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Story by ModCloth friends are some of the most motivated peeps we know, so we are continuing our exciting year-long campaign highlighting them. We’re calling it #inspiredbyyou, and it’s just that — useful, whimsical blog content that’s inspired by our ModCloth customers, readers, and beyond. Each month, we’re tapping fabulous storytellers and asking them to share their expertise right here on the blog. What better way to celebrate the ModCloth community than to showcase the incredible work being created by them? This month we connected with blogger, baker, and advocator Jes Baker. With ModCloth’s 1-year anniversary of plus, we thought she’d be the perfect person to chat with about the state of the industry. Here’s what she had to say:
Image via Liora K Photography
Last year, I packed my cowboy boots, way too many dresses, and a boatload of enthusiasm and headed to NYC for ModCloth’s Plus Size Summit of Awesome. I added that last part to the name, but it’s definitely true. While I sat there among other bloggers and ladies of influence, I learned something that changed the way I viewed plus fashion forever.
Before I explain, let me say this: I am notorious for complaining about the lack of sexy/cute/fashionable clothing for larger ladies. Every summer, I search for swimsuits for the bigger gals and end up banging my head against the wall at the inequality. There simply aren’t as many options as there are for straight sizes, and much of the clothing that is available is limited in style. For example, there isn’t a plethora of plus bikinis, and the cute swimsuits we do find come in similar styles. Usually with skirts. So what happens if you don’t like skirts?
This always prompts the question: Why don’t we see more plus clothes? Why isn’t the market for “larger ladies that want to look amazing” being recognized? The complex answer is stigma, and the direct consequence is that there simply are not enough vendors to make them. This is something I learned at the Plus Summit, and something I’ve heard from other designers as well.
But here’s the interesting thing — plus size women have A LOT of buying power. Manufacturers are starting to realize this, so we are seeing a little bit of an increase in fashionable clothing, though not enough (and certainly not enough in the swimwear department). BUT WE CAN CHANGE THIS. I am convinced that a contributing factor to the lack of options is the fact that we’re still not comfortable in our bodies. The demand for slimming-tucking-trimming-hiding-camouflaging clothing still outweighs the wear-whatever-we-want clothing, and this won’t change until we use our buying power to show otherwise.
We need to show that WE LOVE OUR BODIES AND WE WANT ALL THE SEXY OPTIONS. We can do this by supporting companies that stylishly dress larger women (ModCloth and many others), by purchasing exactly what we want (the way we want), and by being vocal about what we’d like to see. Never underestimate the power of consumer demands; we have the ability to shift the fashion industry in a big (heh) way.
Find what you love. Wear what you love. Show the world. Work it. Flaunt it, and watch more options appear. Let’s empower ourselves and show the world that we are confident in the fact that our bodies are perfect just the way they are. And y’know what? That’s the honest truth.
I experienced a profound shift in attitude a few months ago, and I directly attribute that change to ModCloth and the amazing plus-size clothes they have on offer. After years of yo-yo dieting and dressing to camouflage my “problem areas”, I have decided to flaunt what I’ve got. I’m tired of being made to feel inferior because of my dress size. I’m tired of being made to feel that the only clothing I ought to wear is black and/or baggy. And I’m tired of having to settle for clothing that was obviously designed for a 60 year old to wear. Thank you, ModCloth, for empowering this zaftig woman to dress the way she wants to dress, dammit!
Michelle – this just made my day. Thank you for sharing – and thank you for being YOU! <3
As an almost 58 year old big woman, I have to tell you that I totally hate the schmattas in heinous, Gaugin-on-steroids prints! I’ve always been a little adventurous in the wardrobe department, I started collecting vintage back in my size 6 days and never lost the love. That’s why Modcloth is such a visual treat. Currently looking for a “non-matronly” MOB dress for a very hip daughter’s wedding.
