Plus Size Fashion: Are You Truly Marketing to the Curvy Crowd?

plus size fashion

This beautiful, sassy woman is the kind of gal I'd love to see modeling my clothes.

I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. When I was in high school, I wore a size 14-16. Most of my friends wore a size six. We’d go shopping, as girls in high school do, and I’d be jealous of the racks and racks of choices they had and embarrassed about hanging out in the women’s section.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’m not embarrassed. I’m working on losing weight for health reasons, but I’m comfortable in my skin.

Still, shopping isn’t very fun. Selections are limited for bigger gals in my area and while there are several shops that sell plus size fashion merchandise, they’re often less than delicious. Either the clothes are made with bizarre, busy patterns or the cuts are much more tent-like than this girl is comfortable with.

I’ve tried to turn to the Internet and catalogs for plus size fashion that is trendy and flattering, but it’s also disappointing. Not so much for a lack of beautiful pieces to choose from, but because it’s hard to imagine how a blouse or pair of jeans would look on me.

I find it to be a slap in the face to have a store that specializes in plus size fashion that chooses models that are a size 10 at the most. What does that say to those of us who are curvier than the average woman?

The messages I’m getting are:

  • This clothes wasn’t really designed for a plus size figure
  • Women who wear a size higher than 10 are unattractive and won’t sell clothes
  • We know there’s a market for plus size fashion and we want a piece of that pie, but we don’t care enough about the curvy gals to find women who will best represent the demographic

If plus size fashion designers want to keep costumers happy, coming back and sending other consumers their direction, then they need to treat them with respect and make them feel special. That’s all any woman of any size really wants.

Why would being overweight keep me from wanting to wear clothing that is is both beautiful and fits me in a flattering way? Why wouldn’t I want to see other women with similar body types modeling the blouses, skirts and slacks that are supposedly meant for me?

I’m a beautiful, confident, intelligent, fashion-conscious woman who happens to wear a size 26. I want to see clothing, jewelry, shoes, and other accessories that were truly made with “me” in mind.

I know that there isn’t a miracle worker in the fashion industry that can make everything look good on me. I know that my shape isn’t ideal for some cuts and styles. I’m comfortable with that. What makes me uncomfortable and completely frustrated is the lack of honest advertising AND a varied, stylish plus size fashion selection. Many merchandisers hit one mark, but completely miss the other.

I’m overweight, not delusional. I know that something that looks good on a size six body is most likely not going to look good on a 26 frame. I also know that other curvy girls are aware of the same thing. So, why the charade and for goodness sake, why the ugly fabric in heinous cuts?

Readers: Where are your favorite places to shop? Do they have a varied selection of plus size clothes, shoes and accessories? Do they choose models that are true to our demographic?

Plus Size Fashion Industry: Are you truly marketing to the curvy crowd?

I would love to find a couple stores that both carry beautiful clothes and market them honestly. Is that too much to ask?

Photo: flickr.com/photos/habesha/2612808936

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing. Check out my online store if you would love to find a store that both carry beautiful clothes and market them honestly. Let us know what you think and please free to comment and/or purchase.

  2. We have a new plus size clothing store that caters to plus size women and teens who want fun, edge-y items that you cannot get any place else! Feel free to check us out!

  3. Much like Stephanie I am in the clothing size twilight zone – size 16 busty and short….there is barely anything ot choose from that is flattering. I have seriously considered learning to make my own clothes, but time-wise, that is just not practical.

    Here is the website someone else mentioned: http://www.1-plus.com/additionelle.htm

    I got a great swimming suit last summer from http://www.alwaysforme.com/

    Here is a list of links to plus size stores that aren’t all mumus: http://www.elegantplus.com/Plus-Size-Clothing-Mall/trendy-plus-size-clothing.htm

    Torrid, Alloy, Faith 21, Ashley Stewart, and Sealed With a Kiss designs are some sites that have some more modern stuff available, not your momma’s ( or in some cases, your gramma’s) styles of plus size….Roaman’s and Jessica London used to be all old school clothes, but both now carry a wider variety of style, from traditional to more trendy, and they even have petite plus available in some things.

