Fashionable Doesn’t Have to Mean Wearing a Size Zero
Like many ladies, I often have a hard time finding clothes that fit my body. Going shopping can be an extremely frustrating experience because while I can find lots of options I love, I dread heading to the fitting room to try them on.
With a size 38DD bust, it’s a feat trying to zip a dress up. It’s always promising until I get about midway up my back and then, no matter how many hands are involved, it’s a losing battle. Getting a bridesmaid dress is a whole other nightmare, especially for the poor seamstress that needs to reconstruct my dress.
I’ve always dreamed of being rich and famous so that I could just hire a designer to custom make clothes for me. It would make wearing clothes a lot less frustrating and a lot more fun.
After hearing about Melissa McCarthy’s recent experience with designers, it might be an unlikely dream. The Emmy winning and Oscar nominated actress, and this month’s Redbook cover girl, reveals in the July issue of the magazine that she was actually hard pressed to find a designer willing to work with her for the Oscars.
When I go shopping, most of the time I’m disappointed. Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me. I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people—and they all said no.
Taking matters into her own hands, McCarthy is creating her own plus-size clothing line. And McCarthy has the design chops to back up her line. She studied clothing and textiles at Southern Illinois University although she later dropped out to pursue comedy (Thank God! Could you imagine Bridesmaids without her? Not me!).
Having McCarthy join the plus-size fashion industry is an exciting new prospect. Over the years we have seen plus-size clothing options diversify and become more fashionable even including popular swimwear and lingerie lines.
In fact, a swimwear company called Swimsuits For All recently launched a summer campaign called “Sexy at Every Curve” featuring three plus-size models. The campaign includes the first-ever curvy swimsuit calendar, including the models in their own rendition of the 50th anniversary Sports Illustrated cover.
All the models involved are passionate about expanding the definition of beauty and helping women and girls create a positive self-image at any size. I know where I’m going to order my next swimsuit!
Check out this video about the campaign here:
Like swimsuits, lingerie companies have also been slow to offer fashionable options for curvy women. Luckily now there are brands like Curvy Girl Lingerie, the only brick-and-mortar lingerie store specializing in plus sizes, which caters to this clientele.
Chrystal Bougon, the company’s founder, is passionate about size diversity and positive body image. This weekend she will be hosting her second annual fashion show featuring 40 plus-size women showing off her sexy lingerie.
Bougon also recently launched an “Unphotoshopped” campaign calling on regular women to send in scantily clad photos of themselves to the company’s Facebook page. The campaign was well received by many but found criticism from ”Fit Mom” Maria Kang who said she was glorifying obesity. Bougon argued that she was fat shaming women.
Of the debate Bougon says, “I think what she [Maria Kang] does is lovely and fabulous…I want her to do what she does on her slice of the Internet. And I want to do what I do on my slice of the Internet. And I don’t want to be judged or shamed.” Such a class act!
Kang eventually visited Bougon in her store to apologize about the online confrontation.
Just like it’s difficult for women to find plus-size options that work, it’s also difficult for plus-size models to find work. That’s why in New York City a group of plus-size models have joined forces to start ALDA, a plus-size modeling agency of sorts in response to Ford Models closing it’s plus-size division last summer. ALDA’s goal is to help their models land mainstream fashion or beauty campaigns which have not yet been held by plus-size models. ALDA also plans to promote healthy self-esteem in girls through workshops, lectures and events.
The founding ladies of ALDA have recently been signed by IMG Models where they are helping change the culture of modeling. One of the first things IMG did after hiring the ALDA ladies was to submit them to Fashion Week alongside straight-size models. None of the models were ultimately cast for a runway show, but IMG is confident that as agencies continue to push plus-size models for the same jobs they would straight-size models, designers will be pressured to use them and create sample size clothes to accommodate them.
With McCarthy’s new plus-size clothing line and companies like Swimsuits For All, Curvy Girl Lingerie and ALDA, I know the plus-size fashion industry has some great success in its future. I for one cannot wait to see what’s in store and a day where plus-size models and straight-size models are no longer labeled by their size but simply called models.
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Photo Credit: SwimsuitsForAll