Wednesday, 20 January 2016

forever 21 plus activewear

I'm fat. I have been fat for a long time. I wish I could be one of those women who feel empowered and beautiful at any size, but I'm not. I'm working on it.

Recently I got blood work done at a routine physical and it came back that my blood sugar is high, which means I am on the path to diabetes. I know what healthy living looks like, my parents always exercised and ate well. I know I have unhealthy habits, but for whatever reason I can never bring myself to make a change for longer than a couple months at a time. My weight fluctuates, leaving me with new stretch marks every time, and exacerbated anxiety and depression, but something in me hasn't allowed me to take this information and make a permanent positive change.

I'd like to say my blood work is enough evidence of my unhealthy lifestyle to get me active and eating impeccably, but my relationship with food and my body is complicated. It is something I am ever navigating and trying to reconcile. There have been plenty of moments I was convinced would be THE moment I learned to exist at a healthy weight effortlessly, but there has been no magic circumstance. Not even my approaching wedding day is a sufficient motivator.

Today I am in a place where I am much kinder and more forgiving to myself than I used to be, but it's a messy and imperfect journey. That's something I struggle with - imperfection. If my food gets crazy or I start to slack on my exercise routine, I self sabotage.
Finally recognizing this pattern is my first step to an evolution of my health.

Not only do I need to get healthy to reverse my high blood sugar, but I need a hard reboot on my mental health as well. It's not easy for me to be a plus size woman. My size is at the back of my mind 100% of the day. The intentions of every person I encounter runs through a "is it because I'm fat?" filter. Logically, I know this is insane, but there are so many insane ideas woven deeply within me. Cutting them loose takes time.

Admittedly, at times I silently resent my female friends who can find clothes that fit them literally anywhere. I don't want to feel this way, but existing in a world that mostly thinks you're too large to be respected, considered beautiful, or even worthy of clothing takes its toll on you. That's why it's such a triumph when companies that you've dreamt of being able to wear release plus lines. You finally feel like you exist.

When Forever 21 started to offer plus sizes, I was thrilled. I started shopping there when I was 19. I was smaller then than I am now, but even at a size 10 I was only able to fit in larges depending on the cut of the garment. The plus line is far from perfect - a lot of the prints and designs are downright hideous and there are probably a quarter of the options available to straight sizes. This is just a fact of plus size fast fashion though, be it Forever 21, ASOS, or H&M. I take what I can get.

forever 21 fit


This year, Forever 21 launched an activewear line in both straight and plus sizes. I had actually been on the hunt for new activewear in my size. The two pairs of yoga pants and oversized band tees weren't cutting it. I wanted to feel cute on my walks, hikes, and jogs, god damnit! So when I found out Forever 21 had activewear in my size, I had to check it out.


I was near the Beverly Center yesterday and decided to stop in to Forever 21 in search of their plus activewear. I must have walked the length of the store three times looking for their plus section before asking for help. Even that act was wrought with shame. I didn't want to have to say the words "plus size" out loud. I actually scouted out the "right" employee to ask. I skipped past the skinny girls restocking the floor and the two male employees I saw, until I spotted a woman close to my size.

Me: "Excuse me, where's the plus section?"
Employee I selected arbitrarily based on physical appearance: "Oh, we got rid of it."

I guess not many plus size women are shopping in West Hollywood, (though I find that hard to believe.)

Today I stopped in the Glendale store at the Americana and found what I was looking for - cute leggings with high waists and mesh panels, stylish and feminine sports bras with cage backs, and tanks that showed off those cute, colorful bras. I got myself a pair of black leggings with mesh side panels and a multicolored bra with black caging in the back and went home to try them on.






I have never felt cute in activewear. Literally never. I am actually sitting in my bra and leggings as I write this. I don't wanna take them off. I did my bridges and pushups and sumo squats in my new clothes feeling like a BOSS. I'm looking forward to feeling good in my new activewear as I embark on my latest attempt at healthy living. I know it's just clothes, but they make me feel happy and confident. I feel like I am finally getting a taste of how it must feel to be my friends who can fit into anything.

Hey fashion industry, can we start letting big girls feel cute more often? (I'm looking at you specifically, Victoria's Secret. My mom once went in there to get me bras and underwear and PJs as a gift and was horrified when she asked for something in an XL and the employee looked at her blankly and said "Uh, we don't carry sizes that big." My mom is tiny, so she wasn't aware of the sizeism in virtually EVERY store.)

And to the companies trying to bring fast fashion to fat fans of fast fashion -
thank you, on behalf of all big girls.

xo
Ali

1 comment:

  1. Amazing post! I am a big fan of your forever 21 plus activewear. Their fitting is just perfect and all clothes look very stylish. Your workout leggings are superb. Have never tried this brand but keen to buy this stuff soon.

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