Is it time to ditch the ‘plus’ in Plus Size?

Hello my beauties.

As i sit an write this , i cant help but stare and the copious amount of clothing I’ve been buying recently. With the recent developments in sizing, styles and stores, the Plus size market has become more profound than ever- right now, I am in total awe at how amazing the ‘plus’ size clothing is in the UK has become. For years the ‘Plus’ size clothing stores have been ill flattering, and lack all sense of fashion. With brands such as ASOS, River Island and even New Look have finally allowed the curvy amongst us to find affordable, fashionable clothing the ‘Plus’ size clothing market has never been as advanced.

Now, pals, i am by no means saying that there isn’t any room for improvement in the Plus Size industry. Seriously i can list the issues my 16-18 chunky bod has when fighting the losing battle trying to find something ‘nice’ in store. Yet, the growth the industry has had shows a complete shift in a much better direction. Empire lines, flowing material and more accesability show a much better understanding of a curvier woman’s need. I just can’t help but ask, with the growth in the industry i am left wondering isn’t it time to ditch the ‘Plus Size’ term altogether?

Image taken by Rebecca Walker

Image taken by Rebecca Walker

Outfit details.

Jumper: TU at Sainsbury’s.

Skirt: Primark.

Belt: Primark

Shoes: Raid via ASOS

Same clothing, same price.

Many stores now offer a plus size range, an has since started making the same pieces through out all their clothing. By this i mean much of the clothing in the plus size ranges is exactly the same (just sized higher) than much of the regular sized clothing. So, why am i walking up a flight of stairs to find a piece of clothing that i have seen 4 times down stairs?

As a rule, i don’t understand much within this segment of the clothing industry. Why should my reasonably sized boobs and Kardashian’s rival bottom mean I don’t fit into the Norm of clothing? Surely it would be better to make customers feel equal no matter the size of their behind ? Many stores argue that the fabric, patterns and even marketing equate to higher prices and being segregated from the rest of the other clothing items. Yet, with the fashion industry being one of the leading industries i highly doubt merging all areas of the clothing within a store will hardly knock the overall growth of the industry.

We’re not all made the same.

Understanding body shapes must rival the Pythagoras theorem. Every woman, is shaped differently regardless of your weight, Height and even style. As a woman who is constantly battling her weight, why should my clothing make me feel any less than ‘comfortable’?

Now, i understand that with a copious amount of body shapes, stores are fighting a losing battle. Some items will never look great on a pear shape whilst others items are just too short for a six foot frame.Yet, isn’t it better for people to have a level of trust in their favourite clothing brand rather than share the feeling of ‘ i can’t believe i have to go their again’. Taking plus size out of the equation for one moment, isn’t it worth creating a space where everyone has value?

Image taken by Rebecca Walker

Image taken by Rebecca Walker

A Trigger?

Now, i am fully aware that some suffering with eating disorders may find this triggering. Walking to a separate area, in which you can shop with in comfort is important. However, many of the plus sized clothing collections are placed in obvious spaces. Women have to walk through area which see stick thin Mannequins, small items of clothing all of which only amplify insecurites. If stores don’t want this collection to be triggering isn’t it time to group all collections together and let all shoppers be equal. And if not, move the curve items to a much more discreet area of the store.

The future?

The future of the clothing industry will hopefully hold so much more growth within the ‘Plus’ sized category and for me, that is dropping the notion of plus sized all together. On a daily basis we are told that our size shouldn’t define who we are, so why are we allowing clothing stores to tell us any different? Walking through a store filled with smaller sized items, means that many like myself are forced to see what we could be. In a world of fad diets, motivational quotes and fakery, i am ready to stand up and say my size does not define who i am. Nor should it define how i feel in stores i spend my hard earn money in.

I can’t be the only person in the world which hates the term ‘Plus Size’. The size of my hips shouldn’t restrict the clothing i have access too. With the constant demand for affordable, fashionable clothing, when will the High Street learn that all customers are just as important as one and other. The size and shape of your body has no correlation to you or your sense of style. Kardashian bums, mum tums and massive lady lumps shouldn’t be a restriction, it should be something we have and can parade in a gorgeous leopard print shirt.

So tell me, what do you think? Is it time all customers were treated equally, or do you have an entirely different opinion. Please let me know in the comments below.

