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WTF Barney’s?!?


I’ve talked a bit about my own body issues here over the years. There was this post about the ‘flap‘ that appeared after my c-section, there was the episode with Beyonce at H&M, and then there was my fitness journey with Amanda — where I traded decorating services for personal training. I worked out with Amanda for two years and lost almost 30 lbs. It felt amazing but it was crazy hard work. Then last November I quit my regular work-out routine, and since then I’ve gained a lot of that weight back. Despite all of that, most days I feel pretty good about my body in the grand scheme of things–it’s far from perfect, but it’s mine, and I gotta werk what I got. But then, something like this happens:

I have a very big photoshoot coming up (it’s in a few hours, actually!). I’m going to be photographed for the cover of one of my very favorite magazines (I know, it’s bananas…). I went to one of our biggest L.A. malls, The Grove, to find some outfit options for the shoot. At the Grove they have all of the usual suspects: the Madewells, the Zaras, the Anthros, Barney’s etc.  When I got there I was in a great mood, still pretty giddy about the whole situation–it’s a pivotal moment in my career for sure. After wandering the mall for two and a half hours, searching through dozens of shops, and trying on about fifteen dresses, I went back to my car and had a good cry. Was I PMSsing? Yes. But still. This was not cool. NOTHING FIT ME. And then my self-pity descended into anger.

The average woman’s body size in the US is between a 12 and a 14. I wear between a 12 and a 14 so why can’t I fit into any of the clothing? If a size 12/14 is the average size, then why is it the largest size carried at most stores?

I got stuck in a dress I tried on at Anthro and thought I might have to rip the damned thing to get it off of me. I tried on four dresses at Barney’s and when I couldn’t get three of them down over my shoulders (or up over my hips for that matter) the (very sweet) sales associate told me that the largest size at Barney’s is a size 10. WTF. No seriously. WTF Barney’s??!?  Just when I’m finally at the point in my career where I could potentially even afford an amazing dress from Barney’s, they don’t fit. It’s a real bummer and needless to say, the whole situation was making me feel less than confident about my cover girl moment.

When I finally got home there was an email waiting for me from the magazine editor letting me know that they had hired a wardrobe stylist for the shoot. I laughed out loud when I read the email, and felt a huge sense of relief that I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore.


I’m gonna finish off this rant with this thought — and it’s not about me, my body issues or even Barneys’ ridiculous sizing — it’s about my Ida. I fear for her and for my nieces, and for all of our daughters. I want them to grow up in an environment where diversity is embraced and celebrated. I don’t want Ida to grow up to feel like she needs to fit into a certain size, be a certain shape or color, look a certain way, or succumb to any single, narrow,  ideal of beauty. All of these shops — where the mannequins look the same, the models look the same, the clothes go up to an arbitrary size — it’s all bull shit. And if can can affect me to the point of tears — a strong 37 year old woman, with a loving husband and great career — I can only imagine the affect that it’s having on our girls, our pre-teens, our teen agers, and our young women. How can we protect them from this? It’s insidious, it’s unhealthy, it’s ugly, and it needs to stop.  What can we do to change this paradigm? Hopefully, seeing more women on the cover of magazines that don’t fit into the clothing at Barney’s is a good first step. ;)

*Photograph By Dabito
**I’m wearing a vintage dress that’s my backup if nothing fits me at the shoot tomorrow! 
***Find me on snapchat to get behind the scenes peeks at our cover shoot — I’m @JustinaBlakeney over there. 

Alternative Text Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

70 responses to “WTF Barney’s?!?”

  1. Kim says:

    Ugh, I’m so sorry! PMS or not, I totally feel your pain. I wear a size 10 or 12, and my chest is DDD+. Its such a challenge and SO FRUSTRATING shopping in typical mall stores. A few years ago I went bridesmaid dress shopping with a group of friends who average a size 4 and it was a truly horrific experience. I was asked TWICE why I haven’t considered a breast reduction, none of the dresses fit right (or at all), changing rooms are horrible places with awful lighting. I went home and sobbed to my mom for an hour. Granted, I had just come off a red-eye flight from Africa (where I have lived and worked for the past six years) so I was exhausted. But the contrast with body acceptance here was so stark and such a cold reintroduction to Western reality.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Come live in West Africa ;) Body acceptance here has really transformed my self esteem and previously negative body awareness. I might be immune to some of the pressures here as I’m not Senegalese (and I definitely don’t have the ideal booty sought after by most local women ;), but there is this palpable understanding that your self worth does NOT equal your body/appearance. Its hard to explain but so refreshing. No matter your size, proportions, abilities or disabilities – anyone can put effort into presenting themselves well (which is important here – no one goes out in sweats). But that’s what is admired – not weight, not some arbitrary body standard.

    I’ve stopped thinking about my body all day long, comparing myself to thinner women and longing for that lanky American “ideal” (…for the most part). Also, custom tailored clothing is so accessible here – another huge advantage for dressing well and werking what you got!

    I think the best we can do is emulate the (body image) values we hold in our own lives and with our families… and avoid malls! I love how you do that with this blog (definitely one of the reasons I am a devoted reader and supporter) and I so look forward to seeing you repping body diversity on the cover of this magazine! Thank you :)

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Hi Kim!
      Thank you so much for chiming in. I loved reading your response. I think that living abroad is such an amazing way to broaden one’s outlook and help to realize that these ideals of beauty aren’t absolute, but totally different cross-culturally. Love the idea of custom tailored clothing!!

