Friday, July 23, 2010

An Open Letter to Fashion Designers Everywhere: Let's Be Realistic...

Dear Fashion Designers and Sellers of Clothing Everywhere:

I'm tired of being disappointed by you. No more will I wait with bated breath for the September issue of Vogue... it just never lives up to my apparently unrealistic expectations (more on that later).

I don't think I'm asking for too much. I mean is it too much to expect just a tiny bit of common sense? We all know you're going to go crazy with runway designs, but why does the stuff that makes it into stores have to be equally far fetched?

Here are a few of my complaints (they're really just the tip of the iceberg...):

My #1 Complaint:

-Why does one part of my body always have to be falling out of your clothing? If a dress is long, it's practically a given that it's going to be so cut that a Janet Jackson Super Bowl "accident" is a very real possibility. If a dress has a lovely neckline it's going to be so short that the wearers bum will barely be covered. It would be nice to buy something and not have to think about how I'm going to layer a camisole under it and a sweater over it so that it meets the bare minimal standards of coverage.

On Pregnancy Fashion:

-Pregnant women (outside of a rare few in Hollywood) don't want to wear miniskirts. When a pregnant woman walks into a pregnancy store she's doesn't want to feel like she's looking at the teeny-bopper rack at Forever 21. She doesn't want to even think about buying something that barely covers her bum. And it's absolutely ridiculous to think that you can walk into a Motherhood Maternity store and ask if they have any skirts that come to the top of the knees and be told "no... we don't have anything like that..." (that actually happened to me this past November...).

-Just forget about putting suggestions like "You should be able to buy your pre-pregnancy size" in your catalog, on your website, or on a cute little sign in your maternity store when telling pregnant women what size they should be trying on or buying. I've gone from Small to XL in both of my pregnancies. And the idea that the only part of a woman's body that grows during pregnancy is a cute little bump ("here, use this pillow and you can see what will fit when you're in your third trimester!") is absurd. Let's be realistic here. Again, most of the people buying your clothes don't live in Hollywood.

I could go on... but instead I think I'll start paging through some of the sewing books sitting in my crafting area. Because, unsurprisingly the nursing top selection isn't much better than the normal day to day fashions (or the maternity fashions) and I'm getting a little desperate... I have some ideas though (and some snaps that were on clearance). Hopefully there will be a cute sewing post before too long!


  1. Ever since I had my daughter a year ago, when I go into a clothing store I have to have my mantra of "modest, feminine, nursing" running through my head, or I end up buying something inappropriate in some way. I plan on having more children, so if the outfit isn't nursing compatible, I'm likely to get very little wear out of it over the next 10 years.

    I have been pleasantly surprised at the items that can be adapted for nursing (especially at Target), because I refuse to pay top dollar for the "high quality" nursing clothing that some stores sell (which inevitably starts to fall apart almost immediately). Funnily enough my hardiest nursing clothing have been the tanks from Target. My Glamourmom tank was falling apart after a few weeks.

    Have you found any good nursing clothing patterns?


  2. I found this really pretty dress that you can sew together by Sense and Sensibility patterns. The best part is that the instructions come with the option to turn it into a nursing dress - and she shows you how to do it (translation - you can use the same information on any other dress pattern).

    I completely agree with you that the lack of clothing availability is frustrating. Vogue does a much better job with their pattern catalog. At least there you have the option of buying vintage patterns, which can be so very cute and stylish.

    I was hoping with the last season of Project Runway that the maternity challenge would get designers interested in a little pursued field of fashion. I was sadly disappointed.

    I have taken draping classes at our community college which were fantastic at showing me how to drape clothing rather than use a pattern, but I found that the dress forms were no where near my body shape. I also found that it reaffirmed my assessment that all clothing that is manufactured is based on a "B" cup size. I don't know about you but being pregnant and planning on nursing means that I can't achieve such a minuscule size. I've always hovered around "D-DD" when not pregnant. You may want to keep this in mind when buying patterns as well. Patterns are produced in a "B" cup size too. I've tried using dress patterns that say they have different cup sizes but I've found that the lines on the dress are off. I showed my mom a dress I made for my intermediate sewing class. It was made exactly as the pattern specified with the correct cup size according to what I wear. It looked fantastic on the hanger, but when I put it on my mom said it looked terrible. She loves my sewing skills and complements me all the time so I know she was talking about how the lines of the dress fit on my body. It was all out of proportion.

    My best advices is that if you want to start making your own clothing, spend the time making a muslin mock-up of the dress first. Muslin is cheap and can easily be altered. Once you find that a dress looks the way you want it to, use the muslin pieces to cut out the good fabric. It will save you frustration and give you good practice on easy fabric first before sewing the real thing. Plus, you save money by not throwing away good material that turned out badly.

    Good luck!

  3. I agree totally! I'm ready to give up on all purchased clothing, except for basics like crew-neck t-shirts, and just break out the sewing machine to experiment until I have what I need!

    Incidentally, I'm looking forward to a sewing post!

  4. Hey, speaking of Forever 21, did you hear that they've come out with a maternity line?

    I heard about it yesterday on my Christian radio station. They were debating it because Forever 21 is pretty geared towards mid teens to probably low 20's. Not exactly girls you want pregnant.

  5. I hear you! I've found it difficult to find cute plus-sized tops that don't show off my, *ahem*, "assets".


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