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The Modern ‘Plus-Size’ Label In Fashion And In The Workplace

Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed a cultural shift in the perception of beauty, in both fashion and advertising. Modelling doesn’t involve only tall and super-skinny models that look unreal. Also, advertising doesn’t make use of those heavily photoshopped images of girls looking ridiculously thin. Now real women of all sizes and shapes have taken over. Furthermore, there’s one demographic that benefits from more celebration than ever before, namely the plus-size women! What plus size actually means may depend from one retailer to another. Some consider that plus-size starts with size 16 while others consider it as being size 18+. Regardless of this, the fact is that the plus-size ‘label’ is dominating the world of fashion. As the average size of women in the UK is actually 16, there’s no better time for this trend than now.

Plus Size And The World Of Fashion

Celebrities are the ones to start trends in popular culture. Young girls are surely thrilled to see curvy celebrities and models such as Tess Holiday and Ashley Graham enjoying such a success on the catwalk and setting new plus-size trends for the masses. However, the question is whether plus-size is truly a celebration or it is regarded as discriminatory by some.

In our opinion, things are a bit mixed. The launch of plus-size ready-to-wear collections is definitely a celebration and we should see it as such. Nevertheless, there are some wrinkles still to be ironed. For instance, many stores still hide their plus-size items somewhere in the back. Also, there’s no proper standardisation of sizes. This lack of consistency is also a problem of lower size ranges, as different brands use different measurements for their sizes. This is a real issue, as you can’t know for sure whether a 6X is the same as a 24W, for example (The difference of a supportive bra).

The label itself can be another issue worth taking into consideration. According to Wikipedia, plus-size clothing is clothing that’s ‘proportioned for overweight or obese people’. This means that all size 16 women are all obese! Consequently, are we all obese indeed, or the current ‘norm’ is actually curvier than the past one? Should we even label this category of clothing as ‘plus-size’? Perhaps we should simply stop using this label and showcase all sizes together with no such differentiation. Stores could just display clothing ranges from small to large in a constant flow, from the smallest to the largest size they have available. Wouldn’t this prevent frustration by removing the stigma associated with needing to do your shopping in the plus-size section of stores?

Plus Size In The Workplace

Even though there’s a strong acceptance current, plus-size women still need to put up with discrimination in the workplace. Apparently, interviewers make their mind up within the first five minutes they spend with a candidate. This means they base their hiring decisions solely on appearance. It’s here where we can still seize a biased attitude towards the plus-size demographics.

According to research from LinkedIn, 25 percent of employees feel they’ve missed out on a better career opportunity because of their size. If we perpetuate the label, will we also perpetuate the notion that these persons are different? Would this perception fade away if we gave up the label? Whether or not the very label makes a difference, we do hope that the trend to encourage inclusivity in the workplace will lead to the disappearance of this discrimination. Hopefully, the new plus size fashion trends will change these attitudes for the better.