“It really blows my mind that we live in a world where most women would technically be considered plus-size,” says Dolly Monroe, photographer, model, and body positivity blogger. “But the options for us are so limited compared to what’s available to those who are considered straight-sized.”
With February being Body Positivity Month, This is a great opening to talk about body positivity for plus size women and the fashion that fits us. As a plus-size woman, there’s not a lot as far as fashion locally. Walking through West Edmonton Mall, it’s hard to imagine a shortage of clothing stores or of fashion in general. There are over 40 stores that sell women’s clothing. Until recently, just one supplied plus-size fashion. Torrid, is the new plus-size fashion retailer that moved into Edmonton in 2016, to locations at Kingsway and West Edmonton Mall.
“When you think of Pennington’s, you think of your grandma shopping,” Torrid Employee Glenda Cartwright says.“Whereas Torrid is more towards the 20-something set of people. As someone that’s turning 24, it’s so hard to find something that fits my personal tastes.”
With so many tastes in fashion, diversity in this industry is vital. With that in mind, Torrid has set itself up as a sibling company to counterculture fashion retailer Hot Topic.
“You can definitely still see the Hot Topic flavour,” Cartwright says. “It’s kind of modern, kind of chic, and a little edgy.”
Cartwright says that, when she first walked into the store, she anticipated more styles from Hot Topic but was, “let down by the amount of pop-culture stuff. There’s not a lot. There’s just enough, but it’s not focused on it. It’s more focused on fashion.”
Walking past Torrid advertisements, one thing that strikes you is that their models look like normal people.
“Here’s our product on real people,” Cartwright says, “They look like actual people that you see on the street and I think that’s awesome.”
Plus-size retailers, though, are getting more comfortable with representing women as they are, breaking down the stereotypes of being plus size. Monroe specifically mentions Tess Holliday, the designer of the fashion brand MLBM from Pennington’s, as “one of the biggest faces out there working her way into the mainstream media.”
“Not only is she normalizing plus-size bodies, she is also helping to make it more acceptable in our culture to be sexy and fat.”
Cartwright agrees. “We’ve started to go, ‘Oh shit, we have larger girls who might be edgy, or might be a good girl, that want to wear clothes that make them feel good.”
“We live in a diverse culture, where people aren’t just carbon copies of each other,” Cartwright continues. “We’re moving away from trying to hide things. It’s not just your grandma’s clothes anymore. It’s not just muumuus and sweat pants.”
As Monroe says, “We come in all shapes, sizes, colours, with different fashion styles.”
Body positivity is for everyone that has a body. Regardless of height, weight, age, size, or anything like that, you matter.