Tim Gunn slams American designers for ignoring plus-sized women

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Tim Gunn is my dream husband, and I mean that in the old-fashioned marriage-of-convenience way, like the women who used to marry their gay BFFs. Tim and I would happily stay in and watch Game of Thrones (he would be upset about the violence, but he would stay for the dragons) and we would go shopping together all the time. We would make brunch and have the same taste in novels. It would be amazing. So, I’ve always loved Tim Gunn and whatever he has to say, it’s always going to be the truth. Gunn wrote a long-ass op-ed for the Washington Post to honor the beginning of New York Fashion Week. Well, “honor” is the wrong word. He’s actually slamming the sh-t out of all of the American designers showing their collections at NYFW because they’re consistently ignoring tens of millions of women just because those women are larger than a size 10. You can read the full piece here. Some of the best parts:

Fashion has turned its back on plus-sized women: “I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems, and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women. It’s a puzzling conundrum. The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.”

What designers say: “I’ve spoken to many designers and merchandisers about this. The overwhelming response is, “I’m not interested in her.” Why? “I don’t want her wearing my clothes.” Why? “She won’t look the way that I want her to look.” They say the plus-size woman is complicated, different and difficult, that no two size 16s are alike. Some haven’t bothered to hide their contempt. “No one wants to see curvy women” on the runway, Karl Lagerfeld, head designer of Chanel, said in 2009. Plenty of mass retailers are no more enlightened: Under the tenure of chief executive Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch sold nothing larger than a size 10, with Jeffries explaining that “we go after the attractive, all-American kid.”

How to change: “This a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.

How demoralizing it is to shop while plus-sized:
“Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12, and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.”

Everything is dated: “Despite the huge financial potential of this market, many designers don’t want to address it. It’s not in their vocabulary. Today’s designers operate within paradigms that were established decades ago, including anachronistic sizing. (Consider the fashion show: It hasn’t changed in more than a century.) But this is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their minds around it. I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices. Separates — tops, bottoms — rather than single items like dresses or jumpsuits always work best for the purpose of fit. Larger women look great in clothes skimming the body, rather than hugging or cascading. There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.

[From WaPo]

Is there such a thing as a Size-Ally? Because I think Tim Gunn is it. This issue has been discussed by celebrity women before, from Leslie Jones to Melissa McCarthy to Bryce Dallas Howard to Ashley Graham. And for the most part, those women were given some attention as oddities, as the exceptions to the rule. But no. This is how 100 million American women are treated by the fashion industry, and Size-Ally Tim Gunn is calling out those fashion bitches right and left. Bless him. I cosign everything he’s saying too – because of the size of my bust, I often have to look at plus-sized blouses/coats/etc and the choices just aren’t there. The fashion industry looks at 100 million American women as “not deserving” of cute clothes. And it sucks.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, Fame/Flynet.

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227 Responses to “Tim Gunn slams American designers for ignoring plus-sized women”

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  1. wendy woo says:

    Tim Gunn- you are amazing.
    Our money is just as green, WHY DON’T THEY WANT IT?
    I think it comes down to many designers actually not having the construction skill-set or imagination.
    Any designer can put a huge, powerful engine into a cramped two-seater sports car. But what about finding a way of putting that power into a family SUV? THAT takes imagination and skill.

    • Tiffany says:

      Because they feel if we really want it, we will work to get it. And by that diet and most likely starve ourselves. My mindset it, if you cannot cater to various bodies, you are not a good designer to begin with.

    • Tash says:

      I so agree about designers not having the skill-set to make clothes for different sizes, plus size especially. My aunt was a seamstress and was a plump woman but damn, she always looked like million bucks :)

      • Timbuktu says:

        I agree with you, ladies!
        And quite frankly, I don’t know about very high fashion, but frankly, I find most designs even for thin women to be quite lacking. Semi-transparent, clinging fabrics, variation on pillowcase dresses, with a couple of holes and an elastic waste,, sleeveless-dress galore, I just feel like we lost the culture of good tailoring, it became something that you might want in your work pant suit, but nothing else. I have to go to places like ModCloth to look for a dress with a bell sleeve, for example. And a slightly stiffer fabric does wonders for hiding minor body imperfections – even slim women can surely use it, given that most celebrities wear serious spanks under their red carpet looks. Don’t cut everything so low: again, even very fit women can use some coverage around the neck and arms after some age (but I guess they aren’t interested in dressing older women either). Etc., etc., etc.

      • HK9 says:

        Exactly. I saw seamstresses dress and alter clothes for women of all sizes and they never said, ‘Oh man, the larger women are hard to fit.’ they just did it and they looked good.

  2. sensible says:

    Fashion is a tough game, and the money is just there for the taking for retailers who actually try for bigger women. After a while you just switch off from fashion when finding good stuff is difficult….I think I would be a US size 12-14….and I get annoyed at the lack of choice here in Australia for me too. Got big boob’s? Well you can eff off then according to all the high street stores. My particular hatred size wise? Zara. They suck. God bless Tim for saying it.

  3. greenmonster says:

    I just love him. I totally agree with what he said about shopping plus-size clothes. He is on point with his words. Plus-size clothes is often horrible – esp. those you can buy in plus-size stores. Large prints, dozen of colours on one item, large pockets on unfavorable places like the hip area, not to mention lots of fabric (because you have to hide your hideous body).

  4. SunnyD says:

    The average American women wears a 16-18??? My goodness…. let’s focus on the health crisis and changing an obviously unhealthy culture in America not bend the fashion industry to meet an unhealthy extreme on the other side of the spectrum.

    Just as favoring the underweight in fashion is wrong, glorifying obesity is wrong and holds far reaching social and economic consequences.

    • profdanglais says:

      Aaand here’s the concern troll. Only five comments in.

      What do you suggest women should wear while we’re “focusing on the health crisis?” Burlap sacks? Women’s health is their own private concern. It is not “glorifying obesity” to give larger women nice clothes to wear. I wish this frankly stupid notion would die the fiery death it deserves.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      So you’re basically saying that if a woman is plus sized, overweight, or obese, she should not be permitted to have nice clothing? Please don’t come back and say that’s not what you said, because “not bend the fashion industry to meet an unhealthy extreme on the other side of the spectrum” is saying exactly that.

      And since we’re yelling so loudly for everyone to stay out of our bodies (my body my choice ring a bell?) how about we stay out of the weight and health of others as well? A woman is no less a woman because of her weight and no women need other women chiming in on their weight out of faux concern.

      • SunnyD says:

        Hard to stay out of the health and weight of others when it puts a strain one everyone. Especially in the matter of health care that obese individuals amass a huge amount of costs that are almost always preventable.

        Obesity has many causes, mental, emotional, laziness, lying to yourself, lack of education and so on. It’s very unusual for obesity to be untreatable. But let’s stop kidding ourselves, most obesity is laziness and lying to yourself. If the medical issues were really that common it wouldn’t be confined to western culture and it wouldn’t be affecting other countries now being influenced by Western culture.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        @SunnyD, childhood trauma is a major health indicator particularly as regards the ability to lose weight and keep it off. So you tell me who is costing society. Sounds like a lot of effed-up adults.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        @SunnD, Google ACE study. Also, I laugh at how you think lack of education is a cause of obesity. If so, then countries with high rates of illiteracy would also have high rates of obesity and yet this is not the case. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but if you’re going to speak authoritatively on something then I suggest learning how.

      • Horsforth says:

        I was recently in Europe on honeymoon, and one thing became really apparent to me – that European women are significantly thinner than women from North America. Europe and North Americans have similar levels of economic development. And I’m talking about all ages here from under 30′s to over 50′s.

        As a English emigrant to Canada, there are many key differences in the NA vs European diet.

        1. Portion size. A typical bag of chips in the UK is 1/4 the size of the NA version
        2. Food additives – Europe has many more legal restrictions on what counts as ‘food’ leading to better and more nutrition rich food sources.

        The reality in the growing obesity epidemic is that North Americans eat too much and move too little.

        In the 90′s my Master’s thesis was about market opportunities in the womens 16+ clothes size market. There is clear and latent demand for decent clothes for women of larger sizes, and I totally agree that there should be more clothing options for women of all sizes – as a women with a 34f bra size I usually have to buy bras from the UK, as it is literally impossible to buy a bra of the right size at a decent price in North America.

