She’s back! Sophie Milano from ‘Not Every Girl Wears A Skirt’ is a freelance fashion writer and blogger. This month Sophie calls bull shit on the high street and it’s feeble contribution to ”plus” sized fashion.
The High Street
I have my fair share of horror stories as a currently curvy size 10-12; my size changing as much as my hair colour. I’ve gone up and down from size 8 to 16. I’ve gone from having blissful shopping trips to total meltdowns in H&M because a size 16 wouldn’t even cover my butt despite being sized as a 10 in New Look. Seriously H&M sort out your sizing! And that’s why when it comes to shopping it can be a mind field for plus size ladies?
Plain Jane & Sequinned Sally
When it comes to fuller fashion good options do not abound and with the average UK woman a size 16 or above its shocking that most brands barely reach a size 16 in their stores (Topshop we’re looking at you). If you’re lucky enough to find these rare sizes they’re not exactly the trendiest of garments. It’s either frumpy dresses or a choice of being a plain Jane or a sequinned Sally. And if that doesn’t show there is something seriously wrong than I don’t know what does. ‘Plus’ size women aren’t any different to ‘regular’ size women, everyone wants trendy clothes no matter their size and needs.
Historically fashion hasn’t taken an interest in bigger sizes with many designer brands only taking their sample sizes to a size 6 and many high street brands not going past size 18 in their ‘regular’ size collections. Restricting their plus size collections into small corners of the store or even worse: only online, because hey why would you want to try it on first!????
So why do some (lots) of brands still refuse to expand their size range? For many years the excuse has simply been the cost. Brands can’t afford to make more clothes but with the plus size fashion industry forecasted to be worth £6.4 billion by 2019 in Britain alone it’s a little hard to believe. Especially when it’s been proven that when given more options women will buy more! So, what’s the real reason? I think that brands worry an increase of their size range will dilute their ‘image’. Totally deluded, obviously as surely by being inclusive of all sizes only increases a brands popularity by increase of demographic alone.
Don’t Be Disheartened
There is hope! The good news is that things are starting to change. Existing plus-size brands are learning that their customers crave fashionable clothing and some regular size lines are extending their offerings into plus size territory. Women have spoken, and tent like tops with sequinned jeans are just not what they’re screaming for.
In the mean time here’s where I can lend you a hand. I’ve listed my favourites for you. Consider this your cheat sheet of where to find size 16 and above fashion and how to where it.
ASOS – their curve and plus size collection start at size 16 and their selection is huge! They’ve really hit the ground running when it comes to current trends and pricing. They are becoming the place to shop online.
SIMPLY BE – they’ve reinvented themselves, no more frumpy out of trend styles but bang on trend fashion. Their eye-catching adverts along with their body positive attitude are leading the way in plus size fashion.
ELVI – their dresses are a marvel to look at, I guarantee you will have a big wish list! Sizes go up to 28 and their collections are just so pretty.
Ultimately the only way you’re going to find what you’re looking for is to look! Always check ‘regular’ sizing stores. Basically the stores you don’t think will have your size because it might just be a case of having to do some digging. Don’t disregard until you’ve looked and always check online because many stores hold most of their collections online these days.
Remember, go by body shape rather than weight and size, it’s a well-known fact different stores have different sizing measurements so what doesn’t fit in one may fit in another. Work with what looks good on you and what you feel good in.
If you’re wanting high end but don’t think you’ll be able to even look don’t lose hope! A good tip to keep in mind is that many designer pieces have up to 2 inches in the seam which a tailor can easily let out.
Chill out and don’t stress, easier said than done I know but one of my personal breakthroughs was realising that a dress size has no impact on who you are, something doesn’t fit? Get a bigger size, do not let society’s ideals ruin your day.
Above all throw the rule book out the window! Don’t follow the old ways (they’re just as dated), wear what you want, whether it be stripes (horizontal or vertical!) crop tops or your leggings! The timeless rule of fashion is that anything goes and that goes for any size.