This has been a HUGE week for the Plus Sized Woman (yes, pun intended!)
As a blogger for women Over Fifty, it’s been hard enough to find models over thirty, but it’s been even harder to find models over a Size Six!!!
Many plus size women have complained that there are no styles out there for them, and they were right. For full figured women, I have been forced to ask women extrapolate from the fashions that the Designers create. Women were asked to use their imaginations as to the size and age of the models, and a number of angry women complained to me on numerous occasions about the dearth of options for them.
From April 2012 until 2014, Ages 55-64 led the increase of plus size clothing and accounted for $4.2 billion in sales. What is a plus size? Most demographic studies of plus size women consider size 18 as the start of plus sizes. However, the fashion industry considers it as anything above a size 12! This might be why “plus size” models don’t really seem “plus sized”!
As the number of plus size women have grown, it is so surprising that more retailers have not expanded this variation in sizes within their collections. That is, until this week. This week was groundbreaking for several reasons. More retailers have announced new plus sized lines and a new plus sized model has emerged.
To start out, Target debuted a newly revamped plus size collection called Ava and Viv, which is due out in February. It comes in sizes 1X to 4X. To celebrate the launch, Target recruited Plus size bloggers, Gabi, Nicolette and Chasity as part of the look book. Using bloggers is a great way to introduce a line as contemporary and mainstream, as social media implies popularity and acceptance by today’s standards.
Also on the Plus Size Front this week is big news for the historic brand Lane Bryant who has steadfastly supported the Full Figure woman for decades. For the past three seasons they have collaborated with Isabel Toledo, a real fashion designer. This move in itself also made history as it was the first time a real designer took “Plus Size” fashion seriously. Considering that the average size woman in America is a size twelve, there were lots of companies that were and are missing out on marketing plus size products to a very large target audience (no pun intended)
These fashions are from Lane Bryant’s Fall collaboration with Isabel Toledo. The styles are actually attractive, slenderizing, and have a modern feel. No longer are plus sized women to feel left out of the fashion world!!!!
According to an In Style Magazine review of Lane Bryant’s Spring collection “this season’s new designs are truly innovative, with an introduction to unique, flattering silhouettes, a play on textures, and a liberal hand with pattern…the overall aesthetic is a not to the past with heavy mod influences by way of flirty pleats and dramatic asymmetric hemlines.”
These fashions are from the new spring line that will be coming out in stores on February 15.
There is also a sense of style that even women Over Fifty would wear these clothes. The dress on the left is knee length and contemporary in feel but not too avant garde. Something any woman might wear to a casual or semi-dressy function. The slacks outfit in the middle would also be lovely for an Over Fifty woman with a nice black sweater to cover the arms.
Finally, a new really PLUS sized model, at SIZE TWENTY TWO, has just landed a contract with MiLK Model Management, based in England, making her the first model of her size and height to be brought onto a major agency. Her name is Tess Holliday. She is 5’5” and weighs 260 pounds.
Tess has a beautiful face and will give hope to many women who are this Full Figured. However, this newest trend could be a double edged-sword. While all sizes of women are embraced and should have options to be fashionable, having a model of this size as a norm might encourage other women to embrace it. At 5’5’ inches, 260 pounds is not a healthy weight. Though Tess may be a great breakthrough as a model, we must be careful that she does not become a “role” model for other young women.