The Problems With Plus | Le Hoarder
Le Hoarder

A NYC -ish* Style and Shopping Blog

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Problems With Plus

My latest Instagram caption was running waaaay too long so I decided it's time we talk about plus and mid-size fashion—and size-inclusivity. If you're looking for body positivity this might not be the place for you. It's something I struggle with. I work off of a fake it till you make it attitude with most things in life, so while some days I'm feeling it, there are plenty days that I'm not. So if you're easily triggered you might want to stop here.




In high school I was a size 4 and my younger sister (who's 2 years younger) was a size 14. People called her fat or told her she had a pretty face and all that BS. But what she had (that I lacked) was confidence. Boys flocked to her. Meanwhile I hid in my room with my girlfriends and we giggled because were too afraid to speak to boys. They actually called us "the gigglies".

That said, she gave up on clothing at an early age. Back then there was nothing cute or age appropriate for a young girl to wear if she was a bigger size. It was all matronly, frumpy, and not much fun. And forget shoes. She wears a 12WW which is next to impossible for anything other than sneakers. I did find her a style of Fit Flop size 11 slides that worked for her wider flat feet and high instep and she's been re-buying them ever since. She even wears them in the winter. Luckily I'm only a 9.5 (and not wide) or I don't know what I would do. To this day she hates to shop (even though plus has come a long way) and we just don't share my love affair with fashion. And frankly, I don't blame her.


I was a teenager in late 80's & 90s so even I found myself in oversized fits and a lot of Gap clothing from the men's sale rack. Grunge was a thing. But growing up in a Jewish religious/orthodox household I was also more covered up for modesty (tzniut) and the message I received was that our bodies had to be hidden (fat or skinny) and coupled with being naturally thin and being told I was too skinny—it was years before I was comfortable in my own skin.


So when I found myself in the mid-size/plus space a couple years ago I initially panicked remembering my sister's childhood shopping trauma. At first I would squeeze into 12 and 14 straight size pieces but it was a challenge finding the right shapes for my figure.


I finally starting playing around with plus brands and ran into a few fit issues: 


1. Why so do many plus styles have narrow fitted upper arms? When I gained weight, I gained there too. And when you're over 40, weight loves to stick there.


2. Not all plus people have huge boobs. I'm a D but most plus pieces are cut for even larger. What about gals who are smaller?


3. 99% of plus wrap dresses are mock wraps. But I prefer true wrap dresses to fit my proportionally smaller waist and bust. And half the time brands don't disclose if it's a true wrap or not so I'm left guessing. I love Tanya Taylor but I've learned the hard way that the hips are too narrow, top is too big—all because she only does mock wraps. If they did a true wrap version I'd be wearing them daily.


4. Not all plus women have the same shape. I'm still a pear. Well, more hourglass these days. But I'm finding most plus styles are for apple shapes. All these shapes need to be represented in a plus collection. Last year when Eloquii offered free alterations at a few of their stores I grabbed my trusty Ikea bag, filled it with every Eloquii piece I owned, and ran to the NYC store.


5. Most plus seems to be cut for taller women. I'm an average 5'5" (but short-waisted) and I have a hard time drowning in designs that seem to be made for a 6 foot woman. What are even shorter, petite-plus women supposed to wear? There is a HUGE gap in the market there.


6. Not every garment needs pockets and/or lining. I know some people like them but I don't. I'd rather wear my own slip or shape wear. And I don't like when pockets fall on the widest point on my hips. I'm already self-conscious about that spot. I don't want to add any bulk there.


Which brings me to this Torrid dress. It's a freakin unicorn. Unlike so many plus wrap dresses, this one has a true wrap so I can fit my bust and waistline to perfection. And I was able to cut out the inner slip (it's a great slip and I can wear it with other stuff but I always prefer lighter weight fabrics to skim the body) and wear with a nude bra and nude shaper shorts. I love the upper arm coverage and the subtle peek of shoulder. 


There isn't a lot of sizing left but it initially came in 10-30 (I'm wearing the 12). If you're lucky you can score one for just $22.79 right now (was $75.50). I was nervous to order it because on the website they didn't have a lot of reviews and there were zero pics on a model or reviewer, but I'm guessing it didn't blow out for those reasons alone. I was surprised I couldn't find any Insta pics of this dress on anyone because it's so good. It was tie dye-ish in the summer of tie-dye and it's so light and airy—it really is the perfect summer dress. I also think it will transition into early fall if I switch up the bag.





