Perhaps you’ve heard the horror stories of trying to find clothes in Israel that were above a size 3 or 4 (L and XL) Many of the stores only go up to a size 2. Or you’ve heard the story of the girl who went on the hunt for a pair of jeans and had horrible luck because most of them, while completely fashionable, were too tight and stopped at the hips. Or the budget clothes on Allenby or elsewhere that ripped after one wear because they just couldn’t cut it at the breast area.
Yes, while America has some of the trendiest clothes for plus-size women (Torrid and Lane Bryant, just to name a few) Israel has been known to be severely lacking in the clothes for heavier girls department.
And while it’s nice to know that obesity is not a severe problem in this country the way it is in places across the US, where can the girl who are slightly bigger all over go to find trendy items that don’t make them look like a frumpy grandmother.
I recently read a fantastic article in the Fashion section of Walla.com, Israel’s top rated Israeli news website on the Internet, about a plus-size girl who trekked through Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center, searching for pieces in popular retail stores there to fit her more voluptuous frame.
The girl, Neta, lives in the South Tel Aviv hipster area of Florentine, dreams of New York City, but spends her days working at a coffee house. She doesn’t shop in Tel Aviv often, because it’s hard for her to find clothes that fit, instead spending her money on international locations like London and international stores like Topshop and H&M. (Although the article does mention that she does have some luck buying jeans at the more punky retail chain TNT or and once in a while, she’ll find something great at the market on Bezalel.)
The mission: head to Dizengoff Center and see what you can find in Castro, Zara, Fox, and Pull & Bear. Israel claims Castro as its own (it was started by a Greek Jew in the land), Zara is of course the international label, Fox is the sporty Gap-like brand from Singapore with shops across this country, and the Spanish label Pull & Bear totes itself as having something for everyone and being influenced by fashion, music, and a mix of world cultures.
To make a long story short, the article constantly talks of “settling” for clothes because there was nothing else. At Castro, a high-waist skirt and a striped black minidresses with a lace-like center had potential, but only one pale blue cocktail dresses with satin stripes on the sides, gathering in the chest, and extra fabric could divert attention from her waist. At Zara, measurements stopped at 42 but the clothing was more generous with its volume, Walla reported. Her outfit included denim shorts, black tights to hide thigh and calves, a cat print t-shirt, and a black scarf. Nice, but not my favorite. Then, there was Fox, which boasts Bar Refaeli as the head model for its summer collection. Except that’s just it–only someone like Bar could really look good in clothes from Fox. Even the writer said the collection lacks grace and stylistic backbone, but above all, it doesn’t fit the average person. There was only one shirt that was worth it and it doesn’t look all that good on Neta.
Ironically, my favorite outfit she wears is the one from Pull & Bear, which is my least favorite store. The place tries to create a balance between sporty and trendy and fails miserably, especially since most of the clothes look like they’re falling apart. Still, she found a high-cut mini skirt (she was hoping it would be longer, a shirt with an open and revealing necklace and red tights. I think it enlongates her and completely changes her shape, without enhancing it.
Now, if Neta had this much trouble, imagine what a larger girl would go through. It’s not easy in Tel Aviv, but a few do manage. I think the best example would have to be my roommate Tal. She’s going to hate me for mentioning her here, but I think she does such an amazing job of playing to her full figure that she deserves high praise for it. In Tel Aviv, it’s really, really not easy.
Tal tells me there are places to find it but you have to look. She goes to Golbary which has trendy attire in bigger sizes, Jump, another retail name for older women, and will often be seen scouring the racks at the clothes market by Kikar Dizengoff. You’d be surprised just how much great plus-size vintage Tel Aviv truly has to offer. She wears low-cut blouses, wraps, trendy blue jeans, maxi dresses, and print shirts.
Sometimes gets custom made clothing in ML. Her jeans fit her so perfectly that a friend of mine asked her where she got her jeans and now wants to get hers custom made there, too. As do I. Who wants to wear too-tight jeans these days when you can have an elastic waistband?
You may want to search for a woman here named Alona Meron. She has been designing plus-size women’s fashion in Tel Aviv for the last 12 years and began her career as a designer for Israel’s leading plus-size retail chains. Today, her designs can be found in the best boutiques that specialize in plus-sizes in day and evening wear using fabrics like linen and cotton.
In short–not easy but not impossible. Here’s looking to more fun and less frumpy plus-size fashions in the future.