Gabrielle Deydier: what it’s like to be fat in France

This article appeared in last Sunday’s Observer, sister newspaper to The Guardian (link below.)

When I went to my favorite clothing store the other day, Massimo Dutti, in search of a dress I had seen on their website, the store – all of the French stores, in fact – did not carry it in my size.

On the British website the dress is available in size 14 (my size). But not on the French website. Walking into their store on the Champs-Elysées, I found the dress. But it only came in two sizes: Small and Medium.

“Do you have Large?” I asked the salesperson.

“No,” she replied frostily, sizing my body up and down.

“Why not?” I said.

“Because we just don’t.”

This attitude is in sharp contrast to the response I used to get in the 1990s. Back then, I was a svelte size 8. Saleswomen fell over themselves wanting to sell me clothes.

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