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Plus sized and looking fabulous


Who is plus sized? Who has ever felt judged because their body size is bigger than an XL? Who has been made to feel as if they are a piece of garbage because they have some extra weight? Or felt fat because the size of clothing they tried on did not fit?


As a plus sized woman, I can honestly raise my hand to all of the above. Recently, I was talking to an old friend and we were talking about a mutual person we knew (the relationship in this case doesn’t matter), the friend said “doesn’t she look great? Look at all of the weight she lost?” (She has lost at least a hundred pounds in the last couple of years and has kept it off).  I replied, “she looked beautiful before the weight loss too.” She is a wonderful person who due to unfortunate reasons, we have never become more than respected acquaintances which is fine. We aren’t called to be friends with everyone. It seems as if a person’s value was equated by the amount of weight they have on their bodies. This is a shame, and it is false teaching not only by society but also by Christian culture. I firmly believe all women are beautiful regardless of their body type, and size of clothing.


I don’t know if it is the same in the USA or other countries but women’s sizing in Canada stinks. It is made to shame women’s bodies. Sizing has gotten ridiculous. Last year, I went to the women’s section at Walmart to try a women’s winter jacket. I take a 2X. I put it on and it didn’t fit. I went to the men’s department, and it fit me perfectly. I tried on a nice zippered hoodie. 2X didn’t fit but a 4x did. Give me a break. Some stores have even made their sizing smaller which is an insult to plus sized women everywhere. I know of a store where a 3X became a 2X and the max they go is 3X. What happens to the women who take 3X? Obviously, they have to find another store but which one? Very few stores in Canada sells plus clothing. The main ones in Montreal, Quebec area are as follows:


  • Penningtons
  • Reitmans
  • Laura
  • Walmart
  • Maybe Costco
  • Claire France
  • Second hand stores


There are other smaller stores that also sell it and maybe others outside Quebec in the rest of Canada but by living in Quebec, Canada, these are the ones I am most familiar with. These are the big well known stores that I am aware of. I know some people (I live about 30 minutes to an hour away from the USA/Canadian border), buy they’re clothing in the United states, but the exchange rate is high and plus add customs fees, sometimes it isn’t worth the trip. Traveling to the USA to buy clothing isn’t an option for me, especially at this time in my life.


To add to this insult, they are expensive (unless you find a sale or at a Liquidation Centre. In Quebec we call them entrepôts, or find something at Walmart, you are going to pay big dollars for a basic wardrobe. It sounds ridiculous but that’s just the way it is. Then let’s discuss styles. Although designers are beginning to see beauty in a plus sized woman’s body, the article one designs for a size 2 is significantly different from a size 18 and up. Most of us can’t buy online because other factors come into play, cut, colours, patterns and sizing. Every company has its own sizing. Until women’s clothing sizes are standardized even with measurements, finding clothing online can be super challenging.


Trying on Plus sized clothing can be degrading depending on where one goes. I find some stores such as Penningtons, Reitman’s, Laura does a fantastic job in dressing a plus sized women. The majority of the clothing makes us look fabulous and pretty. They are made well, and you are paying for quality. The sizing seems to have stabilized so for the most part and it is fairly easy to find something that enhances our natural beauty. Other places who I won’t name, do a lesser job. I have tried on articles of clothing where I have looked 8 months pregnant with triplets. Let’s face it, one only wants to look that way, if they are blessed to have three little miracles growing in their womb. Otherwise, that isn’t a look a woman desires to have. I have looked like a beached whale, and twice my size. We really need to be careful with patterns because the right one can give the allusion that we are slimmer than we are and the wrong, pregnant with quads does come into play.


In addition, we are also falsely accused of being overweight by reasons society automatically assumes we do. About a decade ago, I lost some significant weight because of illness. Instead of the weight loss being ignored, I had the priest at a student centre I attended: say the following: “I see you stopped eating the donuts, keep it up, great work!” I am gluten intolerant. I basically don’t eat donuts because too much gluten can and does make me sick. I went to another doctor on Monday and the person told me I needed to eat less because I was expending less energy. Great tip for some but the way it was said, the tone of voice behind those words, had the expectation or unfounded assumption that society places on people when they see plus sized people. Because of his attitude, I won’t be going back to him.


The reasons why we are overweight are none of anyone’s business. The reasons are personal, and no one needs to justify their size. I will admit in my case: covid lockdowns (in Quebec we had curfews and lockdowns), medication, eating gluten free, lack of exercise, recovering from a bad work injury a few years ago and some bad nutrition hasn’t helped, but these are my reasons. Someone else’s reasons could be medication, because some medications really pile on the weight. In other cases, it is a lot of water retention or they cause extra hunger. Another could be health issues. The reasons don’t matter. We don’t need to justify it. We just need to realize that we are pretty regardless if we are a size 1 or a size 30.


At some point some of us (myself included) will need to do something to either maintain or lose weight but those steps are personal and should only be done under medical supervision. Be careful with the method you do choose, because there are some unhealthy ones especially Christian ones who teach fiction and dangerous living that can cause serious health issues later on. For example fasting is okay on occasion, but some are encouraging members to fast for 18 hours or longer a day which is super unsafe.  This is why, it is important to consult with medical professionals before taking those steps. Do it because it is something we feel called to do and not because of society tells plus sized women to be beautiful you need to be under a size 12. That statement is hogwash and totally false.


It is important for us to realize that that despite some of these challenges we might face, it is necessary to find clothing that makes us look pretty in one’s own skin. Find that dress that one just wants to show off to the world. Be confident in one’s body.


One of the ways, I find confidence is by shopping at stores whose styles makes us feel free pretty in my skin. I find shopping at the Laura Liquidation centre is always a positive experience. The clothing is slimming, professional, well-made, and super comfortable. I have tops that I bought several years ago and they are still in great shape. Their clothing is made to last.


Every now and then God also blesses us with gifts. This weekend, I was able to purchase 6 bags of plus sized clothing from a neighbour for only $100 CAD. The clothing was from the above-mentioned clothing stores plus others from the USA. I haven’t tried on everything but the stuff I have looks amazing. The clothing that isn’t my style, will be passed along to a friend who received a bag full of stuff and then sent to the local second-hand stores who will also help others.


Other ways to feel beautiful is to surround yourself with God’s word, and with positive people who love you for just being you.  Having a wonderful church community also helps.


Psalm 139:14 states:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well. (NRSV)


Please know that God loves you and the industry is trying to change and meet the needs of the average woman. I have seen society change with the gluten free world for example twenty years ago when I was diagnosed, it was almost impossible to buy the food I needed and today, one can find it virtually everywhere. If this can change, I am confident this industry will also change too.


3 Responses

  1. Amen! Good word for the plus sized gals and the rest of the world who go around trying to shame them for being plus sized. Everyone is beautiful in God’s eyes! 🙂

  2. First of all, to you personally since I’ve seen you in our video Bible study, Karen, regardless of your pluz-size or not, you are not an ugly or unattractive person. I just wanted to encourage you. On a broader note, one thing folks who are overweight must do, and that includes me also, is that we learn to love ourselves where we’re at. Critics are always going to be out there, and sadly at least some of them are our Christian brothers and sisters. There are many reasons folks get too heavy. It isn’t always gluttony. Also, when you get older (I’m 56) the weight only comes off slowly unless you starve yourself. We must model love and understanding towards others, and that includes the plus-sized among us. Who’s inside–the actual person–is what is the most important.