Meet the stylish and fashionable plus-size woman. She is still an anomaly to many in the fashion industry but here at Clutch, we know size is never an impediment to style. The rest of the world is catching on thanks to successful, prominent, in-your-face style bloggers.
These bloggers eschew rules that limit them from wearing certain garments because of their size. They bypass plus-size clothing lines that offer “frumpy” options in favor of trendy, fashion-forward alternatives. They are incredibly successful and influential, selling out garments just by posting them on their blogs. And their mere presence in the fashion industry is transforming the conversation around plus-size clothing.
Marisa Meltzer of The New York Times profiled a few prominent plus-size bloggers on their rising influence in the fashion industry. She discovered that many see themselves as role models, who inspire women to embrace their shape with bold fashion choices.
Blogger Gabi Gregg (above right), who is a size 18, was featured on the “Today” show for posting a photo of herself wearing a bikini. She told The New York Times: “Just because I was a certain size didn’t mean I was going to wear frumpy clothing. I want to show [readers] there are other options. I say there are no rules for plus-size dressing.”
Gregg says the Simply Be bikini she wore sold out following her post, showing that stylish plus-size women have buying power as well. But are retailers catching on?
Diane Dennis of Fat Girls Like Nice Clothes Too says: “Retailers seem to think that once you are over a certain size, you don’t care about fashion and want nothing more fashionable than yet another midlength mock wrap-front jersey dress in an ugly print. Give us something new already and, God forbid, on trend.”
Though trends “can take as long as two years to trickle down to plus-size lines,” according to The New York Times, there are stylish plus-size brands popping up like ASOS Curve and Forever 21+. Bloggers are hopeful that more designers will start to cater to the fashionable plus-size consumer.
We spoke with fashion and beauty blogger Christina Brown of LoveBrownSugar (above left) about whether style bloggers can have an impact on the plus size market. “Digital influencers have opened up the door for change in the fashion industry,” she said. “People who were traditionally alienated or only given slim pickings in fashion have shown that there really is a market for trendy, fashion-forward buyers who just happen to be above a size 10.”
Some plus-size bloggers also wish to reclaim the word ‘fat.’ “People around me get uncomfortable when I refer to myself as fat,” Amanda Valdez of Fashion, Love, and Martinis told The New York Times. “I embrace the word ‘fat.’ Fat does not define me, it doesn’t define my character, or where I’ve been in my life. I am just another girl who is posting about her life and style, and I happen to be fat.”
While these bloggers clearly have their work cut out for them, the first step to bringing about change is to give plus-size, stylish women a voice. Hopefully, this time around, retailers will listen.