Jes, I love your message (and your blog and your awesomeness!) and I really appreciate that Modcloth tries to include women of a wide range of sizes. But as happy as I am to see more plus and “normal”-sized bodies represented in fashion, those bodies still seem to fall in the same category of shape–if you have generous boobs and a smaller waist, then your curves get celebrated as “fabulous”. But we aren’t all shaped like that. I love seeing big hourglass girls flaunt a cute fit-and-flare dress–but I’m a rectangle (with gorgeous legs) who would love a mini-skirted shift dress that doesn’t require gravity-defying cleavage and coke-bottle shape to pull off. Modlcoth, not all plus ladies have hourglass figures!
Amen! There are all KINDS of bodies. And sometimes people in general don’t acknowledge this. I should write a post, m’lady.
But for now: Wear what you love. Show the world. Work it. Flaunt it, and (hopefully) watch more options appear.
Find your activism lady! I support you a million percent.
I’m so grateful that ModCloth has plus size dresses. Thanks to you my collection of dresses has never been so big and so cute. I also appreciate how easy it is to return something if it doesn’t fit. I also love in the details section about every dress with an honest description letting you know if a dress is true to size or not. Thank you ModCloth!
Jes is right – I have money to spend on cute fashion. Money that all too often sits in my pocket because I can’t find what I’m looking for in my size. Yes, designing for a woman with curves is harder than designing for a single digit size, but if you want my money, you’re going to have to do it. I’m not going to shell out my hard earned money for muumuus and badly-cut unflattering designs.
I’m at the begining of the very long journey of becoming a successful plus size model here in Australia and as i hunt for on trend items for castings and shoots I have noticed that there really isn’t a huge range of options for plus size women who want to express themselves through fashion and not just use clothes to cover their bodies. Modcloth is a great resource and it’s great to see women fitting the good fight both here in Australia and overseas.
Keep up the great work, and if you ever need another plus size model, there’s a very keen red headed Aussie here ready and willing.
I would really love to see a button on the modcloth website/app, that would let us plus size customers be able to let you know that we would love a particular item in our size. Kind of like what you do when an item sells out. You could also use this as a survey to show certain designers/manufacturers how many sales they are missing out on, by only designing straight sizes.
The way fat chick clothing is treated as though it were “normal” has really turned me off Modcloth. By creating “bbw” clothing obesity, cellulite and delusion is promoted. Sorry I am a size 4 and I do not want to wear the same things a size 24 wears. it defeats the purpose of all my hard work.
I’m not plus sized and I find this offensive. This is a nasty comment. Maybe you want to starve yourself and work out 24/7 but some of us want to live. It’s not what’s on the outside but on the inside. Obviously your trying to use your exterior looks to hide the ugliness you have inside. I would be happy to see any beautiful kind hearted person wearing the same clothes as me no matter their size gender or appearance. Modcloth does plus sized options for women who have felt left out in a society that is the mainly size 10 and up! Get over yourself and look at the bigger picture!!
It must suck to hate yourself so much that you’re insecure about someone larger than yourself looking just as good (or better than you) in their own clothes. Believe it or not, plus size fashion designers aren’t designing clothes to spite you and your hateful exercise/eating routine, but because more women are a size 14 than a size 4. Really, do get over yourself and maybe examine why you have so much animosity towards the majority of the population who have far less fashionable clothing options than you. No one group “deserves” nice clothes more than any other. Everyone deserves to look good and feel good about themselves no matter their size.
I wonder if size zeros feel offended by the fact that size fours are allowed to wear the same clothing…
This isn’t how the world works. There is no “better than” body, and if we are basing our life accomplishments by how much we match the media’s created sense of beauty, we are grossly misaligned with reality.
When we educate ourselves about why we find ourselves in a beauty based culture, we will quickly learn that we’ve been duped. (History lesson here: http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/08/why-weve-learned-to-hate-ourselves.html)
All bodies are different, and all bodies are good bodies.
