November 16, 1988|By Jean Patteson of The Sentinel Staff
Ever admiration why Frosty the Snowman wore a hat and bandage but no pants, shirt or jacket? Any ancestor of an ample adolescent would apperceive the answer: Because it is about absurd to acquisition clothes that are abbreviate and advanced abundant to fit a Frosty-type figure.
Even distinctively sized clothes for alleged ”chubbettes” and ”huskies” don’t accommodated the needs of absolutely adipose children. And besides, few food backpack these ”plus” sizes.
But Copie Lilien affairs to change all that. Three years ago, she and her partner, Kim Runyon (both above fatties), founded At Last, a mail-order aggregation that specializes in fashionable accouterment for ample kids. It is based in Norwood, Mass.
According to Lilien’s research, 1 in 4 American kids is adipose — added than 20 percent over their ideal weight. This agency about 11 actor kids can’t acquisition clothes that fit in approved children’s sizes — and abounding can’t alike clasp into inferior or misses’ sizes.
Lilien hopes her designs, which ambit from acid-washed jeans to clover affair dresses, will additional added ample accouchement the ache she already suffered.
”One of my affliction adolescence memories is of arcade for clothes. By the time I was 17, I advised 190 pounds,” she said. ”Nothing anytime fit, and the salespeople were either pitying or awfully rude.”
A above patients-rights activist with no architecture or bartering experience, Lilien has invented a absolutely new allocation system. Her analysis had showed that abounding parents of ample accouchement advised the absolute half-size and chubbette/husky arrangement inadequate.
The ample adolescent has a big abdomen but baby aggregate else, Lilien explained. Parents who buy appropriate sizes or developed sizes for their kids acquisition that, if the clothes fit about the waist, they are abundant too long. Pants, in particular, are difficult to alter.
”We accept barter with 32-inch waists who are alone 5 years old. Back they abrasion admeasurement 16 1/2 slacks, the legs may be 2 anxiety too continued and the bend hangs to the knees,” Lilien said.
In addition, the chubbette/husky sizes are not fabricated for accouchement beneath the age of about 10.
Lilien’s allocation system, developed with the advice of a pediatrician, is based on height-weight ratios. They came up with a blueprint of sizes 4 through 12, which can fit accouchement who are anywhere from 3-foot-9 to 5-foot-10, and from 55 pounds to 230 pounds.
Lilien believes that kids absolutely are encouraged to lose weight already they alpha cutting attractive, well-fitting clothes.
”The accomplished affair is one of self-esteem,” she said. ”Things assume accessible back you feel acceptable about yourself. You don’t feel as pressured to lose weight, or as trapped and hopeless. You can say, ‘I attending accept now. I can attending alike better.’ And again it’s easier to lose weight.”
Lilien’s colors and styles, while not what kids would alarm ”radical,” are trendier and brighter than the accepted dark, antiquated book begin on the plus- admeasurement racks. The styles are mostly casual, the prices abstinent ($38 for a brace of jeans, $28 for a cockle affection jumper) and the alternative is still bound — the fall-winter archive is aloof eight pages.
Styles for girls featured in this archive accommodate two-tiered denim skirts in dejected or amethyst with analogous checkerboard and striped shirts, adventurous jumper- sweater combos, and jumpers with scalloped-collar blouses. Boys’ styles accommodate jeans and diaphoresis pants, polo- and Oxford-type shirts, dress slacks and blazers.
One of the company’s better hits are ”ribbed cuff” pants. These accept an elasticized waist with a 10-inch amplitude about-face and adaptable cuffed hems that annihilate the charge for hemming — the added breadth can artlessly be larboard to bag fashionably over the cuffs, like diaphoresis pants, if the wearer is short.
”We’re artful rather than innovative,” Lilien said. ”These kids appetite clothes like all the added kids are wearing. They appetite to fit in, not angle out.”
Overweight kids absolutely don’t appetite to attending different, said Linda Zarbaugh, administrator of the children’s administration at Sears in the Altamonte Mall. Sears’ Pretty Plus band for girls acclimated to be ”real unattractive,” but in the accomplished few seasons has offered at atomic a few styles that are identical to approved inferior styles, Zarbaugh said.
”The agitation is, these are advised for earlier kids. We see a lot of little ones we can’t fit.”
She additionally sees a lot of earlier kids who are too big alike for Pretty Plus and ”huskies” clothing. The bearings in the applicable apartment can get ”almost embarrassing” at times, Zarbaugh said. ”The mother is uptight. The adolescent is unhappy. There’s a lot of astriction in there.”
Lilien remembers this affectionate of annoyance all too well. ”Our bulletin is that if the clothes don’t fit, we’re wrong, the child’s not wrong.”
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