Surprisingly…

I am in a really good mood.

I put it squarely on the shoulders of two things:

The Jackson 5

and

the fact that my “whatever he is” has finally figured out what I’ve known all along.

To wit: “I fell for you so hard when you wrote me that email.”

The email in question, you ask?

I defended my position regarding the shittiness of Indiana Jones 4 and I was very clear and articulate about my reasons.

Clearly this is a man who appreciates logical thinking.

Also this is a man who is a bit of a Lucas fanboy.

I am not a Lucas fangirl, but I am a fangirl of other things. Namely:

Harry Potter (I have sunk to the depths of being a rather well-known fanfic author, such is my fangirlery…or would that be fangirlishness?)

Buffy

X-files

Star Trek (that’s a big one. I even read an XF – ST cross over fic and LOVED IT)

Cute Overload

LOLcats

The music choice for today?

The Jacksons – Blame It On the Boogie (one of the ones Michael came back to sing on) It makes me want to dance.

Add comment August 22, 2008 maydarling

Why clothes cost so much…or so little

Re: pricing of clothing or the B & Lu Dilemma

There was a comment on SP that went “Do size 30 pants really require $30 worth of fabric more than my size 8s?”

I work in the fashion industry (I design childrenswear, but I’ve worked for Polo Ralph Lauren, doing women’s sweaters).

And when they charge more for larger sizes based on fabric usage, manufacturers can make the case that it makes sense. Especially if when they track sales they see that the “inbetweenie” to lower size plus sizes are selling better.

When a production team is in the process of putting together their BOMs (Bill of Materials) for styles, they have to cost everything down to the penny.

Everything consists of:
Fabric
Elastic
Closures
Thread
Trims (ribbons, sequins)
Color (some dyes cost more than others)

Prints (screen printing can be a really expensive process when you’re dealing with an intricate print requiring different screens to be cut from the copper dies)

The name of the game is to make  as much money as possible using the least amount of materials. If manufacturers see that styles which take more materials are selling the least, they have two options in the immediate future:

a) stop producing these sizes and sell off the rest at a loss during sales

or

b) increase markup for these sizes to account for the extra materials and reduce the amount of the sizes that they manufacture

What may look like a few pennies or tens of pennies for supersizes to the average consumer can translate into elevated costs of *thousands* for the manufacturer. Manufacturers have to think in bulk when they book materials from mills. And if they have garments *or* fabric left over after bulk production of garments, that is a loss. No business, especially a small business, can afford to regularly take such a loss.

So, the materials question is answered.

Now, the quality question.

The cheaper you can secure labor, the less your finished garment will cost. This will might translate into clothing that is not of the best quality. You might get anywhere between six months to a year’s worth of wear, if you’re lucky, with these garments. But for someone who is on a fixed budget, this isn’t the most economical option, what with having to buy clothing every half year to a year. This also ties in with the materials part because cheap materials cost less to produce and book and unfortunately, this means poly/rayon/whatever blends.

Natural fibers simply cost more. Period. From having to pay the farmers to grow the plant/raise the animals (which trickles down into laborers who work on farms/ranches, plant/animal husbandry which means pesticides/fertilizers/food, the cost of maintaining the land itself, the machinery used to harvest the fibers), to processing the raw goods (cleaning the plant/animal fibers, converting the fibers into yarns/threads, dyeing the threads, the labor which goes into the processing, maintaining the buildings that house the machinery, which makes the yarns/threads, etc), then converting the yarns/threads (of any material, manmade or natural) into fabric itself.

All this also requires transportation between the various facilities.

Which also costs money:

gas

drivers

movers to load the goods onto the trucks and to unload them at their final destination

Let’s not forget about the cost of electricity. Utilities are going up and up and up. These are all costs which are passed down to the consumer.

The once you are ready to construct the garment itself there’s even *more* cost involved.

