My achilles heel that follows me around where ever I go is my lifelong struggle with my weight. For the last twenty years, I’ve ranged from a size 4 to a size 16 – yo yo is my alter ego. Being beauty and fashion obsessed, I have to say that when my body is a little curvier, my self confidence goes down the drain. Why? One of the biggest reasons is that my fashion-forward wardrobe in a size 4-10, no longer fits and I feel like anything ‘plus sized’ makes me a) look like a tent and b) look like I’m going to a 1970s board meeting. Needless to say, when I’m bigger, fashion has not felt like my friend. Luckily though, in the last few years this has started to change. Did you see the latest cover of Sports Illustrated? Ashley Graham is the magazine’s first plus sized cover and let me tell you – she looks amazing, don’t you think?
While fuller, and curvier women have started infiltrating the runways, we no longer have to worry about measuring up to stick-thin models (thank god!). There are even dedicated events celebrating plus-size women such as the Full Figured Fashion Week in Manhattan, where the latest designers showcase their best collection of ranges for women size 14 and above.
Historically, NewYorker.com author Lizzie Widdicombe said that clothing for women sized 14 and above were considered “conservative”. Plus sized clothing has commonly been a boring mixture of plain T-shirts, stretchy material, and dark colors – conforming to the generally accepted rules about what curvy women should wear. As more retailers and designers have started working on introducing full figured women to more fashion-forward apparel and accessories, the perception of what plus sized women can and should wear, is changing (yes!).
Though, always remember size does matter 😉 – no item of clothing is worth wearing if it doesn’t fit you – you know that girl who is obsessed with the “number” and forces herself into a size 8? Little does she know, if she just tried on that size 12, she would look so much smaller!
Given the size and curves of full figured women, finding clothing to accentuate our greatest features, should be the ultimate goal. Online plus-sized retail platform, WomanWithin.com says, “Emphasize the most important part of one’s body, giving the right amount of confidence – no matter her shape, size or height.”
Although many brands are now opening their doors to women with fuller figures, unfortunately some retailers are still ignoring the big market demographic of plus-sized fashion. According to BusinessInsider.com, the plus-size market was worth $9 billion in 2014 and it continues to grow.
At the moment 65% of women still believe that “the retail industry ignores the needs of plus-sized women,” where most clothes offered to them are “frumpy” and “shapeless”.
What’s upsetting is the fact that these women are willing to spend, where 81% explained that they are willing to shell out money if they are presented with more options in their size.
With plus sized models on the covers of magazines, celebrity endorsements and some trendy plus sized fashion lines hitting the streets (my favourite is Carmakoma – designed in Denmark but sold in North America), there is hope! More and more local and international brands have now started working on increasing their plus-sized collections to offer curvy ladies more options. Hopefully, bigger fashion brands will follow, giving everyone a chance to be fashion-forward and confident no matter what size they are.