Is a New Plus-Size Clothing Line for Kids a Sign of Victory or Defeat?Meredith Carroll
Take a gander at the 30+ albums in my parents’ house and you’ll have an abundance of photographic evidence that my weight has gone up and down more times than President Obama’s popularity rating.
During the most unfortunate times when the number on the scale is up and no clothes in my closet fit (because, really, who hangs on to their fat clothes the second they’re no longer fat?), it is with great shame and reluctance that I shop for larger sizes. Sure, it’s good to know other sizes and styles exist, but my disgust with myself is endless for ever getting back to that point. Then when I actually inspect the larger clothes before trying them on, it hurts my head and my heart that something seemingly big enough for Shamu actually fits me.
I’m at a healthy weight now (woo hoo!), and fortunately I’ve never been morbidly obese (yay, me!), but I’ve definitely raised my own eyebrows at my reflection in the mirror and wiped away tears when I walk into a store like the Gap and realize I need to go online instead to shop for the sizes they only offer on their website.
This has been going on in my life forever. I was a relatively normal-weight kid, but most of my girlfriends were effortlessly thin, so I always felt heavy and unhealthy by comparison. I wanted a lanky body, not a regular one. When I see chubby kids now, I cry a little inside for them because I know it’s not easy and that chances are, it won’t be any time soon.
A new line of clothes for kids called Hey Mom, It Fits! is attempting to be launched by a woman named Ruth Smith through a Kickstarter campaign (that we first read about it on The Huffington Post). The Kickstarter pitch reads, in part:
Do you have plus size children? Are you tired of going to the clothing rack only to find the size you are looking for is not available? Do you find it difficult to find fashionable clothing for your children? Do you feel there is a shortage of plus size children clothing? Are you satisfied with the style, the fit, the colors available and the quality of the clothes you find? How do your children feel in the clothes you purchase for them?
If you have had some of the same challenge and you are tired of looking into the eyes of your children only to find the look of disappointment.Clothing is supposed to make you feel relaxed, stylish, chic and attractive, but most importantly confident about the way we look.
If these have been some of the challenges you have when purchasing clothing for your plus size children you are in the right place with “HEY MOM IT FITS”
For the 18 percent of kids aged 6-11 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say are obese, a line like this is a lovely thing. All kids should feel comfortable in their own skin. They should have clothes that not only fit them but in which they feel great — no matter if “great” means stylish, comfortable, trendy, active, or trim. To be a chubby kid can be hard enough. To be a chubby kid in ill-fitting clothes is even tougher.
But is designing an entire line of clothes exclusively for chubby kids going to motivate them to get healthier so that they can fit into more standard sizes? Or will they rest happily in their husky sizes to the point where there doesn’t seem to be a point to try to buy off the rack? And is the fact that more of these lines seem to be popping up (a plus-size line for toddlers was introduced a few years ago) mean there are just that many more chubby kids to fit in them (according to the CDC, the answer is yes: “Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years,” it says on their website).
The solution for overweight kids isn’t simply telling them to lose weight. Even small children know that, especially since in so many cases there are underlying emotional reason behind their flab in the first place (that is, other than kids with actual medical conditions or medications that cause them to gain weight). Maybe a plus-size clothing line is a temporary solution, but hopefully their parents, teachers and doctors are digger deeper to help find ways to get them to fit into regular size clothing before the unhealthy habits they developed to get them into larger sizes in the first place lead them to a life of adult plus-size clothes.
It’s not about achieving perfection or trying to attain an absurd standard of beauty but it is about ensuring that unhealthy habits aren’t being rewarded or enabled.
Photo credit: iStockphoto