Why Plus Size Models Don't Promote Obesity
Hello everyone! I hope you had an exciting weekend and are feeling amazing and ready for this week. Last week was a busy one for me. I was styling looks for an upcoming photoshoot on the weekend with two of our models from Natural Models. I was also organizing and shooting this post, while I was booked for a few modeling jobs this past week. It was a hectic week, but also an extremly productive one and it got me thinking about some things. As I was pulling stying inspo for our photoshoot, I quickly remembered how difficult it is to find fashionable options for anything over a size 12. There have been countless times that I have gone shopping for our models who wear a size 14-16 and left store after store annoyed and frustrated with the lack of options. Now that I have entered into the blogging world, I realize that there are so many women who simply have no idea where to find fashionable clothing that comes in a wide size range. Not to mention the confusion around the term "plus size" and what size that actually is? (No one really knows.) I am excited to learn about new companies that share the same core values as myself and Healthy is the New Skinny. I am always curious to try out the clothing to see how it fits and if they are true to size for the women who are inspired to shop the looks we post. I have been working with Liverpool Jeans for quite some time now because they carry a wide size range from petites to a size 16. I am always excited to see what new styles they will send me. This time, I got a box of their new boyfriend jeans! Before I get into chatting about how I styled these jeans and how they fit, I wanted to talk about more about my frustration with lack of options for plus size women and the critics who believe that plus size models promote obesity.
I have read online and have heard people say, that "plus-size models promote obesity." What?! You can't be serious? I think it is time that we have a chat about this serious misconception. First off, I think we need to start by understanding that the fashion industry exists to provide apparel and accessories to the general population. Simple enough right? That being said, it seems obvious that the general population comes in various shapes and sizes that should be catered to in order for the fashion industry to profit. It really is a simple supply and demand system and I think all of the people reading this post can agree that regardless of someone's size, they deserve to be clothed.
"Plus size models promote obesity."
There are so many things wrong with the statement, "plus size models promote obesity" that it will be difficult to cover them all here which is why I will start with the most simple and obvious one. A model wearing clothing is not promoting anything other than the item he or she is hired to wear. If you feel there is mixed messaging in the image portrayed, that has nothing to do with the model themselves. It would, however, have everything to do with the companies who hired the model, photographer, art director, and advertising team to create the image and symbolic messaging behind it.
To claim that by simply showing a woman who is larger than the average straight size model (who is 5'9" and a size zero - four) is promoting obesity is a direct reflection of our warped view of health and the female body. From my personal experience, I can tell you that at my smallest size, which was a size six, I was my most unhappy and unhealthy - even though that was when I was complimented the most by others. According to the statement we are discussing here, I could be hired as a model and not be promoting anything "unhealthy" because I looked how the other models looked. Now, I am a size twelve and I am back to a healthy weight after having my baby and I feel amazing. According to this statement, when I am hired as a model it means that I too, am "promoting obesity" because I am a plus-size model.
"Oh, not you, the really overweight ones." This is what I have been told when I challenge people who voice this belief. I think we should really take a step back and acknowledge that the conversation around health doesn't belong in the fashion industry, it belongs in the health industry. It shouldn't be a concern of ours how other people are choosing to live and treat their bodies. One thing I have learned from working with countless amounts of girls and women is that weight is extremely personal and people who struggle with weight management struggle with far more than you could ever know from looking at them. Instead of continually shaming plus size people, especially women who are only now being given an opportunity to enjoy fashion the way that smaller women always have, we should be happy for them.
Self-love and confidence are multi-dimensional and I believe that the exclusion of larger girls and women in many aspects of our culture has severely damaged their sense of self from a young age. I know it did mine. I want to encourage all people to care for themselves and create the lives they want to live. You never know where that journey could begin.... it could be as simple as finding a cute pair of jeans that actually fit.
Together we can work really hard to heal our own pain and toxic relationships we may have with our bodies by understanding that regardless of our size we still have these shared experiences. We can close this discussion with two truths: 1.) Fashion should be for everyone and 2.) Health is a personal journey that each person much choose for themselves. They are not one in the same and it is time that we separate the two in the press. Let's make fashion about exactly that, fashion! Why do we need to be obsessed with models bodies when we can be appreciating colors, prints, styles, and finding the best way to express our selves to the world? Just in case no one has told you, you deserve to wear clothing that fits, is comfortable, and that you feel beautiful and confident wearing, period. Now, that is something I think plus size models promote and something I will always stand behind.
Rant is officially over (for now... LOL)! Now, let me show you how I styled these boyfriend jeans from Liverpool Jeans. Liverpool carries up to a size 16 and I size down one size in this brand so really it would be up to a 16-18. I gave you a link there so feel free to check it out!
As you know, I love anything boho and so it was pretty easy for me to take these boyfriend jeans and give them a "Katie Makeover." For the classic boyfriend jeans, I added a cute tunic from the Lucky Brand, a fringe bag from H&M, and the cutest sunnies from an IG store I found called The Crystal Cult. For shoes, I added these gold sandals I have had for years and completed the look with hoop earrings and a large stone ring.
I love a classic jean but I never say no to studs. Maybe that is because Bradford and I used to own a leather accessories store and we made studded belts and cuffs for rock bands? That is probably it, either way, I love them and these studded boyfriend jeans. I originally had some booties on with this look and it DID NOT work. LOL. When I wear cropped jeans or boyfriend jeans it looks best when I wear a sandal or open type shoe to expose more of my legs vs cutting them off with a boot. This was a simple loose-fitting tank with a lace kimono, and I added a long geode necklace for some positive vibes. I loved both of these boho boyfriend looks and I hope it gave you some ideas for your street style.