Why We Still Need More Plus Size Representation in Ads
While the selection of plus size clothing is getting better, the representation still doesn’t always reflect the customers. That is why when I saw the display in front of Lane Bryant this past weekend, I did a little happy dance in the middle of the mall! There was a beautiful model that had a body like me, and she was front and center of this gorgeous collage!
This trend is one that I really hope will grow. We need more representation of all body types when we shop for clothes. The industry still often uses models that are smaller than most of the people shopping at plus size stores. I am 5’4 and a size 16 currently. When I see someone who is 5’10 and a 14, I don’t really know what those clothes are going to look like on me. It might look great. I might look like I am wearing a sack. My boobs might fit. They may just pop out to say, “Hello World!”
Seeing someone wearing intimate apparel with a similar build as me makes me want to go out and buy that whole set. (It also makes the mister want to do the same for me, not that I mind in the least!) It empowers me. It makes me want to strut my stuff, even if in this case it is only in the bedroom or underneath my clothes. Still…I want to see more of this.
For a long time, I have wondered why we don’t see a variety of sizes. A lot of companies use models that wear the smallest of their sizes or sometimes use models that are smaller than their smallest size. The latter makes me even more hesitant to shop. It almost says, “We want you to give us money, but we really don’t want to see plus size people in our clothes.” It feels like a cop out.
Granted, there are lots of companies that still give little to no plus size representation at all. As the new owner of a Pin Up boutique, I struggle to find brands that represent my goal for my business, which is providing pin up to everyone regardless of size. Recently, in a discussion in a pin up group in which I belong, one of the moderators posted the response she received from one company when she asked why they don’t carry extended sizes. The company said that the items don’t sell. I know that to be false. I have more plus size customers than smaller sized ones. The plus size industry is booming and with customers that have money. However, we don’t want to be treated like we are inferior. We shouldn’t be made to feel that we can’t look gorgeous.
So when I saw the display the other day, I was definitely happy. I am happy that there is progress, but I feel that plus size companies still have a ways to go. I am happy that major players like Lane Bryant and Torrid are putting a variety of bodies in their ads because they are all good bodies, and they help show how awesome we would look too in the clothing. It is good advertising that more companies need to embrace! Also, we need more representation, especially where there is a market in which plus size people wish to spend. I really hope that this trend will continue to grow!