Recently I was looking around t’interweb for some new lingerie. Now, I’m a little on the large side. I’ve been blessed (and sometimes cursed) with G cup boobs, I have a chubby belly, thick thighs and stretch marks. Oh, and I’ve recently put on two stone in weight. This weight gain had knocked my confidence, but I’m really trying to work on that and thought some new, well fitting, pretty lingerie would really help my self esteem.
I went to all my usual lingerie favourites, Boux Avenue and Ann Summers, but was quite disappointed with the choice on both. I was even more disappointed that Boux Avenue didn’t have a ‘plus size’ section, just a DD+ bra section with little choice. I was even more disappointed to see that those modelling the bigger bras in BA and the models in the plus size section in Ann Summers were all teeny with small waists. It seems as though they are deemed ‘plus size’ due to their large breasts and butts. While these models were gorgeous, it was hard to imagine that they were at all ‘plus size’ as they all looked around size 12 and 14.
Out of interest, I looked around further online at stores that cater solely for plus size. I looked in particular at popular plus size retailer Yours, and was even more shocked to find that they were all also teeny but again, with larger breasts. There were no fat bellies and stretch marks in sight, features that I certainly have and certainly associate with plus size. This is not to say that all plus size people have fat bellies, some may certainly have a flat stomach and small waist; however, Yours clothing, for example, cater specifically for plus size figures up to a size 32, and particularly in the lingerie section, there seemed to be no size 32 models in sight, indeed they all looked no more than size 16/18. That’s a whole lot of figures that are left out.
So, in true Rachel Rambling On fashion, I took to Twitter to express my frustrations. I had set out to find some lovely lingerie to make myself feel more confident, but the models had such different figures from me, such slim bodies with wide hips and big breasts, completely unrealistic for me, and for many other plus sized lovelies I’m sure. This really put me off buying the lingerie. I felt that the lingerie would look awful on me, I just couldn’t imagine what they’d look like on me.
I found that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. My Twitter notifications were constant, lots of other plus sized lovelies agreed with me and most people felt put off buying from companies who use slim ‘plus sized’ models. There were a number of conversations where we discussed how actually, although we were put off buying from these companies and often our confidence got knocked, we have no other choice. A girl needs clothes and lingerie.
As you can see, they state plus sized models must be between 12-16 clothing size, but then go on to use Evans as an example of a plus size clothing store, stating that they cater for size 16+. This means that the biggest recommended size for a plus size model is the smallest size that a plus size range carries. Where is the representation for the rest of the plus size group?
Apparently one of the main reasons for this is because fat doesn’t sell. After a conversation on Twitter with someone who used to work in fashion, they revealed that when they
tested ‘plus size’ vs REAL plus size models, the realistic shots sold -68% less.
That being said, there are some companies who are doing their bit to represent the average plus sized body type. Aerie’s campaign to use unairbrushed photos and gorgeous models with chubby bellies, cellulite and stretch marks is definitely a step in the right direction. I hope eventually, high street stores start to take this on board.
At the moment, I’m unsure of how I personally can help this move forward. As a plus size woman myself, I feel that something clearly needs to change. I think one of the huge problems lies in society itself, almost like there’s a fear of being fat, so any clothes modelled on a fat person don’t seem to sell that well.
Society had a long way to go, but if more brands follow in the footsteps of Aerie, I feel that the plus size industry will thrive even further, abolishing body image issues, feelings of low self esteem and in turn, promoting a more realistic plus size body image.
Please get in touch with your thoughts.
You can tweet me at @rachramblingon.