If you have been reading my blog for a while, then you definitely know two big things about me. One, I love clothes! I have literally broken a closet (or a few) with the amount dresses, shirts, and pants I hang inside. (I’m only a little ashamed of that.) And two, I am a Plus Sized woman. In fact, I have been Mid Sized to Plus Sized my whole life. Just because I am a thick girl doesn’t mean I don’t want to look fabulous!
I’m old school and still enjoy shopping in a physical, brick and mortar store. I mean, there is something truly satisfying about touching the clothes, trying them on, and then walking out with a pretty package containing something I can go home and put on immediately. (I don’t have the patience for online shopping!) However, shopping can often be an exercise in frustration as a Plus Sized girl.
While the average size of the American woman continues to grow, the fashion industry is slow to make changes that will accommodate our glorious curves. Online, there are some AMAZING Plus specific brands, and others who carry clothes across the entire size continuum. (We LOVE YOU!) When it comes to in-person shopping though, there have only been a few, Plus specific stores that have existed over time. (Seriously, thank you to Torrid, Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, Avenue, and the like for creating a space for us over the years.) Sadly, some of these brands already have, or will soon disappear from the map.
Other brands have thrown us a bone here and there, creating experimental Plus Size collections for a while. I fall in love with their clothes, only to be disappointed when they pull up stakes and go away again. (Loft, you are scaring me!) Most often, those collections are “online exclusives” too… which is just a pain. And then, there are the department and big box stores that cram a little section of uninspired Plus clothing in a dark corner of the store. (Let me tell you, that really inspires me to shop!)
Well, wake up fashion industry! The body positive girls are here to stay and we need you to hear us. Here are a few things that my friends and I desperately hope will start shifting soon…
Creating Plus Sized clothing doesn’t mean just scaling up a Straight Size. For real though, I am bigger than the average girl in some spots, but not ALL spots. The worst are the shoulders and underarms. Plus Sized clothing often makes our bodies look like a giant square! There is little to no tailoring at all. Please use more bodies to create your patterns.
Just because we’re fat, doesn’t mean we are old. This is especially true of department stores. (I am giving you a hard side eye Kohl’s.) I mean, I love my grandma, but I don’t want to dress like her. Plus Sized clothing is often so mumsy looking I just can’t take it!
Not every Plus Sized person carries their weight in the same place. We don’t all have big boobs. We don’t all have thick legs. We don’t all have a booty. Fortunately for me, I am rather proportionately curvy… but not everyone has that luxury. There need to be styles offered to cover a wide swath of thicknesses.
We aren’t all ashamed of our bodies. I like my body. I am not afraid to show my arms, or legs to the world. I have a waist, and hips, and an ample bosom and am not ashamed to let others see me. I want to look feminine. Please don’t make me hide in boxy, masculine silhouettes and flowy caftans.
We just want to wear the same dang thing as our Straight Sized friends. Stop making less cute, more matronly versions of something in the same fabric. Honestly, we just want to wear the same exact outfit.
We don’t all want to live our lives in boring basics. Black and grey are nice colors in moderation. I don’t want them to dominate my wardrobe. Solids are nice as layering pieces or accompaniments to a great accessory, but I am not afraid of patterns. I don’t just want to wear tee shirts and leggings. Thoughtful details and embellishments make EVERY garment look good.
Start using fit models that look like us. I know that size 14 is considered Plus Sized… but I want to see how something is going to look on my apple shaped size 22 body. How about featuring a gorgeous model that looks like me?
Make the merchandise prominent and easy to find. I am tired of being shamed into the back corner of the store. If you want us to spend our money in your store, create a space that makes us feel honored and seen. Give us a space that is pretty to shop in… and wide enough that I can get my body and my handbag through at the same time. (A’Beautiful Soul… THANK YOU for doing this. I hope other stores take note.)
If you make it, we will spend. (Read that in your Field of Dreams voice.)
It’s time to shift the narrative. Let’s start seeing the gorgeous, Plus Sized people in the world as worthy of beautiful things! Honor our curves and we will hand you our money. Nuff said.