Fash­ion for ev­ery size

If you’re a size 16 or above, you need this ul­ti­mate guide. Be­cause it’s now eas­ier than ever to look amaz­ing and stylish.

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glamour Relationtips - Off-the-shoul­der top

Icall it tutu tor­ture,” says fash­ion stylist Meaghan O’con­nor, 31, a size 24. “I want chic tai­lored trousers for work and gor­geous dresses for date night, but be­cause of my size I end up with dowdy polyester trousers and ju­ve­nile tu­tus. It makes me want to scream, ‘Step away from the grom­mets, rhine­stones and tulle!’”

On a more se­ri­ous note, Meaghan adds, “It’s alarm­ing that plus-size cloth­ing is so limited, given how many women are plus-size. Why are we ig­nored by de­sign­ers, shoved into a cor­ner at chain­stores, and forced on­line to buy our favourite brands?”

Meaghan’s frus­tra­tions are fa­mil­iar to any wo­man north of size 16. Many well-priced brands, like Topshop, of­fer only sizes 16 and be­low; high-end de­signer fash­ion on av­er­age goes up to 18, though those 18s aren’t easy to find; and of­fer­ings from many plus-size re­tail­ers are of­ten very dis­ap­point­ing.

When we took to Twit­ter to ask plus­size shop­pers their peeves, they named “tacky jeans with em­bel­lish­ments” and “tops that look like tents.” They also noted that plus-size col­lec­tions from straight-size brands of­ten aren’t as fash­ion­able. Mostly, the women we heard from just wanted more.

“While ev­ery­one at my of­fice looks sharp, I feel like I’m taken less se­ri­ously be­cause of my cloth­ing,” says Jodie Paine, 26, a size 18 web de­signer. “I wish I could find stylish pieces like leather skirts, but a lot of plus-size wear is cheap and dated, with un­flat­ter­ing suits and but­ton-down jer­seys.”

All of which means some­thing is se­ri­ously wrong. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, women size 18 and above only ac­count for 17% of cloth­ing sales. It’s not that we’re dis­in­ter­ested in fash­ion; 88% of us would spend more on trendy cloth­ing if it were avail­able. No, it’s that fash­ion hasn’t been in­ter­ested in us. Need a star­tling ex­am­ple? While do­ing this story, we con­tacted a famous French brand about a size 24 jacket from its spring col­lec­tion. Af­ter in­form­ing us that in-store siz­ing stops at a 10, the sales­man paused, then sug­gested that we buy two and sew them to­gether.

Sew two jack­ets – two ex­pen­sive jack­ets – to­gether? How did we get here, and why wouldn’t a sane la­bel want to please a wo­man with money to spend? “That’s the mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion,” says Sports Il­lus­trated swim­suit-is­sue cover model Ash­ley Gra­ham, a size 20. “Brands think that ex­pand­ing their size range will di­lute their im­age.”

Ac­tress Melissa Mccarthy, who re­cently launched her cloth­ing line Seven7, agrees – and points out that cre­at­ing larger ver­sions of straight-size de­signs can be chal­leng­ing as it re­quires more than just mak­ing ev­ery­thing big­ger: “Need­ing a lit­tle more room on your hips and bust doesn’t mean that your wrist is the size of a stop sign!”

But the good news is that things are start­ing to change. Plus-size brands are learn­ing that their cus­tomers crave fash­ion­able cloth­ing, and some straight­size lines are be­gin­ning to ex­tend into plus-size ter­ri­tory. And we’ve got tips for get­ting the best out of size 16 fash­ion and above on the next page.

Shoul­ders are sexy, and this is the best way to flash skin with­out be­ing too re­veal­ing.

want to re­claim and rede­fine the word, my ap­proach is to undo the whole con­cept of the word ‘slut’.

‘Slut’ sham­ing means im­ply­ing that a girl or wo­man should feel guilty or in­fe­rior for her real – or per­ceived – sex­ual be­hav­iour. You might have seen ‘slut’ sham­ing writ­ten as just plain slut sham­ing, but I al­ways put the word ‘slut’ in quo­ta­tion marks to con­vey my contempt for that word – and my as­ser­tion that a ‘slut’ is not re­ally a thing that ex­ists at all.

Af­ter all, how do you de­fine a ‘slut’? Is she a pro­mis­cu­ous wo­man? A wo­man who has had too many part­ners? A wo­man who has ca­sual sex? But what makes some­one ‘pro­mis­cu­ous’? How many is ‘ too many’ part­ners? And what qual­i­fies as ‘ca­sual’ sex? Once we try to de­fine ‘slut’, it falls apart pretty quickly. It can mean any­thing the per­son us­ing it wants it to mean, from ‘some­one with big breasts’ to ‘a girl with a bad rep­u­ta­tion’. Its dan­ger lies in its flex­i­bil­ity: ‘slut’ is a catch-all in­sult for dis­parag­ing and dis­cred­it­ing women.

I started The Unslut Pro­ject back in 2013 by blog­ging en­tries from when I was la­belled the school ‘slut’ nearly two decades ago, at the age of 11. Shar­ing my story was an in­vi­ta­tion for women ev­ery­where to speak out about theirs, and the pro­ject has grown into a sup­port­ive on­line com­mu­nity where peo­ple can share their ex­pe­ri­ences of sex­ual bul­ly­ing. I speak with women from all over the world, and the sto­ries are all the same: we are judged for what we wear, whom we sleep with or don’t sleep with, what our bod­ies look like, flirt­ing too much or not enough, or any num­ber of other non-rea­sons.

I have heard from a wo­man whose ex-boyfriend ru­ined her rep­u­ta­tion at work by cir­cu­lat­ing nude pho­to­graphs of her with­out her con­sent. An­other wo­man told me how some­one had set up mul­ti­ple Twit­ter ac­counts for the sole pur­pose of ‘slut’ sham­ing her. Just do a quick search for ‘slut’ on Twit­ter and you’ll see the way that so­cial me­dia is be­ing used to con­tinue this long, tragic tra­di­tion. (On sec­ond thoughts, please don’t do that search – it will to­tally ruin your day.)

Some­times, we even ‘slut’ shame one an­other. It can be sub­tle. We raise our eye­brows at the newly sin­gle friend who’s been on her fourth Tin­der date in a week. We roll our eyes and la­bel some­one an over­sharer when they joke about their trip to the STI clinic.

I’m just as guilty of this; in my 20s, I used to catch my­self think­ing or say­ing judge­men­tal things about other women. This day-to-day, low-level dis­ap­proval has be­come so nor­malised, it of­ten feels awk­ward not to an­tic­i­pate – but it per­pet­u­ates the prob­lem. As Tina Fey’s char­ac­ter in Mean Girls tells her stu­dents, “You all have to stop call­ing each other sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores.” The film came out over a decade ago, but it couldn’t be more rel­e­vant to­day.

We see ‘slut’ sham­ing played out in the pub­lic sphere, too – from crit­i­cism of Tay­lor Swift’s dat­ing life to com­men­ta­tors blam­ing Jen­nifer Lawrence and other fe­male celebri­ties when their nude pho­tos are hacked and shared with­out their con­sent. When we have women like 24-yearold Olivia Melville, who was abused and hu­mil­i­ated on the in­ter­net when a man screen-grabbed her Tin­der pro­file (fea­tur­ing sex­ual lyrics from a song by Drake) and shared it on­line.

We all suf­fer be­cause of it – not just when we’re the tar­get – be­cause we in­ter­nalise the ‘slut’ sham­ing mes­sages around us. We tell our­selves

Dress Witch­ery at Wool­worths R1 299

Blouse Mango R449

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.