From the time that I could dress myself, I always remember trying to squeeze into an XL at the most popular stores among teens in malls, which was where all of my thin friends shopped. My mom would usher me into plus size clothing stores like Lane Bryant or Torrid, but at the age of 13, the clothing in these stores seemed too matronly or far from my personal style. So I squeezed until XLs until 2013, when brands started to create cute clothes for plus size women that were on trend and stylish. This was mostly due to the widespread acceptance and amplification of the Fat Acceptance Movement where plus size women demanded equality and visibility in the fashion industry.
How Do I Know If I Am Plus Size?
While there is such a wide variety of trendy plus size clothing for curvy women today, I know many young girls who are still squeezing into XLs. Whether it’s because they don’t want to call themselves “plus size” or they simply don’t know that there are clothes made especially for their body, wearing clothes that don’t fit properly can contribute to low self-esteem and dropping confidence levels.
So how do you know if you’re plus size? Statista classifies anyone who wears a size 14 and above as being plus size. And, according to Statista, that’s the average American woman! Most women in the U.S. are a size 16 or 18, which is why it’s so surprising to learn that most clothing companies don’t offer plus size clothing.
Embracing the Term ‘Plus’
But identifying as being plus size may not be as black and white as the number on the tag of your favorite pair of jeans. The terms “plus size, curvy, fat or full-figured” have carried a negative stigma for as long as they have existed. This is for the simple fact that the thin figure and body image has been upheld by society as the ideal, healthy body that everyone should strive to achieve. While larger bodies have been deemed lazy, unhealthy and undesirable. However, these stereotypes are inaccurate. And now, more than ever, we are seeing more women and men sharing their personal stories about being plus size and breaking the boundaries of these misconceptions.
While some women may choose to stay away from plus size clothing so that they aren’t associated with the term, many women are embracing their figure and beginning to wear clothing that fits them–and, most importantly, makes them feel good.
Discovering Self-Love Through Plus Size Clothing
Once I learned that I was actually a size 18–or a 2X–I started shopping for those sizes and, in turn, I learned to love my body, which I had been at war with my whole life. Wearing well-fitted clothing made me feel confident and beautiful, and it ultimately taught me that a number on the tag is just that—a number that no one really cares about. At the end of the day, you should be able to feel comfortable, confident and special. When I claimed the term “plus size,” a world full of new opportunities presented itself to me, and I fell in love with my body!
One of my favorite places to shop is Chic Soul because they have created the perfect balance between comfort and style. I know that no matter what I buy from Chic Soul, I am going to get an outfit that I can feel confident in all day. And when I look in the mirror, I’ll feel the self-love. My favorite items from Chic Soul are the sweaters because they are as soft as butter and they are kind to my skin and curves with plenty of stretch. The plus size denim also fits me like a dream! I also love their plus size babydoll dresses because they break all of the style rules the fashion industry has created for plus size women, and I am all about defying conventions to create my own style.
If you haven’t yet embraced the term “plus size,” take a leap of faith into the space and you’ll see how much your body will love you for not constricting it by squeezing into clothing that wasn’t made with your unique curves in mind! It’s such an amazing feeling when you notice how much more confidence you exude when you wear clothing that fits you perfectly!
Natalie Craig is the plus size fashion blogger behind Natalie in the City. She has been a proponent of the body positive movement for years and frequently talks about her triumphs and struggles as a plus size woman in the fashion industry.