  2. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for writing about this Justina! I really appreciate bloggers who can post about their work (design) and also be real about their life. I rant about this issue ALL the time to friends/family/whoever will listen. I’m absolutely not trying to compare sizes, but just for reference I’m usually a size 8, but i carry some weight in my butt/waist, and i’m busty. Sometimes I can barely fit into the biggest size pants or jeans when I go shopping. Wtf? Most of the time, the stuff that does fit me isn’t cut nicely, so isn’t that flattering. Shopping can be a really traumatic experience and I come home crying and miserable. That is fucked up!! And this is the normal experience for most women. Why do we allow this to continue?? Why do we allow them to make us feel this way about our bodies?

    2 extra points: I highly recommend that you read Lindy West’s autobiography, Shrill. It deals a lot with her own experiences as a fat women, but i recommend women of all sizes read it, because it really deals with how the world treats women and their bodies.

    Secondly – I looove this outfit ^^ and think you should wear it to the shoot.

  3. Alexis says:

    Thank you thank you thank you-the other day I went into Zara looking for something cute and after trying on 8-10 items I stood in the mirror and almost burst into tears when my 2.5 year old son said “mommy, you don’t like that dress” I was jolted out of my self doubt to smile at him and say mommy didn’t find anything she liked today. The rest of the day I felt awful…I’m still not over it but appreciate your reminder that we are all beautiful no matter our shape and size.

  4. gothamgirl says:

    Thank you for writing a piece that so many of us can relate to. But you had the courage to put it in writing. THANK YOU.

  5. Someone Else says:

    You hit the nail on this one.

    It’s odd because you’re such a heroine and someone a lot of women look up to… A successful women of many outstanding traits — some of which include your look. So it bothers me that still, where our large communities are shifting and the even the mainstream is saying “NO” to these derailed standards of beauty, why are we still living in this size 10 is the largest, carmel shade is the darkest, ringlet curls are the curliest kind of life?

    Aren’t they tired of hearing us correct them time and time again?

    Thanks for the brave peice. A women of your stature, Barneys is sure to hear this and perhaps make steps towards leveling the shipping experience for ALL. At the very least, the average woman.


  6. I’ve so been there. The tears. My boobs fitting in nothing! I’m a 14 and the sizing standards in the fashion industry are insane. My Scandinavian frame is large and my wrist is too big to fit the bracelets at Madewell. Bracelets. Yeah. Let’s start our own fashion company and make patterned caftans. ??

    • Julie says:

      This is a fabulous idea, a clothing company for real women! I am 6’1″ and a size 16. I can not wear the large woman’s clothing because they are ironically too big. I just want to wear fun, pretty, flattering outfits that let me move while I am wearing it!

  7. Caitlyn says:

    I have had that exact experience, and I just can’t understand why places like Anthro aren’t making larger sizes – so many people would buy them! It’s bad business!

    • Bev Schneider says:

      I have the same problem as everyone writing here has mentioned. Just FYI if you go to the Anthro website, many of their items come in size 16 (highest) or XL. Some of Anthro’s stuff runs small, and some runs large. Sometimes SO large, I end up buying a size L instead of XL! I do note that Anthro QUICKLY runs out of the larger sizes which tells me that they’re not making enough of them AND that there are a lot of folks buying them! (LIke ME!). The “women’s” sizes sold in department stores are fatty and ugly. I have to look hard, far and wide to find just one outfit! I am large chested and short waisted with long legs and I have a helluva time finding a dress to fit me. I will try on 30 sometimes just to find one! Other tip is pants and a beautiful top frequently work better than a dress. Also, I note that J Crew catalog (NOT store!) carry up to size 16, just FYI. Justina, you are gorgeous and always look wonderful (in any photo I’ve seen you in). Thank you so much for sharing a dilemma to which SO many of us can relate. I live in a town with a shopping area containing women’s clothing shops where 9 out of ten only go up to a size ten. That is discriminatory and so unfair to real women who strive to dress nicely and stylishly (and in whatever style we prefer!!)

  8. Sarah says:

    Just wanted to leave you a little note to tell you how much I have always admired your style and your confidence. You are my fashion icon! Seriously, reading your blog has had such a positive impact on my own body image and sense of personal style. You are beautiful, and your willingness to talk frankly about body image is refreshing AND important. So thank you, from one curvy lady to another.

  9. Haley says:

    Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable. I’m the same size and have a hard time finding mostly dress clothes. I pretty much have a uniform now just because there are certain things that are easy to find and fit my body best, but I would love to branch out a little more if there was just more selection.

  10. Veronica Day says:

    I read that many big name clothing companies only want their product represented by skinny, stickly people. I know exactly the style of clothes that are flattering to my body so I always bee- line to those items. In places like H&M it never fails that this piece of clothing only goes to a 12. Where I need at least a 14. Or I’ll need an XL and of course, L is as high as they go. But items that are unflattering on me go to XL AND 14. I can’t win. I live in jeans and t’s. It sucks. On the flip side, of you go to Macy’s to the Missus department, a 14 is now the equivalent to an 18. With a saggy crotch and extra girth for a bloated belly?!? I wish at 41 I could go back and tell my 21 year old self that I was skinny and gorgeous. Because as I get older it’s harder and harder to have good self esteem and I should have enjoyed what I had. I’m now going to sign up for sewing lessons and I’m going to make my own clothes and they will be flattering and perfect! (I hope)

  11. jacquelyn says:

    Thank you for talking about this! I feel like I have this conversation all the time with friends. I am most concerned about my daughter too and it breaks my heart to see what girls go through. I have been about a size ten for a while now and coming to terms with it. I know that is not huge, but for me it is heavier than I have ever been. I have not been comfortable wearing shorts or skirts. Ever. My daughter who is ten asked me on a hot day when I was struggling to find something to wear “why can’t you wear shorts?” and I just had nothing to say to her. I could not tell her that it was just because I felt fat and didn’t want anyone to see it. It was literally in that moment that I went out and bought some short dresses and shorts and have not looked back. I wear them proudly. If for nothing else, for my daughter! I will not let society tell me what is beautiful or make me ashamed of the way I look! My daughter will not grow up being self conscious and starving herself like I did. It stops now! I want to see this shift for so many girls! Thanks for being brave Justina!! I admire you and love reading your posts and books. (: (: You are beautiful.

