When it comes to shopping, being in-between plus-size and regular is the hardest body type to have
Size 8-12 is fashion purgatory, I swear to God
Hi, my name is Una and I'm a size 8 or 10 or 12 or 14, depending on what store you ask. I self-identify as a size 10 because it's what works most but honestly, who knows? I'm not really plus-sized and I'm not really straight-sized. And tons of women face this issue.
I've never been "fat." I've never had a doctor be mean to me or experienced other challenges bigger women face due to thin privilege. Even when people on the internet hate on me, they call me "chubby." They don't compare me to a whale or say other nasty stuff they would scream from the rooftop if I was just a few sizes bigger.
There is one unique challenge I do face as an "in-betweener" that I won't be silent about anymore: I can't dress myself anywhere.
Every in-between girl has walked into a store knowing she'll be lucky to find one or two things that she can squeeze over her ass. Like, I swear to god, most of the pants I hold up look like they're made for my 8-year-old cousin instead of someone who can drive themselves to the mall. I am genuinely lucky to find anything other than a sundress that fits me, and I can't wear sundresses all the time.
Most stores don't carry anything larger than a size medium
Don't believe me? Racked found that the average size 8 pant had a 28.7" waist. Stores like Nasty Gal and American Apparel consider their size 8 a "large." Other stores shield themselves from criticism by calling their size 8 a "31" instead of a large, like Forever 21. But what's something that all of these stores have in common? They don't make anything past that size 8. I'm serious.
And you know, you're pretty lucky if you see something in stores that big. Most of the time, there's almost nothing in stock larger than a medium. Confirmed by science and my endless experiences walking into Urban and seeing something adorable on a mannequin, only to realize the only ones available are an XS.
I can't shop plus-size either, though
But at the same time, while I get weird looks for walking into a Madewell, I get even weirder looks walking into the plus-size section at Forever 21. Just when I feel too thick for any of their other clothes, I'll walk over to a store's plus-size section and realize I'll swim in basically everything there. They don't consider proportions when upsizing their clothes, either. Most plus-size sections just scale regular clothes up by several inches and call it a day.
A lot of plus-size brands start somewhere around size 14, which is generally considered the universal cut-off point between straight- and plus-sized departments.
If regular clothes stop at an 8 and plus starts at a 14, where do the millions of 10-12 girls fall?
Lots of brands try to make it seem like their plus-size lines are inclusive of us in-betweeners, but it's so fucking transparent. ASOS came under fire for starting their Curve line at a size 14, but promote the clothes on a size 8 models. I'm sorry, what???
And they aren't the only ones. Remember the scandal that Boohoo campaign caused by using these girls as the faces of their plus-size line?
And you know what? They should be dragged for that! The models used for plus-size campaigns aren't representative of the women who are wearing the damn clothes. It's not just a fashion problem, it's a full-blown identity crisis.
Sometimes I genuinely think I'm plus-sized, because I see models like Ashley Graham (a size 12) labeled that way. But then when I try to commiserate with my friends who wear a size 20, they remind me how skinny I am. It sucks almost as bad as my inability to find jeans anywhere.
If we want to fix this, stop categorizing bodies. By deciding there's two types of women, straight-sized and plus-sized, you're not just making people feel bad about their body types — you're destined to have people falling through the cracks. And in fashion, the ones who are left out are those of us in the size 8-12 purgatory.
If brands felt the moral imperative to make clothes for all people rather than designating themselves as a space for the thin or the curvy, there would be more clothes out there for all body types. Maybe then I wouldn't feel like an almost plus-sized girl stuck in H&M trying to find a pair of black jeans made for skinny girls.
Because trust me, I'm not skinny. My haters have been telling me that for years.
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