happy Friday! This was a good week. I have been feeling a bit underwater with work (jury duty on Wednesday did not help!) but we made it! The biggest piece of news I have for you is that we announced our (mini!) live show tour for the podcast. Becca and I are both SO EXCITED. We truly cannot wait. Ticket sales have been pretty strong in all markets so far so if you want to come, be sure to get your tickets soon. A lot of the venues are on the smaller side. We’ll be announcing guests soon, too!
As for today – it’s been exactly a month ago since I announced my three month inclusivity challenge (As a refresher – I’m only shopping brands that carry at LEAST up to an XXL/16, ideally higher; and I will always offer a plus alternative to anything else that I link – but read the original post for more information on that) so today I wanted to provide a little update with how that’s going and some of the things I’ve learned.
How is it going?
First of all, it gave me a lot of empathy for how hard it is to shop if you’re larger than a size twelve.
You might have watched the video Katie and I made when we went shopping. If you haven’t, please do. It’s funny and engaging (Katie is so great at adding levity to a bad situation) but also really highlights how awful it is to shop if you’re above a size large or 32 in denim.
In limiting myself to shopping only brands that offered an extended range of sizes, I felt this frustration. Here’s an example. I saw this really cute satin leopard skirt on another blog and was like “OOH I want that.” Clicked over to the retailer’s website and they only offer up to a size L. Nearly added it to my cart and then remembered the challenge. “Okay fine, I can find one that comes in extended sizes.” Nope. I found ONE option and it was horribly tacky. So no leopard skirt for me. I didn’t actually need the leopard skirt and barely thought about it afterward BUT it made me think a lot about what life would be like if that was how I felt every. single. time. I. shopped.
It’s fine, I don’t need a leopard skirt but it brought to mind something Katie said in the video – that it isn’t about finding something that fits but about finding the thing you want in your size.
I learned some industry terms and also that a word I was using is pretty polarizing.
- Inclusive means a brand truly offers all sizes: 0-40. This is very, very rare.
- Extended Sizes means a brand carries at least an XXL and at least a 16/18. Prior to doing this challenge I didn’t realize how many brands stop at just a large or size 10.
- Straight Size is the industry term for size 0-14.
The big thing/lesson learned was the word FLATTERING is actually pretty polarizing. Before starting the challenge I had calls with a few friends and Lydia made me aware of this. Here’s the thing. When we say that a piece of clothing is flattering *generally* means that we think that item makes you look thinner. Which feeds into that mindset that “thinner is better.”
This was a real eye opener for me and something I had never even thought about or considered. This article articulates it better than I have but it is just something to think about. I’ve been actively trying not to say it. Sometimes I slip up but I’ve reframed the conversation to say “I feel my best in this dress,” or “This blazer makes me feel more confident.” And to be honest, some of the things I feel my best in (still love a sack dress!) definitely don’t make me look thinner/smaller so I’m perfectly happy nixing this word!
Brands I’ve started shopping more of…
- Universal Standard is one of the only brands out there that is TRULY inclusive – offering 0-40. I have and love this trench coat as well as this dress.
- Veronica Beard and Tanya Taylor – their pieces are more splurgy but LOVE them both. I’ve kinda swapped them out for Rebecca Taylor and Theory (two of my favorite brands that are sadly very limited in their size offering)
- Reformation – honestly I stopped shopping this brand a while ago because I was having fit problems (they run so tiny) but when they started offering extended sizes I bought this bodysuit and this dress. Love them both. The brand still runs small (I am usually a small/medium and took a medium in the dress and a large int he bodysuit)
- Anthropologie – their inclusive collection is SO cute! This top is a part of it and I just ordered this dress after seeing it on a girlfriend and being so certain that it had to be vintage.
I’ve def gotten a little shade so far – but that’s going to happen whenever you step outside of your comfort zone / area of expertise.
I got a comment saying that my “pandering” to the plus community was disingenuous, people have said I’m doing it to make more money (I mean honestly that’s not the reason but if I make more money then GREAT?), and had other silly things said. I’ve had readers who were concerned that I would be changing my content for the challenge (I totally get the concern but I hope if that was you, you’ll see – I’m really not changing a thing if you think about it, I’m just being more mindful about where I shop!)
I’ve gotten a lot of feedback that as a straight-size woman I don’t know what is going to look best on a plus body. That isn’t wrong. (But the same could be saying about not knowing what would look good on a lot of other body types or even my own as I have always dressed around my mood not around “flattering” my shape.) I’m not professing to be an expert BUT I want everyone who comes here to be able to shop off of my site if they choose to. My style of blogging has never been to tell you that I am a style expert (I’m NOT) or that you “need” something (you DON’T); I just show you things I love. I realized I was excluding a significant part of the population and am trying to change that!
At the end of the day, I am doing the best I can, and with time I’ve realized that no matter what you do, there will always be criticism.
I’m not perfect, I’ve stepped into an area where I’m definitely not an expert. But I am learning every day and working hard to just DO BETTER. What I want most for this site is for it to be a place where all women can come and find inspiration.
Besides that goal, I do think that the thing that is most impactful (which I’ve said) slash underlying reason that I’m doing this is that I very firmly believe that it cannot be just one group of women yelling at brands to change the system. It can’t be only plus women yelling at say Theory or Rebecca Taylor (and I don’t actually mean yelling, I mean having a rational conversation LOL). It needs to be their existing customer base, too. I really believe we can make some headway IF more people like me say, “Okay, I love Theory, but I’m going to choose to shop at Veronica Beard instead as they are a brand that’s making an effort.” I hope that makes sense.
And in happier news, I did get word from Tuckernuck that they are going to be going up to an XXL in their private label collection this Fall which is amazing! They are one of my favorite stores to shop and I work with them a lot but I haven’t been able to because of my new rules. It’s a small step but a step in the right direction!
photography by Carter Fish.