        However, any discourse on the provision of more choice to larger sized women, cannot ignore the reality that the overweight put their health at considerable risk, and strain the health resources that everyone needs to use. I think that two areas of focus are needed – tackling the food lobby and the quality of food in NA and ensuring that all women have access to the clothes they need.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I’m with Horsforth. There are two separate issues going on and they both need to be addressed. While I agree there is a health problem with North American people – not just women – but men too, this isn’t the time nor place to address it because the issue at hand here, is that there are no desirable, available clothes for larger women. Marketing to larger women is not ignoring a health crisis. It is merely supply and demand opportunity and necessity. The fact is there is a great population of women here in American who want fashionable attire but there is nothing out there for them. That really has nothing to do with the health crisis. I don’t see making larger sized clothing that flatters larger women as glorifying obesity. It is merely meeting a current demand. It also doesn’t mean that supplying a demand is pandering or encouraging obesity. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have an epidemic of obesity because larger women would all be getting skinny to fit into the current fashion encouragement of being overly thin. Two topics that require very different approaches. Save the talk about health and obesity for some other thread. And I’m not a concern troll. The facts are there and I don’t believe for one moment that the U.S.’s obesity rate is due to childhood trauma. That’s trying to convince us that the majority of obese people in America are obese because they were traumatized. Maybe some, but certainly not most let alone all. We all know what causes obesity – bad habits and following your parents’ lead. We have become a nation of sedentaries. I love what Tim has to say about fashion, but I’m not going to pretend that obesity isn’t really about choices. The problem is, many many are food addicts and I can’t imagine trying to beat that vice. If it were drugs or alcohol, you’d simply try to abstain completely, but that’s not possible with food, so people have to learn to eat just a little of what their normally used to and that would be like telling a heroin addict, “you can have a taste, but that’s it.” So, I don’t judge and I don’t think I’m better because I don’t have that problem. I have sympathy and believe we should all come at with compassion. What has hate and judgement ever done for addicts or people with low self-esteem, but the opposite of it’s intent. People need to come around on their own and be supported – not put down.

    • Truthie says:

      A lot women I know who have children gain weight and go up a few sizes after childbirth. The vast majority cannot afford a trainer and they simply don’t have the time because they are working AND being a mom.

      • SunnyD says:

        This is true, but I know only 2 people who are over weight by no fault of their own. 1 it is a side affect of her cancer treatment and the other she has a genetic issue that is incredibly rare. I have friends that struggle with weight, but it’s entirely due to diet. I’ve had 4 kids and work full time. I have to use an app to log everything I eat and drink to be responsible for my body. It’s very easy to forget what a portion is or to make a bad food choice, but at the same time people need to accept that no one had a gun to their head. I lost 80 pounds after I had my first child and that’s when I had a choice to either change how I was living or blame my circumstances for my weight. It’s not easy and you can never stop, you have to commit to being healthy.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Sunny – that’s great for you, but don’t act like now that you’ve beat your problem, you’re better than those who haven’t. If someone were talking you down about your choices and laziness back when you were over-weight, it would not have helped you. Chances are you would have went straight to the fridge to make yourself feel better. You are trying to push your ways and your advice on people who don’t want it. You came around in your own good time and on your own terms. Why is it so hard to understand that others need the same. I get that you’re proud of your achievement, but your attitude is arrogant and braggy. Good for you. Lay off everybody else. You aren’t the fat police just because you’re not fat anymore. You’re giving me Kelly Ozbourn vibes.

      • Sarah says:

        SunnyD, there’s also so hard a thing as being unhealthily obsessed with weight, and if you are continually logging everything you eat, that is an unhealthy obsession.

        I wonder how much you cost me from my tax dollars with your obsession?

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Oh please stop. That was not the point of this post and you know it but god forbid we simply accept the fact that larger women exist and want to dress themselves fashionably. A size 14 is not obese unless you’re five feet or under.

      • SunnyD says:

        My point is the average size in America shouldn’t be a size 16-18. That is shocking and concerning. You can have kids and work and still not be overweight. Thyroid issues are actually incredibly rare. You can’t blame the food because it’s you who chooses it eat it. It’s a lack of accountability for ones choices and health.

        There should be fashionable plus size clothes, but it shouldn’t be the standard size.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        Just stop. Seriously, Stop. And thyroid issues are actually not as rare as you seem to think they are. Stay out of the health of other people.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        STAHP! Half the women in my family have thyroid issues, two of my friends do! They’re not overweight but you’re dead wrong when you make that blanket statement. And it’s still not the point here.

        Nobody asked for larger sizes to be the “standard size”. What is that, btw? And why do you get to decide?

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Sunny wasn’t saying these things when she had kids and was working full time and was obese. Her new-found fitness has gotten the better of her. Now that she’s on the other side, she’s lost her humility. Take a seat girl. You’ve patted yourself on the back quite enough.

    • detritus says:

      This is true. We should stop making all clothing for larger people to shame them into compliance!

      Except ae don’t force smokers to quit, underweight models to eat, celiacs to avoid wheat and we still dress them. That’s even assuming if you carry extra weight it’s because of lifestyle choices, when it’s often much more complicated.

    • Betsy says:

      Such an ignorant post. No, SunnyD, allowing women of all sizes to clothe themselves is NOT “glorifying obesity.” In fact, given that fat shaming has the opposite effect and actually causes weight gain, respecting different bodies – or “glorifying” as you’d call it – might actually have the effect of helping some people take better care about themselves. What’s that? You don’t actually care about people’s health? Yeah. Figured.

      Regarding the obesity epidemic, I’m glad your body isn’t as sensitive to sugars and carbohydrates as some peoples. For lo this news broke http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/13/well/eat/how-the-sugar-industry-shifted-blame-to-fat.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 Starting back in the 60s we as a society were lied to. We were told to remove fat, and by extension protein, from our diets with the effect that we ate more carbs than ever, and we were told that sugar wouldn’t really do anything wrong. For some people’s bodies, no big deal. For other people’s – weight gain, obesity, diabetes. I am FUMING.

      • Sb says:

        Thank you for posting that link Betsy! Added sugar and corn syrup has destroyed the integrity of our food. Along with soy, which is in everything! 2 tsp of soy a day can deplete your daily supply of neurotransmitters exacerbating mental health struggles. The way our food is processed and the lies sold to us by the food industry is a huge part of the problem. There is no room for shame in helping people become the best version of themselves. That being said I will happily shame the food industry corporate giants that have destroyed our food!

    • Goats on the Roof says:

      Plus-sized people deserve nice-looking clothes, too, but I agree–I’m so bothered the outrage here is against the fashion industry and not that the average American woman has become so large. This IS a health crisis, but yes, let’s focus on the unavailability of extended-size tops without ruching or shoulder pads.

      Some people want to blame time constraints or the food industry or “medical reasons” (this one is legit for some people but only a small percentage). The fact is, these are just excuses. We eat more garbage and move less. We are unhealthier than ever, let’s not sugar-coat it.

      • SunnyD says:

        I think I was pretty sure I was clear that my issue was with the average size being so huge, but it’s obviously such a common issue I’m not in the majority. It is a matter of too many excuses too little accountability. It’s the unpopular opinion, but a healthy body type is no longer the majority so it is what it is.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.

      • secret says:

        You said that really well. I was thinking how I fall into the fashion size 10, but JUST. I was over it a little while ago before losing 15 lbs (I am a very tiny person) and adjusted my diet much healthier. I felt so much better and had so much energy. I have since gained most of it back (Due to eating choices -I have always consistently worked out) and feel all bad again. But that describes many American women. Why can’t we wear nice clothing while we struggle with our weight?

        I just can’t figure out why designers can’t see the massive pile of money that is waiting for them if they’d be the pioneer and break through the plus size barrier.

      • Greenieweenie says:

        I am wondering if fashion’s intolerance for larger sizes has to do with whether the industry is dominated by men, whether straight or gay. I was spoonfed on Vogue magazine and over the years, I have read more than one article about how (especially gay) men prefer women who look a certain way–not large, in other words.

        I am not making that argument. I wouldn’t know. I am repeating what I have read, and conscious of generalizations. I do know fashion industry marketing is inarguably dominated by the male gaze (whether straight or gay). (PS-I know Tim Gunn isn’t straight. He’s an interesting cat and obviously an outlier who is taking the status quo to task. I’m wondering if the industry would look different if it were dominated by women).

      • Greenieweenie says:

        Sorry I should be clearer: I have read more than one article CLAIMING that (usually with emphasis on gay) men are the reason why the fashion industry chooses to clothe walking coat hangars + a small range of additional sizes.

        Or maybe blaming is a better word. My point: it’s a topic.

      • Bonster says:

        I think people are not outraged by the fact that we are bigger than we used to be, but by the high-handed way SunnyD has been moralizing and tooting her own weight loss horn.

      • Mieke says:

        SunnyD. You gained 80 pounds during pregnancy? You must be very irresponsible to do that to your growing child. Nice for you that you lost the weight, but the effects will last on your child. Especially the part where they might be susceptible to weight gain later on. Congrats to you, little miss judgement, you screwed up your kid even before it was born. Judgement is solely meant for you of course, since to you it’s a choice to gain weight or not.

        To all the lovely ladies who gained that kind of weight, be it during pregnancy or not, been there, done that, know it was not something easily controllable. So no judgement from me, only understanding.

    • naomipaige says:

      @ SunnyD:

      Just stop. The hole you’re digging for yourself keeps getting bigger and bigger.

