When this whole body positive movement started, all I could think was woah, finally there is going to be a representation of me in a store. Maybe I was silly to think that, but one could hope.
First, let me give a shoutout to the stores making it work. Forever 21 has a beautiful plus line and I have been able to find some awesome pieces. They are definitely coming along well in their quest for body positivity. This next store is a recent find and I am so happy I found it! Entourage is a cute little boutique that does cater to the smaller sized female, but they recently launched a plus line. New pieces are being added to their website each week. What can I say about Old Navy? I don't think I can say enough! In my opinion, they have the best jeans I have ever worn and they have a great quality of clothing. The only negative I have for the two stores I mentioned first is the plus size selection in the stores is very small, if it is in the store at all. I hate ordering clothes online because I try on EVERYTHING, but I guess ordering online is part of the fun.
Let's get to some stores who have been in the plus size game. Lane Bryant is a wonderful store and I love getting my bras from there. Personally, I cannot find a pant to fit me how I like in there, but their leggings are wonderful. Ashley Stewart has a wonderful selection. I can find a few jeggings in there and I love their dresses. Well, this brings me to Torrid.
The fun thing about Lane Bryant, Ashley Stewart, and Torrid is that we plus beauties could go shopping and not worry about getting dirty looks from the straight sized people. Then Torrid changed up the game. Recently, they introduced new sizes to the store, but in the downward direction. Torrid now offers a size 10.
I'll be the first person to admit, I had a slight problem with this when it was first announced. The beauty of Torrid (and stores like it) was that is was just for us plus beauties. However, I had this thought - but what if I lose weight? I enjoy shopping at Torrid, but no matter how much weight I lose, I'm still going to be wearing an F or a G cup in a bra. It just is what it is. On the other hand, I always can get into a smaller jean size. So, if I were to ever make it down to a size 10 in some jeans, it's nice to know I can get an entire outfit from Torrid.
Just like we don't all lose weight the same, we all don't look the same period. However, this body positive thing is not going in a way I thought it was going to go.
Let's get back to the "smaller" stores. Forever 21 has gone great with their merchandise. In my opinion, they have a great selection of trendy looking things that will not have me looking like I'm older just because I am in an larger body. Entourage is just starting their plus line and that are adding more to their website each week. Unfortunately, for these and other stores, their hands are tied by what their designers are going to design and offer to them. In other words, there are just some stores where plus size divas are only going to be able to walk out with a pair of shoes and/or a pocketbook.
For instance, their are some design houses who are not going to change. Unless you are a female at least 5'7" and wear somewhere between a size 0 to 6, they are not going to design for you. That is just how it is. For those designers who are at least taking a chance, some of their stuff just isn't cute on plus size people. Not because it can't be, but because it won't be because they won't put in the time and effort it takes to design for a larger person. Just because I have more skin doesn't mean I deserve to be in an outfit that will have me looking like a sack of potatoes. On the other hand, I salute the designers who are taking the time to explore the plus size body - every inch, crevice, and roll!!! We know you charge us a little more because of the extra material, but personally, I'll pay for quality. So, I have these designers who are trying to design something to fit my body, but where are the models who look like me?
Let me give you a description of myself. I'm under 5'4". Right there you know I have to buy petite, get things hemmed, where a cute cuff, or wear heels. I have a tummy. I wouldn't call it a big tummy (my definition of MY TUMMY being big is when I can see it past my boobs), but I have a tummy. I have amazingly toned legs, but my thighs are thunderous. No matter what I lift, my arms are still flabby. My back rolls will probably make you run away in horror. However, under all the skin, I do have an hourglass shape. I've seen it before!!! On last thing, please do not take a photo of me sitting down (unless it is from the shoulders and up) because I look like an elephant! That's me. Where are those models?
Those models don't exist. Those models are not physically attractive enough to be seen on the poster in a store. But for once, I would love to walk into a store, especially a store that caters to the plus size beauties, and see a woman with a tummy. I would love to walk into a store and see a mannequin wearing something bigger than a size 14. By the way, typically if the mannequin is wearing anything larger than a 14, the clothing is strategically pinned to make it look like it is a perfect fit.
So, really, where is all this body positivity? I know it is impossibly to have a representation of every body type in every single store. But think about it, if you are selling a product to me, shouldn't I at least have something to go off of to help me visualize what the article of clothing may look like. If we are not making strides to celebrate every body, big or small, what is really positive about the movement?
Photo credit: MLazarevski via Visualhunt / CC BY-ND
Photo via VisualHunt.com
Photo credit: Hub☺ via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA