Giving Voice to the Public: A Look Into Plus Size Modeling and Fashion • Page 2 of 3 • Psych N Sex

Giving Voice to the Public: A Look Into Plus Size Modeling and Fashion

September 17, 2017


Giving Voice to the Public: A Look Into Plus Size Modeling and Fashion


The Idealized “Fat” Body – Plus Size Doesn’t Always Mean Curvy

“The designers absolutely do not understand (or care) that some women need large clothes but don’t have large breasts.” – LM


“Plus-sized doesn’t always mean “Curvy.” I was up to a size 16 at one point and could find no pants or skirts that didn’t have tons of extra space for my non-existent hips.” – Melissa Grant DeSantis


“Right now, even with the more open view of fat bodies, we are seeing increased fat acceptance, but only with a very specific fat body type. I.E. the curvy sexualized body type – small arms, small waist, but boobs big booty. So many fat bodies are excluded from that.” –Amber Sara


“The biggest issue I have with women’s clothing, in general, is the sizing differential. I have been plus-sized, and I have been not-plus-sized. (I refuse to use “normal size” as a description, because normal is a very wide range!) While I understand that every company uses different size models, and I understand the marketing forces at work, there should be at least a vague consistency in sizing.” – Amy Collins


“I am a size 14. almost all jeans I try on, even in plus sized stores like Torrid I can’t get over my calves. some of us were not blessed with stick legs!!” – Christa Grant Holmes



“Go to any mall in this country and you’ll find (at max) both of the 2 big national companies that make *only* plus sized clothes. Those two companies, Lane Bryant and Torrid, aren’t affordable, aren’t broadly relatable enough in style, and aren’t always in your mall.” – Sarah Lackenbauer


“I have seen a lot of improvement over the past 20 years, but there is still a long way to go. “Fat” or “plus-size” doesn’t mean older, it doesn’t mean out of shape or disabled, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the extra flesh only gets distributed to certain areas of the body. It also doesn’t mean “curvey,” as we have all seen slender-but-curvy, and fat-but-not-curvey while walking around in the world.” – Amy Collins


“Plus size fashion isn’t as fashionable as it could be. I want clothes that make me look good, not 20yrs older!” – Joanne Yeo


“The main struggle for me is that plus size fashion (especially in Vancouver where fitness IS fashion) tends to come in two varieties – things your mom would wear and trendy items scaled up with no thought put to how it will actually look on a curvy body. I have to drive down to the States or order online to find cute plus size fashion which also makes it expensive.” – Jayne Elizabeth


“Styles are often very matronly and muted (see above comment about attracting attention). Usually totally shapeless and unnecessarily elastic or scaled up versions of regular items that don’t consider thicker thighs, larger rear ends, tummies and muffin tops. I’m lucky enough to have an hourglass shape, but many plus size women don’t and finding anything more flattering than a housecoat can be like locating a unicorn. Rarely is the need for attractive undergarments or shoes (we big beautiful women usually have wider feet too!) considered either.” – Christina Suddard


“Imagine only being able to shop in two shops – and everything was in the wrong shape, size, and only in a few colors. The styles are either ultra young or ultra old, as well. I’m fed up with being unable to get what I want to wear – so I’ve looked into making my own! You can’t just size up to something a size 2 would wear, we’ve got totally different body proportions.”– Sally Hanes


“Working in the bridal industry I’m constantly witnessing the struggle to shop for a bridal gown as a plus size woman. It’s really hard for bridal shops to carry high-end bridal gowns in various sizes since they’re so expensive just to even bring into our shops, so I’ve met many plus size woman who has a really great sense of style and want to wear a high-end dress but are unable to even try it on, and for the brave girls who order without having tried the dress on – there’s still an unfortunate fee attached to ordering it in plus size that ranges anywhere from $200-$500 on top of an already very expensive dress. Not to mention some dress designers don’t even go past size 14.” – Sydney Johnson

“There are stores who advertise they are plus size friendly – but when you get inside you find out that they only carry plus size online. Fashion is a social thing for so many women but going shopping with friends has only ever made me feel ostracized. I love myself and believe in body positivity but for someone who is struggling to be confident it can really be a big setback.” – Jayne Elizabeth


“Shops don’t sell enough plus size clothes. Why should plus size people have to go to specialist shops, singling them out.” – Joenne Yao


“Plus size shopping is more like a carefully plotted exercise in torture. Before we can even get to the actual clothes, we should talk about the stores. Often plus size retailers don’t exist in malls at all. They are usually hidden away in strip malls next to grocery stores and big-box superstores. A day of shopping requires 60% driving from one place to another rather than a heated/air conditioned stroll from one to the next. On the rare occasion, you find a store in a mall carrying larger sizes they are usually poorly stocked, small and hidden in the dusty back corner, implying that just because you aren’t a size 2 you should be hidden away. Shopping for a wedding dress literally gave me anxiety and left me crying in a very un-say-yes-to-the-dress way. And I was one of the lucky few able to find any dresses I could actually try on before buying although it did need a tonne of alterations when I finally got it.”- Christina Suddard


“Often plus sizes are only carried online (which furthers the view of fat bodies not leaving the house, but anyway…) it’s obviously a huge limitation that straight sizes don’t deal with.” – Amber Sara


Plus Size Modeling

“Plus-sized women are only seen in modeling if they have the fat in the ‘right places,’ and they must be very tall, as well. Fat doesn’t uniformly deposit on all women/people. In general, modeling doesn’t reflect the general American population very well, at all.” – Amy Collins


“Women of varying proportions and sizes are still not adequately represented.” – LM


“I don’t think people (male or female) are fairly represented in the world of modeling as it is (hello photoshop and airbrushing), but “plus-size” models are a joke. They are typically busty, with round hips and a clear well-proportioned waist (I know far more pear-shaped curvy ladies than hourglass). Looking at the pictures shown in ad campaigns vs. what is available in store, I wouldn’t be surprised if those women were actually too small to wear anything in a plus size line without being altered or pinned.” – Christina Suddard

All this being said, there certainly has been some movement in the right direction, and that needs to be celebrated as well.

“I’m starting to notice a huge shift in the overall culture of straight sizes and plus sizes. When I was growing up there was literally two plus size stores and they were owned by the same company and now historically straight sized stores (that’s what we plus size people call regular sizing) are starting to make plus sizes. It’s opened a lot. Along with these, we’ve seen some openings of plus-size models in the last couple years. Before this, there was never ANY plus-size models on magazines or in tv or anything like that. Any plus size figure was always an actor/actress and playing a very specific type of role – either a roll for people to laugh at or a roll for people to feel bad for. There’s been a huge movement for a more positive portrayal of fat bodies in the last maybe five years? So now, in Canada anyways, we are seeing more straight size stores offering plus sizes.” – Amber Sara

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