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NO SHADE, but can I get a Plus Size Model Modeling Our Plus Size Clothes?

NO SHADE, but can I get a Plus Size Model Modeling Our Plus Size Clothes?

Plus Size Models


I love the place and state of plus size fashion right now. I revel and frolic in the fashionable options but one thing has been dwelling on my mind… down into the core of my plus size frame.

One thing that irks the hell out of me.

Non plus size models (under a size 14) showing me looks and fits on plus size outfits.

I mean when you look at this, which can YOU identify with?

Monif C Plus sizes Fall 2011 Collection


The New Plus Size Model

Can We Get Plus Size Models Modeling Our Plus Size Clothes

Irks the hell out of me for sooo many reasons:

  • The clothes RARELY look the same on me (length, fit, or essence) ex. I wanted a skirt from a retailer and a specific smaller sized model was rocking it, but to my surprise upon investigation, they turned it backwards- oh! Okay. How realistic is this for a plus size woman to rock?
  • I am forced to use my imagination as to how something will fit (because of the lack of plus size fashion INSIDE stores) which is another issue all to itself- but what do you do? If you cannot give me in store options- then AT LEAST give me a Full Figured One.
  • Clothes hang differently on boobs, buts, and hips. Why pad up? There are quite a few of capable plus size models who are making waves…
  • There are quite a few professional plus size models (I bold to differentiate, as in studied, signed to smaller agencies, experienced, or a desired “look”) who can easily offer up a great fit, high fashion looks, or inspirational fashion- example? Allison McGevna, Denise Bidot, Fluvia Lacerda, Teer Wayde, Asia Monet, these are off the top of my head… I could really go on!!!
  • Quite a handful of plus size models being used now do not like to associate themselves as plus size, so why (as a plus size business owner would you want someone who openly dismisses plus size?) Maybe I am being too sensitive here?


As the plus size fashion world grows by leaps and bounds and retailers are realizing that real money can be had here- since plus size fashion reached $17.5 billion in sales in the 12 months ending in April 2011 (CNN)! Sounds impressive right?

Well then tell me why, according to the same CNN reference, “Only 17% of women’s apparel dollar was spent last year on plus-sized clothing, according to Marshall Cohen, chief retail analyst for the NPD Group. This happened even though plus-sized women had 28% of the purchasing power,” he said.

See Also


I hate going on these rants, as in a perfect world, everyone would understand and be rightfully represented, but this really hit a nerve with me today…

Give Me My Plus Size Model!

Okay. I am done.

Q. Am I tripping or am I being too sensitive?

PS. If you agree with what I am saying, PLEASE leave a comment and share with all your peeps! The more comments and attention the louder our voice will be heard! Sound off!

View Comments (74)
  • I don’t think you’re tripping at all, you tripped and hit the nail right on the head! Plus size fashion should be modelled by actual plus size models, otherwise what’s the point of doing plus size fashion and the clothes are not being represented in the right manner? I’m really tired of the sizism within the fashion industry! It’s 2011, almost 2012 the fashion biz needs to accept all shapes & sizes!

    P.S. Denise is killing those dresses! Is it a new plus size line she’s modelling?!

  • You are sooo not tripping!  It’s crazy because you do have to use your imagination or just try on a whole bunch of clothes when you go shopping in physical stores. That’s why bloggers like us need to keep rocking outfit posts and voicing our opinions because that’s where I ultimately get my inspiration (and product recommendations from!) when it comes to fashion.  I think plus size modeling agencies need to holla at us ladies who I feel are more representative of the average plus size woman.

      • I hope that it does and I hope that plus size bloggers and bloggers period can come together because at the end of the day we all have a common problem – the huge disconnect between the fashion industry and the average woman.  Petite women aren’t represented, curvy women aren’t represented, busty women, smaller women, really tall women, I could go on!  This is just a part of a bigger problem.  None of us fit the “ideal” that fashion keeps pushing out to us. 

  • I couldn’t agree more.:) When a I see a non real plus size model, I just think, she is not me. She won’t inspire me at all for buying anything. And I even ask myself, what is the problem… Are the companies unable to create good clothing for us? Or do they think we are not good enough to be shown? I don’t like either answer.

    In my country (Hungary) we don’t have a lot possibilities to buy plus size clothes, so I mostly buy my clothes online or when I travel. So when a company uses real plus size models, I probably buy from them and not from another.

    Ms_MJ you got the point. I learned a lot from plus size bloggers. Thank God for all of you.:) It is a boost for my confidence, and I make better choices regarding what to buy, and how I can present myself.

