that?

Perhaps I could have shed some light on some issues that have been left cloudy over the years. However, sensational media will always need something to latch on to and success, spandex and individuality (and mutton chops circa 2004) are certainly easy targets.

Who is this introspective, thoughtful woman? Ah yes, the one whose photo is, yes, her ass with a red hand mark on it. No, nothing has been left cloudy.
posted by Houstonian at 5:00 PM on September 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


As a creative who isn’t always the most tactful and tends to stay away from the limelight, maybe I haven’t spoken up as much as I should have over the past 8 years that I’ve worked at American Apparel.

No, no -- you were doing it right.

My perception of American Apparel was already more negative than positive, but this sneering, butthurt response is just... wow. Inner and outer beauty FFS? Rebecca Black's funny-dancing friend showed more grace that this corporate officer. Now I feel like I need to canvass my friends and relations, and bands whose tshirts I'd otherwise buy.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 5:41 PM on September 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


[Hal_c_on, palomar, you two need to knock it off or take it to MetaTalk, stat. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 11:35 AM on September 17, 2011


This wasn't the start of a 'will they / won't they' romance on MetaFilter?!
posted by chunking express at 5:56 AM on September 19, 2011


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