The Box of Big Girls

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janwillemsen via photopin cc

I often ask myself what defines fashion. Who sets the trends? Who determines what people can and can’t wear? Who has the authority to say what looks good and what does not? Anyone who has ever been self-conscious has probably asked herself these questions. We are all looking for some sort of divine fashion entity to guide us on the spiritual journey that is clothes. To help us maneuver through department stores and their small, overcrowded dressing rooms.

I think this is especially true for girls who don’t fit into the image America’s fashion leaders have created. I’m talking about the girls are who are a size 12 and up. Recently, I was engaging in one of my favorite activities, online window shopping, when I noticed the drastic differences in style when it came to clothes designed for smaller sizes versus clothes designed for plus sizes.

I like fashion that is edgy, innovative, and strange. I like to mix patterns, textures, lengths, and colors. For the most part, clothes designed for sizes zero to twelve seem to encompass all of these elements. However, when we come to those designed for larger sizes, everything becomes very basic and boring. From the simple prints to the box-shaped blouses, every piece is designed to hide or disguise the woman’s “problem areas” instead of emphasizing or complementing her best assets.  Could it be that designers have forgotten that curvier women have assets? Fashion is about being creative. It’s about discovery. It’s about expression. Restricting plus-sized women and girls to drab clothing can affect their self-esteem and their perceptions of beauty.

The larger woman can be shunned any time she walks into a popular, trendy clothing store.

This past summer I shopped at Forever 21 with my aunt. While I was perusing through their jean rack, I overheard a woman complaining about the store’s treatment, or lack thereof, of their plus size section. Then it dawned on me. In every Forever 21 I have ever been in, even the largest stores that have multiple levels, the plus size section has always been located near the bathroom and it has been the same size as or maybe even smaller than my bedroom. The message that they sent is heard loud and clear.

Your image isn’t the one we want.

I usually don’t allow these messages to interfere with my style. I sometimes shop at Forever 21 and many other stores that size-shame because I am confident in the way that I dress. I know what works for me, and a little challenge has never stopped me before. Still, I am waiting for the day where I do not have to go into stores and wreck wracks searching for the largest size, for the moment where I do not have to hold up a dress and wonder if it will slide over my hips. I am waiting for a line that is both fashionable and flattering, that embraces the trends once reserved for skinny women and shares them with all women.

And while I’m on it, can we do something for short people too?

 

Jasmine White About Jasmine White

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