  12. Bitty Wiebe says:

    You frickin rock, Justina. As a mother of three daughters, you’ve articulated exactly my fears for them. Beautiful comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and mostly, in attitudes. You shimmer with joy, confidence, and peace, so rock on. Cheers.
    As an aside, I told my book club last month that if I could pick one celebrity to look exactly like, it would be you. Peace out.

  13. Anya Tatum says:

    Hi Justina!

    You’re so amazing and your ability and willingness to be to candid makes you even more so! I as well struggle from the destructive programming of our generation. For years as a teen, as much as I loved clothes and fashion, I boycotted magazines because flipping through one was such a painful and excruciating experience. I identified with no one in the magazines and I craved an image and body not intended for me to the point of self loathing. And to validate my disdain for the publications, I was chosen by Glamour magazine in my early 20’s while living in New York for some sort of makeover spread and the experience was one of the worse in my life, I went home and cried those relentless tears of shame, frustration and anger. I still battle the residuals of our time but more so silently because I’m aware I have a daughter that’s watching. But with social media and the tenacity of the generations after us, I do feel and see a shift in consciousness. Some mornings when I’m in the mirror internally chiding myself for a dimple here or a bit of loose swinging chub there, my little one swings by, smacks me on my bottom and tells me she likes my butt! And one day my butt will be her butt so if she’s lovin’ it now that’s a great sign! But the answer for us today? We continue the work our sisters are doing, remain steadfast in our unlearning and reprogramming, celebrate our beauty in all its glorious diversity and tell Barney’s to go f*ck themselves because the reality is they’re not selling the bright, bold, colorful fly sh*t we like to wear anyway!

    Justina, you’re AMAZING!! I’ve been awed and inspired by you since we were introduced and I know what you’re feeling, you just need to be reminded sometimes of how BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING you are!!!! Enjoy your shoot, can’t wait to see it! xoxo. Anya

  14. hannag says:

    <3 Love this post! I had a similar situation happen to me at the Century City mall. The chain stores there only go up to a 10 and I was told it was a supply and demand issue–that not enough people bigger than a 10 shop there. BUT then I was told that I should try going to the Baldwin Hills mall where they were more likely to have my size! So many "isms" encoded there! Please keep fighting the good fight!

  15. Julie says:

    This really struck a cord with me as I have recently been trying to find summer clothes to wear in this hot desert heat. I have put on extra pounds since last summer but am still a size 16 at over 6′ tall. I just want to feel pretty and fun and not frumpy in my clothes!
    I find myself thinking of the women I have met in my past who were pushing 50 and some older who still felt bad about their bodies even though they were beautiful. I vowed that I never wanted to be 50 and still have the same hang-ups as I did at 16-17. Now I am 43 and I struggle with this when I go shopping because I feel so awkward and big. I have to actively tell myself that I am strong, athletic and beautiful and I am ok. It takes a lot of mental stamina to fight the internal negativity. This makes me sad and frustrated as I feel like a fraud when I tell my own daughters that it doesn’t matter what size they are yet I want to cry about my own size.

  16. MHG says:

    OMG !!! I emphatically agree with everything you said. I am 55 and still struggle with these issues. My body size still changes based on the amount of stress in my life which has been a lot this past year. I am a single mom who works full time while raising a beautiful son who is wonderful!! Sadly these issues not only affect us as women and girls but also affect little boys even very active ones.

  17. I think you are one of the most beautiful people around! How effing shitty it is that you had to experience that, right before a HUGE cover girl moment. I’m glad you shared this, because I wholeheartedly agree. PS can’t wait to see you on that cover!

  18. Dear Justina, I applaud you!!!!!!! Thank you! You are not alone. I am 47 and love a beautiful silk blouse and stylish clothing and I have a 7 year old daughter. I am a pretty(smoked a pack a day for 15 years to stay thin)healthy size 16. I quit to have my babies! I have a very difficult time finding clothes that fit. I go online to Anthropologie and the XL and size 16’s are sold out first for the most part. BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE WOMEN who WEAR THOSE SIZES!! Duh! Don’t they want to make money off of us??? I am an artist—-I believe in being healthy. But I want to create. It takes a LOT of time to stay a size 10 or 12 for me. I am strong and voluptuous like you!!!!! Live large and watch who and what your daughter is exposed to. It’s our best bet, but this image thing is pervasive. Especially in here in SoCal. Keep being your beautiful self!! Karen Evenson in San Diego

  19. Sarah Baker says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, and for every body/fashion post you do. I always feel less alone and more confident after reading them. It is beyond unfair to go shopping (I was just at the Grove too) and not be able to find anything, when we’re a totally average, normal size. I was always self conscious growing up and after giving birth to two daughters, it’s that much harder to feel good about my body. But, it’s more important now than ever to show my daughters that I love myself, even with a floppy, mushy belly. I celebrate it in front of them and exude confidence even when it’s a total lie. We can’t do that much to change the images they see out in the world but we can show them how to love themselves. I will never, ever let my daughters hear me say I feel overweight or ugly. Ever. Please keep doing what you’re doing, it is inspiring!

  20. Inge says:

    Hahahahaha….you rock, Justina AND I’m sooooooo glad you don’t have a perfect body (I find your character PERFECT, the rest…..who cares)
    It makes you one of us, bc with the rest of your life you tower over most of us. This brings you a little more down to earth, girl.
    Actually, I only started to get interested in your blog when I noticed you are a REAL woman.
    Re. our daughter (I have 3, one set of twins and…..it shows)
    I always had put emphasise on health and character, and real appreciation for our body.
    Think it paid off. Now at 71, I’m fit, healthy and look better than most of my age…….although my years show.
    Love you………
    A Dutch granny.