Em x

Disclaimer : I paid for these clothes with my own money and have never worked with either

2 Comments

  1. Tulu (@Medktulu)

    Hi Em,

    Interesting and thoughtful article. Whilst I wouldn’t dare to comment on the female experience in clothes shopping please allow me to provide my thoughts on being a larger male and you can see how it tallies up.

    First of all I want to acknowledge that it’s easier for men to find clothing that fits. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate living with a female housemate is just how much harder women have when it comes to sizes as there is much greater variety in your sizing compared to men. Large/small bust, wide/slim waist, wide/narrow hips, short/long legs etc. can all be thrown into the combination mix and that’s before we even get into how tall somebody is and the fact that a size 12 for one item might be totally the wrong size for another item. So yes, women have it harder when it comes to selecting clothing that not only fits but looks good and makes you feel good wearing it.

    Now on to a matter I can speak of, namely male clothing. A bit of background, I’m slightly taller than average at 6’1″ and at my largest I took a 48″ waist on my trousers. When I was younger and larger I was always self conscious about clothes shopping, the choices were limited and internet shopping wasn’t a thing back then (I think I was about 24 when I bought my first item of clothing online so about 15 years ago). Anyway, aside from the lack of selection for larger sizes (made worse by most men’s departments being considerably smaller than the ladies section) I didn’t really give things much thought as I’ve always been on the larger side and men’s larger sizes were just determined by the number of x’s.

    Skip forward to today and I’m more aware that men are now getting some of the issues that women have had for years such as mannequins all being slender and so many shirts and trousers being slim fit or skinny. I’ve got quite muscular legs (with some extra sub-cutaneous padding as well) so need a bit of space in the legs of trousers so anything that even thinks about calling itself skinnier/tighter than regular is going to be a no no. Aside from this I’m generally about normal proportions so providing I match my waistline I’m generally okay although there are always exceptions so now I’ve got my waistline down to 36-38″ that’s really all I need to worry about. Shops do cater to my size in the main although there are a few that seem to not want to stock anything above a 34″ waistline these tend to be the more fashionable ones where I generally wouldn’t shop anyway. It’s also easier to purchase online as I don’t need to worry about the variety of body parts for example being a size 12 in my hips but then size 14 waist with large boobs.

    Now on to the substance of the article. I’m all for displaying the range in sizes all together in one place rather than making a separate section, I’ll be honest I find that odd but I’ve not worked in retail so can’t comment as to why they are separated. If it’s a space issue then surely it makes sense to treat things like a shoe store and just put some sample sizes out and then you go and ask for the size you want to try on. That would free up loads of space on the racks which would enable more selections to be on display. The only issue I can see, which you touch on in your article, is that some might be more self conscious about their size and would prefer to be in a different section. I don’t have an issue with larger sizes costing more, they use more materials/take up more space/require more packaging so that seems fine to me.

    As to the main thrust of your article “Is it time to ditch the ‘plus’ in plus size?” from my perspective it shouldn’t really matter. I’ve long ago given up on labels (by that I mean assigning labels, not clothing labels), things are what they are and having something labelled “plus size” or “size X” or “XXXL” doesn’t change much. I can appreciate that it can have a negative stigma attached to it and, whilst personally it doesn’t bother me, I accept that some could find it a more sensitive topic and would rather it be worded differently.

    One thing I will mention though is that naturally shops will cater for the majority of their client base and so if the average female size is 16 then (aside from the variety of hips/bust/bum etc.) shops will stock the majority of size selections around this range with the number dropping off as you get further away from this average. That applies to both getting bigger and smaller. There’s nothing wrong with that and that’s why specialist shops and ranges should exist but nobody should be made to feel excluded because of their size or shape.

    Sorry, this went on longer than I intended and is probably fueled by Sudafed, Vicks, cough medicine and a lack of sleep…

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    1. Em

      Hi Craig,
      I’ve read through this comment a few times, so I’m sorry about the reply taking so long.

      I think with the way clothing is displayed there a massive difference in men’s and women’s, and whiles i totally agree about confidence of the shopper being an issue the other argument is the placing of the ‘curve’ section right at the very back of the store, so it can be quite embarrassing.

      I’ve spoken to a few lads i know about men’s sizing and they seem to agree with you. I cant really speak for males sizing but i definitely how that there’s more inclusion and less X’s.
      Thanks for the great comment.
      Em.

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