Why is it so hard to make plus-size versions of cute, straight-sized clothes?
You’d think adding extra fabric is a Project Runway challenge on ‘roids
by Ari Bines
I'll say it: I'm salty. Why? Not because I haven't been laid (I haven't, but besides the point), but because every time I need a last-minute dinner or club lewk, all the plus-size clothes are ugly and leave me with nothing to wear.
I have great taste, so I know awe-inspiring fashion when I see it. But for some reason, I have a hard time seeing it in plus-size clothing, and I'm kind of fucking over it already.
I get it, plus-size wasn't the vibe in the fashion world
But we are now, bitch! Plus-size fashion is booming because we're living in a fat hoe revolution, where thickalicious women and men don't care for fat-phobic commentary about our bodies hanging out in plus-size swimsuits.
That's yesterday's news — now it's 2018, and we demand respect in the gym, on the runway and especially in the fitting room. However, we're still not there yet.
There's still major segregation between plus- and straight-size
I'm the only one perceptive enough to notice this (clearly), but on many online retail sites, women are divided. "Women" is its own section, while and "Plus & Curve" is an entirely different category. Both departments typically have completely different collections for each– it's as if being plus-size disqualifies your womanhood. But aiight. Bet.
There's still an ongoing debate about the word "plus-size" which thick models like Ashley Graham and Jordyn Woods have opted out of using in reference to their bodies. But shit, I wouldn't have a clue where to shop for my thighs and size, so it is helpful. However, despite my feelings over the fashion category, there are still clothes in the straight-size collections that blow my big girl wear out of the water.
Straight-sized clothes are typically bright, colorful and trendy with playful cuts, body-hugging fits and cool fabrics. Plus-sized clothing is…muumuus. And shapeless sacks. And "flattering" tones like black, navy, and dark grey. This means bigger girls are completely cut out of the fashion loop unless they have the money to get something custom…which no one our age does. How hard can it be to re-proportion the same garments into larger sizes? Do mega-retailers not want money or what?
Big companies just don't care, and it's bullshit
Babe spoke to Sarah Carson, the founder and CEO of Leota, an all-inclusive fashion brand that specializes in creating the same styles for all sizes. "A lot of companies make a huge mistake where they take the same size small pattern and then just make it bigger for the plus-size customers, and that’s why the fit in plus-size sucks so often," Carson explained. "They don’t take the time to think about how women’s bodies are different."
Carson said research on plus-size women is virtually non-existent — and when companies do get customer feedback on larger garments, like adding shorts underneath dresses to avoid chafing and cups to the bodice, they don't give a fuck.
"If you’re a fast fashion, cheap and deep company like Forever 21, you don’t invest in like kind of thing because you don’t really care about quality or staying power," Carson said. "You just want to do it fast and cheap."
When will we finally let big girls dress on-trend?
Plus-size is a huge market (no pun intended), but big chain retailers still refuse to tap into it. Zendaya’s collaboration with Boohoo showed that plus-sizes were important, with her items in sizes 12-22 as some of the firsts to sell out. And we’ve already established that clothes for bigger girls are going to cost more anyway. In fact, sales of plus-size clothing have been on the upswing. They grew 6 percent, to $21.4 billion, in 2016, outpacing the 2 percent growth in the overall women's clothing market, according to research firm, NPD Group. So who’s the one really losing out? Just make the clothes cute, expensive and worth our time and money. Because clearly, it’s a market that thrives.
"What I see in women’s plus-size is like super chic, kind of dorky options and that’s kind of it," Carson said. "And I’ve noticed that women of all sizes and shapes is interested in wearing fashion-forward clothes. We all want to feel confident, we all want to feel beautiful and we all want to feel empowered while we’re out there doing what really matters."
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