      • SunnyD says:

        It’s not a hole, it’s the opinion of the healthy body minority now. Obviously most women in the states are overweight and aren’t going to take well to being told it’s shocking and unhealthy to be obease. Healthy and fat does not exist. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually it will catch up and then it’s a new blame game.

      • EscapedConvent says:

        SunnyD,
        My head is spinning from your comment that the average size is so “huge.”. Size 14, for example, is not huge by any stretch of the imagination. I’m amazed by your negative view about larger sizes than 10, for instance. I thought that the attitude toward plus sized people was gradually improving, and I still think it is. ( I will regard your comments as out-of-touch and old-fashioned by several decades.) And you don’t seem to be aware that many, many health issues can cause weight gain, with the medications that are meant to treat them.

        At any rate, God love Tim Gunn. He is able to see outside himself. I adore him.

      • littleballsofsunshine says:

        Oh Sunny. Bless your heart. Actually bodies need fat to exist. A body with zero percent fat would die.

        I’m also really tired of women assuming all of the blame for the public health crisis of obesity. Men are also getting larger. Do you stand and protest outside of big and tall stores Sunny? Do you rail against ESPN’s Body Issue when they put Prince Fielder on the cover? Because otherwise you are just body shaming women for your own enjoyment and that’s not very nice of you.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        For the love of God, get over yourself! We’re well aware of the health crisis. You aren’t telling anybody anything they don’t already know. Obesity is beside the point of this article. And for the record, I am naturally small and thin. I have never had an issue with weight. I happen to have been blessed with an enviable genetic cocktail and a fast metabolism. I am very active – constantly moving, and when I move, I move fast. I’m very fit. None of that gives me the right to shame people who are not thin or fit. If anything, it makes me sympathetic to those that struggle with weight. You keep coming off like you’re oh so worried about this crisis, but it wasn’t that long ago, that you were very much a member of the very same crisis. You mustered up enough desire to make a change for yourself and it’s worked for you. But that doesn’t deem you anybody to judge or advise. Consider yourself a success story, but do not consider yourself an expert on the subject or somehow elitist. This thread is not about obesity. You’re trying to make it about obesity and others aren’t having it. Say what you want, but you are the last person somebody struggling with their weight wants to hear from because you’re not coming from a place of real concern or compassion. You’re simply using this opportunity to bolster yourself for your new-found success. Some of us have never had to struggle and we aren’t acting shocked or lecturing. Any psychologist would ask you what it is you really get from this. The answer is obvious. It makes you feel better to put other people down. Ironic, isn’t it, considering you were one of the people you are now putting down.

      • Sunnydaze says:

        Well gee SunnyD, I was a consistent 10-12 at 5’10, and went off my birth control to try and get pregnant. Lo and behold the birth control kept my PCOS in check and I quickly gained about 30 lbs in about 4 months. When I started fertility treatments, I gained another 20. I was about a size 16 or so. Absolutely I watched what I ate and exercised as much as I could, but between working 70 hours a week and struggling with how the treatments made me feel, it wasn’t that easy to put all that weight in check. But guess what???? Throughout this whole ordeal my blood pressure is consistently amazing (I seem to average around 110/65), my cholesterol is on point, I have no other health issues to speak of. None. I am NOT a burden on your society, and despite my weight issues I’ve had a very healthy pregnancy, no gestational diabetes, minimal weight gain. In fact, I know PLENTY of women in the 16-18 range who are wildly healthy and lead beautiful active lives. Just because someone is overweight does not equate “unhealthy”. You know when I was a burden to your society? When I was 120lbs and in and out of the hospital for an eating disorder. You don’t know everyone’s story, you’re not there watching every thing they put in their mouths, you have no clue what is happening in someone’s body and it’s plain irresponsible to perpetuate this idea that someone can’t be healthy and overweight at the same time. My actual doctors would strongly disagree with you. I hate that my mother who has serious heart issues (from a faulty valve) and has had multiple surgeries is on medication that caused her to balloon beyond recognition – well beyond what I’m sure you consider fat – and here she is so afraid someone will make fun of her for using the scooters she’d rather risk her health by walking without assistance every time she goes to the store. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

      • Emelu says:

        @SunnyDaze, good on you, and good luck!
        @SunnyD, I’ve gone from 109 to 172 lbs. because I need a morphine pump. Because of horrid body shamers like you, I dread going out in public. Please take your fake concern over my health, and ever so politely eat your own harmful words. Careful, I bet they weigh a ton.

    • Nameless says:

      A lot of the newer research on obesity is showing that weight gain can cause permanent metabolic changes, and weight loss can influence hormones like leptin and ghrelin to give the brain abnormal signals about drives like hunger and satiety. It’s a complicated and there is a great deal we don’t know. But our bodies weren’t designed to live in food abundance. Hurling accusations and shame at people is not only unhelpful, but it ignores a great deal of the reality of current science.

    • AngelaH says:

      And while we are at it, let’s go after another costly group…fertile women! Let’s get rid of maternity clothes too. Those women wind up costing a lot of money. Having babies isn’t cheap. We were told that our healtcare premiums jumped so much this year because we had too many women at the company that had babies AND we had a couple people that needed back surgery and one that needed heart surgery. While there is nothing we can do fashion wise for the surgery folks, we can definietly punish women for being pregnant! Pregnancy and childbirth can lead to all kinds of health concerns. Where is your disgust at them? Too much baby having with no accountability. It’s a drain on our economy. Plus, then they get a tax credit for having the kid. More of a drain on our economy.

      I’m sorry for the people that have to deal with you in real life. You must really make people feel like garbage about themselves. Fat people, I mean. Obviously.

    • lilacflowers says:

      Oh, dear. Before I had cancer, I was a size 2. Well, except for jeans. I wore a size 6 jeans because I have a big butt. Then, they put me on tamoxifan. I gained 20 pounds in the first month alone, despite eating “healthy” and exercising daily. In the years I was on that drug, and then femara, I gained my way up to a size 14 and a size 16 in pants, because big butt. It has been a struggle to get myself back down to a size 8. But sure, go ahead and judge me and others like me.

      And oh, one of my high school class mates has always worn a size 4. She is also bulimic. That is not healthy.

      • SunnyD says:

        If you read my other comment you would see I noted my friend who had a huge weight gain from her. Cancer treatment and how that is one of the no fault of their own over weight situations. I also noted that my issues was size 16-18 has become average and obesity is the majority.

        Sure, plus size options are outdated and lack options, but my point was the much larger issue that obesity which is very often not a medical issue has become the standard and this is the example being set for the next generation which is already struggling so much with obesity and the health issues attached to it many parents will outlive their kids.

      • nicegirl says:

        lilacflowers, me, too. before I had cancer I was TINY!!! I am at least a 14 now and am struggling to get the weight off while still in treatment, it is a chore, for sure. thank you so much for sharing! I am going to keep working at it!! Best wishes

      • lilacflowers says:

        @Nicegirl, sending hugs and be well!

        @SunnyD, would that be where you said you knew a grand total of 2 people with weight issues through no fault of their own? I don’t carry a sign saying “CANCER PATIENT” so you are judging and shaming people like me without knowing the circumstances. I know a good deal more than two people with these issues. Also, some people are just big. One of my cousins is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and built like a linebacker. In fact, both of her sons ARE linebackers for Division I teams and they got their size from their mother, through no fault of anyone but genetics. You are shaming people when you do not know the circumstances.

      • Liberty says:

        lilacflowers & nicegirl — hugs.

    • Mamunia says:

      Thanks for the body shaming. We just don’t get that enough.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I know, right? Fat people are lazy. Fat people are not intelligent. Fat people make bad choices. Fat people should be blown off the face of the earth. As a mental health professional and doctor, I know there are many issues that cause people to gain weight – concern trolls make the problem worse.

    • matchstick says:

      @SunnyD

      ignore them.

      their health will catch up with them.

      stating facts about obesity is considered body-shaming these days. those women don’t understand the cost in making clothes for bodies that have varying fat deposits AND are flattering.

      I used to be obese. I did something about it because of my health. It’s easier to complain than to make an effort to be healthy.

      • SunnyD says:

        Thank you, I Gained tons of weight with my first child. It took blood sweat and tears to get it off. Waking up early, logging everything I eat and drink, realizing saying I had no time to work out was a lie because I had a child was a lie. What kid doesn’t want to go on a walk or dance? I didn’t like spending all of my work breaks walking around, but that’s what it takes. So often I hear excuses that I myself have made. Obesity at thus level is new in human existence.

        Honestly, body positivity and acceptance isn’t helping anyone other than the pharmaceutical companies and helps reinforce the bad habits people have.

        It’s not genetics either, I hate that…. it’s lifestyle. Your mother was overweight, you learned eating habits from her, your son is overweight because you passed your mother’s habits down to him.

