Paris/Italy as a Plus-Sized female?

Sep 14th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Paris/Italy as a Plus-Sized female?

This is going to be a strange thread, I fear.

I am leaving for Paris/Italy in less than five weeks. I am traveling with my "normal sized" adult daughter. I am a "plus size" American woman. I would characterize my size as similar to Queen Latifah. (I have a figure, but it is proportionately larger than it was when I was a teen.)

I know that the bathrooms/showers can be very tiny in Europe. I've seen pictures of the baths/showers at all of our hotels and think with the exception of one, I should be ok. (Even though I am plus-sized, I am in excellent health. Cholesterol and blood pressure are fine; I get lots of exercise and ride [on my trail bike] at least 30 miles a week, usually more. My adult daughters are constantly telling me to "slow down!")

But I do have a couple of questions. I am not oblivious to the dirty looks and rude comments from some Americans. Should I be prepared for the same in Europe? Is there as much weight discrimination there as here? Or more?

I was also wondering, after reading comments on several threads about how one can always go shopping in Europe if they forget to pack something. Well, that's probably true for size-8 women. Is it true for plus-sized women? Would I have a very difficult time finding affordable clothing if I needed it? In Paris? In Rome?

Just would like to know what I'm in for. Thanks for any replies and I appreciate y'all being non-judgemental.
sarge56 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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sarge56

I'm not exactly plus sized, more like a 12/14 but still chubby and short. I can't find clothes in Italy to fit me at all.

Paris, a little. I think there are more varied cuts. I've seen a couple of things in Paris that might fit me.

I have bought shoes in Paris, and purses in Italy, and other accesories in both places. But I really don't find clothes that fit my short and chubby body. I have not seen any Latifah clothes, either.

In Florence, I went shopping for something to wear for a really special occasion; a total washout. Nothing. Couldn't squeeze an arm or a thigh into anything.

My advice is to try and not forget your clothes; you can easily find anything else you need. ;-)

No one looks at me funny, or has commented on my weight. I don't feel scrutinized. Although maybe in Italy when I went into clothing stores there some attitude... yes, there was. But not in shoe stores!
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 08:18 PM
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Well, hopefully, I won't need shoes. I was 5'8" my freshman year of h.s., and weighed 120 lbs and wore a size 10 shoe! (I will always blame my mom!)hahaha

I still wear a 10 and depending on maker, an 11. I doubt I will find any selection in Paris or Rome in that size!
sarge56 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 08:21 PM
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In the stores there may be a problem with snooty shopkeepers and salesstaff. I would just shop for accessories and not clothes. I do think someone here has posted a number of plus size stores in Paris. Try a search here.

We always notice the Italian and French stylish women check out our shoes. I don't notice anyone here in Los Angeles paying any attention to shoes but over there they do and then you are treated accordingly. This is just what my friends and I have noticed.

Yes in the less expensive hotels the showers are tiny and may be a problem if you drop the soap!

What hotels have you chosen? Many hotels of course have large tubs and showers.

SeaUrchin is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 01:38 AM
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There is a chain of stores in Paris (and elsewhere in France) called Un Jour Ailleurs that carries clothes up to size 52 or 54, I think (I don't know what that is in American sizes...18? 20? 22?). Most of the things on display are in the 40 to 46 size range, but they keep lots of stuff in the back. I've shopped at their stores in Brussels and the 16th arrond of Paris and their staff have always been very nice, not snooty at all.
Their clothes aren't what anyone would call high fashion or cutting edge...they're definitely aimed at the middle class, middle aged market, but their stuff is well made and most of it is machine washable, even their coats.
http://www.un-jour-ailleurs.com/boutiques.htm
BTilke is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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Queen Latifah isn't really that big any more, she would have no problems. I think she's only about a size 14 now, not plus-sized. Well, even at that size, the selection in Paris is much smaller than usual, but that is not a size where one encounters problems with showers, etc.

If you need over a size 40, it won't be easy to find clothing in Paris stores, and I wouldn't recommend you go to Paris to go shopping. It's just not a good idea as they don't have a large selection in large sizes, and you'd have to spend a lot of time searching it out, and there wouldn't be any point to it. You could buy better stuff at home, cheaper.

If you forget something and just need a Tshirt, that shouldn't be too much of a problem, but what are you thinking you will forget to pack? In Paris, they have plenty of large sizes if you just need a Tshirt, simple top or blouse, etc. at C&A dept. store. They have quite a lot, a whole section on it, and they are cheap. There's one in Montparnasse Tower shopping center.
Christina is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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I never was treated shabbily nor did I get any snotty comments. Got "hit on"! I only buy accessories in Europe as well. Haven't needed to buy clothing, so far, I don't forget anything. I like the comparison to Queen Latifah!

And as to the showers... I have only run into one of those "don't lose your soap" showers. And trust me, Twiggy in her hey-day would have had to step out, stoop down, get the soap and re-enter.

Yeah, where are you planning to stay?
SuzieCII is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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In Rome, there is a small shop on Via Giubbonari, which runs off the southeastern corner of Campo de' Fiori. Unfortunately, I can't give you the name right now, but coming from the Campo, it is on the left-hand side. It is small and they usually have mostly tops in the windows. They do have larger sizes and the prices are very reasonable.

Then there is Marina Rinaldi on Via Borgognona, which is off Via del Corso and runs over to Palazzo Spagna near the Spanish Steps. They have very nice things and are more expensive.

