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Do We, as Plus Size Women, Want Nice Things?

Yesterday, I shared a picture on my facebook wall, which happened to be a fake. However, this is not what I am writing about today. I am writing about the conversation that ensued behind this picture and the conversation had me thinking…

In response to the picture:

“but realistically a bikini swimsuit is not a practical item for plus. While the model is still small for plus, size 10-12.  Most of my plus sized 14-28 customers don’t even feel comfortable in short shorts.  A tankini or a one piece would have been a little more practical sell” – A reader of the blog

In varied conversations that have spanned over two days, I have been having thoughts about this mindset, so much so that I even shared this convo on my personal page, when I got this:

“as a business owner she is right.  Now if my clients ever asked for them I would supply.  I think while we are trying to fight this stereotype of what the curvy girl would like to see in stores, we also have to push for self esteem.”

Mind you, both of these women own plus size shops and stores, honestly sharing their experiences in regards to plus size fashion and their personal experiences, all which raised a question for me, which I can imagine is somewhat rhetorical:

Do We, as Plus Size women, Really Want Nice Things?

As I said, this is a rhetorical one, as the most obvious question for me is a resounding YES.

HOWEVER, there are strings attached to that yes.  In order for us to want and buy these nice things, a few things must happen (as they already are).

BRANDS, DESIGNERS, RETAILERS, in order to have a successful sell-through you have to get to know this woman.  You cannot base prior failures or future concepts on past data, as the climate for plus size fashion has changed.  The woman has changed.  The demographic has evolved and changed.  The plus size fashion industry has new sectors, in which women in each of these have new levels of expectations.

Plus Size women want Fashion.

Not watered down.  Not covered up.  Not bland tones and hues.  She wants fashion.

She is not ONE woman.  She is many.

Contemporary plus size, high end plus size, fast fashion, discount big box store; there is a different type of woman for each segment here and she wants to be spoken directly to in each segment.  Don’t know who she is?  Do a survey, dig up some research, hire consultants to help you understand what she wants and expects from you.

She loves the thrill of the find, just like every other woman- in store.

Relegating the plus size woman to only an online experience oftentimes severely diminishes her shopping experience and/or discourages her from stepping out of her fashion box.

You, the plus size boutique owner/designer/buyer must do better.

The plus size woman has smartened up and has a voice. You cannot half step in website design, styling,  quality of merchandise, the size of your model, the value of your garments. There are a slew of other reasons why the plus size woman won’t shop at your store.

I for one, love nice things.  I may be more laid back in my own personal style, but what I do rock is still “Nice” in the terms of higher quality fabrics, great fits and cuts, and wear.  I know there are many more given the outcry and explosion of the blogs…

This feat takes a village mentality.

We all play a role in the successes (and failures) of plus size fashion.  We all must put egos aside and take an educated, communicative, supportive role in this.

PLUS SIZE WOMEN– if you like something say it.  If you do not like it, share WHY.  The WHY is what the powers that be need to know to improve upon the next go round. If something is offensive, speak up!  You have a voice and trust me, they are listening and reading!  Educate yourselves about the designers or brands- their fit, cut, aesthetic, as they will vary and expectations are different at each level. Better sometimes also means investing more in yourself…

Okay…

While I could really write a dissertation about this, I want to know:

How do you feel about this and I want to know your biggest gripe/ hesitation/frustration/love/happiness/tip you would share to make this better!

As The Curvy Fashionista editors, we write about stuff we love and we think you'll like too. The Curvy Fashionista often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Written by Marie Denee

I am the Editor in Chic of The Curvy Fashionista. Often goofy. Forever emo. Always a Virgo. You can find me somewhere grooving to 90s R&B.

What do you think?

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  1. We absolutely want nice things, but, as a community, we need to have consistent, quality, affordable basics before there’s enough faith on both ends (designers and customers) to really have a solid high-end market for plus-sized women. I’m 5’3 and a size 22…my little sister is 5’5 and a size 5. If she spills a cup of coffee on herself, she can literally walk into any store and, for almost no money, she can have a new top that’s going to flatter her, that’s going to match the other clothes she’s wearing, that’s going to be fashionable, and that she is going to be comfortable in. She has confidence that she can find something to wear at any store and at any price point. I don’t have the same luxury. WE don’t have the same luxury as plus-sized women. We’re forced to pay more for so much less. So, I guess my question is, why would I plunk down several hundred dollars for a designer item if I can’t even find a $20 shirt when I need it?

