Do you remember the last time you saw an influencer or a model wearing an outfit you thought was questionable at best but decided that it looked alright anyway? Whether it was a bad color scheme, unflattering shapes, loud patterns, or simply a mismatched look, did you decide that the person wearing the outfit actually looked good in it? Consider this; would you have felt different about the outfit if the person wearing it were mid or plus-sized?
More Than Just Skinny Jeans
When was the last time you saw a mainstream department store or retailer use mid or plus-sized models on a regular basis? How often do you see average-bodied individuals (sized 6-12) represent a mainstream brand that isn’t exclusively meant for plus-sized people? When you shop online, do you ever notice that the top or the jeans you bought look absolutely nothing like they did on the model?
Many fashion trends, styles and trends of years gone by are rooted in a “conventional” body type that many people do not even fit in. We rarely see models bigger than a size 2 or 4 modeling for major retailers or fashion houses because their clothes aren’t made for anyone other than 2’s and 4’s.
So much of our concept of fashion and style is based on a traditionally petite hourglass figure. When we dress ourselves, that is usually the shape we are trying to achieve. We intentionally pick clothes that cinch our waist and accentuate our hips, because that is how the models of the clothes look, and that is what we culturally find desirable.
Almost every famous, notable supermodel thus far has been a traditionally thin woman (this was particularly big in the 90s, and it was dubbed “heroin chic”). Every editorial shoot, every commercial, every advertisement for mainstream retailers or fashion houses features tall, skinny models. The fashion industry started to revolve solely around this body type and shape, leading our generation to grow up in an age where this was the beauty standard.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being thin or petite, it should not be the sole standard for body types and is certainly not the only way to be a beautiful or deserving body.
Thin ≠ Fashion
Because the fashion industry so heavily pushed that the ideal body for their clothes was a skinny, slender one, we have a subconscious tendency to equate thinness with style. We see an outfit on someone like Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, or Bella Hadid, and no matter how bad it looks, we still decide it’s a look and add it to our Pinterest boards. We would roll our eyes in disgust if we saw people in “normal” bodies wear any of these instead of supermodels:
If these outfits weren’t worn by thinner bodies, they wouldn’t be considered “fashion-forward”; they’d be seated at the top of every worst dressed list.
Contrary to popular belief, fashion isn’t about who wears an outfit or what their body looks like. Skinniness doesn’t equate to style and isn’t the only body type allowed to dress fashionably. Clothes shouldn’t be made with just one shape in mind, and we must unlearn the idea that there is only one ideal body. Every body is worthy and deserves to feel confident and beautiful in stylish clothing.