As mentioned, some of the showers are small enough that even thin people would have trouble if they drop the soap! What annoys me more is no place to put your shampoo and soap.
SusanP is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Oviesse stores carry some larger sizes
but they are v. basic. Elena Miro is a
more 'fashion forward' chain with more
reasonable prices - unlike the Max Mara
owned Marina Rinaldi.

IIRC there is an Elena Miro on Nationale in Roma.
llamalady is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:39 AM
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Remember soap on a rope? An enterprising Fodorite could sell me tiny travel size soap, consitioner, and shampoo on a rope. Maybe disposable razor on a rope, too.

This is OT, but yesterday I found a microfiber hair wrap at Marshall's (a US chain with discounted name brand goods) and bought it for $4.99. I had read here of apartments with scarce towels, so I figure that will be good for our cheap apartment in Venice next month, which I'm assuming will not have a lot of extra towels for my hair. I should probably post this somewhere else. Suggestions?
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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yes you could start a thread on tips, tuscan.

I will just add that a companion was embarrassed in one store when she asked the salesgirl if some item came in her size and the girl actually laughed in her face. She is about a size 12/14. And again in a shoe store with size 10/11 feet. If you are sensitive, sarge, just be aware that they cater to tiny boned ladies (for fashion)!
SeaUrchin is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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I sincerely doubt that you will get any dirty looks or anything.

That said, I would not want to spend my time shopping for clothes. You might be able to eventually find some things, but I wouldn't want the aggravation. Buy costume jewelry, toiletries, scarves, a pocketbook, like that if you want to pick up something special.
suze is online now  
Sep 15th, 2007, 08:48 AM
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Sea: watch for my new thread! Thanks.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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Thanks, everyone. Kind of what I thought. Gee, I hope my daughter can find stuff. She is counting on shopping in both Paris and Florence. She is a size 10-12.

We are staying in Paris at the Hospitel Hotel Dieu, the Hotel Alixia-Antony. In Venice, Corte 1321 B&B (which is owned by an American mother/daughter we believe and baths look huge), in Florence at the Hotel Casci and in Rome at Hotel Giardino. So if anyone has specific knowledge of baths/showers in those, I welcome your input.

I will stick to jewelry and accessories when shopping in Europe. And I'm not that sensitive. Everybody has an issue with something. I'm healthy, and that is what counts. (Yes, who wouldn't like to lose a few pounds, but health is most important.)

Thanks y'all!
Paula
sarge56 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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Thanks, everyone. Kind of what I thought. Gee, I hope my daughter can find stuff. She is counting on shopping in both Paris and Florence. She is a size 10-12.

We are staying in Paris at the Hospitel Hotel Dieu, and the Hotel Alixia-Antony. In Venice, Corte 1321 B&B (which is owned by an American mother/daughter we believe and baths look huge), in Florence at the Hotel Casci and in Rome at Hotel Giardino. So if anyone has specific knowledge of baths/showers in those, I welcome your input.

I will stick to jewelry and accessories when shopping in Europe. And I'm not that sensitive. Everybody has an issue with something. I'm healthy, and that is what counts. (Yes, who wouldn't like to lose a few pounds, but health is most important.)

Thanks y'all!
Paula
sarge56 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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I too am a size 10 shoe and I truly love shoes. A couple of years ago my husband and I were in Rome and I saw a beautiful pair of leather flats in a store window. I walked in, communicated to the salesman that I wanted that particular shoe, in a size 42---the salesman just looked frustrated, shouted "no, no, no--nothing that large here" and turned on his heels, away from me. I was not offended, as I thought that may be the situation.
My husband and I still laugh about that event.
I too stick to accessories and jewelry--especially silk scarves and earrings--when traveling in Europe. Those items are not only "size indifferent", but are much easier to fit in the luggage to bring home.
Have a great trip
Toby7 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 11:25 AM
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regarding Hospitel Hotel Dieu. I checked the "candid photos" at TripAdvisor. Looks like there is a tub with a hand held shower.

The reviews are positive as well.

Have a great trip!
SuzieCII is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 12:45 PM
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I was a little worried about the attitude my mother-in-law might face in Paris next month, too. She's a very large woman though (I would say size 22/24 - that's what we buy for her.) I'm mainly concerned for her about restaurants and general sightseeing and just the looks/comments she might get. She's very self-conscious, and if she gets upset, then I know I'll hear about it for the rest of my day! Think she should be ok?
octoberinparis is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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hi october and sarge,

i don't know what idea you have of europeans in general and the french in particular, but you should not receive any looks or comments on account of your perceived size. We have our own quota of large ladies too as do the French.

I recall that the dapartment store at northern end of the bridge by Notre Dame had a section for those of us with a larger figurer, and I'd be very surprised if the Galleries Lafyettes hadn't got something similar. as for sizes 10-14 being laughed at, i very much doubt it - they are standard everywhere, and if one shop hasn't got anything the next one will.

Stop worrying - you'll have a great time.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 15th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Lol - we aren't really worries about m-i-l shopping - she detests it. I'm not the tiniest (size 18), but I have never heard comments made about my weight (excepting my first pregnancy), but she swears she gets comments in the US all the time. She's even considering skipping the trip now because of the plane ride! I wouldn't really care that much, but my husband wants her to be able to go so badly! We'll also be visiting relatives of hers that she hasn't seen in decades...
octoberinparis is offline  

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