How I Learned to Love Shopping as a Plus-Size Woman

Grammy-nominated singer Mary Lambert shares her journey to discovering plus-size fashion and reveals her shopping secrets. Here's her story.

To be honest, I used to hate shopping. I rarely left a store without crying, cursing my body, and swearing under my breath at the fashion industry. Maybe the industry thinks that fat people are a liability because our hands are made from Twinkies and we will wipe our Yellow #5 marshmallow fingers on the expensive jeans they make. I don't know. I guess my biggest gripe is that brands are fully aware that they are alienating plus-size women, consciously refusing to produce a pant above a size 12. In the last couple years, I've discovered I'm far from alone in my frustration. There are a ton of trailblazing women who are fighting back (all hail the fatkini!), but the lack of plus-size clothing in stores that I would love to shop at is grossly unfair.

I think it does something to your psyche when the majority of clothing companies don't even acknowledge that you exist. I may have already been self-conscious about my weight, but shopping as a plus-size high-schooler seemed to compound my lack of self-worth. I ended up buying baggy clothes and ill-fitting jeans as a weird kind of punishment for not fitting below a size 14. My life was changed when I entered a plus-size clothing store that wasn't designed for hippie teachers or female ministers. One of the cashiers, who was around my size, had on the cutest dress in the world, and she held up a red skirt to me and said, "This would look SO good on you!"

I stayed in that store for two hours. I tried everything on and cried in the dressing room, and I realised then that being cute wasn't contingent on size. I don't know if that lie started in Hollywood or in the stockroom of some store that got a severed dress form, but I promised myself then that I was not going to succumb to the harmful belief that thin equals beautiful. Though to me, fat doesn't equal beautiful either. Beauty, by way of fashion, has to do with confidence, with flattering silhouettes, with patterns, with proper fit for body type, and with an abundance of self-love!

Since that day in the dressing room, I now LOVE trying on clothes, being photographed, and turning the footpath into a runway. One of the best parts about my job is that I get to dress for red carpets and appearances, and I often forgo working with a stylist because fashion is half the fun of any event! Even in my music video for "Secrets," I'm wearing one of my own dresses from Modcloth. Here are some of my favourite companies, stores, and websites to buy clothing.