And the sooner we learn to love ourselves and not judge others, the happier we will be!
Starwalker, the way stick chick clothing is treated as though it were “normal” has really turned me off Media. By creating this image anorexia, bones showing, and unhealthy attitudes are promoted. Sorry I am a size 20W and I do not want to wear the same things a size 4 wears. I am going to celebrate my body no matter what size it is – and hope everyone reading this has the courage to love their own body and every nook and cranny that lives within it. And by the way, sickness, cellulite and delusion do not discriminate against size 4s.
Women at every size should be made to feel beautiful! I know many plus sized women who run marathons, are active, etc., and you wouldn’t know it. Clothes for plus size women has NOTHING TO DO WITH perpetuating unhealthy lifestyles. Do we wear garbage bags until we are a size 4? The average size for a woman in America is a size 12-14 so unless you get out much, you are WAY OFF BASE here. What kind of person like you would waste their time replying like this?! Take a seat! While I’m working on myself, evolving and becoming a better me, I still have a right to be cute- size 0 and beyond.
Geez, Starwalker, that was mean. I’m a size 2 and think everyone deserves nice clothes. Also I harbor no delusion that I am a size 2 for any reason other than having a particular set of genes. I don’t diet ever, and I don’t really exercise much besides walking around town. I have no patience with people saying that large women are lazy, or that small women starve themselves. Most of the time it’s just not the case. You can control your size *somewhat* — but only to a certain limited extent. The majority of our size is dictated by genes and body chemistry.
I bought my first plus size dress from Mod-Cloth in March 2013 (heart and solar) prior to this I could only get accessories and shoes as a fat girl. I don’t get the hate Mod-Cloth gets-I fully understand and accept that clothing manufactured in the US by people being paid a living wage will be more expensive. I also live in Canada so shipping to me is rarely cheap and I don’t get up in arms about having to spend $$ to return. I have an extensive Mod-Cloth dress collection because of the Bea and Dot, Myrtlewood lines-I love having access to quirky novelty prints that skinny counterparts get access too.
I take advantage of knowing my measurements and check them against every item- I recently went through my order history and found because of Mod-Cloth’s increased Plus Size offerings I am spending on average $400-500 a month, and I LOVE being able to do that. I am SO thankful for Mod-Cloth including plus size offerings.
I will continue to support and shop at Mod-Cloth as long as they offer the items I want in my size 🙂
Thank all of you for your insights into plus size clothing. I am a plus size lady who is now 64 years of age. I have always been plus size and suffered over the years feeling guilty. Now that fashion is beginning to design and produce more plus sizes, it helps me feel more attractive. I am so glad those of you younger than me have the opportunity to find fashion you like and flaunt your style. And even a plus size 64 year old can be stylish.
This is a wonderful article, and a good approach for women of all shapes and sizes to have. I’ve been on a similar journey as a woman with small breasts. And I mean small, like AA, even after having two kids. I have never owned a bra that actually fit. Like you, I don’t want to wear something that tortures and mangles my body into an acceptable shape. I don’t want a bra full of wires and padding. I want one that flatters my tiny boobs, as they are. Because in spite of small breasts being unfashionable, I love them the way they are. I’m so happy that women are demanding clothes that flatter their real shapes, not the shapes we are “supposed” to have. More power to ya!
THANK YOU! What a great article about wearing what you love. I am not a plus size (8-10/M-L cusp), but a rectangle shape (well really more like a potato) with no waist and most clothing makes me hate myself because anything with a fitted waist just DOES NOT work. Mod Cloth does a great job of working with various bloggers, showing different sizes, etc., but yes, most are the classically curvy hourglass shapes. I’d love to be a rectangle/potato-shaped consultant for mod cloth. I finally figured out how to style shorts without looking like Mr. Potato Head! I know many women post-childbirth, with PCOS and other hormonal issues, and just being a non-hourglass shape would LOVE to find FEMININE styling suggestions to try.
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