  21. Susan L. says:

    My size is way beyond the 12-14 average, and I am working to get back to it for my own health and comfort. Our culture’s standards are exhausting and ridiculous, and the fact that Barney’s doesn’t carry anything over a 10 just makes me think they are so ready to go out of business. Thank you for writing about this. Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes, and we shouldn’t have to feel denigrated when we shop for clothes. Good luck with your photo shoot!!

  22. Debra says:

    Well said, Justina! I just gotta tell you, I’m well into middle age and I still want to be like you when I grow up! Comfort in my own skin has been a lifelong battle for me and it’s a battle fought mostly in my own head. For years, people telling me I had a pretty face was received as a back-handed compliment. Why couldn’t I just be pretty? Why just the face? Because I didn’t have a model’s silhouette? It took me a long time to accept compliments for what they were without adding my own qualifications to them.
    When we Internalize the nonsense about ideal beauty we become our own worst enemies. It’s a struggle, too, to teach kids (girls and boys) to be open-minded and accepting when everyone from retailers to media to classmates are telling them differently. But it’s a worthwhile struggle and may be the only way to prevail against the noise.

  23. aprilneverends says:

    Dear Justina,
    it’s not about size, it’s about changes..Changes are notoriously hard to accept. At 23 I didn’t like my stretch marks from breast feeding..and at 43 I hate seeing my skin gradually loosing its tightness.
    But I got used to my stretch marks, and hell I’ll probably get used to this new annoying thing too. It will just take me longer. At 23, the future is still bright. At 43, you’re kinda “how much of this future I have left, and why I should spend this precious time wearing shorts that are not mini anymore?” lol
    I’m size 2 by the way. And I hate trying dresses on. Dresses are the worst. Sometimes I need to set myself free from that goddamn thing..:) for like several minutes or so.

    (I like shifts though. Shifts are easier..)

    You’re absolutely gorgeous. Remind it to yourself from time to time..and let other people remind you too.
    Every time I look at my photos from the past-I already don’t understand what exactly I was unhappy with..))

    Our daughters will be fine. Exactly like we will be. All it takes-is to wait a few years between them photos..))

    My daughter is 19-and already she looks at her middle school pictures and says “Mom I was so silly to not consider myself pretty then. What was I sad about? I looked so pretty”.

    Society will stay society. People always want two things. They want to be like everybody else-and to be special..))
    So they have it. They mostly are like everybody else. And-they are special too.
    Takes years to figure out you already have these two things you want. One is in the right pocket. One in the left. The trick is to know in what pocket to reach when. But both pockets are ours.

    • Tanya says:

      OMG, so well put!
      I’m the same, and though I don’t have daughters, my 18-year-old son looks at his old pics like, huh, I was alright, what was I upset about? The 5-year-old knows what he likes, and he doesn’t care who has an opinion about it.

  24. tammyCA says:

    Don’t cry, Maybe this is just a “door” for you..when people can’t find what they are looking for they design it themselves & others follow..I can see your unique style translated into “real” women’s clothing. Maybe, finding a seamstress (or clothing design student) is a start..they can fit things exactly to your own body & you can choose your own fabrics. I’m not a sewing expert but I do shop the thrifts & modify clothes to suit me & seamstresses can do this, too.

    • Heidi says:

      OOOoooh Yeeeeah!!!
      Justina, I’d buy your gear made for boobs n buts! :) It’d have tobe online though hon, coz I’m in Australia.

  25. Tricia says:

    This scares the living daylights out of me as a mom of a four year old girl.

    I come from a family where it is totally normal for all the women in my family when you compliment what they are wearing, they deride themselves about how much they eat, the weight they’ve gained, how they don’t look young.

    I threw my scale out and refuse to own one after my mom and sister used the one at my house repeatedly at one visit because it was “a good one” since it shaved off a pound or so.

    My mom has started already making comments about my daughter. I glared at her and told her to give it a rest, she’s four years old AND SHE CAN HEAR YOU!

    I’m not a small woman. I never have been but I have broad shoulders and a lot of muscle which makes me strong. So what if I’m not tiny. I refuse to feel terrible about myself just because I don’t fit an ideal that’s completely unrealistic for my body type. Depending on where I’m shopping I vary between a size 8 to a 12, another frustrating aspect of clothes shopping. Ugh.

    I think you are gorgeous and I love your choices!

  26. Segolene says:

    Never write you, but I read the Jungalow all the time.

    This post got my attention because I thought you looked so adorable in the photo.

    I come from a mixed-race family that considers themselves Black, and have always admired your beauty. Beauty that resembles so much of my family. And your height! Oh, I’ve always thought it would be lovely to be so tall.

    That said, this post was RIGHT ON TIME today. I am feeling TERRIBLE about myself today, for the same reasons. I am have lost weight, and am in the process of releasing more, because my doctor says I need to do so. But I am still, in the eyes of most clothing manufacturers, “large”. Really large, and the truth is, I’m not.

    But I do not have an odd shaped or GIGANTIC body–I’m just not a stick. I have large breasts and a small back, and as a result I have to buy blouses and dresses that swim on me in order to fit my breasts. That’s when I find a store that even has large enough sizes.

    It is all so crazy. I have nothing to add to what others said, I just want to say thank you for writing this and you are not alone.