    Sorry for my English.

  • Nope, you’re not tripping at ALL!!!! I would even take it a step further and say that agencies/clients REALLY need to relax on these “5’9 & above” height requirements as well. There’s nothing wrong with women who are that tall, but the average woman in America is about 5’6” or 5’7″ and wears a size 14/16. So if you show me a size 16 model, but she’s 5’11” I STILL don’t have an adequate picture of what the outfit is going to look like on my 5’7” size 14/16W frame!!!

      • True Dat:-)! In addition, the average model in runway or print is RARELY if ever seen in a pair of flats, so the rigid height requirements seem even more ridiculous given that fact:-)! I say, bring on the curves and height diversity!

  • so true Marie! I have a question for you though… what is that black dress Denise is modeling? What site is that from cause I WANT IT! =)

  • Marie you are not tripping. I asked myself these same questions. I find it extremely difficult to shop based on the photos that I see online or in a catalog. I feel that I am playing the chance game especially when I order items online— I have a love and hate relationship for online sales and this is particularly why— I ask myself will this dress fit– hmm the model in the photo doesnt have boobs or hips like me– then I just order two sizes hoping one of the two will fit.
    But because of the great list of plus size bloggers that are truly plus size, I  now  decide on purchasing a item by looking at  OOTD post and reviews. I do think that I could eliminate some of my double purchases if I can see a shapely model in the clothes. 

    Since Monif C used Denise Bidot, I know for a fact that I can wear those dresses– and whenever I saw Mia Amber (may she RIP) I knew without hesitation—I was purchasing whatever she wore!!!!!!

  • I think all us Plus Sized girls feel the same! I saw on another blog about that skinny “Plus Sized” Model and was absolutely floored! I mean the woman is beautiful and should be a model, but a REGULAR model, she doesn’t come even close to representing curvy women. I’m lucky, since I’m about a size 16 most of the true Plus Sized Models are close to my size and I can get the feel for how the clothes will look on me. But there should be models of all sizes, how can a woman who is a size 20 get the feel for how something is going to look on her when it’s only being modeled by a size 14 model? Modeling Agencies and designers alike need to get their heads out of their asses and listen to what the women buying their clothes want. They need to stop their restrictions on size period, no matter what kind of clothing is being modeled.

    This topic is on my “to blog about” list, and I’m so glad to see so many others touching on this topic, it needs to be brought up and often until changes are made.

    • Interesting you say that… its more about the visibility or variety that we ask for… no a full revamp. Unfortunately you are correct…as designer now deem a 12 as an XL plus size  or no longer buy the 12’s, designers are now catering to the size 10’s and 12’s left out in the cold… 

  • What I would like to see is a real plus size model, not one that’s just big in the hips, with a flat stomach, show me someone that has the big breast, the extra rolls, the stomach, the big butt, not some that just big in a certain area, we all come in all shapes and sizes and it’s just not being addressed!

    • This is where the double edge sword or slippery slope within the industry comes in… I think the baby steps should be incorporating a size 16,18,and even 20 into the mix… by industry standards (they have them)… 

      Baby steps…. 

      • This is totally true and I learned the hard way  (referring to my comment above) here is the link to the segment I was referring to. I admit that I did an awful job and was very nervous, but if you take away that the models were definitely sizes 18-24 which is why I was brought in for the segment in the first place, there had been tons of requests to have a “real” plus size segment.  (***everyones clothes including mine were selected by the designers/stores***)   

  • I agree, but from a designer’s stand point, it is a bit about conformity; especially with the prototype designs. The hard-working designer would integrate fashion bloggers in addition to full-figured models. No Shade here, but designing clothing can be a pain if every single model is different in size and dimensions. Most designs start as sketches, but then when it comes time to cut fabric and piece together, it’s on the mannequin. When the model finally comes in for the go-see and fitting, then the designer has to point the clothing just right. So it does boil down to the designers being a bit lazy and asking models to conform..a little bit. 

    • Love a designer’s perspective! But my concern is when it is gone to the display… well even before with fit models… even within the plus size modeling industry, there are standards of sizing set… if you fit on a 12, 16, and sometimes a 20, why could we not have those models represented as well? 

      I am fond of those designers and brands that showcase a variety of shapes throughout their site, it gives perspectives, and reinforces- to me a purchase… 

  • I wholeheartedly agree! This one of the things that really bothers me as a plus size consumer. Like, I don’t want to use my imagination when it comes to spending my hard earned money on clothes that are not always affordable nor readily accessible in my local stores. I know for a fact that there are plus models that would more truthfully show what the garment would look like on my body. I think it is all about respect. If they respected real plus women and the dollars they are spending, they would use plus models. period.

