Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Australian Fashion’s Problem with Plus Size Clothing

The Struggle to Find Plus Size Womens Clothing is Real!

While it might feel like we’re slowly getting there, right now there’s no doubt that there’s a definite lack of plus size womens clothing in Australia. Our nation’s lack of size diversity is noticeable and frustrating to say the least.

Though high fashion brands worldwide are generally slow on the uptake when it comes to adding curve sizes to their lines, most budget brands have been adopting plus size womens clothing for years. Brands in Australia such as Sportsgirl, Kmart, Target, Big W, and Cotton On are bringing bigger girls gorgeous casual fashion and activewear, yet other Aussie brands refuse to open their sizing up for examination.

What Constitutes a Curve Range?

Plus size womens clothing

Curve ranges usually start at a size 16, most of them ending at 18 or 20, which is hardly enough to cover most plus size women, literally! Yes, we can hear the chorus of “stop complaining, they already have a curve range”, but the buck shouldn’t stop at a few sizes deep. It’s as if they’re saying “that’ll do” when they reach size 18 or 20 and it has a lot to do with how curve women are viewed.

If you’ve ever been on social media, you’ll know that curves are in fashion which has a huge impact on fashion itself. Curvy girls are more confident than ever and with the body positive movement gaining momentum, it’s helped a lot of size 16+ girls boost their self esteem online. But there’s a difference in fashion’s eagerness to involve these women. The main difference is they draw a line between a ‘curvy hourglass girl’ and a ‘big plus size girl’. An hourglass figure is classed as sexy and any other shape can get stuffed apparently.

While it’s inherently difficult for women who aren’t cinched at the waist to find clothing, it’s still just as hard for size 16+ women of any shape to see size representation, especially on the runway.

Why is it so Difficult to Shop for Curves?

Size 26 plus

With Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, we noticed an obvious and massive gap that size diversity should be filling. Out of 70 brands featured across the week, only a handful showcased models above a size 16. Women size 16+ have disposable incomes, want to wear the latest trends, and want to feel confident in their clothes, so why not give it to them? High fashion brands in Australia aren’t offering curve sizes because they simply don’t want that ‘look’ wearing their clothes on the streets. It’s not because it’s not profitable because the reality is that plus size womens clothing is a gold mine.

There’s no denying that we love a bit of retail therapy; we enjoy taking the time to go to the shopping centre and search through racks, sifting through endless fabrics to find that perfect outfit. There’s something cathartic about the distraction that fashion shopping provides. There’s a kind of beauty and art that offers a tangible, wearable answer to a pure form of self expression.

For plus size women needing to shop, it comes as a shock to realise that many curve sizes are unavailable in stores, offering online browsing only. It’s hard enough shopping retail as an 8-12, needing to try on various sizes and brands to find what fits right; so imagine having to resort to online shopping as a size 16+. You’ll have to search for hours to pick the items you want, measure yourself against a ‘size guide’, receive the package, open it to find the fit/size is wrong, send it back, and do it all over again!

You’d need to shop weeks in advance for an event, and the therapeutic ritual of physical shopping is stripped away.

So, Is There Any Hope for Plus Size Women?

Thankfully, brands and individuals are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to creating stunning fashion that stands up for curvy women everywhere. A nd they’re not stopping at size 18! Rather than relying on higher fashion houses to create change and offer inclusive sizes to their existing lines, there are brands out there designed for curves.

It’s a lucrative force to be reckoned with, and we’ve found some amazing (mostly) Australian brands that are pioneering for plus size fashion – here’s who we recommend:

Loose fitting womens clothing

For Casual & Workwear

@barja.thelabel, @commonry, @monicathelabel, @harlow_au, @adriftclothing, @17_sundays

For Events

@ dyspnea_ @embodywomen, @curvebridalboutique, @youandallboutique, @littlepartydress, @spell, @citychiconline, @bohemian.traders

For Activewear

@activetruth, @anamactivewear, @exoticathletica, @aimn.oceania

For Swimwear

@artesands, @swimsuitsforall, @saint.somebody, @beyondtheseaswimwear, @shapesinthesandswim


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