LETS TALK: Design Elements in Plus Size Clothes that KILL ME.


Plus size woman laying down by Mara Sicca


Portrait from Mara Sicca Source

I do not know in what book or meeting it was decided that there are specific elements that have to be done ONLY for plus size fashion. I do not know where or WHY these elements run rampant in plus size designs, and frankly, it drives me mad. I mean, I do not see these elements in straight sizes to the degree that I see them in plus and it irks me.

I really want to say JUST STOP. But I cannot, because these elements work for quite a few plus size women, and if it rocks YOUR boat then hey, I am happy. But for me and a few others whom we have had colorful discussion with, I NEED MORE, I cannot, and I just want to scream at the designers sometimes… so here we go:

Design Elements in Plus Size Clothes that KILL ME.

Can I get a FULL Sleeve? STOP IT with the overkill of the three quarter sleeves. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to find a button up, jacket, tee, or dress whose sleeves are NOT three quarter? I DO love a three quarter sleeve, but I cannot have EVERY Jacket like this. Having variety is awesome. And the extreme is something serious too. I either get a sleeveless or cap to a three quarter. Um. Hello. Which leads me to…

Give me Structure. Coming from someone who lives for the Boho Luxe side of things, yes, I am asking for more structure. Can I have a blazer with a button closure? Why must my really cool blazer NOT have buttons and tailoring? I mean, I know that I, 9 times out of 10 will need a little tailoring in my life, but at least give me the option of structure in the first place.

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Stop it with the handkerchief, shark hemlines. I love a great high low top. When infused with fashion, it is the coolest thing. But EVERY TOP? Come on now! Why or where was it decided that this was the only finish for tops? Give me a clean hemline or a standard button up option… no need to add length thinking I want to hide.

Sketch of a plus size woman

Photo by Jenn St Onge: source

ENOUGH with the elasticized tops. You know those ones which have a reallllllly cute design then all of a sudden, here comes the funky band at the bottom of the blouse. I have contemplated a gazillion times cutting and cropping the blouse, BUT, aint nobody got time for that. AND then those tops that have that three-five inches of fabric that jettison out from the end of the elastic band? STOP IT.

STOP WATERING down the “plus size” version and STOP making “considerations” for the plus size woman. Seriously. It is rude. It is frustrating. It is irritating, because most of the time, the finished product looks NOTHING like the original or the inspiration, loses it specialness, or no longer has an appeal… An idea? Scale and fit the original the same! We actually said this to a brand this past week. It was freeing.

Out with the BOX tops. Um, I do not know if you have been reading the news, but uh, we like to show off what we have, accentuate the girls, play up our assets, and rock fashion with an edge. While there is a place for this cut, NOT EVERYTHING should be this way. FOR REALS.

GIVE ME THIGH. Look. I love a good thigh. I like my legs and I am not afraid to show them. Seriously. It is funny how I will see a fashion forward or on trend item done in plus (which I get all geeked about), just like its straight size friend. THEN when it comes to the slit that was supposed to be mid-thigh? It is either gone or to the bottom of the knee. NOW, I have to cut the hem, create one on the seam, or sit in frustration. GIVE ME MY THIGH.

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Plus size woman with attitude


Basically, the same elements in what makes a straight size garment fabulous, we’d like to see more in plus. NOW, do not get me wrong, I do love the changes that are and have happened. BUT, I do see a swing in the pendulum and I want to make sure you are aware of where the plus size woman is at.

We are now segmented shoppers. YES. You have your plus size discount/fast fashion/bargain shopper, your plus size contemporary designer shopper, your plus size missy shopper and your plus size designer shopper.

We now have different needs, trends, and price sensitivities (or not), tastes, lifestyles… basically, the plus size consumer of ten years ago is not the same as today. You can see this in the news, on TV, on Facebook, AND emerging in the newest marketing research and data!

I share these frustrations, especially in light of eloquii closing shop, but to let these designers, boutiques, retailers, and whomever else know that we are not a monolith of shoppers. We are now JUST as diverse and varied as our straight sized consumers and wish to be acknowledged as such.

What are some other design elements that you see that are OVERDONE?  What kind of elements would you really like to see more of?




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