“Plus-size” – why?

We see it everywhere. In the adverts, billboards, clothing apps, TV, social media. The list is never-ending. People have been so used to this word. But it never was thought through, was it? Plus-size is something that’s been around since late 20s. It was invented by a man, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Why would a man want to categorise people by their size, right? Well, let me tell you how it all started.

Lena Bryant Malsin with her son, Raphael Malsin (right) and Keen Johnson (left)

The woman named Lena Bryant was widowed in early age of her life. She was a dressmaker, providing a good living for her and her son. One day she borrowed some money from her brother-in-law and went to the bank. The officer in the bank misspelled her name as Lane and that’s how “Lane Bryant” came to life. She rented a small place and started selling her clothing line. One day, a pregnant woman came to her shop asking for something “presentable but comfortable”. Lena created a dress with an elastic waistband and accordion-pleated skirt. This piece of clothing soon became known as “maternity dress” and was the best-selling piece in Bryant’s shop.

After Lena Bryant got married, her husband took over the shop and began to expand it. Soon, Albert would establish three types of women figures and made clothing to fit each one. Maternity clothing quickly was shadowed by “plus-size” clothing. And the phrase is used to this day.

Now, I’m grateful for Lena Bryant Malsin (and her husband David Bryant) to start a clothing line where bigger women are appreciated and look beautiful in their clothes (functioning to this day) but I have just one question – why? There’s so much wrong in calling the clothing for bigger women “plus-size”. Do you agree? Well, let’s review a little bit.

First things first, there’s a “plus-size”. Okay. Why isn’t there “micro-size” too then? If we’re so easy to categorise people by their weight, then sizes from 4 to 8 should be called “micro-sizes”, shouldn’t they? Why did we call people that have more pounds here and there “plus-size” when skinny people are JUST skinny people? There’s no answer to that but I think it’s very wrong. It’s not fair towards bigger people. Some even may find it offensive. Some may take it as a huge attack towards them. There’s something in the word “plus-size” that makes me want to yell. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s just because I find it so hugely inappropriate.

Can we also talk about that all “plus-size” models aren’t really what the name says? They’re always have big booties or bigger thighs, or even bigger boobs, interfering with their body measurements but usually they have flat bellies and no double chin or whatsoever. How’s that plus-size and who said it’s okay to quietly shame women who have those things by calling a supermodel “plus-size” when they’re actually look healthy and normal? We DO care, you know? It’s not fair towards us – that’s the message to every fashion designer ever. Maybe try to use some real big women instead. Women that happen to know what “big” means and women that actually cherish their bodies the way they are – with floppy bellies, saggy boobs and cellulite. Women that care about being true to the world.

I strongly believe that calling ourselves “plus-size” isn’t the right thing to do either. It’s complete opposite – we are hiding behind the word, trying to avoid calling ourselves “fat”. And I know it, I used to do it a lot. But I think, looking at all of those models and calling ourselves the same way they are called is absolutely devastating for our mental health. We see advert with so called “plus-size” and then we look at ourselves and discover that we’re look nowhere near the way the model looks. And it brings us down. I don’t know about you but I’d rather call myself “fat” and be happy than call myself “plus-size” and get disappointed when I don’t live up to their expectations. It messes with out mental health.

I want to raise awareness about how bigger clothes are more expensive. If you’re a bigger woman, you probably know that buying cute clothes is always more expensive for you than your skinny friends. You can buy the same shirt, in the same shop but it will be double the price. Why is that? Well, sellers say that it’s because there’s more fabric used to make it. Well I say – screw you! That’s not because you use more fabric to sew it. Size 2 is bigger than size 0 and size 6 is bigger than 4 and they still cost the same. It’s just the way for companies to shame bigger people because they don’t look like models. They might as well put a tag on our clothes saying “you are different than other people so we will charge you more for it”.

I want you to take a minute right now and think – did it ever hurt you when you’ve heard the word “plus-size”? Does it hurt you right now? How do you feel about it? These days, we have so many great shops for people that are bigger but I wish that they won’t call it “plus-size”. How does simply “fashion for all” sounds like to you? I believe that every size is just a size. Whether it’s a 6 or 16. We are all equally beautiful and we deserve to be treated equally too.

Here is the video of Ashley Graham talking about “plus-size” – I want you to watch it. I want you to see yourself differently and I want you to see that no matter what your size is – you’re beautiful. You are writing your own beauty.

Stay Positive!

20 thoughts on ““Plus-size” – why?

  1. My Anxious Life

    Really interesting, I had no idea about the history of plus size clothing. As a Mum of two I’m now a UK size 16 so probably classify as plus size and I find that kind of labelling ridiculous and unnecessary – especially since a 16 is now the UK average!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. C

    I’ve never agreed with “plus-size” and I completely agree with your thoughts on the models. They are often towards the lower end of the plus-size category and there’s very little representation of much larger women. I just think we shouldn’t categorise clothing sizes at all it should just be a number.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This was such a fantastic read and I agree with everything you said! I had a conversation recently with someone about how we need to reclaim the word fat and get rid of the negative connotations rather than just hiding behind a new word. Now I’m definitely going to send your post their way ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Kayleigh Zara

    I hundred percent agree with you on this one, especially the depiction of plus sized models who have bigger assets but aren’t actually larger. I see this all the time on clothing websites. It was really interesting to hear about the history of this phrase too x
    Kayleigh Zara 🌿 http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This was interesting, I had no idea about the origin of the phrase and would have probably assumed it was more of a modern thing than that. You make a great point, I can’t say I’m shocked that a man came up with it either x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sare Alexander

    Such a great post. I’m what’s referred to as “plus-size” and I find it quite embarrassing to be labelled that way. Defining people and putting them into boxes is something we need to be steering away from now. I wrote a post about a similar issue highlighting how we are basically being taxed on our weight with regards to higher prices for “plus – size” clothing, so totally agree with you…Great post Monika x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In my own opinion, I prefer “plus-size” to “fat”. However, I do understand your perspective of this subject. Still a very interesting piece to read with cool vintage LB adds!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Monika Gil

        Well, it’s better to “plus-size” but still not good enough. The point of the whole post is that “plus-size” should not be labeled at all. After all, it’s just another number, another size.

        Liked by 1 person

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