You have your:

technical designers (of which I am one), who take the original designer’s sketch and pick it apart to its basic elements and assign measurements to make the pattern and assure accurate fit and construction

designers, who create original sketches and select every design element from fabric to trim to closures.

production and product developers, who work with the mills to assure that the garments stay on track for delivery to the store (either online or brick & mortar), take care of costing and plan every element to make sure that the company stays within margin.

Sales people, who travel around presenting the clothing to stores so that the manufacturer can make money to pay themselves and their employees and the factories (who in turn pay the farmers who in turn pay the laborers)

There is a vast network of people behind that shirt that a person is contemplating buying, and they are all looking to get paid. I know I look forward to getting my paycheck every two weeks.

And it’s not enough to simply “spread the costs across all the garments and mark them up another 50 cents”.

What people don’t understand is that there is no smooth grade between all sizes. Period.

There is a grade that runs between sizes 0-6(8), a grade that runs between 10(12) – 14(16), a grade that runs between 18(20) – 24(26) and one that runs between 28(30) – 34(36).

That means that each numerical size in each grade run is subjected to the same costs/problems. Each size run between grades has its own patterns and markers (markers are runoffs of the actual pattern pieces used to construct a garment), it’s own cutters (people who do the actual cutting of the garments), it’s own tables to lay out the fabric to be cut and sometimes their own sewers – which translates into more labor costs.  And if it takes more time to develop a garment (and by extension, a collection) because of the unique challenges faced in plus-size (I hate that phrase) design, that compresses lead time, which cuts down on the amount of advertising time to get the word out there about the clothing, which in turn cuts down on the amount of people who know about it, which diminishes the amount of customers you have to purchase said garments.

Fat people run on a spectrum just like thin ones do. And the sizes in the middle* (18-20-22) tend to sell out the fastest while the smaller (12-14-16) and larger (24+) tend to hang around in warehouses. So, retailers either a) mark them up to make up for the loss and carry fewer of those sizes or b) drop them.  It sucks. But this is a business. Granted, there is a market for them, definitely. But before getting all het up about it, take a minute to consider why this is so.  At least the smaller operations are *trying* to fill the void.

*I am one of those in the middle sizes and let me tell you, it’s HARD to find my size because most everyone else out there is in that range, too.

Add comment August 10, 2008 maydarling

The Rack of Doom…amongst other things

So, hanging around Shapely Prose, I ran across a post about the Rack of Doom (and their sisters, the Tiny Titties of Terror) and it got me to thinking about my own Rack-y experiences.

Sometimes, I underestimate their size.

For instance, I try to squeeze by someone in a crowded place and having squeezed my butt appropriately as to not brush against one of the unwashed masses, I left the chesticle area wide open.

Do you know how utterly gross it is to have your tit brush against someone you don’t know? Ew. Ew.

I went and got measured for a new bra. Well, this was awhile ago. And I have since (rather unintentionally) lost some weight. And it’s come off of my back. So my band size has changed. Back has gone down, titties remain the same.

I used to think that if I lost weight, my boobs would go down. Such is conventional wisdom. So much for conventional wisdom. Seems even though I’m a fat chick, my particular brand of breasts are not very fatty at all. Pretty much the same with my mother, who was a relatively small woman most of her life, was still pretty booby. Same with my gran. We’re booby and not hippy. The opposite of a pear. If there was a fruit that resembled such.

But I fit into some of my favorite things a little bit better. But the problem now arises that some of my *other* favorite things (such as my True Religion jeans) are hanging off my ass.

That is very problematic because of how much those jeans cost. I wanted at least a couple of years wear from them.

See, I learned a long time ago not to shop cheaply, or often, but *well* It’s worth it to save up the extra pennies and spend the money on things that you will wear every day. Like jeans. People scoff at expensive jeans. But when you think about how much time the average person spends in a pair of jeans, doesn’t it make sense to have those jeans fit you like a dream?

Unfortunately, those dreams are slowly becoming nightmares. Because I need a belt for them.

I hate belts.

I now own two of them.

I had planned on having enough fat to hold them up sans belt. So much for planning.

But back to the rack o’doom.

