I don’t want to wear a fat lady tunic

Tunics are everywhere right now and nowhere are they more in evidence than in the Plus Size Department. You know, for us full-figured gals? The short and portly aisle? That’s right, Fat Lady Land. Busty Babes Boutique. Broad as a Barn Backside’s Bin. But-You-Have -Such-A-Pretty-Face-Wear. I admit it–I shop here. I am the other kind of tween–that between an upper misses size (14-18 depending on the item and manufacturer) and Women’s Sizes (XL or 1X depending on the item and manufacturer). And, to make it even more fun, I’m a petite. Go figure. And, for once, fashion employs equality of opportunity to be offended. Men have the Big and Tall section in which they can buy beige or horizontal striped polos, plaid sports shirts and the male equivalent of granny panties. Yeah. Sucks to be us. Back, back to tunics. Here are three that are truly lovely. I’d pay almost any price for the gorgeous fabrics…..if….if…if they weren’t made up into tunics.


Stores trumpet the good news that tunics SLIM! and FLATTER!


they don’t


On the much-slimmer-than-plus-sized models they may do this. In fact, they look BREEZY and FUN on these ladies. Here’s the thing, on me and others like me they don’t do this. They have to constantly be yanked down over the butt-shelf, rearranged over the hips, straightened over the boobs.  But why? After all it’s a tunic! It’s perfect! It flatters!

Yes, it’s perfect and it flatters if you are perfect….perfectly proportioned to your height, that is. I’m 5’3″ and yes, I have worn pants that were the width of a hanger. It took daily running, weight lifting and almost never eating to do so. My knees died, life happened and slovenly wimp that I am, I put back on most of my weight. I am now repeating the weight loss cycle again hoping for a lifetime fitness plan that doesn’t finish destroying my joints.

It’s no accident that the same tunic patterns are used to manufacture something called a swimsuit COVER-UP. That’s right–a garment made to COVER something UP. When these are made out of other fabrics, or simply put in a plus-sized catalog, they become FLATTERING and SLIMMING Tunics. Got it?  We are only flattered by being covered up.

Or the same sewing pattern, reduced to junior size, becomes, wait for it….a DRESS. Yes, that’s right it becomes a FLIRTY, FUN little dress that barely hides the model’s thong. Oh, it gets better! They even sell such dresses for those of us who own the entire collection of Buns of Steel still in their original shrink wrap. And, imagine! We’re supposed to wear the dress OVER leggings! I can feel the sweat trickling off my face now. And, worse, I can see people turning away in horror. Leggings, for a butt the size of a recliner seat! Oh the humanity! Fabric stretched tight over a  butt that looks like the moon–craters and all.

Here’s the thing. Clothes meant to hide or camouflage just HURT. We know we are not ideally shaped. We get it that we’ll never be sexy in the eyes of our sex-obsessed society. We know that fashion merchandising is about size 0 being baggy on lucky, blessed girls like my never-ever-will-be-fat daughter. But I don’t want to wear a FAT LADY TUNIC, ok? Isn’t the dreaded onslaught of menopause with its delightful vaginal dryness, flattening boobies, red hot flashes and all the rest enough of an indignity? Must I wear a garment that, no matter how outrageously beautiful the fabric, risks putting me in a People of Walmart meme?

My butt could be used for a billboard. I get it. For another lady it may be boobs that, if she compromised her morals could earn her a fortune in a topless bar. For another it may be that she inherited her football player dad’s body and not that of her delicate cheerleader mom. Being fat hurts enough on its own. We don’t want to wear tunics, mu-mus, bags, old lady housecoats. The necessary, tummy containing granny panties are all the indignity we can endure in one workday.

Honestly, there are few fashion trends worse for the fat body, now that those super-thin layered t-shirts are finally ebbing away. Those awful t-shirts made fat belly buttons look like the Grand Canyon. So, please, no more fat lady tunics. None. Not even, or maybe especially, with a belt. A belt? Seriously? Cause, yeah, I want to spend all day unhooking myself from ADA-compliant door handles, right?

Clothing companies? Let FAT PEOPLE design fat people clothing. Let FAT PEOPLE model fat people clothing. Let FAT PEOPLE decide what flatters fat butts, hips, thighs and boobies, ok? It won’t look like you want, but it will sell. And, we will FEEL slimmed, flattered, flirty and sexy. Yes, sexy. We fat people have sex too. Live with it. But we need clothes made to make us FEEL good. No one wants to be marginalized, covered up, made invisible or made to look foolish.





For more of my writing on body image, please see Dumplin, 3 Diamonds, the Box Gap and Me  and Say No to Boyfriend Style

5 thoughts on “I don’t want to wear a fat lady tunic

  1. Good points! Looking at the photos, I thought, ‘well, I kind of like the way the first and last one look,’ before realizing that that was because those were the skinny models. Way too often, I have loved a top (or any outfit) based on how it looks on the model or mannequin – then tried it on and found it a whole different story 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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