        There are SOME instances where it is out of your control, but it’s not that common. Bah, whatever…..this is the same site that I was told last week I don’t understand racism because I’m only half black so you know, grain of salt.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        *slow clap* You guys are just so much more enlightened than the rest of us. And my health doesn’t HAVE to catch up with me. I’m physically fit, a runner, low BMI and as a doctor of psychiatry, I KNOW the issues with obesity. I also know there are MANY reasons for someone being overweight. Some of it is an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. Some of it has other causes (medication, PCOS, psychiatric factors, etc). But NONE OF IT HAS A FREAKING THING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC AT HAND, which is making clothing that is attractive for women of larger size. They exist. They have money. They deserve it. Build a bridge and get over yourselves.

      • lilacflowers says:

        So thrilled to know that my health will catch up with me given that the reason I gained weight was the fact that I was on medication that caused rapid massive weight gain, which I was taking because my body had declared war on me and was spreading cancerous cells at a very fast rate. What exactly was that, please? Other than an incredibly insensitive remark?

      • Sarah says:

        You are a wonderful human being. You lost weight. You should get a Nobel prize. And a humanitarian award.

    • original kay says:

      What about poverty? is there room for you to consider that?

      Food prices are soaring. Cost of living is extraordinary. People already have to choose between going to the hospital for stitches or eating. It’s reality.

      People buy what they can to feed themselves and family. 99 cents for 24 chicken wieners goes a longer way than 30 dollars for 8 chicken breasts. or paying the electric bill. or buying antibiotics for their kid’s ear infection.

      So now you want to tell them that, in addition to all anxiety and fear, they are worthy of nice clothing, that fits them and is affordable?

      • SunnyD says:

        I think nutritional education is important, poverty is definitely a factor, but also keep in mind rice, bean, lentis, seasonal veggies as well social assistance all aid in that. If you’re already struggling to afford health care why add the risk of diabetes, hormone issues, heart disease and some cancers to the mix? Healthy affordable options are available, there is plenty of resources to help there too.

        My entire point is the average size should not be 16-18 it realistically should be an 8-10.

      • matchstick says:

        @original kay

        Poorer families, etc are robbed of TIME. It isn’t that healthy food is expensive (this has been proven false time and time again).
        When you have 5 kids, 3 jobs, work a nightshift, whatever the setup etc. due to financial reasons, all you want is to put food on the table as quickly as possible. Often that means you don’t have the time/energy to make healthy meals. Also you choose things that will fill you fast/satiate you quickly – and often those are processed foods and not whole foods your body needs.

        It is NOT a financial issue, it’s a TIME issue.

      • original kay says:

        You certainly seem to have all the answers, SunnyD. Have you thought about running for president?

      • original kay says:

        OMG. did you really just say that? It’s not a financial issue, it’s TIME?

        Time. It’s TIME, damn it, that makes it impossible for me to choose between feeding my kids or getting their epi pen, because that price went up too.

        TIME! People will be so relieved you’ve solved it. It was TIME all along.

    • Anastasia says:

      I have a good friend who wears a size 16. She’s 6’2″, and looks fantastic. She wears a size 16 because she has a large frame AND IS SIX FOOT TWO. She’s not going to be a size 0 or 2.

      No one who sees her thinks she’s heavy or fat or obese. She’s really not. She is beautifully proportioned and healthier than I am (I wear a size 12).

      Obesity concerns based strictly on size are wrong-headed.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I tried to say that before, but some of the smugettes here were unable to discern my point. Thank you for saying it again!!!

      • lilacflowers says:

        I pointed that out too when I raised the issue of my very tall, very broad and very healthy cousin and the fact that one can be very slim and suffering from eating disorders but that was all ignored because it had to be pointed out to me that the reason I gained a lot of weight was due to TIME, not the medication I was taking for a life-threatening disease and my health would basically catch up to me.

    • Syko says:

      Large does not necessarily mean unhealthy. Nor does it mean you’re a slacker about exercise. There are a lot of us who have health problems which preclude exercising, just try to keep your weight down when you’re unable to move from your chair all day.

      There is little that makes me as angry as fat shaming. I believe it’s better to be a happy, busy size 18 than to wreck your health by binge dieting to get down to a 12. To hell with your concerns that fat people cost you money with their health problems. Anorexics have health problems too.

    • Mgsota says:

      Glorifying obesity????? I’m just trying to find some damn clothes that look nice and fit me!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Oh, FFS, pleeeaaasse stop acting like anyone is ENCOURAGING or advocating for obesity. If you have to distort things to that level, then you do not have a point. “Glorify”????

      And then further down in the comments, acting as if anyone who disagrees with you must be plus size themselves…instead of recognizing that people are calling you out because you are setting up straw man arguments that have no merit.

    • Cousin Erika says:

      I’m glad to be blunt: SunnyD, you’re an asshole.

    • Sara says:

      @SunnyD: Based on your comments, it seems like you might be from outside the US? As someone who grew up overseas and now lives in America, I understand your dismay that the average size is what it is in the US. I wonder how many of the women who’ve commented on this post have lived outside of the US and if so, if that’s changed their perceptions around what they can and can’t control about their weight.

      From my experience, it seems like the weight problem in America has less to do with personal choices and more to do with environmental, cultural, nutritional and political factors. People drive everywhere, are less active generally than people in other countries, portion sizes are enormous, food is overprocessed and full of additives, stress levels are higher from the work culture and sugar/high-fructose corn syrup is everywhere (I’m glad someone posted that NY Times article about the sugar industry in the US). Doing things to counteract these factors really would help with keeping weight off, and mimics the lifestyle in countries like Italy, Norway, etc. where obesity rates are much lower: biking/walking instead of driving when possible, buying simple foods and cooking from scratch, eating smaller portions, not eating fast food, etc. I’m not sure if there’s a solution to the work stress issue but doing all of these things consistently will likely help to deal with stress a bit better.

  5. Ronaldinhio says:

    I agree with him 100%
    My mom is plus sized and shopping with her feels like she is being punished
    Her money is as good as anyone else’s and how she has gotten to that size is her business and no one else’s
    She tries and tries and tries to find natural fabrics and classic and conservative shapes. This is because those are her ideas of lovely. It is nearly impossible.
    I have been with her trying to find a t-shirt of decent fabric, arm and neck cut with an appropriate body length – that took months one year. Imagine, months to find a t-shirt
    It is just a disgrace

    • paranormalgirl says:

      My best friend is plus sized and the clothes offered at plus size stores like Lane Bryant are often not appropriate for her. She has stores like Torrid for fun clothing and very casual wear, but has limited choices for professional wear. Well, not if she doesn’t want to wear peter pan collars and skirts that are too tight and too short.

      As for the comment that “no two size 16s are alike,” neither are size 8′s like me. I’m built very differently from a friend who is the same size as me. We wear clothing differently. I’m taller and have smaller boobs and hips. She’s shorter and curvier. So that’s a huge tremendous cop out on the part of the fashion industry.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      Hi Ronaldinhio,

      Has your mom been to ullapopken.com? I recommended it highly. They don’t make everything out of polyester. Their clothes are mainly cotton, which I love. They have a great tee-shirt collection in lovely colors. There is also “makingitbig.com.”. It’s a little pricier, but the clothes are nice.

      I hope your Mom doesn’t give up. It is totally discouraging shopping in stores for clothes. I hope she can find some things that make her happy.

    • Annetommy says:

      And I think the difficulty of finding nice clothes is influenced by the stigma of being large (“lazy and greedy” as the detractors would put it). Larger women should presumably stay in their homes wrapped in a sheet until they return to a socially acceptable size. I have been slim and I have been (am) large, and I prefer slim. But wanting to wear flattering and fashionable clothes isn’t confined to a particular body type.

  6. Ronaldinhio says:

    additionally – sorry!
    I am a bean pole with boobs but I have quite a long waist, not much in the bum department and my legs, whilst long, are pretty much the same shape the whole way down
    I am a US 6/8
    So what I am saying is that all these allowances are made for ‘acceptable’ shapes but not larger shapes and that is just crap and discriminatory

    I hate how fashion tries to make plus sized women feel
    I also hate how we allow it by dressing it up as a health issue.
    Health is health – retail is retail
    It is a misogynistic bullying tactic by men who want women to look a certain way and we bow down to it
    Arrgggggh

  7. Maria says:

    As much as I admire his standpoint, I do think that the statistic about the average woman being a size 16-18 is depressing.

    I am currently a 12, but have been everything from an 8 to a 16 and from my own experience I do believe that, apart from making allowances for big chests or broad shoulders, a size 16 is fairly large. It is worrisome that the trend is still going into the wrong direction. So much emphasis is being put on healthy eathing habits and workouts and yet, it does not seem to resonate with the general public.

    And talking about fashion – the offer in the US is much better than the one in Germany. Most of the tops here resemble moo moos and more often than not – to add insult to injury, come in horizontal stripes.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Ulla Popken needs to be abolished, I mean that.