  • Oh my that’s me! Thank you for featuring my image honey. I’m proud to do what I do and even more so proud to be a size 12/14!!!  Curves rock my world!


  • I couldn’t have said it better myself!! It is so frustrating to see models that are obviously not plus-sized modeling clothes for plus size women. All we can do is keep the conversation going and hope that stores and designers start listening. Great post 🙂

    • Thank you! The conversation must be had! I am so serious about this… please share and encourage your friends and readers to comment! The more who see and speak out, the more we can say look

  • I completely agree with your post.  On a recent shopping trip, a friend and I were browsing in different mainstream stores.  There was such a noticeable absence of plus sized clothing and advertisement that it depressed me.  I looked at the make-up of the women that were shopping and walking around this same mall and at least 20% would have been considered plus-sized.  Upon asking about the plus-size selection in some of the stores, the most common response from the sales associates were “we carry that online” or “we have XL”. 

    The plus-sized consumer dollar carries a lot of weight (no pun intended) and it would be great if more retailers recognized that and amended their representation accordingly.

  • First I promise I’m not trying to shamelessly self promote but this is exactly why I created Creme de la Curves.   I am a professional MUA, and work on many photo shoots, commercials, and films, and as a plus size women it is discouraging attending events, mixers and shows in my industry that are only targeted at straight sizes so I created my own. 

    In addition, last month I had a segment on a local Phoenix morning show and the clothes were from Lane Bryant.  The models I used were sized 16-24 and when it was posted the women making comments were so mean and hateful.  Even though the outfits used were straight out of the magalog just like anything you would see if you walked into a store.   We have been so conditioned to see things from one vantage point that when the bar is raised we forget what we asked for. 

    I’m proud of you for speaking up and no you are not being too sensitive. 🙂  I believe if we keep asking that one day things will change for the better.  🙂    

  • This really makes me sad! Sad on many levels! Clearly the industry needs to play catch up and CHANGE.. Haven’t they heard change is good and in this case definitely necessary!

  • Your are absolutely right. I am depending on buying stuff online, cause in Germany we rarely have any good plus size retailer. And I hate it, when I see all this in my opinion not plus size girls. It starts with H&M, were they tool Tara Lynn but made her look a loooot smaller than she looks in others shoots, going on with ASOS, were you can see in every of their “runaway” videos, that the clothes are to big on the girls that are modeling but putting Karolin Wolter into the plus size board is really the peek of the iceberg. 
    I mean, really? REALLY? She looks like she hardly is an 4 or 6, she is flawless and pretty and everything, but she isn’t plus size. Just like in my opinion Crystall Renn isn’t plus size anymore!

    I feel fooled and not really taken serious by retailers that show their plus size collections on woman like this!

  • My Darling Cali Diva!!!! You hit the nail on the head!!!! Not even for just the big brands, but the smaller emerging shoppes and boutiques as well.  When they use full figured models I APPRECIATE it.  I now shop with two tabs, so I can compare how something looks.

  • It’s been happening since I can remember!  My mom and I were just talking about this the other day.  I remember in the 90s when Lane Bryant had “large” models (size 6) in the images around the store.  As a young girl I couldn’t wrap my head around that concept.  Why was my mom shopping in a store that  was supposedly for larger women, but had tiny women wearing the clothes?  Thanks to the strides of many women in our industry (me being a plus size model, and size appropriate advocate myself) this is changing, slowly but surely.  Keeping these conversations and opinions out there, however, show the marketplace and the “powers that be” that we want and need to see these clothes as they will be worn and not as an ideal!  This is the age of reality, not fantasy.  And while fashion can and always be a fantasy to me too… we plus size girls are ready for it to be a reality for us as well, and we want to see how those clothes are gonna hug our curves!  So keep on Marie… keep on telling everyone what you think about this!

    Adrienne Glenn
    (Curvy Model – Size 14)

    • Adrienne!!!! Darling! How are you doing? I hope you are doing amazingly! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! I will continue to share and share and speak on it! 