I never thought my rack was very doomy. My rack and I have had a pretty good time together. We get along. But then came the day when I discovered that I could fit everything about my body into a dress at Ann Taylor Loft EXCEPT…yes. The rack. Shock, shock horror. But despite that, I have never once considered reduction.

You know why?

I love my boobs. They lend my hipless body curve and femininity. They don’t make my back hurt. (my back makes my back hurt) And they rarely cause a problem. If I were going to do anything to them, I’d get them lifted. Not so jazzed about the saggy part. But then I’m terrified to go under the knife. People die from “routine” liposuction and from going to the dentist. Sigh.

So I must make peace with this body I’ve inherited. And start planning my next trip.

Add comment August 10, 2008 maydarling

Re: Nancy Lebovitz’s Comment

I was writing a comment in response to Nancy Lebovitz who commented at Shapely Prose about Julia’s post about her experiences as a fat, black woman. It got really long, so I decided to put it here.

Re: Nancy Lebovitz

“Doing better on fat acceptance than most white communities is admittedly surpassing a *very* low standard, but I really think major black communities have managed it.”

Really? Huh. I got shamed each and every day for being a fat black girl. And 95% came from my black peers in elementary & high school and the other 5% of it came from my well-meaning concern-trolling family.

Because I was and am fat, I had to “be neat and pressed” at all times because I have to overcome the triple-whammy: not just black and a woman, but a fat black woman.

Even now when I hear my white friends talk about how it must be sooooo easy to be me because black/latino (whoever) men/women are more accepting of size, I really, REALLY want to call bullshit on that. (excuse the language)

Untrue. Utterly untrue.

I’ve been catcalled by black people in the street for being fat. I’ve been concern-trolled by co-workers and so-called “friends” and then when I *dare* to get angry at someone’s inhuman and insensitive treatment of me, all of a sudden I’ve transformed from just being a fat black woman (who should be grateful for any crumb of attention that comes my way) to being an angry, fat black bitch. And I really don’t want to get started on how the “angry black woman” stereotype is conflated with “fat black woman.” Because as we all know, all fat women are angry because they’re fat. So, fat black women must be doubly angry.

Does that sound like a community that is “more accepting of fatness”? It’s not ok to be fat in the black community anymore than it’s ok to be fat in the white community. Let’s just put that particular stereotype to rest right now.

I also take exception to your saying that Queen Latifah is from a “not the most respectable” black sub-culture. Pray tell, which sub-culture is that? According to Queen Latifah’s biography, she grew up solidly middle-class in East Orange, NJ, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a police officer. Yes, she made her mark in the hip-hop music genre (and that particular subset has its unsavory elements, but that can be said of every genre, Jerry Lee Lewis, anyone?), but she has since become genre defying as both a musical artist and actress.

4 comments August 6, 2008 maydarling

huh. a 2-for-1 ignorant bingo hit

So, I was cruising around the fatosphere, getting my daily knowledge on and I run across this post about a Time magazine article about genetic laziness.

Ok…I can see where this is headed and so jumped over to Time to check out the mentioned headless fatty pic.

Not only are they stereotypical couch potato fatties fighting over the goddamn remote, but they’re a fat black couple.

Because, God knows, fat is just WAY more accepted in the black community. Give me a fucking break Time. Oh, and yeah, everyone just FUCKING KNOWS that black people are INHERENTLY LAZY.

Fuck you Time, and fuck your lazy-ass design editor and their minions. I know yet another publication that won’t get my goddamn money.

Add comment July 31, 2008 maydarling

Unreasonable and unconsionable

So last night or rather in the wee hours of this morning, I found myself sitting at work.

Again.

For a regular, so-called desk-job that supposedly only calls on me to work the occasional late-night and/or weekend, I find myself regularly putting in 60+ per week.

Regularly

Sucktastic.

But! Since this *is* the fashion industry and this *is* Manhattan, I do earn overtime. Wh00t.

It’s only the overtime that allows me to keep up my sham fabulous lifestyle. And if you’re curious about how late I was there, I didn’t leave until 3:45am. And I just love taking the D train home that time of the morning. This work situation is completely out of control and something must be done.