      I tripped over the 16-18 as well. Is that right? I’ve been an 18, it was not a great time. I have, over the last 4 years, gone down to a … 12? Is that a European 42? Or rather a German 42? I have no clue. I’m lucky that everything is well-proportioned so I don’t look very big but I’m still a little overweight. I do think you can still shop nice clothes when you’re a 46 but then it gets difficult.

      Having said that, this is simply a market issue. I don’t understand how brands and retailers just say no to that kind of money. WHY??? People, it’s basically flying around in the streets, pick it up!

      A friend works in luxury retail, as a store manager. She started a bit further down the ladder but the clothes weren’t that affordable either. She’s worked for numerous brands – always store manager – and says that she’s lost count of the number of times that women came in and wanted to SPEND only to find out they were too fat. As in, my size or one up depending on the brand. The brands refuse to make clothes in larger sizes, ostensibly because at some point, you can’t simply make them bigger, you need a new sewing pattern and that’s too expensive. I’m sorry but that’s bs. And then they badger their store managers about their sales. My friend told them more than once that she would sell like crazy if they only changed their policy.

      I love how Tim Gunn frames his arguement. From a financial standpoint, it’s ridiculous. We don’t even have to mention the discrimination. I also don’t understand how this is fine with shareholders. There’s a massive gap in the market and nobody seems to care. It’s like not making skincare for dry skin because ew, flaky and gross. How stupid.

  8. Erinn says:

    He is absolutely one of my favorite humans.

    He’s just so lovely – he’s kind, he’s intelligent, and he’s well-spoken. He really does seem to CARE about people – not just numbers. I always loved him on project runway, but the more I see about him in real life – the more my love grows.

    • vava says:

      Me too. Tim Gunn is a very thoughtful person. There is no reason why designers should be ignoring people of different sizes. Such snobbery. I know how to sew, and I can make attractive clothing for any size. What is going on in the fashion industry is quite frankly, insulting.

  9. Nicole says:

    It’s a gap for sure and it’s why fashion is dying. Oh well in that front.
    Christian Siriano had a great runway show with models of all sizes across the board. Makes me so happy that I’ve been a fan for ages. Also his Lane Bryant collection drops today I believe in NYC. So there’s at least one person not afraid.

  10. Sixer says:

    It just goes to show how far we have to go, doesn’t it?

    In the world’s most capitalist country, the average-sized woman, who actually spends more on a product range than her thinner counterpart, is often ignored by an industry whose sole purpose is to make money out of her.

    Wow! When you look at it like that, it’s shocking.

    I don’t know anything about the clothes market here in the UK what with being allergic to fashion an’ all, but I’ll bet my last pound it’s exactly the same.

  11. Liberty says:

    I love him always, and now, even more. When I shop with friends who are plus-size, I am freshly astonished by their horrid options. Unfair. There a few companies you can find online who do a decent job in their particular style lane, but he is right — most of the clothing is horrid. It makes me want to bean someone with a shoe. I am a US size 6 and once in a while a sales person will roll eyes at a frustrated friend and I gently pull them aside and then terrify them with my harsh assessment of their skills.

    I work in fashion sometimes and the excuses I hear at conference tables from bubble-bound senior management is always “our marketing team says plus size is just a trend that may not last” and that is the point I rise like a cobra and demand the evidence from the marketing teams who end up red-faced or gobsmacked. There is NO REASON a company can’t develop a well-styled line. My grandmother had a dress shop in France as did her mother and they clothed women handsomely with their own immaculate, beautiful creations, and while maybe only 10% of their clientele were plus size (a few more when she opened in the US in her later life), those women were gorgeously dressed by her; I saw some in real time, and many photos.

    Someone, give Tim Gunn the money to show people how it is done. 75% of designers are lazy. If you had a plus size woman in a movie everyone would be looking at in a glam role, trust me, these people would be clawing at a chance and up nights w their teams creating the clothes. Yes I said lazy — petulant excuses, albeit some from their top managers. “More fabric costs more” is my favorite excuse. Fk you. Show me your skills first, then we’ll do the math. There are trained designers, like my FIT and St Martins friends, then wannabes. Do as you please in design, but don’t’ say it cannot be done. I know one company that created a stunning quality collection that would price well due to economies of scale, but then a new pres dumped the idea (before failing out rather quickly). It can be done.

    Then he can go help Waity, too, with her button and wedge thing at the other end of spectrum.

    Rant over.

  12. TrueStory says:

    The issue is the average American woman is size 16/18. Let that sink in.

    And lots of plus sized women seem to complain about the clothes not making them look good. Like. ….if you’re overweight by that much…it could be your body that’s not looking so great, not the clothes creating some optical illusion.

    I agree there could and should be more plus sized options considering the market….but how are you going to DEMAND someone make that for you? Currently retail fashion (not runway samples) ARE made in a variety of styles and cuts for healthy weight people.

    Couldn’t this clothing issue be seen as a consequence for excess weight : / and not an entire society or industry that needs to change?

    • Sixer says:

      Yeah because the kids spend too much time on smartphones and no bugger is creating products for them. Not.

      Public health is an important topic. But it has nothing to do with this.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I know plenty of women who are sized 14 and up who are in perfect health and happen to be tall, broad, very muscular women. Serena Williams has ranged from a 10 to a 14. Mirna Valerio is over 200 pounds but is an ultra marathoner who has no health concerns, Women can be overweight due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or due to tumors in the thyroid and pituitary glands. Stop assuming to know all about a woman’s health based on her weight. You might be wrong in your assumptions.

      • TrueStory says:

        This doesn’t change that pounds and pounds of excess body fat is not good for you and to most people is not visually appealing….nor will it look like much more than the pounds and pounds of excess body fat when clothed.

        Further, Serena Williams is NOT covered in pounds and pounds of excess body fat.

        This is like smokers who don’t get lung cancer. …it doesn’t mean smoking is now good for you and you can be perfectly healthy whether you smoke or not. Excess body fat is a killer.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        You missed my entire point. I am talking about people who are plus sized and muscular, not “covered in pounds and pounds of excess body fat” as you so pleasantly put it. But please, feel free to tell me how much I don’t know.

      • Sarah says:

        TrueStory, who,says excess weight isn’t attractive. Have you ever heard of Rubens?? Rubenesque? Until recently, skinny meant poor so people wanted to be heavier. It’s all a false creation of the fashion industry, that’s it’s healthy to be skinny. Skinny people have their own health issues: osteoporosis, inability to fight germs as well, inability to,fight the cold weather. I could go on.

    • greenmonster says:

      I have several issues with that comment:

      1. “it could be your body that’s not looking so great”? You can make look people of any size look good with the right clothes. Go to youtube and check out a couple of “plus size haul/inside the dressing room” videos. Some outfits are amazing, other aren’t. That applies for slim women as well.

      2. Of course people can demand someone making clothes for them. Years ago there wasn’t such a thing as size 0. All of a sudden you can buy it everywhere, because there is a DEMAND

      3. “clothing issue be seen as a consequence for excess weight”????? So the fashion industry is punishing plus size women? Because they aren’t what the fashion industry wants a woman to look like?

      4. Well I do think our society needs to change. We need to be more open and less judgemental of how other people look like and what they are allowed to do or wear because of that.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      What? Since when can’t customers demand things? That’s the idea. Supply and demand. Did that change recently? What you mean is pesky fat people shouldn’t demand anything. They should lose weight and then maybe someone would deign to dress them. Yes, that is what you said.

      Have you seen the insane crap that is sold on TV? Have you been on the internet recently? The sheer amount of unnecessary stuff that is produced is baffling. If someone demands it, they’ll make it, trust me. Except clothes for large people. I mean THAT would be crazy.

  13. SM says:

    He is amazing. Just to add to what he said, it’s not a problem of US designers alone it is the same here in Europe. All runway models are skinny as hell. Alsi in most chain shops such as zara or mango or united colors of benetton and others there are no options to choose from. I am a thin person (I was premature and hence always was small) and have to say that it goes both ways. While there are no options for larger girls most clothes for small women are designed to highlight the thiness. And I do not find that all that beautiful. I was really skinny while breastfeeding when my weight droped below 95 lbs and I did not appreceate my look in skinny jeans but there are virtualy no options to choose from and find non figure hugging jeans that do not look like a bag. It’s not pretty, rather it’s constructed standart of beauty. Mainly by male fashion industry representatives. I woned what is Victoria Beckham’s take on that. Her clothes seem to be adopted to zero sized women too and it’s a shame, i think that if someone will change this perverse beauty standard it’s women working in fashion.

  14. profdanglais says:

    Hallelujah Tim Gunn! He has hit the nail on the head that plus-size clothing is not just a question of making standard size clothing bigger. The cuts and seams need to be different too. It’s ironic that I, with my very very poor sewing skills, am able to make adjustments to the clothes I buy so that they fit me properly, but professional designers don’t seem to be up to that challenge. The majority of them just don’t want to, and that’s fine, fashion has always been a snobby and exclusionary industry. I will never give a fig for Karl Lagerfeld’s good opinion. However, there ought to be at least one or two enterprising young designers who spot the gap in the market and challenge themselves to design for shapes more complicated than the ambulatory coat hangers who model high fashion. Where are they? We’re waiting to give them our money!