  27. Deb says:

    At the risk of furthering stereotypes about people weighing more in the Midwest, I think you’d find more options here in Midwestern states. I’ve spent my whole life in the Midwest but am also an enthusiastic clothes shopper during my travels all over the U.S. for work. There are definitely regional differences and in my experience, any city in southern California is the WORST for those of us who weigh a bit more (or actually as you point out, we are the average weight in the U.S.). A California Large is a Midwest Small IMHO! Truly. Stores in Vegas were full of 0’s and 2’s. Even 00’s! You can find 2’s in stores around Chicago but a 0 and 00 are rare. There’s plenty of 12, 14, 16 here. I’d say if you’re ever in Midwestern states, visit the shops and load up on clothes! :) I also recently found tons of options in Washington DC. Washington has a lot more businesswear – blazers – than our more casual Chicago environment. I needed blazers/uits and found more options than I could carry in the dressing room in DC. There’s absolutely regional differences across the U.S.

  28. Ingrid says:

    The entire time I was reading your post, I was shaking my head and going “mmm hmmm”, I can relate 100%. I also read some of the comments above and it’s refreshing to read comments that could easily have been written by me. I think it has always been difficult to live in a society with a measuring tape that measures value in all the wrong places, particularly awful in Los Angeles, I’d say!

    You are an absolute goddess, I have been drawn to your style from the moment I came upon your blog and the couple of times I have met you in person, you have carried yourself with such grace that I’m certain Ida will grow up to be a confident and beautiful woman regardless of her size. You are setting the example. Every time I see a photo of you or Ida with that beautifully wild curly hair, I think “oh heck yeah! curly hair girls unite!”. It took some time for me to accept my own curls in this flat-iron obsessed world! It’s so awesome to see women just embrace their (and others) unique features, we’re all so different but no less perfect than anyone else. We’re so hard on ourselves. You know that saying “be the change you want to see” (or something like that), let’s start complementing women we run into, whether it’s earrings, a great pair of shoes, bomb nail art, whatever! Every woman ALWAYS has something beautiful going on. I make it a point to tell little girls with curly hair that they have beautiful hair, which I say with all sincerity. I think little things like that make a difference. I know there’s a little pep in my step when I get complements from strangers about anything!

    oh and wtf is up with barneys! and the clothing industry in general! I’m a size 14 and only 5’3″ and want cute clothes too! Why don’t designers want my $? so weird. I adore madewell, but they don’t carry XL in store, they carry XS and XXS but no XL? Anthro now carries up to a 16, but with their unstable sizing that could mean a 10 sometimes, larger sizes always sell out in store and online first, so I just don’t get it. The most mind blowing thing at the anthro sale section once was an entire RACK of size XS and S of the same top, not one M, L or XL. Isn’t that a clear sign that larger sizes will sell if they’re stocked? so irritating.

    Anyway, I follow many, many bloggers/designers, and few come across as genuine as you. I’m so happy that others (like the magazine you will be on the cover of) recognize how unique you are. You stand out in what I consider to have become an overcrowded, cookie-cutter blog world. You do you, Justina, badassery will always be badassery regardless of size. ;-)

  29. Lj says:

    Gurl, you look hot. Your hair and skin are radiant. You’re a damn goddess. Plus you’re creative, smart, and honest. F all that other noise. Be giddy, it’s happening!

  30. Didi says:

    Before I read the article, I got stopped dead by the picture because you looked so totally cute. Only bummer is the dress was vintage. Seriously, you look adorable and the magazine will probably fly off the stands just because of your cover. Cracked up over your being trapped in a dress in the dressing room. Been there and complete panic moment. Seriously, they’re going to have to use jaws of life to get me out of a Spanx??? Also, Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen had an article on this exact same issue yesterday with Everlane. http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/2016/06/can-size-14-woman-wear-everlane.html Grrrrrr. Anyway cannot wait to see your magazine cover but can’t imagine they have better photographer than Dabito. Both of you are the best.

  31. Rena says:

    OMG! You look amazing, but I know how you feel and I agree with you about our daughter and teenagers. How can we teach them to love their bodies if we can’t even shop for them!!! It’s disgusting that people still think a size 2 is healthy. Oh and by the way, me (plus size 12) and my 16 year old (plus size daughter 16) LOVE your book, The New Bohemians. I think you’re style is rubbing off on my lil girl!!! AWESOME!!! You are amazing!

  32. Sarah says:

    I read your blog because I love your design eye and perspective, and – bonus –it’s inspirational for me as a bluish (black and Jewish!) designer fresh out of school to see a successful role model who looks like me! I want to thank you for writing this post in a way that encourages DIVERSITY, and doesn’t for one second resort to calling certain women or features “real” and demonizing others. (And not the point at all, but, gosh, you’re stunning in the image you included and in general, and I look forward to your personal style and beauty posts when you write them.)

  33. Kirsten says:

    I love your work for the splash of bright color and exuberance that it brings to my social media feeds, and I’ve always admired how your personal look and style seem to embody that same energy. Thanks for sharing your perspective on body issues, too. Sadly, I think most women–of any size–can relate to not being “whatever” enough, and it’s such a suck of time and energy1 Which is all the more reason to applaud strong, powerful women being themselves–so thanks!

  34. Loved reading this Justina, although I feel ya pain! It’s so refreshing to hear more body positive rhetoric and calling “bullshit” when you see it. Thanks for this, I needed to hear it today, I’ve been sitting here feeling sorry for myself about having to squeeze into swimwear for an upcoming island holiday rather than being excited and grateful that I’m even going. Thanks for snapping me out of it!

  35. Hannah says:

    Justina, thank you for writing this, and thanks to all the women commenting as well. I’m a 6′ size 12, and things fit me weird — to the extent that I started making my own clothes at a young age, and through that, began a career in fashion.

    I’m a fashion designer and patternmaker, and long have been interested in working within a different system of sizing. The thing is, when women are very small, their bodies are remarkably similar. As they move up in size, the variation of shape increases. This makes standard sizing very difficult. I’ve been thinking about the possibility of quantifying a series of different “types” of larger body shapes, in order to create a variety of size categories, and then build a line around those categories.

