Listen now | With Pam Luk of Ember & Ace
Ha. "So by four I’m wearing a six, by six I’m wearing an eight ..."
My six-year-old is wearing a 9/10 in some brands. So bigger body for sure, but he doesn't read "fat" to people, so he doesn't/we don't get the judgment. He's tall and very solid in some way that is just different from a lot of kids, almost like he's gotten adult proportions sooner. As of a month or two ago when I was trying to line up long pants for winter, in theory, based on the size guide, he should have juuuuuust barely fit into Hanna Andersson size eight on both height and weight and gotten a little more wear out of last winter's pants, but something about the way he was shaped made it not work for the non-stretchy ones. I think that he has a butt?
My best friend's sons are three years older than him and I've always gotten hand-me-downs from her and now we have figured out that he's 3-6 months behind her larger son on sizing. Meanwhile she has enormous problems finding clothes for her 13-year-old daughter because she's so skinny, which I think at this point is logistically about as difficult as finding clothes for a teen in a bigger body, but again, she's not getting the judgment which is SO important. (Aside from the one time her daughter lost some weight due to illness and the doctors decided she must have an eating disorder even though literally the kid had been in the hospital for 10 days.)
Thanks so much for this! I don't know if everyone already knows this, but for leggings for my 10 year old girl I just buy a larger size and cut off bottoms so that they're the right length. The raw hem is not noticeable, and you can pull socks up over it in the winter anyhow. I do this to for myself too!
I'm finding clothing to be more of a challenge the older my daughter gets. When she was younger she was into loose jersey dresses with leggings and sneakers, but she feels like that look is too babyish now (sadly since I find it adorable). Between the lack of size options and sensory sensitivities to things like seams and tags, the challenge is real. Especially with swim suits - UGH! And I end up spending a LOT of time and money searching for clothing and returning things, because I want her to feel comfortable and confident and not think about it too much (so I end up thinking about it way more than I'd like).
I'm so glad you're talking about this. My round child is up to sizes that don't exist. So, what I do find requires tailoring. I'm going to have to dedicate my holiday vacation to making her a winter capsule wardrobe because I literally cannot find child-appropriate clothes that fit, are comfortable for her sensory issues, and are, well, fun! My husband, sweetheart that he is, bought me a Cricut, in part so that I can design cute tees and such for her. She loves glittery unicorns too!!
This is so fantastic. Thank you.
For me, the really frustrating part with my now-teenage stepsons was that boy fashion in the last decade is really heavily, like, that Under Armor athletic-wear kind of vibe, which is great and stretchy etc, but stretch kind of only goes so far, and who wants a tightly stretched waistband digging into you all day - you want your kid to be comfortable. But this stuff is so....slinky, kind of, that cuffing or rolling doesn't work at all, and hemming is really really hard. Like, I can do some light sewing, but hemming those stretchy slinky track pants is not something I am doing. When they were younger I had pretty good success with stuff like jeans in stores that carry "plus" lines, and folding cuffs over when necessary, but once they hit about 8 or 9 and really wanted to be in the athletic wear, it became very hard. Like you said, there is that assumption that "athletic" kids are by definition not plus-sized kids.
In the end they both started wearing athletic shorts with super-high over-the-calf socks, which I guess is also super trendy now, and it kind of solved the problem. But like, it feels frustrating, that the answer is basically to just piece together full-leg coverage out of socks and shorts. My younger stepson is very athletic, with an annual rotation of sports by season, and finding the baseball pants especially has always been really hard. My older stepson is 6' tall now so he at least has aged into having access to the slightly broader options there are for adult men.
I’m new here, so maybe this is a matter of going back through past posts, but I would love to know more about how folks use tailoring to help clothes fit, feel, and look better (for themselves rather than their kids).
I'm so glad to see you writing about this! Like Pamela, I was a fat kid (with vivid memories of dressing room meltdowns!), and in struggling with my son now, I often wonder how things haven't changed more since then. My seven year old is big all around but with a belly that requires at least a 14 to comfortably fit but then we often have things way too long and crotches too deep. He has a lot of sensory preferences so we rely exclusively on knits and I am all too familiar with those slinky athletic fabrics that I must hem, which I can manage because I am also a sewist. I make nearly all my own clothes these days and used to make a lot of his (pj's and pants at least, which are harder to get to fit properly or just wear big) but I don't have as much time to do it as I used to. I'm grateful at least that my son doesn't really care about trends and isn't into any specific sports or activities but he does love bright, colorful clothes, which can be hard to find, and he just grows so fast! So sewing all his clothes is not sustainable for me.
I'm thankful I've learned to sew and it makes a lot of things easier, but sometimes you just want or need to wear something and not spend hours and a lot of money sourcing materials and making it yourself. It's a double edged sword though, sewing, because now on the rare occasion I do go shopping, I'm even more dissatisfied with the options and fit available. And for the price, I'd rather just make it myself, knowing I'll at least be happy with it. So most of the time, I'm just woefully unprepared for the weather, lol. And same for my son. We take advantage of the few plus size options available for kids (I like Old Navy and Land's End) but await with dread the day he grows out of boys sizes.
Thank you so much for this piece!!! This last year especially has started to get extra challenging in finding clothing that my daughter finds cute and comfortable as a plus sized now 10 year old. We've both shed tears and started having discussions about how the clothing industry really needs to be more inclusive. It's heartbreaking and infuriating.
We had a clothing specific issue come up this last week in fact. My daughter's favorite clothing brand was The Children's Place, and she told me the size 16 dresses I bought her 2 months ago no longer fit, and to please buy her the size 18. There is no size 18 at The Children's Place, and no plus size option. This was heartbreaking when I told her, for both her and myself, because I felt so powerless to fix it.
She understandably wants to wear the cute clothes her friends, who are skinny and smaller than her are wearing. She feels self conscious enough as it is. This was just one more blow to her already fragile self esteem.
Thank you for this conversation. For my 9 year old, we have started buying adult t-shirts which works fine because it's either plain black (the favorite) or plenty of graphic designs that feature Harry Potter, dragons, etc. Shorts have been ok with elastic or drawstring waistband but shorts weather is nearly (and already really should be) over here in Maryland. Pants are the worst. Some XL or 14/16 plus work fine and some don't. My kid is tall so larger all around which certainly helps with the length issue but the proportions are still tough and adult pants are still out of the question. I also have to say that part of it is the price point thing too--I don't want to spend on kid clothes what I would spend on adult clothes that will be in my closet for years. Target plus sizes seem to work best and we also had a lot of success in earlier years with pants from Gap kids husky sizes but that ended around size 12.
VIRGINIA I BOUGHT THE BOOTS THANK YOU THEY LOOK AMAZING.
The mention of custom orders for team’s athletic gear reminded me of something from high school marching band days. I was on the flag line and we would order custom costumes that were usually full length, skin-tight unitards. It was awkward for everyone to get measured, but I remember them having to come back and re-measure some girls(only those in larger bodies) because someone at the manufacturer didn’t believe that some girls’ proportions were accurate.
Looking back it’s crazy to me that it was so necessary to put all these kids in skin-tight clothing that they’d charge them $100-$150 for this custom gear and also call so much attention to different body shapes and proportions.