I admit to having grown a bit out of touch with women’s apparel. At 252 lbs., my clothes shopping effort consisted of keeping myself in crisp black men’s chinos and once or twice a year running through the big ladies’ store in town to find tops big enough to cover me.
So there is my fashion vocabulary: “Tops” and “black pants.”
Meanwhile, for the past 20 years, a whole world of fashion evolution has been staged out of my view. Things happening behind the doors of those shops I never entered. Somewhere along the line we began importing clothes whose tags bear sizing I am clueless about deciphering, for instance. Entire classifications of underwear have come and gone and returned that I haven’t a clue about.
And somewhere along the line, another thing happened. The fashion industry forgot all about size 10 – 18 women, otherwise known as Practically Everybody.
It doesn’t matter that we keep getting taller and so, skeletally larger. It doesn’t matter that the statistics for sure say we’re getting bigger, and our environment supports largeness. Somehow the fashion industry hasn’t noticed.
I’ve written for a lot of marketing folks in my day, and I managed to pick up a few concepts. One idea that some marketing people have is that it’s good to develop a product for a market that has potential. That is, they look for a market that contains a significant number of people with discretionary dollars to spend.
Apparently high fashion doesn’t employ any of these marketers. These companies seem to be comfortable making their clothing for women and girls who wear single digits, only. All 14 of them.
So while the rest of us may walk through the center aisles of these stores that are here this year and gone the next, feeling out of place, and getting the distinct feeling from the clerks that we are not worthy of an extra breath, there are smarter folks working to clothe real women beautifully.
And I just read about a couple of them who, I think, deserve success. Entertainer Margaret Cho has teamed up with designer Ava Stander to introduce their line: High Class Cho.
High Class Cho. Heh.
So, you’d be right if you guessed this isn’t exactly office wear.
This stuff is sexy, fun, shows women’s bodies at their most remarkable. The line is made to move with you, feel great, says Cho on the site, http://www.highclasscho.com.
Sizing gives a nod to the most glamorous women we have known, all of whom lived and breathed and exhibited their beauty through bodies that couldn’t be clothed in today’s hippest shops. And so the sizing goes like this:
Audrey (Size 10-12)
Lana (Size 12-14)
Marilyn (Size 14-16)
Anita (Size 16-18)
Explains Margaret on the site, “We would like to move the weight standards for women up a bit and bring back the styles of the 1940s that loved women and their curves instead of hiding and distorting them; back to the time when sexy was Lana Turner, Anita Eckberg, and Mae West, and Miss America weighed 150 pounds.”
Cho has been through a terrible time fighting the entertainment machine that wanted her to lose more weight than she possibly could while maintaining her health. So she’s on a bit of a mission. Sexy, savvy Stander designs for women who aspire to have half her sex appeal and something like her body, which obviously is endowed with real breasts, real hips. She tests her own clothes. I look for that in a designer.
Though by day I’m more Eileen Fisher than Ava Stander, I like having options. And we should all have at least one glamorous thing hanging in the closet, right?
The line is limited in palette and scope right now, but there are some great basics available from their site, and if they are successful with this introduction, there will be more. That is, we gotta vote with our dollars if we want to see them succeed.
The contact links on their site are many and varied. If you like what they’re doing, do let them know.
I’m going shopping.
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