Designing For a Brave New World – The Plus Size Woman

Although the fashion world has been built on the idea of thin, thinner, and thinnest for the last few decades, there has definitely been a huge revolution, over the last few years especially, to include the other half of our population – the 50{a3acb2be643effc4b7b4b3705df5cb2eae026059a1d075d54be8af4d92e7e619} of us who fall into the size 16 and over, full-figured world.

There have been many contributions to this revolution, of course, not the smallest of which is the change in the fashion industry itself.  Two summers ago, runway officials in Spain literally refused to allow models under a certain BMI (Body Mass Index) to strut their stuff on the catwalk during Fashion Week.  What the fashion world finally realizes, and wholeheartedly embraces, is that there must be a standard in their industry that no longer promotes eating disorders and self-destructive behavior around food.  Like superstars in movies and in sports, they realize that their “top models” are indeed role models to young people.  The side effect of this has been a new level of acceptance around full figured women.

This is great news to the world at large, and especially to the plus size women in the United States (where we are literally HALF of the population).  Not only has the conversation definitely changed to healthy, instead of skinny – but the newest message is really one of self-acceptance and confidence, no matter what size we may be.

The first signs that plus size fashion was becoming more accepted in the main stream, and perhaps even admired in its own right, became obvious when well known high-end designers, such as Liz Claiborne, began special divisions catering specifically to larger women (in Claiborne’s case, the line is called “Elizabeth”).  We also can’t overlook the ever growing popularity of full figured couture designers, such as Richard Metzger, who dresses such well known plus size stars as Oprah Winfrey, Star Jones and Camryn Manheim.

The plus size fashion revolution gained a much stronger foothold this past September, again at Fashion Week in Milan, when popular designer Elena Miro kicked off the entire show with a line of full figured couture.  Miro has joined the ranks of those creating everything from plus size dresses to plus size jeans and has embraced the indisputable reality that beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes.  And we have the money to spend in order to look great!  Darius Cordell Couture even designs plus size bridal gowns and evening wear for the full size bridal party or mother of the bride (or groom, of course).

The best advice that comes from this group of designers for plus-size women?  Accent your best features and stop trying to cover yourself from head to toe.  Got great legs?  Definitely go for shorter skirts and dresses and skip the Bermuda shorts!  Love your sexy arms?  Show them off in plus size camisoles and spaghetti strap sundresses.  Whatever your assets, definitely dress them up and strut your stuff!  Whether it’s the catwalk or the sidewalk, looking great is simply always in style.

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