Fashion has been exciting lately for the plus size woman. We have plus sized actresses in film and on television, we have larger bodies being showcased in mainstream ads and we have new options for stylish clothes popping up daily on websites in collaboration with celebrity designers. Times are changing and this is a great thing.
Magazines have a long history of attempting to sell the fantasy of fashion to women. Editors try to persuade us to buy their products through creative photographs and altered images. The typical model is tall, slender and in her early teens to early 20s. I’m not going to body shame these women. They are indeed unique and gorgeous and all the power to them for making a living in the difficult and fickle world of fashion. Often these women are shamed just as much as the rest of us, as photoshop alters the reality and imperfections from their bodies. The very imperfections that make them who they are.
When I look at those glossy ads in mainstream magazines I feel rather left out. I’m sure a large majority of women do. Seldom do we see a plus size woman or an older woman sporting designer clothes. Where is the fashion fantasy for these women? This is a very large demographic of women to simply ignore.
Luckily over the last decade the population has gotten wise to the tricks of the fashion industry and we are no longer taken in by clever photoshop. Our eyes glaze over at the sight of idealized fakery. We are simply not impressed. We can't identify with the ads. We know that these altered creations are barely human...and certainly not the women we see in the mirror each morning. There is nothing wrong with thin beautiful women in magazines but can we also include women that are older, short or plus sized? Can we see the beauty, soul and intelligence in their knowing eyes? The crowsfeet and freckles?
Studies have shown that women relate better to models that represent their own body type. This makes perfect sense. It is far easier to buy clothes that might actually fit, get an idea of how the pattern falls onto the body and draping of the fabric. If the average sized woman is a size 14-16 why are plus-sized women not represented in big glossy pictures of high fashion? Women want…we demand our fantasy too. Sell us a fantasy that we can identify with and we might actually buy your clothing.
Thankfully we have our own fashion icons that challenge the notion of what is beautiful by simply being out in the world and being seen. Plus size women are not shadows. We exist, we contribute to the world and we are intelligent and beautiful. Over and over I hear the mainstream fashion industry stating the plus-size clothes are just a fad. Plus size clothes don’t sell. Plus size models are just a brief gimmick. I disagree. Women of all colours, ages, shapes and sizes need to be represented. The fact that we are seeing more diverse bodies is a pure reflection of peer pressure. Women are sick and tired of being marginalized. We must keep being visible. That is how we secure ourselves within fashion culture.
Some of my favourite talented women being fearless AND visible. Thank-you ladies for the inspiration.
Melissa is not only a fantastically funny and talented actor but she is also an outspoken advocate for plus size women. Currently staring in the film Spy. She is developing her own fashion line Melissa McCarthy Seven7.
Another talented actor and comedian. Rebel pushes the boundries and we are greatful for it. Currently in the new movie Pitch Perfect 2. She also has a clothing line in development. Rebel for Torrid.
Amazing singer Adele has charmed us with her incredible voice. She graces us with a welcoming down-to-earth attitude and is much loved by her fans. On the red carpet she rocks gorgeous designer dresses and show the plus size fashion world how it's done.
Lena is damn fearless. She is an actor that contantly challenges the hollywood ideal of what is beautiful. She is so confident in her own skin and is inspirational to all women. Learn to love your body. All shapes and sizes are beautiful.
Queen Latifah can do it all. She has been an actress, rapper, singer, producer, model and talk show host. She is strong role model for women. Queen Latifah is simply awesome.