An epiphany regarding fat apparel.

So today I wrote an email to my most favourite underwear company. Oh, they don’t really make cute underwear in my size – so technically i’ve never purchased my favourite underwear from them.  But when I was a teenager I always envied my sister and her friends.  They got cute funky fun undies.  I got lace encrusted high waistedness – if I was lucky.  It’s enough to make a girl go commando, honestly.

[img_assist|nid=80|title=Can you guess which one is the plus size option?|desc=|link=none|align=center|width=599|height=400]

Today I realised that nothing is ever going to change if we don’t pipe up about it. So once a week from this day forward, I plan to write a letter to a fashion label that does not cater to my fashion desires.  Bonds, while making a small selection of plus clothing, has limited their fat underwear to what is affectionately known as “The Grundie”. Bonds Cottontails; for women who like to wear their underpants up to their breasts. I’m not saying they’re a bad choice (hell I’ve worn ‘em) but it’s more the fact that it’s your only choice if you’re over a size 16.  And that sucks big donkey balls. But it’s not going to change unless more of us tell retailers that there is a market for their product; after all, a good businessperson isn’t going to sell a product if they think nobody wants to buy it. We need to educate the uninformed – be as vocal as you can about wanting to spend your fat dollar on their product. That is the only way they will listen.

So with that in mind, here’s the email I sent to Bonds about ten minutes ago:


“I’m a big fan of the look of Bonds products. It saddens me (and quite a few of my friends) greatly that 90% of your underwear lines do not progress past a size 16. The styles over a size 16 that are made by your company appear to be for grandmothers. (Original Cottontails, i’m looking at you.) 

You’re not only missing out on a sizeable portion of the underwear market, you’re also enabling a stereotype that fat men and women can’t be beautiful, and aren’t allowed to wear cute things solely due to their size. While I respect that the company is about business first and foremost, I do know a large number of men and women who would buy your products if they were made (and advertised) in their sizes.  

As a member of the fat community, I wish to help you understand that we like to look and feel just as great as those who are smaller sizes. I appreciate the company’s endeavours into creating plus size clothing – I’m currently wearing a Bonds hoodie after all – but please PLEASE take the next step and start making fun young plus sized underwear. Or at the very least do the market research, and look statistically at how many young fat people there are who are starving for underwear that is cute but comfortable. 




It may not ever be read by anyone who will care, I admit.  But if we fats rally together…. I mean, if we contact designers and retailers for more options in our sizes that don’t look like potato sacks, it might show them that making fatshion is economically viable. 

I will be sending out one email a week to companies that I wished made clothing in my size. I will continue this mission until fats are treated equitably by the fashion industry. This is my pledge.

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  • nycivan

    I like the idea of peacefully communicating how I feel about what a company is doing. Sometimes, I feel like members of our Fat Acceptance community can come off as belligerent or nasty when we communicate about our thoughts about how someone or some company is behaving that bothers us.

    I think that there is a proper time and place to ” get in someone;s face”, however, I think we can often diminish the ability for comprehension of the message we are sending when we send it with a spirit of anger.

    Good for you for expressing your point of view with logic and not with screaming or yelling.



  • nitrojane

    Thanks so much! While I am often filled with rage at the lack of fatshion, you're right – there's a time and a place for that rage. It's channelling it into something constructive, and showing the industry that we're human beings too, and are capable of rational thought.

  • http://woundedkite.com/ Mel

    This is an excellent idea, congratulations! I really hope it works.

  • Jae

    That is a great letter! I am not totally without cute underwear, but I would love to see more options for sure!

  • http://www.beautifulyoubyjulie.blogspot.com/ Julie

    Yeah! Good for you – great letter.

    Hope it gets a great response.


  • KateJ

    Thanks, I feel exactly the same way about Bonds and now I'm inspired to email them too. There was a wee golden age a few years back when they extended a few of the cute lines to an 18, and I was madly buying them all (though, let's face it, I needed a 20). And then the 18s disappeared as mysteriously as they had arrived.

  • Peggy

    A lot of women do wear the Cottontails, me included. They fit reliably and they don't tend to fall down. We wear them to death before throwing them out and buying more, because let's face it the shopping and owning experience for them is quite underwhelming.

    I've always thought that if they wanted to make more money Bonds could do releases of Cottontails in prints. Not dorky little flowers and other such typical prints marketed to fats, but really distinctive prints, just a few of them at a time and very well chosen and maybe presented slightly differently (store stands instead of packs?) but still the same fitting, fabric qualities and leg bindings. Prints like large repeating motifs (skull, heart, fleur de lys etc) and plaids, and world maps and street maps and Escher prints… well you get the idea. And maybe not to every shop, it could be one of those “For Store X” deals. Keep demand slightly under supply and keep changing the designs, and before they know it the collecting dynamic will kick in, and a fair amount of the currently underwhelmed Cottontails wearers will be spending maybe twice as much money on their knickers.

