Separate, but Equal - “Plus Size” Fashion

Words by Isabelle Earl

With the expansion of social media, the world has been enlightened to different cultures of people from all around the world. On the plus side, as a society, we are more informed and aware than ever before. But, the media coverage of plus size women and fashion is not always on this “plus side” of things. Yes, we have made progressions with the topic of body shaming. Plus size models have become more apparent, and advocates such as Lizzo have taken center stage. However, these reformist societal jumps have not changed the minds of the majority. Not only do people still constantly critique other’s, as well as their own body types, but fashion is also well behind the times. Big companies such as Nordstrom, H&M, Zara, and many others have seen the rise and heard the voices of the powerful plus-sized individuals. So what’s stopping them from making everyone feel “Good As Hell” in their products?

Plus-size fashion is commonly known as clothing made for individuals that possess measurements that exceed that of the average person. Most decent and professional clothing stores rarely carry true sizes above a 10, and if by mere chance they did, many women claim the item would be a “small 12.” According to PLUS Model Magazine, the plus-size range begins at size 18. So we are all probably asking the same question, where the hell do the size 12-16 people shop? Lindsay Schallon from Glamour expresses her shopping hardships as a size 14, “We have to hunt down pieces online, spend extra money for shipping, and carefully study measurements to find things our colleagues can buy with ease--or are sent for free as gifts from brands. It’s easy to be fashionable when you’re thin.”

Lindsay is one of the millions of women who feel this way. While the term “plus-size” has been reclaimed, the fashion industry is yet to join the movement. The passive bystanders that run these industries are either confused on where to start or blatantly fatphobic. Plus-sized people exist. Therefore, contrary to fashion company’s actions, they need clothes. These individuals have jobs, go to interviews, attend parties and public outings, and have cute Sunday brunches filled with mimosas just like everyone else. So why aren’t we providing them with blouses that can fully button or jeans that zip properly? Don’t even get me started on the pockets.

An astounding 67% of female-identifying consumers require a clothing size of 14 or higher. Yet plus-sized sections are rare, lacking, or completely void in many mainstream clothing stores. So, what do companies need to start doing in order to fix this outdated and frankly disappointing problem that their customers are facing? Listen to plus-sized individuals. Hear them. Make a change.

The plus-size community has been disenfranchised and overlooked in nearly all industries. Media, fashion, music, and the professional world as a whole has kept them outside of the loop for a prolonged amount of time. With influential activists such as Lizzo and Chrissy Metz surfacing and projecting their voice, progress is still slow. Ultimately, we need to accept them and help in the fight for reform. Blaring “Truth Hurts” in your car is great for you, but that is not a step for change. Claiming, “But I support Lizzo!” does not change the fact that Urban Outfitters currently has only one romper (only available online) that is a size 16. Additionally, size 16 is the highest that company goes. Plus-size fashion is not taboo. It is not disgusting or repugnant. It is entirely necessary, beautiful, and hopefully coming to a location near you.