    It’s just a floaty little idea at the moment, but all my experience in the fashion industry has given me the skills — what I need is input from women who feel underserved. If anyone is interested in giving me feedback on what they would really want in a clothing line, please give me a shout!

    And a lot of hugs a love to everyone out there. There are so many little and big ways we’re made to feel crappy about ourselves everyday, something like clothing should bring us joy and allow us to express ourselves, not feel diminished.

  36. Deana says:

    This make me so sad and disappointed in society. After three kids and many body changes clothes have become more interesting of a concept for sure. Half the time I look a few months pregnant. Very discouraging. I love my body and the fact that it produced three beautiful children and I was able to nurse them. For the most part I am proud of what my body has done for me and others but there are days.

    What causes me greater sadness though is the fact that my autistic daughter is and will be judged by her appearance, her dress and social awkwardness more than people will try to look within for the quality of a person. I see it in people’s faces when we go out. Especially now that she isn’t a little girl anymore but a teenager.
    Hopefully we can teach our children the qualities that make them loving, giving, generous people that will look for inner beauty.
    Congrats on your cover. How exciting. I know you will look beautiful and real. Thanks for that.

  37. Aimee says:

    Thank you, justina! I’ve struggled with this all my life (I’m 44). I’ve found that even when I was a size ten for a minute, that I STILL couldn’t fit into the clothes because my body is too curvy and busty. I wear a 16, and even if I can find a store that sells that size retail, a lot of the time they are out of stock and only available online. When I’ve asked, the salespeople just say that they only order a few size 16s in because it’s not a popular size. I’ve had a few words with salespeople. ;) For now, I’ve just taken to ordering my clothes from eshakti. Since I’m a dress girl. And everything there is custom. And I thrift a lot. I’m lucky to be chef and wear a uniform most of the time…

  38. Sue Shattuck says:

    I think you look fabulous! I’m short (5’4″) and VERY curvy and I’ve always loved my body. Our relationship with our bodies as women must be a good one. My fabulous body gave birth to four amazing children and has been my friend my whole life. I taught my daughter’s the same thing; our bodies are pretty damn amazing and we should love them. My girls don’t even think about weight.

    Barney’s idea of not carrying anything over a size 10 is ridiculous! I wear a 12-14 and that is NOT plus size; it’s average size. Shame on any store that caters to the ultra thin. I’d much rather be happy than thin!

    You are a beautiful, curvaceous knockout and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! No PMS-ing anymore since I’m way post menopausal. Don’t ever let your body get you down! That’s not why we love you! And don’t forget that you’re Ida’s most important role model.

  39. Amy says:

    Well said! You look amazing in that dress against that blushing wall. Thank you for all of the beauty you bring into the world!

  40. Angie Sz says:

    Thank you for putting this out there Justina.

    I live near the Grove and long ago stopped trying to find anything that fits me there. I am also a 12/14 – yes average American woman size – and there is nothing. Forget the Beverly Center – that caters to the studios – their sizing seems to stop at size 10. And any of the high end department stores in BH – Saks/Barneys/Neimans. Nope.

    Part of it I do think is LA – when I visit stores in the Midwest there are more things to choose from.

    But honestly, the designers are missing it. They are leaving money on the table. There is a huge market for girls like us that want to dress with an edge but can’t find our size on the rack. I end up buying online but it is so time consuming (buy/return/buy/return)and not nearly as simple as going somewhere to see what it looks like on me. And even online the assortment is so limited.

    And you are right – the overall message to women who aren’t below a 12 is you are not worthy.

    If change in this bias will come it will happen with women like yourself showing how successful, sexy, smart comes in all sizes. And that size is really beside the point.

    Thank you so much for this post. So refreshing to hear someone say what I have thought myself many times.

    I know you will rock that magazine cover. Stylist or no stylist.

  41. George Fukuda says:

    Wow, Ive been trying to skim read all the comments… Well kiddo Im totally the other end of the spectrum and have had issues with clothing stores too on countless occasions, because from what I can understand it is not only the sizing which is totally OFF its also the “Cut” of whatever is being traffic’d as this seasons look. No two bodies are the same. The Retail and marketing experience of today is not only detrimental to the way we, as women ( and some men) think about ourselves, but also detrimental to the children, and I mean that broadly, it is not only girls who are sucking up the “Ushered” body image its boys too! Our children shouldn’t be beset with ideals of “How to Look” they need to remain in their truth! This dress your wearing -LOVE IT with those red shoes- spot on! Vintage fashion is totally the way to go, for many GOOD reasons !! I hope this is what you will be wearing on the front cover!!

  42. Miranda says:

    it’s definitely difficult at any size, because there is no consistency in sizing. i’m on the opposite end of the spectrum but have just as much trouble. when you’re a size 0 but a 0 in one store swallows you whole, and you need a size 2 or a 4 in another, something is not right. as a 31 year old i don’t want to shop the juniors section. when i try clothes on they’re usually cut for seemingly giant tall women (like that new who what wear line at target? super cute! made for super models i reckon. my 5’2 frame is eaten up). i don’t think the average woman is 6 feet tall?? my mother is 5’2 and about 120-130 lbs and she wears an 8-10. that is not a large size. barney’s only going up to a 10 is absurd! the other problem is of course what you’re talking about…the fashion industry’s obsession with this idea that the 0-2 is the only acceptable size to be. i mean, aren’t models plus size at size 4? that’s ludicrous. so there is work to be done for sure.