    It is hard work to get a good fit and good style….but worth it when ti helps you feel so much better about yourself!

    • Wow! That’s an awesome list! Thanks for sharing them! I’m gonna have to check them out. The biggest issue I have this time of year is finding capris that aren’t too long. I just look like I’m waiting for a flood. ~Jessi

      • Capris are an issue for me too – I usually forego them and go for th e”bermuda short” instead – a normal person’s length bermuda hits me just below the knee like a capri should in my opinion – I don’t want Erkel pants.

  4. avatar Stephanie- Coolest Sister in the World says:

    Ohhh and I forgot… being a size 16 means that plus sized stores have limited options. Half of the clothing they have does not go that small, or is always “Sold out”. I am not big enough for plus sized clothing, and I am not small enough for a large. Hmmm. I am in the size twilight zone.

  5. avatar Stephanie- Coolest Sister in the World says:

    Imagine the world of a difference the industry could make if they just did photo shoots of their own customers before and after purchasing a new outfit. So many beautiful women walk through their stores that can show off that a piece looks as beautiful on a size 16 as it does on a size 28. When we use real people, it makes it feel real.

    Nothing insults me more than seeing the size 0 mannequins in these shops. I don’t want to see how the blouse looks when it has to be clothes pinned in 5 places from behind. It makes me feel like even the fake humans are ashamed to be plus sized.

    Clothing is limited to those whom have dangerously fabulous curves. There are many styles and trends that flatter all body types if you have a grand to blow per outfit. I get upset when clothing shopping, because being a size 16 means that I can’t get the cash breaks that a size 2 could. Even when most of my body was teenytinerton, certain body accessories wouldn’t allow me to fit into half of the clothing that was being carded as trendy without going plus sized. I have always loathed looking for clothing for special occasions. Our poor father learned fast that it was easiest to get us gowns for formal occasions at bridal shops. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

    Then you add in that I am not only voluptuous, but I am short. All pants that are a size 16 have 12 foot long legs. I must be an amazon woman in order to wear a size 16. There is NO possible way I may be thick in the middle with short stubby legs. I have to stand at least 7 feet tall. Maybe that has something to do with why so many women used to give into the stretch pants and sweater look .

    It has taken me a long time to accept my body, because of social stigma of shopping centers. I walk into stores and you can see on the faces of vendors that you, “must be in the wrong place”. And when you go to stores that cater to full figured women, they give you the gaudiest clothing that seems to be designed for being the “Sunday Best” of an elder. I am in my twenties, and want more than 4 ironically identical clown dress options when I am looking for something to wear to my friend’s weddings. I want the clothes to be as beautiful as I am. It has taken me at least 8 years to realize there is nothing wrong with me. There are just MAJOR things wrong with the system.

  6. I am with Michelle in that I am a full grown up but not 80!

    It seems like affordable plus size clothes often fit in 1 of 2 categories (neither I want to be in). It is either skanky or designed for the mumu wearing crowd. Can I just have nice, cute clothing that doesn’t cost 2 arms and a leg?

  7. I like this site http://www.zaftique.com/ but it is pricey

  8. Oh my gosh I hear you! It’s not fun. I love to shop at Editionelle, don’t think I’m spelling that right. Their clothes are soooo nice. It’s hard though because I’m short too so I need plus size petite. The girls always look at me like “Ummm we don’t chubby short girl clothes here…” ya thanks!

  9. avatar Shutterbuk (Michelle B) says:

    Bravo! While I’m not a plus sized gal, I’m not a tiny petite woman either. How about some real clothes in real women sizes. And while we’re at it, how about some clothes that are age appropriate in my size….I feel like I’m in this weird age (39) I’m a mom of a teenager, but I’m not my mother-in-law. I want fun clothes that don’t make me look like I’m trying to relive my teenage years!

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