  15. Neo says:

    Christian Dorian put 2 pluses sided model in his latest, totally fabulous show. I suggest giving him your money, ladies.

    Edit: 5. He put 5 plus sized women in his latest show. All the money.

  16. LuluPolly says:

    Should you be extremely unfortunate and be a TALL plus-sized gal then you have seriously few options. My daughter is a tall sized 16-18. She’s beautiful. She hates to shop. I shop for her and it is truly demoralizing. Everything is short, boxy and not geared towards young people. Macy’s has a plus-sized “young” section but all those clothes look revealing and cheap. It’s extremely frustrating. I’m glad she doesn’t come with me. She ends up in hoodies and jeans from
    oldnavy.com.
    BTW-Same with bras. All old lady bras (much love to old ladies).

    Also, Tim Gunn is my everything.

    • the_blonde_one says:

      LuluPolly- I commented downthread about eshakti dot com. I’m 5’9″ and a size 18(or more) and I get all my clothes there. Have your daughter have a look- I get stopped on the street (for real) to ask where I get my stuff. I’m a big believer in beauty is in your head, if you’re comfortable you’ll feel beautiful (not that beautiful is the most important thing, it’s just the topic we’re on) and I feel like I’m in my jammies all day while looking fabulous.

    • AngelaH says:

      Have you tried simplybe.com?

      I’m not sure about the tall thing as I am a shorty, but they have a lot of trendy clothes. I only ordered a few pieces, but I was actually in one of the stores when I was in England and things seemed to be decent quality.

  17. wendy woo says:

    I would so love someone with some business seed money to put Tim in charge of a Plus-size brand where he could hire designers he believes in and he could curate it. Imagine the millions it could make.
    I fluctuate in size but dressing badly is one common factor in me feeling sh*t and gaining MORE weight. Only when I spend money on (and the agonising down-lit dressing room hours in hell) dressing well do I feel some pride in myself and the lifestyle choices follow on. Punishing larger size women does not and will not work.
    I also remember Tim mentioning that there is the same dearth of options for short women. My mother is 5ft and under 50 kilos and it’s astounding- when we go shopping together- how common our shopping disappointments are.

    • Betsy says:

      I would buy from that company. I would buy so much.

      It’s depressing how few options there as for any woman not of standard sizing – short, tall, large-breasted, fat. God help you if you’re fat and _______ – it’s worse.

    • Shannon1972 says:

      My guess is that he’s working with Christian Siriano in some capacity. Christian was discovered on Project Runway, and I find it very coincidental that Tim Gunn pens this op-Ed the same season that Christian was lauded for the size diversity on his runway. Good for them both! This is a sorely neglected demographic.

      • Cee says:

        Siriano started creating clothes for different sizes when he met Christina Hendricks and basically realized “larger” women can be sexy and beautiful, too. Tim champions him because he’s the only PR alum with a relatively successful brand/business, who is actually designing for different body shapes and sizes.

  18. jinni says:

    Well if he’s so concerned why won’t he make a line geared towards larger women? Or fund a designer that makes clothes for larger women? Host a show about designers that create fashionable gear for big women?

    Tim already knows that the fashion industry isn’t going to crater to the masses like that. Part of fashion is about the exclusivity. Most high end designers don’t want people who go to Walmart ( a store that the average American frequents) to be wearing their stuff out. To appeal to the average middle American is not the what they want for their brand. So he’s barking up the wrong tree. He should be giving people that are already about give large woman more fashion choice and creating platforms for them to shine.

  19. Barrett says:

    im 5’11 and very thin, boyish figure. I have hard time w clothes. I try to order some tall clothes. They are often made very large like I’m bigger bones, others fit.

    I like Tim’s point regardless of who you are designing for many of us have different shapes… Pear/triangle, rectangular. Apple…. Genes, ethnicities are different. We need to designers to acknowledge this… I read sizes are more difficult for us bc Americans are so DIVERSE!

    • Cee says:

      I have the opposite problem – I’m curvy (non fat, just hips and small waist), and 5’3. Everything looks huge on me. Some tshirts I can wear as dresses. Trousers and jeans are very, very long and I need a tailor. Unless a store has a petite section, like Banana Republic, shopping is a hassle. I needed a dress for a white tie wedding and the petite selection at Macy’s consisted of 5 hideous dresses. Even though I had a tailor rework my dress, the proportions were off.

  20. Scal says:

    Heck I’m a 10-12 and I have problems shopping for clothes. No I do not want to wear a sack. I would give my left arm for a shirt off the rack with structure and not just a flowy piece of fabric.

    Basically what designers really think is anything over a 8 is ‘plus size’ although they are all to cowardly to say so.

  21. TeamAwesome says:

    In my adult life, I have ranged from a 26 down to a 16 and currently am somewhere in the middle. My mom has also been plus sized all of her life, so I’ve been immersed in racks of polyester since childhood. Polyester isn’t great, but try wearing it in an Alabama summer. The worst. Don’t like shirts that go practically to your knees? Well too bad, fatty because we gotta cover that bum. With tropical prints in the same 3 or 4 colors.
    I remember having a total meltdown as a kid because I couldn’t find jeans that fit and I didn’t want to give other kids yet another reason to make fun of me. And having that same meltdown as an adult every. time. I shop.
    Didn’t Tim Gunn do a stint with Liz Claiborne?

  22. the_blonde_one says:

    Can I give a HUGE shoutout to eshakti dot com? Not spam, I promise. You can order straight sizes up to 36W OR you can take about 15 measurements and get everything custom cut to you. They ask for measurements of belly button to top of butt, inner thigh to knee, top of butt to top of thigh, five different spots on your breast area etc. Plus, what they show is the ‘basic’ model.

    You can then choose from (typically), four different lengths, five or six different sleeve types and a vast multitude of necklines. Each dress being altered to your body is done for a flat fee per dress of (I think) $8.

    Once you’ve ordered a few times you become a platinum member and they wave both the shipping fees (which are very pricey) and the alteration fees. They are based in India and pay fair wages and have good working conditions. The quality is Very good- they say what size the model is and what the fabric stretch and weight are. I get ALL my basics from there. Every dress on there is flattering to every body type (for real, they may not be your preference but they will flatter you!).

    • thaisajs says:

      I’ve bought a few dresses from them and to be honest, I’ve always been underwhelmed. I had them tailored for me — changed the hemline or sleeves etc — and the dresses still looked dumpy. Maybe I just chose the designs poorly.

      • the_blonde_one says:

        It could be my personal views on comfort coloring my perspective- if my clothes fit properly (I’m a hard fit) I am super happy and comfortable which in turn makes me confident which in further turn, shows on the outside. An additional perspective from someone else is something I like to hear :)

      • INeedANap says:

        I ordered three dresses from there and all of them fit terribly! I submitted sizes that were measured for me by a professional seamstress so I know it wasn’t that. They looked like they were designed for a completely different person. Never again.

  23. HK9 says:

    I’ve worked in bridal & women’s retail where I spent much of my time working with seamstresses. This thing about plus-sizing being hard is bullshit. You either have the skill to tailor/cut clothes properly on various people or you don’t. I saw those seamstresses do it everyday with little fanfare and the customers large to petite looked great.

    Most manufacturers just don’t want to bother because it’s cheaper to make poorly constructed clothes for skinny people because you don’t notice all the things left out to make the item cheaper like lining/zippers that lock/double stitching/correct hemming etc.

  24. Kate says:

    It is significantly harder to mass produce clothing for larger sizes. You make something in a 0-8, it’s gonna fit almost all 0-8′s. It might not be a perfect fit, but it looks ok. 10-14 and it gets a bit trickier, but at least half your potential clientele will look good in it. Above that, and maybe 20% of people will be able to wear it comfortably. Once you get into the highest plus sizes, it’s just a nightmare, it either has to be a sack or hella stretchy or tailored to the individual.

    People carry weight so differently. If you’re thin-ish, it’s not such an issue, but the bigger you are the more extreme those proportions get. If you carry a lot of weight in your upper arms for example, you’ll still get into fitted sleeves easily enough as a 0-8. Might not be the perfect fit, but it’s completely ok. At a size 16 though, you’d have to size up. Sure, designers could size up the sleeves, but then they’d be really baggy on the woman who has thin arms but large thighs. No matter what you do, it’s gonna look really bad on many people.

    What we need is for mid-price tailored clothing to make a come-back. Designers making 20 versions of one design to suit every body type just isn’t possible, so we need another option.

  25. Lucy says:

    YES. This man and his words give me life. He just KNOWS, you know? He gets it.

