FATshion: Big Ass Retro Prints

Few things draw attention like a big lady in a big-patterned dress.
Publish date:
June 25, 2012
dresses, shoppables, FATshion, plus sizes

Few things draw attention like a big lady in a big-patterned dress. I am pretty comfortable stating this as fact. Nothing against dainty prints -- they’re fine -- but sometimes I do long for printed dresses that are of a scale with my physical size, which is to say big, vivid, and annoyingly distracting.

Turns out it’s not real easy to find graphic prints in proportion with plus-size garments. And most of them are sufficiently vintage-esque to conjure up some of my weirdest long-forgotten fatshion memories. Let’s go on a trip.

Taylor Dresses blouson maxi, sizes 14W-24W, $168

This looks like something a sassy widowed retiree would wear to play shuffleboard poolside somewhere in Palm Beach, circa 1988. I bet the lady who modeled for Patrick Nagel back in the day would wear the hell out of this thing now. If she’s still alive. Wow, that took a turn for the depressing.

ANYWAY, what is it about blouson tops that scream “over 65”? And why should only older ladies enjoy the tantalizing torso freedom a blouson brings? I say we redistribute the blouson wealth amongst all age groups. Oh, fight me on this if you want, I am only advocating for YOUR freedom to choose.

American Rag dress, sizes 0X-3X (junior plus), $59

I swear this dress is an exact reproduction of the 1970s mind-control wallpaper in the guest bathroom of my seventh grade best friend’s grandmother’s house, except hers had touches of a foiled mirror effect to up the quickness with which psychosis was induced. Imagine a thousand mottled reflections of yourself sitting on the toilet surrounding you on all sides, and tell me that wouldn't make you wonder about the nature of reality.

Seriously, owing to the ease with which I can be made motion-sick, I used to go in there and pee with my eyes closed. In the dark. Curiously, I still like this dress.

Geo print dress, sizes 10-28, $64

You know, there’s a fine line between a dress that is vintage-inspired yet still modern, and a dress that really just looks like a costume. This dress probably falls into the latter category, but fortunately I’m completely okay with that. Is anything new at this point, really? Sure, those Honeycomb Hideout commercials have been off the air since before stirrup pants went out of style, but there’s nothing wrong with a little youthful fashion nostalgia now and again.

Oh, and I guess it’s also kind of 1960s mod-ish. So there’s that, too.

And hey, it’s that model we keep seeing everywhere! Hi, ubiquitous junior plus model lady!

ING sleeveless striped mini, 1X-3X, $68

Is this the result of some happy accident at the fat-dress factory? It looks remarkably like the things I used to sew -- when I had time to sew -- from whatever leftover fabric scraps I had lying around, pretending I was in some kind of 80s teen movie montage. Naturally, I really like it.

The lone review for this garment on the Macy’s website says, “It was too long to be a shirt and too short to be a dress. Disappointing.” Sad reviewer, don’t despair! That is precisely what leggings are for. Although in fairness I suspect loads of ladies might enjoy this dress (which has “mini” right in the name, for the record) exactly as it is.

Adrianna Papell shift dress, sizes 14W-24W, $148

Every once in awhile, someone somewhere wakes up wishing she could wear a dress that makes her look like a progrock album cover. Usually, that person is me. I want to express the incomplete spectrum of human experience and oppression and evoke interminable keyboard solos! THROUGH MY CLOTHING.

I love a print that talks louder than I do. Especially considering that's quite a challenge.