Okay so I don’t want this to be one of those posts where people just assume it’s another person getting offended over unnecessary things. As with all my posts, I want it to be a genuine discussion on the matter in question and I’m always open to people commenting or messaging me to debate or talk about anything I post on here. That is, as long as it’s in a mature way as I may only be 22 but I have 0 tolerance when it comes to nastiness and bullsh*t, I’m not sorry. Being educated and empathetic are two massively important things to me so I’m always happy to be learning about everything generally and individually!
Anyway, onto the term “plus-size” and whether it’s a problematic and confidence-killing phrase. I recently uploaded a post on how high street sizing was failing us ladies and affecting us negatively and it really seemed to resonate with a lot of people. It really got me thinking about the term “plus-size” and why exactly it came about or is used at all. The wikipedia definition states “plus size clothing is clothing proportioned specifically for people whose bodies are larger than the average persons”. This isn’t always the case as the average dress size of a woman in the UK is now a 16 yet the majority of stores that hold a plus-size range or section start at a size 16 or a size or two below. Why? If a size 16 is supposedly the average for a woman in the United Kingdom then why are stores classing as low as a size 12 a plus-size?
Which leads me to the question of was this term actually created to shame women with larger bodies? I say women as personally I have only once seen mens clothing labelled with this phrase and it was on ASOS. I have seen clothing shops especially for larger men but always marketed with words like “beefier” or “mightier”. It’s as if in society that a woman carrying weight anywhere that isn’t her bum or boobs is deemed unattractive and is criticised to the point of causing so many personal issues.
If there is a name for clothing for above average sized people, then why isn’t there a name like “mini-size” for clothing for under average sized people? Why are brands only focusing on labelling clothes for larger people? Yes you could come back with the argument that it could be detrimental to people suffering with an eating disorder but they aren’t inclusive to under average sized people. Literally any person, any size or shape can suffer from an eating disorder and they aren’t always in the form of losing weight.
Also, the pricing is definitely something that is in need of discussion and was recently brought up on ITV news. The brand particularly in question were New Look and they were said to have increased their normal prices by up to 15% on their plus-size range. The brand responded with they were ‘looking at ways to rectify this’. I think this is still quite a widely ignorant issue too as a lot of people argue, “more material, more money”. If that is truly the case then why don’t all sizes go up in price? Why isn’t a size 8 cheaper than a size 12?
Also why don’t petite or tall ranges differ in price either if extra material is the issue? And when it comes to footwear, why aren’t people paying more for every size they’re above “average”? As someone who has experience making clothes, you could even argue that making smaller sized garments leaves behind more cut offs of fabric essentially causing more waste for a brand.
The other problem with THIS part of the discussion is that a lot of brands still don’t cater for above a size 16. Brands KNOW this and cash in on it as larger ladies really don’t have much choice but to pay these prices if they want to wear nice, fashionable and different styles for their shape. It’s just all very sad that larger people are still so discriminated against and shamed in this way.
It’s easy for ignorant people to sit around and say “well they should lose weight then” or “why did they let theirself get to that weight” but you have absolutely no idea why or how people have the appearance they do. It could be a consequence of mental or physical health issues, medication, issues with food or simply just the fact they LIKE being that size. As long as they are relatively healthy, happy and causing you no harm then who are you to judge? They could feel empowered and beautiful that way. It doesn’t mean they should have to pay a hefty surplus for a bit of fabric to wear.
I could go on for quite a while about this subject but my last point will be, why do stores even make specific ranges for larger people anyway? As I mentioned before, if a size 16 is classed as the average size, why aren’t stores basing their “normal” ranges around this number? Why can’t they just make all their clothes in a larger range of sizes instead of singling out certain groups and basically telling them this is what they can and should wear because of their size? This goes for smaller sizes too as I know a lot of stores don’t cater for below a 6, sometimes even an 8.
Out of the people who answered this question, no one AT ALL feels empowered by the term “plus-size”.
Much like me, the majority of people haven’t seen the term “plus-size” used to describe mens clothing.
I felt the results for these two sort of contradicted each other – if you don’t think the term “plus-size” is necessary in women’s fashion then what reason other than essentially fat-shaming can you see for it arising in the fashion world? I’d love to hear your opinion!
I feel these polls have mostly backed up my points on the subject and I really hope my opinions or questions have possibly helped to make people think. Women seem to be constantly belittled and judged for their body type if it’s not a carbon copy of Kim Kardashians (which by the way, NO ONE has without surgery or photoshop) and It’s safe to say we’re getting pretty sick of it. It’s so important to remember that no matter how great you think someone else looks, they’re going to have at least one thing they’re insecure about too. What things about the fashion world irritate you the most?