Plus Sized; A Compliment or Criticism?

Pictured here with the beautiful Kiara Sherman, follow her on instagram @kiarasherman5
I had the honor and privilege of attending the Luxe Kurves networking event in downtown San Diego, it was truly a great event with tons of beautiful people. Luxe Kurves is an upscale lifestyle publication for curvy women and are unique in that they celebrate all body types; recognizing that curves come in all sizes.

This ethos resonates with me, because as women we can often find it difficult to categorize ourselves and our body types when we aren’t represented in fashion. How can I dress for my body type when I don’t know how a certain line will look on my body type? Truthfully, it can take a toll on our self esteem.

Why is this important? Who cares? We do! Certain clothing lines and fabric choices are best for specific body types, and its important for us to know how to dress our body types in order to feel confident and comfortable.

History was recently made when Ashley Graham starred as the first plus size model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Plus size women all over the world are rejoicing at what they consider progress. However, going to this event solidified my presumption about the stigma associated with the term ‘plus size’.  This label is widely open to interpretation, and while I’m sure I’m going to ruffle a few feathers, I’m here to talk about some of the misconceptions associated with the plus size community.

Technically, in the fashion industry, anything over a size 10 is considered plus size. However, in order to be a plus sized model, you have to be at least a size 14 and 5’9. On the flip side, in order to be a runway model, the size requirements are at least 5’7 in height and very slim. Where does this put every other person between sizes 2-12? They are the in-betweeners. Their figure is not represented in fashion, which can take a toll on a woman’s self esteem. When a body type is glorified in the media, it conveys a message to the reader which often reads: ‘you should look like this’. This glorification combined with social pressures can often leave women feeling inadequate.

Admittedly, various publications have broadened the scope of women they represent in recent years. Slim figures have always been glorified, recently athletic figures are gaining attention, and now fuller figures are finally making their debut. Why, then, is being plus sized still perceived negatively? Ashley Graham’s cover shot sparked controversy with many people questioning her health and the ramifications of glorifying ‘obesity’. Understandably, there is a common misconception that plus size people are unhealthy. However, one could hardly say that a size 14 woman standing 5’9 tall is unhealthy. 

At the Luxe Kurves event I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the beautiful Kiara Sherman, a plus sized model here in the San Diego area. I asked her a little bit about her routine, shared mine with her, and laughed a little about being hungry as we spoke. What I found interesting was that, as a military spouse, I am surrounded by some of the most fit men and women in the world. These people are type-A go-getters that don’t make or accept any excuses, and generally speaking are in very good shape. Not only do they make exercise a part of their daily routine, they live, eat, and breathe exercise and plan all of their activities around their workout schedule. Weekend activities usually include some type of active sport like volleyball or hiking, and not surprisingly, when I talked to Kiara, her routine was very similar.

The point I hope to convey is that you can be plus size and healthy. You can be plus sized and beautiful. You can be an in-betweener and be beautiful, and of course, you can be skinny and beautiful. Every individual has a comfortable weight they maintain in order to be healthy, some are more than others depending on body type. It’s up to us (and only us!) to determine what that weight should be and, hopefully, the happiness, health, and confidence it comes with. 

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