  • As with anything, the fashion industry is concerned with its image; thusly, largely fearing that plus-sized models is an endorsement of unhealthy lifestyles. However, the real truth is that there are many shapes and sizes of health. Thinness doesn’t determine how healthy someone may be. Fashion labels should prioritize their consumer relations in a manner that befits the reality for  the shopper –  ‘They may be skinny as sticks tomorrow; but in the meantime, ladies must dress for today!’ If you are going to sell plus-sized clothing – have plus-sized models that feature different body shapes on the larger end of healthy, vibrant, stylish women.  One thing is for sure, poor body image and the endorsement of THAT standard isn’t healthy… at all. ~ Thank Ms. Fashionista for keeping it real. One voice can make all the difference. Futhermore, I would fully endorse any endeavor for a plus-sized modeling agency.

  • I haven’t read all the comments, but another pet peeve of mine is selection.  I LOVE fashion, but outside of a few choice retailers, the selection is minimal and not reflective of my taste.  I often ask my girlfriends why everything is cut boxy and embroidered with farm animals.  Seems like with all the talk about obesity rates, manufacturers and designers would be jumping on the opportunity to expand their reach.  Plus size can be sexy and sophisticated.  Give me something to get excited about. 

    • Hey darlin! Thanks for stopping by! There are indeed quite a few places! What are you looking for and have you checked out my designers page? There are more, still more needed but we do have options! 

      Thank you soooo much for stopping by! 🙂 Do not be a stranger and let me know what you are looking for! 🙂 

  • My shop ( uses models of a variety of sizes, 14, 20, 22!  I feel like if I cannot put a 3X or 4X on a model and have it look great, I haven’t done my job.  If your clothing looks best on a size 8, are you truly a plus size designer? Your garment should look just as good on the smallest size you offer as the largest size…why not celebrate that??

    • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Thank you so much for stopping by and reinforcing what I am saying! YOU get it and I am sure you get tons of love from your customers! Thank you so much for the love! 

  • Ok, going to try to comment again.

    Of course, Marie, you are preaching to the choir, and those who follow the plus fashion industry closely have long chastised retailers for using smaller models (are you listening Roaman’s?) or at least not incorporating a mix of sizes.

    I wrote an article about this which was in the Elegant Plus magazine/blog a while back about this very topic. I participated in a long term focus group/study put on by a large ad agency about plus size women’s shopping habits and advertising. It was eye-opening to say the least. let us just say they are a a great deal of women not loving their bodies out there. When shown images of models in say the size 18 range, most of these images were viewed negatively. I would get into more detail on here but I could write another novel.

    The only way this will change is not just by outcry, it is by our almighty dollars. The clients who use larger models are most frequently the more independent designers. baby steps there is some change. Allison at Fashion to Figure being one noteable mention. Having been around this industry for quite some time (and I have almost every copy of MODE ever printed) I have seen the pendulum swing back and forth. When Avenue used larger models for a bit nearly a decade ago sales went down and so did the models dress sizes. When we see something we like in advertising the best thing we can do is SPEND! But when the diet industry is making ten times the amount of money the plus fashion industry, therein lies the bigger problem. I have talked at length about this to many designers and business owners (Laura from Curvy Girl being one) and they will also tell you that when they used bigger models clothing sat on shelves or in warehouses.

    If we want this to change we must first support those who use models we relate to with purchases. Smaller independents go bankrupt while they are lauded for their use of larger models but not supported by consumers dollars. Larger companies are doing market research on ad response 24/7. They know which models sell the hell out of clothing. And since we are seeing Denise (a truly full figured 14) everywhere from Ashley Stewart to Torrid to Forever 21 to Kohl’s to now Lane Bryant, someone is paying attention. baby steps.

    People mention wanting to see models who have rolls and imperfection. Even 10’s and 12’s have those. It is called editing. No one is going to see those. I know it is actually a relief to do a fashion show or a shoot and I see girls whose bodies in person that are not perfect prior to post production! regardless what size models are, those things will be removed. I have seen photos of me where I know I sure as hell do not look like that and I am a size 12/14. And yes, i have been padded up. I can recall doing swimwear for a large retailer at a small size 12 when the suits started at a 16.

    We have power. Purchasing power. Now we have to use it. Support smaller designers, retailers, etailers, and boutiques. If you love what they are doing, tell them yes, but we have to buy to keep them in business. If you don’t like a size 6 showing clothing for 14-30 DO NOT PURCHASE. all the emails in the world are helpful, yes, but until they are hit in the wallet, they will do what they are doing.

    • AMEN~ Thank you so much for highlighting and sharing additional key issues and concerns! And yes, if they do not cater to you, showing a size 6-10 as plus size, “DO NOT PURCHASE!” as Michelle would say! 

