For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled finding clothes to fit my body type. The first time I realized that I couldn’t wear the same clothes as everyone else, I was in sixth grade. It was my best friend’s birthday and her mom took me and four other girls to the mall for a little shopping spree. I was so excited to go hang out with my friends and try on matching outfits. Little did I know that through a dark, perfume-filled storefront was my biggest nightmare… literal HELL… Hollister.
I knew I was the “fat friend.” I mean, it was pretty obvious. It’s not something that I had ever really thought too much about or been ashamed of. But, that day in sixth grade I finally FELT like the “fat one” for the first time in my life. We all grabbed the same long sleeve blue shirt with a floral pattern on the arm. My friends picked over all the smalls and mediums, and I was left standing there staring at the one size large that was left. Now, I cannot tell you the last time I could wear ANY article of clothing without an “X” somewhere in the size. I knew good and well that shirt was not going to fit, but I went into that dark, stinky dressing room and stretched the HELL out of that cheap fabric.
I looked like an absolute fool in that Hollister shirt. I wanted to fit in with my friends SO bad though. Even though the seams were about to bust and my stomach was hanging out, I dropped all my allowance money at Hollister. I hated that shirt. I hated the way it made me feel. But most of all, I hated that everyone else fit in that fucking shirt.
Don’t get me wrong, I love gassing all my friends up and letting them know that they are killing it. HOWEVER, I’m so tired of always having to relive that terrible day as a middle schooler in Hollister. The average size of a woman in the U.S. is a 16. Most mainstream clothing brands consider a 16 “plus size.” I am always seeing the argument that including “plus size” clothing with regular sizes promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, but when did “big” become synonymous with “unhealthy?” If you’re not a doctor, I honestly do not care what you have to say about my weight or my health in general. Just because someone does not look a certain way does not mean they are not healthy.
It is so important for clothing brands to be more size inclusive. Women want to see models who look like them. I want to see ALL types of bodies being portrayed in the fashion industry. Everyone wears clothes so why not make clothes for EVERYONE? By using editing and airbrushing photos, we have experienced a warped sense of reality in which we think everyone is perfect and flawless. It is the responsibility of the clothing companies to cater to everyone and be inclusive of all bodies. I’m not talking about a “body inclusive” campaign with models who have big boobs and butts with flat stomachs. It is about time we start seeing plus size women represented in the fashion industry; not as a “body positive” or “size inclusive” campaign, but as the norm. Let’s do whatever it takes to keep any more girls from living through a Hollister nightmare like me.