    • Tanya says:

      It’s even worse than that – there are industry standards, but ultimately it’s up to each company what proportions/size fit model they will use. One company owner I worked for (as a designer) insisted on using a bustier model, because he wanted our target demographic to be “California girl, and they all have boob jobs there.”
      Setting aside that problematic statement, here’s how it works: you design a piece of clothing in “medium”, whatever that means – your fit model will not have the perfect bust-waist-hip ratio, because she’s, you know, human, and so to make the garment look good, you make it hang well on her.
      Then you “grade” sizes – meaning there are formulas on how to make all other sizes out of your “medium” pattern, so now, if your model is a bit taller than “average”, then ALL your sizes are scaled for taller-than-average-for-that-size, or bustier, or whatever. BUT. People don’t scale proportionately in all body parts. So now, you have an extra small that has the same boob-waist-hip proportions as your XXL, and that, in reality, does not work that well. Different companies try to compensate for that in different ways, but it’s honestly hard to figure it all out.

      My solution is basically finding a brand that uses proportions I can work with, and go with that if I can help it.

      Also, that is why going with small companies (or even Etsy, if you can afford it) works better if you have a particular body type.

      and then I just had to come to terms with on reality that I will never look good in some garment types (plungy necklines look better when you actually have a bust?), and that’s ok.

      • Miranda says:

        what a great response! i can relate 100% to this grading fiasco. i went into ny&co a few days ago and tried on an eva mendes lemon dress. the waist fit, i could even work with the length (you know, do the vintage thing) but my gosh i don’t know whose boobs would fill that thing. at a size 0 i thought my 28f/ff knockers were on the larger scale. that thing would have required some hh or bigger. basketballs. so you’re speaking some truth. maybe a west coast company designed that dress…eva being an actress an all?

        i do know what what brands fit me best but it’s still frustrating to venture outside your comfort zone and have nothing work. and when you cannot afford couture/custom made/tailoring and you’re stuck with off the rack…

        here’s a thought for tomorrow’s young women. teach them to sew.

      • Heidi says:

        My fav, run-of-the-mill shop states the model’s size shown in the pictures of their online store. I couldn’t ever buy most things purely from online, because my boobs are outrageously bigger than my but; oh, and I have a waist too, so loads of pants/jeans, etc. have an enormous extra hack of fabric that sticks out at the waist. I find myself buying separates over dresses, with the exception being dresses that are drapey; i.e. fitting to my boobs and drapey over the rest. This suffices due to Australia’s crazy-hot summers, BUT….the moment of finding a dress that fits ALL my bits has me PROMISING myself to have another made when this one wears out!

  43. Danette says:

    Have you seen Beth Ditto’s new clothing line? It’s amazing and I’m jealous that I’m too little to fit into any of them — haha! Her sizes start at 14.

  44. Esin says:

    By the way I think you are gorgeous, healthy looking lady unlike that tiny sticks in preteens who are already hard smokers because they can’t eat anything.

  45. Susie says:

    Justina…How fabulous you are…smart and right on! F__k Barney’s and all the other frufru stores. You have more class and style in your pinky then most designers.

    I’m sorry you had a shitty day when it was supposed to be joyful, but it did catapult you to write a brilliant blog which touched woman and hopefully opened the eyes of those people who are designing those new collections!

    You are beautiful, smart & sassy and so privileged to know you!
    Much Love,
    Tante Susie

  46. Jen Pollard says:

    You’ve obviously hit a nail on the head here with all the comments of support.

    I’ll add mine to say that you look absolutely stunning, and your vintage dress with soul beats an off-the-rack dress any day.

    Hope your shoot goes well, and congratulations!!

  47. Tanya says:

    First off – congrats on being the cover girl! (Can’t wait to see which magazine and what they end up doing for the shoot!)
    That is a big feather in your cap! Grats-grats!

    Secondly, for the record, when I was a size 2, I had the same problem here on the East Coast of US – most companies don’t carry XS and sizes start at 4 if you’re lucky, and most dresses are size 6 and up.

    I worked in fashion corporate world, so I know a lot of the problem comes from mentality that is “what is the most efficient way that will earn us the most bang for the buck” vs. “what will women want to wear and what will make them happy”.
    Like, you Western people seem to think, for some reason, that companies somehow care about you. They are ~for profit~, though, they care about making money. If that means that people on ~their~ fringe (who according to their market research are not their target customer) get screwed, nobody cares.

    That is why I’m not in corporate fashion industry any more.

    That is also why I haven’t been to a mall in years.
    Everything I wear is either thrift or online, and not because i’m trying to be a hipster, but I don’t have time to go through the crap you just went through. And instead of fighting the Goliath, I feel like I’d rather put my energy (and money) elsewhere. And I feel like if enough people did the same, the Goliath would listen, because they want to stay in business.

  48. I so feel your pain. I’m not at a healthy weight right now, but I’m not HORRIFYINGLY overweight–yet I don’t even try at shops like Barney’s and haven’t for years. I’m not proportioned for most plus size clothes to fit me right; I mainly need to wear the infintessimally frustrating slice of tall and plus size combined because I’m 5’11” and when I gain weight everything therefore scales up.

    Plus size clothes are too short, tall clothes are too skinny, nothing is quite right and there are basically no retail options that are friendly to me. (I’ve perfected the “giant online order of $1,500 in clothes where I end up returning $1,400 worth in person and terrifying the sales clerk who sees me approach with my box of returns fun” move.)

    I’ve long wished there were some kind of retail outfit that did custom tailoring in house at an affordable rate. Our bodies are all different, very few of us fit in those annoying boxes, and nationwide obesity epidemic aside, I feel like being told we need to starve ourselves to fit “normal” clothing lines isn’t the answer. I hate to think of the impression it makes on kids, too.

    Sorry to vent my own frustrations more than add anything useful here, but I’m so sorry and so glad you get a wardrobe stylist. What a fabulous cover opportunity; can’t wait to see it!

