What Is the Plus Size Movement? Failings and Future…
Who can tell when the plus size movement began getting traction, but nowadays I look around and see retailers selling specifically to the plus size market. They use plus size models wearing plus size clothing smiling at the camera. Colours and fabrics are plain with lots of peach, purple, blacks and whites. But is really what is what about, creating a separate fashion trend for those who are “plus”?
“Plus size according” to the online dictionary means “An extra-large or oversize clothing size, especially one for women’s or children’s clothing.” Surely this is not what it’s about – either being “normal sizes” or “plus.” Aren’t we all just women trying to find the perfect outfit to make us feel beautiful and show off our best features?
Don’t get me wrong, I think the plus size movement is fabulous, but I do think that there are a few things that it has done that have created some fairly unhealthy messages.
Bad message number 1) Being obese doesn’t have an effect on your health.
A much as the plus size movement is an extremely important message there seems to be an elephant in the room. Being obese is actually bad for your health. And I don’t mean obese in the BMI sense, I mean obese in the sense that walking down the street is uncomfortable, sleep is disturbed and breathing is shallowed. Our bodies are beautiful but they are also machines and they need to be used so doing regular exercise regardless of your age, weight, size or sex is extremely important
Bad message number 2) You need to be a size 18 or above to belong to the club
Walk into any plus size retailer and you will see that clothes start at larger sizes. So what does this mean for the women who is on the cusp catered neither by the plus or the regular retailer?
These women, those in between a size 14 and 16 make up the large majority of women out there, yet no-one tends to specifically target them. Very rarely do you see models of these sizes wearing either the plus or the regular sizes. And yet, the plus size movement began (I assume) to make clothing available to everyone, to make no-one feel judged and isolated – so what went wrong?
Marketing professionals for many years lived by the mantra – “sex sells” so they used half-naked women to sell cigarettes, cars and beer. Then it began to emerge that we wanted to be able to “relate” to the imagery we saw so these same marketing professionals began using plus size models to target a plus size audience but what they failed to understand was the massive chasm that sat between them. The everyday women who has reached her early 30’s who isn’t “plus” but also doesn’t want to wear some skin-tight number every time she leaves the home.
This woman traditionally has spent her time at home raising the family but in the last few years due to changes in our society, she works, the reads and she has a credit card which she likes to use.
She is a demographic of immense power because she has dealt with her insecurities, she knows who she is and she’s comfortable in the knowledge she isn’t growing younger, blonder or taller. She is also very engaged and vocal.
These women will shape the future of fashion for the next 10 years and let’s hope for the next 50 because their message is realistic, positive and honest.
It’s the dawn of a new age (and size) of strength for women and I for one look forward to embracing it, curves and all.