  26. Bxhal says:

    Last night, i was lookin through the internet for plus size official wear dresses and was almost reduced to tears. There is nothing worthy out there for us plus size women. The cute small size dresses are rarely replicated in plus size sizes. Dresses in plus size sections are so shapeless and fugly and the saddest bit is things arent changing anytime soon. I have been considering weight loss surgery and boob reductuon for health reasons but i wont lie, this has been a motivating factor too.

    • greenmonster says:

      Were are you from? I’ve seen nice dresses on Asos.com for example.

      I’ve also been almost obsessed with plus size hauls or inside the dressing room videos on youtube recently. It is really addictive. Beautiful women of different sizes try on clothes and tell their honest opinion about it and how they feel in it. Also: you might notice brands that you haven’t heard of before.

      It is so weird to think how people are shamed into thinking they can’t wear something because of their size. I’m between a 10 and a 14 and I’m chubby (I’m rather short, so every kilo makes me look big). Shorts are usually a No-Go for me, no matter how much my boyfriend tells me that he loves my legs and I should wear shorts more often – I don’t have the confidence to do so.

  27. sherry says:

    I love him! Reading his books is like sitting down and chatting with an old, trusted friend who gives great advice. He is a national treasure!

  28. thaisajs says:

    This. All of this. It’s amazing to me that the fashion industry doesn’t understand that 100 million underserved American women is just a huge, multi-billion dollar market. There are only 350 million Americans. They’re leaving a third of Americans behind to wear ugly, ill-fitting stuff.

  29. Jade says:

    He is the best, I’m not overweight but I’m not super skinny and findING clothes to work out it is so hard. All tge pants are skin tight and the tops are tiny or see-through. Don’t ignore real women we are fierce consumers.

  30. Kitten says:

    Scrolling through some of the comments, people’s inherent need to feel superior never ceases to amaze me.

    Love me some Tim Gunn. So many honks for this man.

  31. shelly* says:

    I just wish that Women’s clothes were sized the same across the board. A Man buys a pair of trousers with a 32 inch waist, so he knows what he’s getting.
    Female sizes whether or not you are buying a size 8 or a size 28 are never consistent from shop to shop.
    It’s infuriating.
    Manufacturers and shops are missing out on a whole lot of money by being so short sighted, serves them right.

    • North of Boston says:

      I’d be happier even if Women’s clothes were sized the same across a single brand or style.

      So many times I’ve bought an item of clothing in a certain size, and then bought the same item in the same size either as a back up/replacement or in a different color and had them be dramatically different proportions. Same brand, same style #, same size – completely different sizing. Like jeans – one pair of 12P fits fine, a second pair of 12P of the same style, has legs that are 4 inches longer, thighs that are narrower, and a waist inches bigger. No rhyme or reason. Get it together clothing manufacturers.

  32. Lyka says:

    It was a whole three years ago, and he’s since changed his tune, but I’ll never forget Tim Gunn saying about Hillary Clinton’s style, “I think she’s confused about her gender.” I am no super fan of Clinton, but comments on her clothing choices and body make me ragey.

    Everything he says here is real, though. And the people getting preachy about the right for plus-sized women to EXIST (much less have clothes that make them feel good even if they’re trying to lose weight/get healthier/whatever) need to…look inward.

  33. EM says:

    All about the bottom line. The smaller the clothing size, the cheaper the outfit in terms of fabric used. Designers tend to think in 2D, not 3D.

    • Kitten says:

      Then why is men’s clothing, which is typically far larger than women’s clothing, systematically cheaper? And I’m not talking about detailed pieces that might require special machinery, I’m talking about something as basic and simple as a t-shirt.

      • Kate says:

        Men’s basic T-shirts essentially come in one shape with two neckline options. Big shoulders, slightly tapering downwards to the hem. Women’s T-shirts have to be much more varied because women’s busts and waists vary more than men’s.

        For men’s t-shirts you can make slight adjustments to the same pattern forever, and fabric isn’t such an issue as it just has to hang there basically.

        For women’s t-shirts, if you want to cater to more than one shape, you have to have multiple patterns in use all the time, and the fabric has to flow over the body in a different way. That thicker, stiffer material that men’s t-shirts are made off lasts longer, but if you have breasts larger than your waist or vice versa, it’s going to hang in a way that’s not flattering. It really only looks ok if you have broad shoulders and it hangs from there. Then with t-shirts that reach the hips you have to account for that.

        The majority of men have the same basic shape. If they gain weight it’s likely to be in their stomach area. You can just keep sizing things up and adding a few extra centimetres in the waist and most men will be able to wear it. Women are so much more varied. You’ll have women who’s measurements would fit a size 10 t-shirt perfectly except for the bust, where they need a 16. Or women who fit a 16 perfectly until it gets to their hips and they need a 22. Or women who have a size 4 waist and size 12 everything else. To make a halfway flattering design you need to have many different shapes and fabrics in rotation. With men you can get away with one shape and fabric and most of the market will look fine in them. You just can’t do that with women’s t-shirts.

  34. Cee says:

    I grew up fat in Argentina and the selection here is even worse. I had nothing to wear outside of school (uniform) and things got worse in my teenage years. Even now, no longer obese nor fat, I struggle to find clothes that fit properly and am usually, if lucky enough, the biggest size they carry. So most of my clothes I buy online or when I go to the US/Europe.

    So this is a Universal problem. An american size 8 in Argentina = FAT. We have money but there is no market for us and I just don’t get it.

  35. Dippit says:

    I don’t know who this man is, but I love him.

    I think, for many designers, it does come down to lack of skills and creativity when they are resistant to design and tailor for the women of non-typically model-like proportions.

    In my teens I was tall and anorexic – my choice of clothing, particularly today, would be limitless – in the ’80s, the for tall aspect, on the High St, was an issue but sizes have lengthened in that regard since thankfully.

    However, due to now having recovered from the manifestations of anorexia, being on medication which adds some weight, having a child, and being 45 years old but still keen to look my best – I am ill-serviced by designers (although I get the impression less so in the UK than in the US).

    I’ve resorted, particularly with dresses and tunics, to buying larger than much of my body shape needs (big boobs excepting) and having a seamstress adjust much for me.

    I certainly know few cater directly for a 5′ 11″ Size 16/18 (UK) hourglass.

    If clothing is to be attire to allow women to enjoy their own freedoms of expression (and not being in pjs all day) then we need designers to want to give women of all shapes and sizes more options for how they put themselves together for days and nights out there being women. AND choices shouldn’t come at the excessive additional cost at which plus size often comes.

  36. Micki says:

    I agree that the sizing is most anachronistic thing ever. Women need universal sizes just ,like men.
    Agree too that tailoring for plus-sizes has to be re-thought completely. Enlarging a cut that suits size 10 doesn’t bring much for size 14. Probably plus-size tailoring should be a separate course for designers.
    However I don’t agree that any designer should be forced to tailor for women” he/she is not interested in”. That’s simply too antidemocratic for me.
    Perhaps one of these 100 M overweight women could become the next Fashion Name-to-go-to.

  37. shelly* says:

    I used to love buying vintage clothes, and one thing always stood out. The cut of them was different to the clothes manufactured today.

    The blouses and dresses always seemed to have darts at the bust, hour glass women were well served but women with more of an ectomorph figure not so much. I wish I was a decent sewer, I still love vintage style clothes and love looking at old patterns.

    Sadly as soon as I look at a sewing machine, something goes wrong, usually the tension, and I can’t cut a pattern to save my life.

    • Betsy says:

      Have you read “the Lost Art of the Dress”? https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Art-Dress-America-Stylish/dp/0465036716

      It is an amazing book about how we used to dress vs. how we do now. It was one of those books that shattered glass for me (if you watched How I Met Your Mother).

    • Dippit says:

      Shelly*, I buy a lot from online brands which cater to the Vintage/New Look/Rockabilly market. You have to be selective as some are a bit too themed-costumey, but, particularly for dresses, they do cater well to hour glass. Also, I sometimes buy two of the same (special ocassion dress) so that a seamstress can then have enough to play with to drop the waist/hem for me, panel me up, or add to sleeves. Then I have the extra fabric for a top, skirt, once a waistcoat etc. It is more costly, but for the likes of a wedding or event, worth it.

      I once sewed my finger with a machine needle in a school Fabric & Fashion class; after failed attempts by the school janitor to remove it with pliers, I had to go to hospital to have it taken out. I am still used as a cautionary tale to new H.E. pupils yet. My daughter, attending the same school years later, cringed as the story was told to her class.

      Do you have a local college nearby which teaches such classes in sewing; often students will advertise their services to do adjustments for the practise and extra money?

      • shelly* says:

        I have taken a sewing course as an adult and my ineptitude baffled the tutor, ditto my needle work teacher at school, I also did the sewing my finger thing ouch.

        The freedom of actually being able to make your own stuff must be brilliant.

        My Mum is brilliant at sewing though, she was a seamstress back in the day, so she can make adjustments if need be.
        I must be a grave disappointment to her.

