I went shopping in the plus size section of a store for the first time ever a couple days ago. Looking over at the “regular” sizes with anxiety, I thought, “isn’t that the side I was supposed to be grabbing clothes from?” The whole situation was strange. I wasn’t ashamed of shopping in the plus sized section, but I felt as though I was supposed to be. I’ve been conditioned my entire life to think that sizes XS through L were normal, when the truth was that there is no size normality.
I had been a size medium most of my life. I got comfortable enough with the size that I could buy any article of clothing without the need to try it on. I was in clothing nirvana: no fit issues, no size fluctuations. It all changed after I gained a bit of weight one summer and went from size medium all the time to size large sometimes and size medium other times. It was a confusing point in my life, because I loved shopping, but I now hated it at the same time. I resolved to lose weight, afraid that I would pass size large and have to shop in the plus size section. After about a year, I was able to fit in a size small. I was ecstatic! I couldn’t believe it!
The truth of the matter was that I couldn’t really fit into a size small; I could just get it to zip. It would take me another few years to realize that, in that moment, I was a victim of tags. I let the size on the clothing label define me. When I saw that I could zip a small, I couldn’t believe it. Fast forward to present day, though, and now I’m pulling clothes from the plus size section, glancing at the tags only to see the price. I grab anything that I see and love, regardless of the size on the label. I’ve gotten used to dressing to my body, rather than to a specific size. My wardrobe has flourished, and I feel comfortable in whatever I decide to wear. Gone are the days where I look at a dress and convince myself I can fit if I wear Spanx. Now I know that everything I wear fits me, and I look fantastic in them.
This size-less confidence was not always the case for me, and a lot of other women have felt the same way about size as I did. But, if the average woman is a size 14, why is it so hard for us to accept larger sizes? It might be because girls are bombarded from a young age with images of outrageously thin women. Their pictures are plastered everywhere: TV, magazines, online. Girls grow up with the image of the perfect girl in their minds, and she is tall and thin. This ingrained idea makes it harder for the girls who grow up and find themselves with body shapes that are different than the models’. But these bodies are just as beautiful as the ones we see on TV. They look beautiful in clothing, but not if it’s two sizes too small. This isn’t just a plus sized concept: if someone who is usually a size XS wears a dress that’s size XL, it’s not going to fit right. Clothing is, in fact, all about fit. While all people should be free to wear the styles they want, it’s still important not to ignore fit.
All bodies are beautiful, whether tall and thin or short and curvy. There is no one body type that should be used as a standard, as this makes women force themselves into uncomfortable fits in an effort to mimic the ideal. When women go shopping, they should reach for the clothing that fits them, not the ones into which they have to squeeze. If you think a plus size skirt will fit you best, get that one! There should not be shame attached to it. Plus sized clothing is not blasphemous, it’s just a wider range of fits. In my opinion, there shouldn’t even be a plus sized section, just one section where all the sizes are held. People shouldn’t be afraid to wear clothes that fit them, and when we split sizes into sections, we make people feel uncomfortable buying these sizes. Everyone is beautiful, from the smallest to the largest bodies. No one should be ashamed to buy clothes that fit and strut their stuff.
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