You didn’t read that incorrectly. A model is now considered plus-sized if she is over a size ten. Ladies and gentleman, what the hell is going on? It was only two years ago that plus-size was 14 and up…then last year it was 12 and above and now it’s ten. Will it be an 8 next year? If that’s the case then the models we consider plus-sized today will be the same size as some of the greatest models of all time, like Cindy Crawford.
I don’t usually get personal on this blog. I like to keep it to fashion news and views of other people but this issue strikes such a chord that I can’t help but admit now that this is coming from a personal place…
I am currently between a healthy 10 to 12 (10 in dress size and 12 in trouser size because I have a “womanly” rear-end). I love my body. I take pleasure in the way I look and I love the way my chest, waist and hips create curves on my body. I have always been comfortable in a bikini, which is most women’s greatest nightmare. But when it comes to high fashion I’ve never hated my body more.
Shopping at the Gap, Old Navy, Target or other fun stores was always just that – fun. But, when I could finally afford to go and buy designer clothing my first experience with it was miserable. I can remember, like it was yesterday, going into Harrods to buy two gowns and thinking I had died and gone to heaven as there wasn’t one dress I didn’t love. For weeks I had poured over my glossy magazines and chosen exactly which dresses I would swan about the dressing rooms in. I’d called and checked to make sure certain styles were in stock and I’d even planned my trip so that I could spend the first few hours in the morning trying on dresses in one department, then moving on to a champagne lunch with girlfriends in the food hall and finally reassessing the dress situation with them and walking out the door with two bagged up for the following week’s events. Oh if only it had been that easy.
I knew I had problems when the sales assistant gave me a funny look as I asked to try on a Gucci skin tight jersey dress. She looked at me like I had three heads. “That probably isn’t zeee right dress for you darling, ” she purred with her smooth Russian accent. “Excuse, me,” I said in my most swanky southern drawl. This was going to prove interesting.
I had heard customer service was different in England but this was just too damn funny. Was she kidding? I was asking to try on a dress that was well over $3,000 and she worked on commission…shouldn’t she be encouraging me? I honestly felt like I had just stepped off the set of Pretty Woman. Although if you are a fanatic, like I am, of Pretty Woman you will remember that Vivian (AKA Julia Roberts) is identified as a size six when she goes to buy her cocktail dress. I quickly moved away from the sales assistant and decided to take matters into my own hands. I would pick out the dresses myself and make my own way to the dressing rooms. Oh how naive I was. You see…I didn’t know that if you are anything over a US size 6 there is absolutely nothing on the racks for you at these stores. Nope, you are left to shop on the high street and when it comes to designer clothing you are left hanging out to dry. I was made to felt ashamed at having to ask if there was a size ten in stock in the back and then made to stand about waiting for fifteen minutes as a sales associate rummaged through stock that had obviously been left boxed….as what woman over a size 6 would dare shop for such fine clothing? I don’t think I need to carry on much further with that point as I can already see I’m just looking like a bitter cow in the above paragraph.
The bottom line is this. I am not fat. I am in the gym two hours a day, every day. I run a 10k every morning and my body does not have the metabolism or shape to be a size 6. I don’t sit around eating McDonalds and drinking gallons of coca-cola. But the fashion industry paints it as if I were because I’m not a walking skeleton. I’ve come to terms with it. The tough part here is that I know I am not alone.
So many of my beautiful friends come in every shape and size from a tiny zero to a full figured 18. But my dearest friend who is the 18 and has more money than she knows what to do with can shop in no other stores than Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Marina Rinaldi or some other random shop where the style is hit or miss. Granted, the high street’s clothing now is top notch and their styles are on the cutting edge. Times are changing. But some of us have money to burn and we want to buy that Lanvin dress or the J Brand Houlihans. It’s not going to happen. We are, instead, destined to invest in handbags and shoes and put the rest of the money into stocks and bonds like boring old farts.
Alright, you’re wondering when I am going to get to the point. Well here I go. The point is this. Designers, we’ve somehow created this world where a size zero is perfection for clothing. I’m not sure how we got there but we have. Let me give you a little hint that will see your sales triple in the next quarter…stock your items in a wider range of sizes and promote the hell out of the fact that you are doing so. The women will come. The women with their gorgeous full breasts and wide swinging hips will be queuing outside Prada from the moment that size 14 hits the news!
You’ll never teach an old dog new tricks so I’m not so much preaching to the existing generation of top fashion schoolers. I’m talking to the generation that is up and coming now. I’m speaking to all the graduates that I met at the Graduate Fashion Week in London who said they’d love to make dresses for me one day. I wanted to embrace them and never let them go. So many complained that they actually wanted to create for women and not stick insects! There is change coming. I want to be part of the change and help the seed we have planted grow. So, watch out world. I’ve got a bee in my bonnet and I’m not resting until I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.
I will clear one thing up before I close. You may be scratching your head right now and saying “Emily, you put pictures of all the size zeros on this blog every single day.” You’re right. You are not imagining things. I do, in fact, put pictures from magazines, premieres, runways and advertisements on the blog. These are almost always of the “skeleton posse.” But, the best stylists in the world at the moment are painting on the size zero canvas. That doesn’t mean the canvas can’t be stretched on to a larger frame. So just remember that I am displaying what I believe to be the best in style, not in body form.