  49. Jennifer N says:

    I love your post and all the comments. I’m 55 and just lost over 20 pounds by cutting out dessert, sugar, and most breads. I did it for blood sugar issues and the weight loss was secondary. Now I’m a size 12 and can shop in more stores than just the women’s section of JCPenney, but still have the gapping problem at my bust with many blouses and dresses. Work is no problem – scrubs are so loose and easy to fit. Still, I look forward to the day when custom clothes are easy to find. I truly believe that day is coming: scan your body (and feet, for shoes) and order what you want in the fabric you want, made to fit you. The technology exists. Why isn’t someone grabbing this opportunity?

    • Tanya says:

      it’s the cost issue. Assembly-line production, which is what off-the-rack clothes industry is, is a lot cheaper than anything custom, so you can totally go the custom route (it’s called going to a tailor) but it’s going to be a lot more dough ^_^

  50. Heidi says:

    Justina – A massive he-uge hug for your honesty and bravado in tellin’ it like it is!
    Beware though, if you ever come to Australia, our sizes are a size down from the US – your 12 = our 10…your 14 = our 16 and so on.
    Just be prepared so there are no shocks!
    YOUR BLOG is my first in the line each time I hop on my puter. Love it to bits, no matter what size you are, you are FAB!

  51. Andrea says:

    the very best we can do is to teach our daughters (and sons) that they’re gorgeous no matter their size and that it’s what’s in their hearts and minds that counts.

    then keep repeating it like a goddamned mantra. to them. to ourselves. to anyone who will listen.

    this body shaming culture *must* shift. it’s up to us. to love ourselves no matter what. and not tolerate the body shaming from others.

  52. Jenn says:

    I think you’re gorgeous, and it never occurred to me you’d have the same trouble shopping that I do! For what it’s worth, J. Jill is my emergency I-need-an-outfit-right-now shop. They do carry things that fit me (and I’m a 14-16).

    I love the photo – those colors, that dress! That smile!

  53. Dalia says:

    I wish I lived in LA, or you in Austria and I would trade you custom-sewn-clothes for a little interior design help. (Mainly convincing my husband that “White walls with white furniture” is not interior design.) But really, my body-image and confidence has changed so much since I learned to sew. I look at the garments in the shops and just laugh at the inferior fit and quality.

  54. I haven’t even noticed that you gained any weight back since you stopped working with the trainer – you always look so beautiful, sassy, and fabulous in your photos – with an amazing and unique style!

    I hope you send your blog post to Barney’s (maybe in more of a letter format?) I know it shouldn’t take this, but since were looking for outfits for the COVER of a magazine, hopefully they will take it seriously. Just the fact that you are posting this means the world is moving forward – I hope they do something positive with this situation. I hope Ida never has to deal with this crap either, but she already has a good leg up on being fierce with you as her mom. I can’t wait to hear about the magazine shoot!

  55. Susanne says:

    This is soooo true! I wished I could shop more in Denmark and the Netherlands where they pay more attention to sizes 10 and 12! J. Crew and some other companies have not figured out that women this size is a clientele. And as Dalia mentioned- there is so much inferior quality out there ( J. Crew got worse for ex) that you almost want to sew your own clothes. Thanks for sharing !

  56. […] WTF Barney’s from The Jungalow: Justina Blakeney is super fab and rocks it in everything she wears, IMHO. […]

  57. […] to drop you all a quick note to say thank you for all of your support and encouragement from the Body Issues post the other day. We had a fantastic shoot, there were a ton of amazing dresses on set and I felt […]

  58. Jenny says:

    So isn’t a store allowed to sell whatever sizes they want? It’s their store, they can sell whatever they want, in whatever size they want. Instead of complaining that YOU couldn’t fit into any size they offered, You blast them on the internet? So many people think this world should revolve around them. Welcome to reality and come down from that cloud you’re on! Seriously! Maybe you should go into every store that doesn’t sell clothing in your size and blast all of them. Would you feel better??!! Aeropostale doesn’t sell your size. Express probably doesn’t. And ya know what? It’s ok! They don’t create clothing in sizes 12-14. And that’s ok! Find a store that does..it’s that simple. Everyone thinks EVERYTHING should be designed around them; and when it indeed isn’t, they get offended and whiny and blast other people and stores. This.isn’t.your.world.

    • Olivia says:

      Right??!! You nailed it girl! She doesn’t want Ida growing up thinking she needs to fit into a certain size?? Whaaat? Who says she does?! Whatever size you are, you go to a store that sells your size, and shop there. FYI, being thin is healthier than being overweight, and it’s always been that way. It’s a scientific fact that somewhere among the line, people forgot that. Ever think that models and mannequins are thin because it’s healthier? And most overweight woman wish they were thin..hence the word diet, and the fact that overweight men and women always diet and workout so that they can indeed lose weight. You know I’m right, y’all are just so stubborn nowadays.

  59. Shayla says:

    Are we supposed to have sympathy for you because you can’t find a size that fits you, in a store that sells dresses for $900??? ?? What a waste of money. Maybe if you were homeless and broke and got kicked out of a restaurant for walking in, just to stay warm, I’d feel sad for you. But you are crying because a store doesn’t sell your size..??!! WTF??!! So go somewhere that does sell your size and quit shaming a store that DOESN’T sell your size! What has this world come to? Me me me. It’s all about me. That’s what you sound like! Like what Jennifer said, this isn’t your world. Don’t hate on the thin people just because you aren’t. Why don’t you take all this money you apparently have, and open up a store that sells only for your size and up?

  60. […] to drop you all a quick note to say thank you for all of your support and encouragement from the Body Issues post the other day. We had a fantastic shoot, there were a ton of amazing dresses on set and I felt […]

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