    It would be so terribly easy to do this. Very much the same marketing dynamic that Dunlop used a few years ago to rejuvenate its Volley range.

  • emilylzbth

    I love that letter! I sent a modified version of it to Anthropologie because I ADORE their clothing but at a US 26 there is no hope I am going to fit into the largest size they make (US 14.) So I hope we both get an excellent response. Maybe at least change one mind!

  • nitrojane

    Gosh Peggy – that'd be awesome. You should write to Bonds and tell them!! I'd certainly be purchasing cottontails if they weren't just beige or white.

  • http://www.perfectlyshapedworld.com caseyfern

    [*cheers madly*] Speak up, speak out, speak for us all. I hope to see you join us at the Perfect Social Club (http://perfectly.ning.com) where we're focused on the common bond of a certain size.

  • http://www.nicholasperkins.com/blog/ Nicholas Perkins

    Awesome idea. It's important to let them know that if they make it, we will buy it.

  • 1Sonya1

    This is such a good idea! Bonds make the cutest (and COMFIEST) undies, but when they stop at a certain size, they're excluding a large part (lol pun) of their possible market. Good on you for writing to them!

  • http://stayclassyla.blogspot.com JLopezCostume

    Yup! I had written about lack of customers willing to fight for a product here http://stayclassyla.blogspot.com/2009/07/design… Long story short, unless we create a demand, there will not be product available.

  • Loz

    Even though I'm an expat Aussie, I still only wear Bonds hipster boylegs in as lurid a colour as possible (I stock up when I'm at home.) As someone who's undoubtedly fat according to both modern medicine and society, but extremely short and thus just able to wear regular sizes, it seems ridiculous that a quirk of genetics allows me to wear something cool while anyone larger has so little choice. (I'm aware many people are happy with cottontails, but that should be a choice, not a no-choice of last resort.)

    Re: the poster asking for cottontails in patterns and colours – I'm on board with that! Many of my relatives and friends like plain, supportive undies…just not in white, and Bonds seems to have stopped catering to that market. (I've got a few elderly pairs of full briefs in purple and turquoise in a drawer, and I haven't seen anything similar in years.)

    So yes, I'm seriously in favour of this.

    (And slightly alarmed to be emerging from lurker-dom in a post about underwear. Oh well.)

  • http://www.nameoftherose.net Laura

    I'd even buy them if they were just black! White underwear is just asking to get stained IMO.

  • Amanda

    Janey, I totally started going panty-free five years ago when I couldn't fit into Victoria Secret panties anymore! I am a size 16. Come one folks! I cam rock a panty dammit.

  • Janie Garcia

    Just wanted to say thanks for this posting!

    The other day I found myself teaching my class of sophomore English students (14-16 yo) how to write a professional business letter. As one of my examples, I used your email to Bonds! I promise you I am generally a modest person, but, if I can just say so myself… ” GO ME! …for passing along a little fat acceptance knowledge onto my students.” They need to understand that people like their fat and fabulous teacher deserve to live fun and flirty lives– especially via their underwear choices.

    My point… I could not have done it without you!


  • nitrojane

    This seriously made my day. Thank YOU!

  • tasham77

    I just found out that you CAN get a lot of the Frederick's of Hollywood stuff in plus sizes. Infact, I have on a pair of their thongs right now. They com in all the same cute colors and styles and go on sale just like the anorexic sizes :) They also carry plus size bra's. Just thought I would let all you wonderful women know

  • nitrojane

    Ah, but Frederick's don't ship to Australia!

    To be honest, I can get my fill of “sexy” underwear, i know where to get g-strings and lacy doodats, but sometimes I just want some comfy (but still cute!) undies, yaknow?

  • http://randomette.blogspot.com ErinAree

    Just-a-wondering – did you ever get a response to this?

  • nitrojane

    I did, actually! It was a pretty stock standard “we'll pass it on to our management” thing, but I figure it's a start. The more people who give companies feedback, the more likely the company is to respond.

  • Mark

    I Have to say that big women in small underwear may make them feel sexy but unless it “firm” you achieve a much better look with it covered. If it a fuller figure it can look quite sexy.

    There is nothing worse than it “falling out all over” you pants, top and bottom. Its possibly because a lot of women realise that and don’t want to buy “smalls” when they know they look better in “large” that sets the market.

    As in all things, there are always those that don’t agree with the majority and the manufacturer’s work to the biggest market……………… 

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