When included in a “Women Who Inspire Us” section of Glamour Magazine’s “Plus Size Edition,” Amy Schumer responded with “Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour or glamourous.”
Schumer is only one of many who have expressed vehement reactions to the term “plus size,” ultimately pushing for a move away from the term. It may have taken a multitude of celebrity backlash, a rise in feminism, and just a few decades too long for retailers to realize that in fashion there is more than just “fat” and “skinny” when it comes to the human body, but steps are finally being taken to improve the way women are able to express themselves in fashion without being shoved to the plus size corner of their favorite stores.
An online company, Birdsnest, has emerged to revolutionize the way today’s women shop for clothes. On the website’s homepage, shoppers are asked to choose their preferences regarding body shape, preference of looks (what parts of their body the prefer to showcase, and which parts they would prefer to keep covered up), and height. Once selections are made, Birdsnest offers a range of complete outfits to choose from that will flatter their figure.
Student and avid shopper Tess Rillos says “This is such a great idea because everyone will be able to find something that suits their needs and preferences while still feeling good about themselves.” Birdsnest is just what the female shopper of today needs in order to be a confident shopper and avoid the struggle of “this looked good on display, why not on me?”
Speaking of store displays, there lies another underlying issue that affects the average shopper. According to an article on The Guardian, the average mannequin measures approximately 6 feet tall, with a 34 inch bust, 24 inch wasit, and 34 inch hips. Talk about unachievable body standards. It goes without saying that every woman is shaped differently, and to follow the unrealistic shape of a mannequin as a guide to how clothes should look could be damaging to many shoppers. And I think I have experienced the disappointment of falling in love with an outfit on the mannequin in front of the store, only to try it on myself and realize that it was not made for my body type just as well as the next person.
However, this all is not to discourage from the progress that is being made. A New York based women’s retail store, Hey Gorgeous, has pioneered its way to success after dropping its “plus size” label. According to an article on Daily Mail, founder Aimee Chesire said “We did find that a lot of women, especially [those who are] sizes 14 [or] 16, do not identify themselves as plus sized, so they are just living life as they are and they can fit into some clothes, or can’t.” Since dropping the label, the company has also reported a large surge in sales and website traffic, proving that female shoppers want to be seen as regular customers, and not a specific brand of such.
Even more encouraging is the fact that the fashion world seems to be molding to this idea as well. In an article on Huffington Post, designer Isaac Mizrahi said
“I don’t like segregation, I like incorporation, I like integration. If you’re going to do clothes, you need to do them in a whole size range.”
It may take an even stronger push to forget the term altogether, the change is surely upon us. Ladies, support those body equality companies now, as I predict they will be the future of fashion when the time comes.