      • Dippit says:

        I doubt you are a “grave disappointment” to her in many/any ways; least of all re: sewing as you have clearly tried and tried. She’ll have admired the effort even if the results weren’t as hoped for.

        I use a seamstress whose main line is in doing dance costumes so she has 40 years in as an expert knowing where best support or stretch/give is needed and how best an item should be given freedom to move (and the freedom of movement of the person wearing it).

        Unfortunately my mum mothballed her sewing machine years ago. You are lucky.

        It is a skill I wish I had too. I’m solid with buttons, anything more and I panic.

  38. Christin says:

    I’m also puzzled about today’s fashion choices. It’s not just about the sizing options.

    I collected a lot of clothing (mostly sweaters, tops and jackets) by end of season sale shopping. A lot of the clothing from 10-15 years ago ended up being boxed and stored, and I am now going through it and giving away what I cannot wear.

    What amazes me is just how much BETTER that clothing looks (and feels) compared to today’s clothes. It seems there is no more moderate clothing — it’s either cheap looking, throw-away (one season) clothing or overpriced labels (not always looking that much better).

  39. Who says says:

    Thank you Tim Gunn. I just went shopping for a dress for a formal wedding coming up I am a size 10/12 waist and a 14/16 top, it is very hard to find a nice cocktail dress that would fit me. I actually cried in the car cause I couldn’t find anything. I went to seperate section and everything was too mother of the bride. If someone would design a hip line of formal seperate wear/ business attire they would make a lot of money. How about it Tim?

  40. nicegirl says:

    Wondering if Christian Siriano has a line of clothing for us regular gals coming up soon. Off to send some emails. :-)

  41. Veronica says:

    Pfft, women’s bodies in general are more complicated than designers think, much less plus size women. I’m “plus size”-ish right now from some health issues that have caused weight gain, but when I was in 6-8 territory, I still had trouble finding clothes that fit me well because I have an “hourglassy” build (actually pear-shaped, but more balanced because I have a big rib cage and bust). I would up dressing somewhat vintage in style and buying from niche shops because, frankly, dresses and skirts were what fit me best. It took me years to find jeans wide enough to fit my hips – and even then, I could never wear skinny jeans without the muffin top. Clothing is built flatteringly for a fairly limited range. Plus size women just get the added pain of being considered “undesirable” for their weight.

  42. dromedary says:

    Preach it Baileywick! You’re amazing!

  43. Camille says:

    I can’t believe some fashion designers use the excuse that it’s harder to fit a size 16 because they’re all different sizes. I live in Australia so while my experience isn’t American I think it’s still relevant. I’m small and in AUS size I can fit in sizes 6 to 10 simply depending on the designer and the manufacturer. Such a weak excuse. These designers are not interested in offering fashion to the masses. They are elitist in the worst type of way and will be left alone crying over why they are so poor because access to fashion is slowly changing and leaving them behind.

  44. Turtle says:

    Tim Gunn for president.

    Try being a guy who has some meat on his bones and wants to find some decent-looking clothes. Absolutely nothing fits. NOTHING.

  45. Nikki says:

    Kudos for Tim Gunn on this. And can someone explain to me, when older women’s upper arms are problematic, SO MANY mother of the bride dresses are sleeveless?? Then you are forced to buy the ugly, boxy jacket with it. So ugly!

  46. Pffffft says:

    The plus size problem is one that I am very familiar with as I have spent years trying to find nice clothes that fit me and I must say in the last few years the choices have, to my mind, improved a lot. I would like to mention a designer call Anna Scholtz. She’s based in Britain and she makes very very nice plus size clothes. You can get them mail order which is what I do. They’re quite pricey but she has very good sales and the cuts are fantastic. I have also quite a lot of things from Boden but then they go up to English size 22, although the latest collection seems to stop at size 20, there’s hardly any 22 which is a huge disappointment to me. Again they’re not cheap but they have fantastic fabrics & prints. While I am at it, I would like to thank the very same and lovely people who have commented on the difference between fat and health as it is something I profoundly believe in. There are several of you I would dearly like to be friends with.

  47. Velvet Elvis says:

    This all really infuriates me because fat people are the only group left that it’s still somehow okay to shame and bully. I know of no other industry that purposely shuns the majority of the buying public. In essence those designers are saying, We don’t care about you fat people. You don’t count. You don’t exist. In their EFFED up, distorted world view only thin people can be beautiful and cool. Just reading the comments on this thread you can see how people try to justify their fat hate. It’s shameful. It doesn’t matter if people believe that the average shouldn’t be 16/18…that’s the reality so live with it. People come in all forms. Designers should design for these forms. Period. Tim Gunn I love you.

  48. adastraperaspera says:

    Throughout history and in many cultures, the purpose of fashioning clothing has often been to adorn women in order to display the status of their patriarchal family/husband. What we see currently is an ideal of a slender (and almost disappearing) female frame, on which hangs the latest vision of male power. The industry is exposing the fact that patriarchy is even more important than profit.

  49. Anastasia says:

    For me, the main issue is that I’m out of proportion. I’m a size 12 from the waist down, but because of my breasts, I’m easily a 16 on top. Forget anything one-piece, like a dress. I wish I could find things that made me look more in proportion.

    Oh, and I can’t afford to have everything tailored. I wish.

  50. poppy says:

    maybe concern trolls need logic lessons and reasoning skills? or plain old sympathy and empathy.
    a poor but basic example would be if a fat lazy lady can easily/quickly find affordable nice looking clothing in her fat lazy size she has more time money and energy to get her fat lazy self into better “health” and a smaller non-fat lazy size?
    that’s only one logic angle. there are so many more. but the concern trolls here want to punish those deemed too large by limiting their choices to garish unflattering clothing because being considered fat and all the inherent abuse that goes with it isn’t enough punishment. their clothes must be ugly.
    stay in your lane fatties!

    the extreme generalizations in the “concern” are ridiculous.
    can you not consider maybe they aren’t fat because they are lazy but maybe they are depressed because they are fat in a world that rejects and ridicules them for their size? depression is real and can be debilitating which, surprise!, can appear to others as apathy or laziness.
    or just maybe they want to rock a rubenesque figure. that used to be a sign of affluence and health back in the day.

    but by all means, concern trolls, keep shaming and discriminating.
    keep women DOWN.
    hope you stay in the good graces of this patriarchal world and never get an actual medical condition doctors consider just another hysterical fat lazy lady “syndrome”.
    discrimination against women is REAL and heaven help you if you have a another “disability” outside of a vagina like fat lazy or abundant pigmentation or belong to a suspicious religion because your world will be one of prejudice and scorn.

    this thread is enraging to the point i make less sense than normal if that was even possible. smh.

  51. Mimz, says:

    Is there such a thing as a Savant, nowadays?
    Tim is my Soulmate – sorry Kaiser – There hasn’t been ONE time I ever disagreed with him. On Project Runway? never. Interviews? Never. How he just refrains from saying EXACTLY how he feels about Heidi’s horrible fashion choices on the red carpet, because she’s his friend and after all they have a successful TV show? That would be me. On Fashion Police, recently, I was so surprised how I 100% of the times had the exact same reaction/opinion as him. TIM FOR THE WIN!
    Ok enough fangirling. I actually posted this article on my fb wall yesterday because, although I am not American, I completely agreed with everything he said (although some idiots on Medium are saying this is FatPhobia *eyeroll* because people need to whine about something). Also, Ashley Nell is cute but I still don’t think she deserved to win, and I think her big issue is taste. Her most recent collection is great news for “plus size fashion” I guess, but I can’t bring myself to like it. any of it.

  52. cd3 says:

    I 100% agree with this man. I fall within the “straight size” range, but my plus size friends and office mates find shopping horribly frustrating. The shops that cater to plus size women are usually awful – full of gaudy prints and polyester offerings.

    I’m not familiar with Gunn’s background, but why doesn’t he himself start a label catering to women that are plus size? He definitely makes a business case for it, why not start a label?

  53. Brandi says:

    I love Tim Gunn so much! His book is great. I might have to read it again.

  54. Adele Dazeem says:

    I like to read and follow the retail industry, clothing etc and every day it seems there is a new article about how malls are closing, dept stores are dying, the chain is hurting, etc.

    Have these retailers ever thought that maybe, just maybe the limited selection in brick and mortar stores, not to mention the limited availability of clothing to fit that “average American woman” have been the mall killer, rather than the Internet? I’ve never understood how middle aged women are the consumers with the real money (I sure have more credit and cash than I did as a teen, lol) and yet they are the *least* catered to?

    Really, if you’re (gasp) over 40 and over wearing trendy teen wear, where do you shop if you live in middle America? Chicos?

  55. ZoeyNoey says:

    I remember when the size of an ‘average women’ in America was 8-12. Now, even with vanity sizing, 16-18? The human body is meant to have certain dimensions. Call it trolling or shaming if you will – but I continue to stand for healthy bodies, healthy choices – set an example for the next generation! Now, if only scrolling burned more calories… :)