But apparently it’s cheaper just to pay me overtime than to hire someone else to share the workload.

Even though what they’re going to end up paying me in OT will pretty much equal what they could pay an additional person. Heh. But whatever. Keep paying me OT and I’ll keep earning it. 🙂

Add comment July 30, 2008 maydarling

Of old boyfriends and neverending work

So, I’m sitting here at my desk, measuring away on a Sunday (and I just LOVE that!) and flipping through the fatosphere. And it got me to thinking about my…hm. He’s rather uncategorable. (is that a word?)

I say sort-of because we never really got to bf/gf status – through no fault of my own.

So, I hadn’t spoken to this cat in about a month. (note: we have friendly correspondence)

It was fine with me. I had been out, doing me, living the single girl life. (Note to self, when relatively good looking Scotsmen offer to buy champagne, say NO.)

So one day, S. & I were on the F train to Brooklyn to find me a dress and I was laughing and generally being the cool chick that I aspire to be. We get off of the train, do our shopping and head off to Park Slope for dinner. I decide to check my phone because I perpetually keep it on vibrate. I have messages, no surprise there.

The surprise came in that it was *him*. He had been sitting behind S & I on our same train car. And it so happened that he saw us when we got off.

Basically it was messages saying, “oh my god, you were on my train, you look fantastic, fabulous, your hair looks great, you’ve got amazing legs, yadda yadda yadda.”

And from there our friendliness has somewhat escalated. And we’re in a weirdo in-between dating/not dating stage. I wouldn’t mind more, but yet again he’s proving elusive.

The trials of being a single girl in the city.

I seem to attract the complicated men. Don’t get me wrong, I love the complicated guys – they make good conversation and tend to have awesome taste in music.

I just wish the game were a little less complicated.

Add comment July 27, 2008 maydarling

Alrighty then.

This is my first formal foray into the fatosphere, having left comments on blogs that I like.

Fatosfierce!

About me.

29

Fat – 5’2″ & around 200 – draw your own conclusions

Employed at the Hellmouth. (thanks Joss!)

Single and definitely looking.

Now that we’ve got the most pertinent information out of the way, onto the nitty gritty.

I recently ran across this article by Tara Parker-Pope. In one of the comments, a posted writes that in order to calculate the number of calories it takes to sustain my current weight, take my weight and multiply it by 11. Then if I want to reduce my weight, take the weight I think I should weigh and multiply that by 11 as well and subtract the difference.

Sounds easy enough, right?

So, the last time I weighed myself I was 206. Times 11 that is 2266 calories I must take in to sustain that. Not too far over the RDA of 2000kcal per day, yes?

In my more insanity ridden days (I do work in the benighted Fashion Industry), I think I should be somewhere around 130. And so we do a bit of arithmetic again.
130 x 11 = 1430kcal per day.

And taking into account that most days I probably don’t get that much in because I am just an assistant and living in Manhattan. New York, in direct contrast to the sheer volume of great restaurants, really isn’t a city that encourages comfortable food consumption. One adjusts accordingly.

So…2266-1430= 836

EIGHT HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX!

I would have to shave off eight hundred thirty-six calories from my diet to get to my crazy lady weight of 130.

I think that much would be slightly…um…MISERABLE. Yes. That is word I am thinking of.

Awfully spartan existence. That’s even under the amount that Liz Hurley says that she gets in an ordinary day. And with her 1500kcal per day diet, she’s admitted that she’s miserable.

Ditto for Janet Jackson. I read an article with her and the journalist interviewed her over breakfast.
Her breakfasts consisted of egg white omeletes, with various fillings. And she griped about how much she was tired of egg whites. In this article, it claimed that JJ eats between 1,150 to 1,450kcal per day. Plus, she works out like a fiend.

Between all that working out and anticipation of the tasty and delicious egg whites, how do they all manage to live such fabulous lives?

No wonder most celebs look…miserable fantastic!

Add comment July 26, 2008 maydarling

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