You can shop my unicorn dress, and the rest of my look here:


Sunglasses: Lafont Paris, c/o

Necklace: Sequin NYC, c/o

Dress: Torrid, was $75.50, now $22.79

Bag: Staud, sample sale score, $35? It was last day markdowns...

Shoes: Daybreaks, c/o


(Note: some links are affiliate links and some aren't. Meaning I make a couple pennies if you click on some. And the others I share anyway because I hate those people who won't link up just because they won't make any money on it.)


Also including some favorite size inclusive and/or plus styles that have caught my eye:




I'm finding that some plus brands are more size-inclusive than others. I personally look for sites like 11 Honoré and Torrid that start at size 10/12 and go up to 30 (sometimes higher). Don't get me wrong, I love Eloquii but I wish they regularly included 10-12 too. Their last special collection with R29 started at a 12 and I snapped up a bunch.


Sites like ASOS and H&M are not traditionally plus but now have lots of plus options too. ASOS is awesome because it has petite, plus and tall sizing for women. My pink NYFW dress was featured (with me in it) on InStyle.com and on their Instagram feed—and still gets random likes on my feed (seen here). It now comes in green in curve sizing too. Universal Standard goes next level with inclusivity with sizes 00-40.


Overall, I consider myself lucky. I have so many more options than my sister had. I also acknowledge that I have a different experience than so many in the plus community (like my sister) because I didn't grow up plus. We're not even gonna get into who's marginalized and not marginalized today, that's a whole other post. It can still be challenging, but when I find clothing that fits (it seems I can no longer use the word flattering because evidently that's triggering for some) and makes me happy, it makes it all worth it. And don't get me wrong, clothing that's traditionally "unflattering" is ok too if that's your choice. Fashion rules went out the window ages ago. Fat girls can wear crop tops and bike shorts too. Do what makes you happy.


I'm almost a little embarrassed to say that I used to refer to clothing as skinny Michelle clothing (which was my idealized version of self) and fat Michelle clothing (makeshift clothing to get by until I could fit my skinny clothing again). I also used to use a term called punishment clothing (ugh) which was when I would get a few pieces in a larger size to wear until I lost the few pounds I gained. So while the concept was good (it's so important to always have clothing that fits and makes you feel good about yourself to motivate you to get yourself out of bed in the morning) the term was terrible. I shouldn't punish myself for gaining a few pounds. What we all need is a little more forgiveness around here.


I had a fellow mid-size/plus influencer friend recently tell me that she had cut back on posting because of all the hate she was getting for promoting a "unhealthy lifestyle" just for sharing her killer style and basically just existing. She's not even that big—she's tall and stunning. And that made me so mad. I'm guessing she had an influx of these losers because of a few recent viral-ish videos and posts. Which is why I told her she had to keep up the momentum and and keep representing. All that extra attention (even if negative) means her voice has power and you can't let anyone take your power or your voice. EVER.


Why do we exclusively judge and define people by weight alone? How can we ever make peace with our bodies and feel good about ourselves if that's the only conversation? How about we start normalizing all bodies, shapes, colors, sexuality, races and religions. It's 2020 people. Different is okay.


So there ya go. I'm putting all my truths out there. I think I've been silent for so long over here because I wasn't ready for this conversation. I have so many started half posts that I just couldn't finish. Until now.


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2 comments

  1. Everything in this post resonates with me. I've gained about 15-20 pounds in the past year or so and I've been hiding. Waiting for "smaller me." Like people won't love me at this larger size. I have sizes 10-16 in my closet and at this particular time have very few clothes I can even wear! Gah and shit.

    This post hit me as honest and true. I hate the story about your influencer friend that stopped posting because of backlash. What is wrong with all of us?

    Please post more for those of us hiding. We need to stop it and post along with you!

    Thank you so much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I’ve missed your blog posts Michelle! Good to see that you’re back. You always had such well written editorial content.

    You bring up so many good points about plus fashion and fashion in general. We’re all different, we all come in different shapes. I always have to go up a few sizes for pants because my thighs are too big for what should be my normal size. Of course when the thighs fit well the waste is too big. Curves come in all sizes, even tiny ones! I do see more brands design the curvy fit and it’s about damn time!

    https://www.practicallyhaute.com

    ReplyDelete

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