The fashion industry has always been a tough place for plus size women. They have often felt excluded from the fashion world, and designers are often hesitant to design clothes for them .It is disturbing that even in bigger sizes, many designers still expect their customers to be young and slim. Clothes can still be restrictive when they are made with small measurements in mind. Women in the plus size category deserve to be able to dress well and feel comfortable in their own skin (just like anyone else).
For as early as I can remember I hated fashion. Okay, I didn’t hate fashion, but I hated the way I always felt from the recognizable exclusion. I vividly remember going shopping in my early teenage years and being fixated on the tiny section labeled “juniors plus” that might be found in some of the major department stores. In fact, I remember running into a peer in one store and exchanging the most awkward look, knowing why we were both limited to that tiny corner of the entire mall. Options tended to be unflattering.
If I found no luck in these limited sections the next stop was to shop in stores dedicated to plus-size women. But, I wasn’t a woman! I was a teenager longing to express herself in age appropriate clothing. While I am ever so grateful for these adult targeted stores now, I most certainly did not want to shop in them as a kid. To mentally protect myself from the exclusionI I taught myself “not to care” about fashion. I thought if I hated fashion, then its exclusion couldn’t hurt me. If I didn’t care how I looked, then it didn’t matter. That was my defense mechanism. It’s only been recently that I began to readjust my way of thinking.
Having a wide selection of plus size fashion might not be a new concept, but it seems to me that the industry is finally beginning to take note. This might stem from the fact that bodies are becoming more diverse and brands are realizing they must cater to them in order to be truly inclusive.
Plus size fashion is slowly being introduced into stores with more frequency and many designers are taking notice of this demand by making a concerted effort to cater their collections to all body types. Slowly but surely, we are seeing options that consider an array of body shapes, sizes, and flattering designs.
In college a roommate once told me “Only buy it if you love it”, but that historically wasn’t a privilege I had. Growing up, my mindset was “buy it if it fits” because you often knew there may not be anything better. Shifting this mindset has been empowering. Crafting and curating a personal style that matched and emphasized my personality was liberating! I began to break away from the shoulds and should nots of how my body was to be dressed and focused on what felt authentic and best to me.
This shift in mindset became apparent in more than just fashion. I no longer “just accepted” what the options were. I adamantly searched for solutions to my desires and became open to creating them myself when needed. I began to find communities and understand the importance of being surrounded by others who have similar experiences. Improving my relationship with fashion within the plus size community positively impacted my relationship with myself.