Body Positivity in Fashion
Photographed by Quinn McCaffrey of Kala Marshall, Tatiana Mason, Ella Lawver, Camille Baniel, Carmella Contesti, Joelle Beauchamp and Sydney Theiler
By Marissa Fisher
If you ask any woman what the most difficult part of shopping for clothing is, almost all will say the sizing system used in womenswear. It becomes practically impossible for women to buy clothes that actually fit them when the dimensions of a size 8 or medium can be anything a brand wants them to be.Even with accurate sizing, not every garment works for every body type. According to the new poll of 2,000 women throughout the nation by Trunk Club, no matter their shape, 46 percent of women suffer with some size or fit concerns that have an impact on what they wear and what trends they will try just because of the structure of their form.
One of the most prominent reasons the body positivity movement has started spreading to mainstream brands has come from the rise of body positive influencers. Tik Tok has seen a rise of try on videos of all different body types. Remi Bader, a Tik Tok influencer who has a series called “realistic hauls,” shows just how inconsistent women’s sizing can be when shopping for clothing past a size large. In her series, Bader tries on assorted styles of clothing from the most popular retailers, such as Zara and Target. While she occasionally creates pieces that really work for her, it seems every video contains several garments that are quite disappointing. This has brought awareness to how brands do not take care to adapt their clothing styles to larger body types, while still keeping the original design. In an effort to address this issue, Remi Bader and Revolve have developed a line that features the brand’s first extended size range, ranging from a size XXS to a 4XL.
While increased retailers are at least offering larger sizes, some brands still do not go past an XL making it impossible for women to shop at stores they would otherwise love. It can be even more difficult to find sustainable and affordable options available in an extended size range. Therefore, all examples used from this point on will showcase a few sustainable, and reasonably priced pieces from brands who are making great progress in expanding their size ranges.
Girlfriend Collective is a company that takes immense pride in being size inclusive. This brand is most well known for their active wear with sizes ranging from XXS to a 6XL. Contrary to other manufacturers, they have a full-size range for some of their products and assorted styles that are only offered in plus sizes. The size range is also available in all the products on their website. This is a problem that many women who wear plus size clothing have, as many of the styles made for plus sizes are designed completely differently with more coverage to “hide” certain body parts. This commonality in plus size designs creates the notion that women should hide the features that do not fit the thin “beauty standard,” when in reality plus size women should be able to show off every beautiful feature just the same as women who wear smaller sizes.
Reformation is another company aiming for a more body-positive apparel line. Reformation has published a wide variety of extended sizing options for many of their original pieces, even though they do not yet offer extended sizing for all their items on their website. These garments, which originally would go to around a size 14, now can be purchased up to a size 24. Reformation also does not alter the actual design of the product, but simply adapts it to fit a larger size range. This is especially helpful for women looking for special occasion, and even bridal, dresses that come in larger size ranges.
Finally, a more well-known brand that has been working towards size inclusivity is Levi’s. With the addition of a size 26, which translates to a 3XL in denim, Levi’s has increased the size range of some of their most popular types of jeans. This is a great development as Levi’s is a much older brand. Although there is much more room for improvement as Levi’s does not have an extended range for all of its denim, it is an okay start for a brand with such reach. As denim can be one of the most difficult pieces for women to shop for, having a large size range can be extremely useful.
As more brands begin to adapt to more body positive sizing and designs, the industry will become increasingly more adaptive to all different body types. This is one movement that has reached the runway fashion industry; however, it still needs a lot of work. As a consumer, it is important to show support for more mid and plus sized models on the runway as it can truly incentivize brands to start casting more diverse ranges of models in their shows. All women should be able to see their body type on the runway and feel comfortable and confident in the way they look and dress.