In recent years, we’ve seen a cultural shift in advertising and the world of fashion. Modelling is no longer the preserve of tall, waif-like models. Or of images photoshopped to ridiculous, unrealistic proportions. No, we’re now seeing real women, of all shapes and sizes. But the one demographic that’s being celebrated more than any other? Yes, plus-size women! While the debate might rage about what’s actually plus size – for some retailers it’s as small as a size 16, for most it’s size 18+ – there’s no doubt that the plus-size ‘label’ is taking the world of fashion by storm. Given that the average size of women in the UK is now a curvy 16, we definitely think it’s about time.
Plus size in fashion
Popular culture trickles down from the top. So it’s great for young people to see the likes of plus-size models Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday storming the catwalks and taking the plus-size message to the masses. However, is it all a celebration, or is the label ‘plus size’ actual seen as discriminatory by some?
We think you’ll agree, it’s a bit of both. The roll out of plus-size ranges within high street stores is definitely part of the celebration. However, issues still exist. These include hiding plus-size ranges in the back of stores, as well as no standardization of sizes. Size discrepancies exist in lower size ranges – a size 10 in Zara is not the same as a size 10 in M & S. But it’s even more confusing when you move to a plus-size range. Is a 6X the same as a 24W? As you can see, the struggle is real.
Then there’s the label itself. Wikipedia defines plus-size clothing as ‘being proportioned for overweight or obese people’. This is a major part of the problem. Indeed, at a size 16 this places the majority of women in this category! So are we all obese, or with improved nutrition are we not just curvier now, and maybe the ‘norm’? Should there even be a ‘plus-size’ range? Or should we stop using this label, and simply display all sizes together? Should they range from ‘petite’ to plus size in a constant flow, ranging upwards from a size 6 to – let’s say – a 26? We think you’ll agree, this would prevent a lot of the frustration and remove any stigma associated with having to shop in a separate ‘plus-size’ section.
Plus size in the workplace
Unfortunately, despite the push for acceptance and inclusivity, plus-size women still face discrimination in the workplace. In an interview, it’s said that the interviewer makes their mind up within the first 5 minutes of the interview. This can only be based upon appearance and demeanour, and it’s where there’s still a ‘sizeist’ attitude towards the plus-size community.
Indeed, research from LinkedIn shows that a quarter of employees feel they’ve missed out on a job opportunity or promotion, because of their weight. So by perpetuating the label, are we perpetuating the notion that there’s something different? By removing the label, would this change? Whether or not the label itself makes a difference, we hope that the push for inclusivity in the workplace puts an end to this type of discrimination. Maybe what begins as a celebration within the world of plus-size fashion will improve these attitudes.
As you can see, this is a contentious topic and open to a lot of debate! Here at Elle Courbee, we don’t see the ‘plus-size’ label as being discriminatory, but rather a celebration of those curves. Shop our impressive plus-size collection today and you’ll see what we mean. We only stock the best – from shaping bras and control slips, to corsets and control briefs. We also understand that it’s not just a question of size, but also body shape, and every type of body should be celebrated. So until the debate is finally settled, we’ll use the ‘plus-size’ label with pride.