You’re at the clothing store everyone has been raving about and I mean, EVERYONE! Excitement fills the air as you look around. You’re already matching the clothes on the hanger with the pieces you have at home. We agree that a pink blouse would totally go with your black skirt. You look through the sizes, and with every hanger you push away your excitement slowly dies down. Your size isn’t there.
The biggest problem plus-size women face when buying clothes boils down to size discrimination and limited options. Let’s be honest for a second, the fashion industry isn’t exactly known for its size inclusivity. Sure now we’re getting the hang of it and more plus size brands are coming out (Like The Pink Moon) But there is an unspoken size bias toward people that are “smaller”. There are problems and struggles faced by every plus size woman when they go shopping.
- Limited size range: Now we touched upon the fact that the fashion industry is not very inclusive because of this plus size women need to shop either online or in specialized stores. This can make them feel even more excluded. This can also solidify the idea in their head that their body is not the “norm”. Shopping is supposed to be a fun experience and not something that weighs you down.
- Lack of fashionable/trendy clothing:
We cannot deny the speed at which trends go in and out of fashion. Y’all remember when people started hating skinny jeans? But for plus size women, their selection is very limited. Trendy clothes are not really in the cards for them because well, they’re not made in their size. They usually must stick to more basic pieces of clothing. Every woman should be allowed to express their individuality through their clothes, no matter their size. Taking away that choice to express themselves slowly makes them feel like there’s no need to “dress up” for certain occasions because they don’t have any options. The fashion industry, we’re looking at you. Give our ladies some patterns please!
- Inconsistent sizing:
Sizing is tricky no matter what size you are. You know how you’re one size in one brand and a completely different size when you switch brands. Now amplify this problem, that’s what plus size women deal with on a daily basis. There is no standardized measurement thus making it difficult for plus size women to find clothes that fit them perfectly. Not to mention, the proportions in each woman are different, whether it’s wider hips or bust. Clothes are meant to fit the person; the person is not meant to fit the clothes. Write that down, put it in your back pocket, and save it for a rainy day.
- Negative body image and stigma
Plus size women already get a lot of slack for their body, whether it is from a friend or a relative (we’re looking at you, judgmental brown aunty at every reunion). Now they don’t need to get rejected by a store as well. Clothes are a basic necessity. Not letting a person find their dream outfit just because they are plus size is problematic. This sends them a message that their body is not accepted in our society. That their body is so different that clothes aren’t made for them. Are we really that shallow? To push aside a whole section of women just based on their waist size. The inadequacy, rejection, and insecurity felt during a process that’s supposed to be fun and lighthearted is painful. It’s time we put an end to it.
The fashion industry holds a lot of power. It can either use that power for good, for acceptance, and for diversity or that power can be used for exclusivity, discrimination, and limitation. As shoppers and sellers, it’s time we put our foot down as well. It’s time we open the doors for everybody, no matter their size. We all have different body shapes. The “ideal body” keeps changing every minute, if we base our clothing on that, we’re never going to be satisfied.
The fashion industry must realise the importance of size inclusivity. A good outfit not only makes you look good, but it has the power to make you FEEL good! You know, you have that outfit that just makes you feel like 10/10. Imagine if that outfit was not available in your size. Doesn’t feel that the best, right? Everyone deserves to have clothes that they feel good in, no matter how small or big. All bodies are beautiful. Say it to me, all bodies are beautiful. Having clothes of all sizes will not only foster body positivity but also size inclusivity. Together, we can break down the fashion barriers set up by a bunch of Europeans, one blouse at a time. Fashion comes in all shapes and sizes, it’s time we start celebrating it. Now let’s go get that pink blouse!