    • you are correct, I know this all too well, it takes so long for me to replace a pair or pants and shirts, dont get me started. Simple put, target needs to stop with the price jump from the cheap small shirts to the 20 dollar shirt that is the same just plus. Why would I spend all of that for a simple throw away, one snag its ruined shirt? I’m done lol

  2. I will say this: I understand why there are string attached. It sadly feels as if this plus size movement is a fad. I am not a fad along with my confidence . I cant see myself wearing clothing that are huge and ill-fit. I think those clothing makes you feel worse than any shape you have. Also all woman have problems with how they look, its all on society,people and how clothing are made. It makes me think that it is a set up from the get go. I can say not to listen to them, so on and forth, but that is just how I feel. But I will say this, i wear short shorts, and I wear two pieces and I do what I feel makes me happy. I love to shop and eat out the box maybe fating food, so much so I have to budget my clothing/food budget. I have came to realize for example some shoes will never be made for my wide small feet , so find something that I like just as much. Its not only compromise but looking at the whole picture: Your and mine self worth. someone will always have something to say. But that doesn’t stop me if any for long, to pull out my hot shorts and parade to the pool in sunny LA or Miami .

  3. I couldn’t agree more. Yes things are improving but if you are on the higher side of plus like in the 26 on up range you still get either a lot of shapeless clothing and loud crazy floral prints. The other thing I see a lot of are retro 50’s style clothes. I don’t knock anyone if that’s their personal style but I rebuke the idea that the only way to accentuate my curves is to look like an extra from I Love Lucy. I like modern clothes. Finding them continues to be a challenge.

    As for the idea that the clothes won’t sell coming from retailers. I look at Eloqui as a prime example. During it’s original launch there was very little promotion and fan fare. From what I heard the clothing was hit or miss. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Citing poor sales the line folded. Compare that with the relauched site full of stylish, modern clothing. My point is if retailers want to continue to half ass when it comes to plus sizes, you get what you give.

  4. We need a plus size retailer to offer fashion designs that compare with Banana Republic, J Crew, and Zara, in and around the same price points. This does not exist. There is not a good in between retailer like those three. It’s either low budget or too expensive. Or, overly trendy. Don’t misunderstand me. I want trendier items. But I’m not 19 any more. I want to look chic. Not like I am following a crowd. I know who I am. I have personal style. I want to be the best me. And it’s hard as hell to dress the way I want to dress because the fashion industry just does not get “me.”
    Where is the in between? I want style and affordable quality. I’d like to know my clothes are going to last more than one season. I want cohesive collections. If any brands are out there that do not understand this just contact me. I will make you a story board.

  5. Great post… Great responses …. I can go on and on on this topic…. But won’t:

    1. TOO MUCH Sleeveless. I will generalize most women (+ size or not) are not happy with their upper arms.
    2. TOO short sleeves that’s re too tight Make ones arms look worse than sleeveless. Short sleeves to cover elbows please.
    3. Not enough stylish selections to cover up said sleeveless designs.
    4. I am in my 40’s I do not want to dress like in am in my 20’s or 70’s thank you very much!
    5. Pants that gosh dang, well FIT! I am 5″11 and an oval shape… Waistlines that cutoff at my belly button…. Well just NO!
    6. Natural fabrics please!
    7. Most cannot afford $400 dollars for quality product…. But neither do we want one season quality either….
    8. I don’t have a flat belly, do you?
    9. Back to height … Some of are + size and tall some not…. Sooooo tired of tops that cut off in the middle of , well, you know where, so that those ill fitting pants I mentioned in #5 are on full horrifying display !
    I’ll quit here… I’m getting twisted thinking about this!

  6. Some of the other commenters have made some great points, but the one I’ll mostly have to agree and reiterate is that plus sized fashion should (A) be in the stores if these stores/brands have a line, and (B) not be relegated to the deep dark corners of it. Regardless of your style, age, and price point, when you are shopping for something, most people want to GO shopping, whether you’re an all day event person or a get in and get out kind of person. To not be able to go in and try your outfits on makes a huge difference. I’ve personally become a bit more fearless in trying new brands with online shopping, but it’s because I don’t want to be stuck to about 3 stores and wearing the same things as all of the other plus size women all the time. I think we’d be a bit more willing to part with our money if we could just go out and get the clothes when we wanted them, versus having to go through what can be a back and forth process with online shopping to find the right lines/sizes/etc.

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