  • and oops, I am Michelle Renee. Perhaps the typo of Michelle Renn was a freudian slip, lol, as the plus model of the decade is now a size 4. and I do no hate her for it, we all must do what makes us happy!!!

  • Yes, I agree.  I mean, with a 51 or 52 hop how in the world am I supposed to decide whether or not this dress will work out on me?  The model with the Monif C dress on is ROCKIN’ it and lets me know I would do it too (though I may cause traffic back ups…just sayn).

    There’s no way anyone can really ever try and sell me something that a size 4 because I know what may work on her, my not work on all this goodness right here.  LOL….

    Thank you Marie because frankly, you get it and your style is fierce. 

  • I’m so excited to say that I am a SOLID 18 and will be featured on Eliza Parker’s new site to be launched later this month.  Myself and 4 other girls will be showing how her clothes look on REAL plus size models.  Eliza Parker is so true to curves and the clothes are thoughtful and HIGH quality!!!

  • I so agree with this. Ive been saying this all along. I feel as if you say we are all the same, why is there such a problem with making the whole magazine plus size models. I feel people thinks its a curse or something. Its annoying to have to be limited when the problem is they can not get out of their fantasy world on how things should be. According to who? Another thing that makes me mad is why do things have to not look cute when it gets bigger? I want everything they can have. I am no different put more fabric on it because they can barely wear it. Just my thoughts.

  • I completely agree. I really would like to know how CNN came up with that 17% women’s apparel spending figure–that’s terribly misleading because that can be attributed to women who shop at exclusively plus size stores of which there are only a few major ones- Lane Bryant, Avenue & Torrid are all I can think of. Many “plus size” women are in the size 14-20 range, and a lot of straight size stores incorporate those sizes online or in a plus size section so that probably accounts for the discrepancy. I wear a size 16/18 so I do a lot of my shopping at Gap, Old Navy, Macys, Target, etc. which are not plus size stores, but carry those sizes.

    I love seeing plus size models (even though most of them are just the average at size 12/14, at least it’s progress) but you’re right, the fashion industry needs to do better. It’s such a double standard when you consider the fact that men’s fashion has accommodated the “big & tall” section for decades. Why can’t they extend the same courtesy to women?

    • I think you misunderstood my point! Retailers and brands ONLY allocate 17% when we have over 28% of the buying power! That is what was meant by that… meaning, that these retailers are NOT utilizing our niche to its TRUE potential! 🙂 

  • Something truly amazing is happening over at Ulla Popken. They’ve asked me, yes me, 40+ and wears size 20/22 to model my fashion picks, “Babe’s Picks,” for each season (web site and Facebook). Truly, I never thought it would happen in my lifetime.

    What think? 

  • I am a size 24. I don’t have any notions that I could model, but every once in a while, I would love to see someone closer to my size. In my opinion, the models should be closer to my body type than to that of the traditional model body type.

    I cannot get an honest idea of what something looks like on me when modeled by a small size, or to be honest, even a perfect hourglass 12 or 14. 

    I think things will change slowly, I see them improving over time and I hope it continues this way. I applaud the larger models and the businesses that use them, but I want more to jump in to it. 

  • you are NOT tripping.. as a short (under 5 feet tall), plus sized woman, its hard enough to buy clothing..let alone have it worn by people who aren’t CLOSE to what i look like

  • As you know, ‘Just As You Are’ is trying to do our part to change this backwards practice.
    The coats and jackets displayed on are only presented on real plus sized women. And by this, we mean a mixture of ‘real’ women (ie –  not models) and some plus sized models.
    You will never see a size 10 woman displaying apparel on our site – not because we don’t even make coats in that size  – but because we fully agree with everything you wrote, and truly don’t understand why there is so much resistance to what should be a no brainer.
    As you said: baby steps….

  • I wholeheartedly agree and you couldn’t have said it much better. It’s just ridiculous to me that they don’t see the true beauty and talent of the many curvy women that are out here. There is such a variety of us and the thing is I don’t think they care to know. If they can just  get past the size and numbers of it all..just maybe they could see it.

    This is what encourages me as a blogger to share that you don’t have to be a size 2 or 4 to be beautiful. I just work with what I have and be beautiful in the skin that I’m in.

    Thanks so much for sharing love and very well said!!

  • over 47% of the population in the UK is size 16 and over and yet we dont have half the clothes you gals in the US have, let alone plus size models. I look at some of the Pictures and drool not attractive i know lol

  • Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Huffman Texas!
    Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

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