The fashion industry is uninterested in styling plus-size ladies, and this is reflected in the choices available to them. It is disappointing to know that traditional fashion ideals were never truly accommodating of plus size women, which is perhaps why many fashion brands fail to adapt and extend their size selection for their clothing pieces. They are most likely also unable to grasp the essential distinction between slim and big ladies and as a result, they make women to continue carrying the burden of failing to conform to the ‘perfect’ body size. This to me, is absolutely ridiculous. If for example, Beyoncé or Rihanna or any generally slim celebrity is seen in a crop top and bum short, BOOM!!! it suddenly becomes trendy but if a plus size celebrity is seen in the same clothing style, it will result to gossip and criticism. But why should fashion be judged by the body wearing it? Why are plus size women treated as second class citizens? Why are plus size women constantly bullied even by the fashion industry to conform to societal standards of the ideal body shape and size? Well… not anymore.
For as long as I can recall, plus size women have faced a lack of fashion style options as well as lower quality. Just a few brands offer genuinely chic clothing options for bigger women while the others aren’t even made with plus-size bodies in mind. There has always been a false belief that bigger women should appear in a particular way—don’t wear clothes with patterns, don’t wear bikinis, wear clothes that hide your shape, and the list goes on. However, it is sad to know that for many decades, several brands still adhere to that antiquated belief.
The fashion industry needs to abandon the mindset that plus size equals old or ugly. For over a long period of time, plus size women were stereotyped as people who generally didn’t care about style. The truth is beauty has no size limit and yes-plus size women can be fashionable too. Women, both young and old, want to look trendy, attractive, elegant, and well-packaged in pieces that suits their body shape and size.
The discussion around plus-size fashion has changed just as rapidly as fashion itself. Wears for bigger women used to be made up of style-neutral pieces hidden away under the blankets and pillows. But then, labels that prioritized beauty and design appeared. A significant contribution to this effect was the emergence of plus-size bloggers, vloggers and campaigners who shook the system, demanding clothes that represented their character, feelings, and visions rather than just being practical. Plus-size women desired to be actively engaged in the fashion industry. Young people desired the newest styles, while adult ladies with financial backing desired far more than the newest purse or shoe. What does this mean? Yes, you guessed right- we are breaking the stereotypes.
I am scrolling on Instagram and I can now find many plus size content creators that are breaking old societal notions of how bigger women should look like and forming their own standards. I am more than pleased with this as it is inspiring other fellow plus size women and reassuring them that just because you are a bigger size doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish as well. Listed below are some I have come across.
Here is a video documentary I did titled “Curvy & Stylish” where I interviewed a plus size fashion enthusiast that shares her journey on how she remains fashionable despite other challenges of bullying and body shamming she faced while growing up.
Our unhealthy fascination with beauty standards and the perfect body size is now obsolete. They no longer hold water in these contemporary times, where body confidence and the accompanying healthy mental wellbeing are essential. As it stands, women take oppression on the head and challenge it on a regular basis. If it were some years ago that I wrote this article, I probably would have ended with- “The very least society should do is allow plus size women feel free and confident in their own big arms, big thighs, gorgeous, and unique bodies without stigma of any kind”. But now, whether society is ready or not, plus size women are changing the narrative and with such a change, one can only expect the best as regards fashion for plus size women in the years to come.