In the past few years brands have become more aware of the fact that women come in different shapes and sizes. This proves a huge shift from the previous emphasis on ‘size zero’ models as the ideal body shape and shows more realistic sizes to consumers. Furthermore, many brands have released plus size ranges in a bid to create a more inclusive feel to the industry. However, in saying this there is still a long way to come as proved by the lack of any form of body type diversity in this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Regardless of this, I am delighted to see more and more representation of plus sized models alongside straight sizes within the fashion industry today as it shows a huge leap in the right direction to representing more body types.
Although what I really want to address is the ‘inbetweenie’ sized women that do not fit within the straight size or plus size category. The phrase ‘inbetweenie’ was coined to describe this group of women. The average dress size for women in the UK is believed by numerous studies to be between the UK sizes 10-16. If the majority of women in this country fall into this ‘inbetweenie’ category, why is it not as well represented in the media? With more media representation focusing on petite and plus sizes, what does this mean for the ‘inbetweenie’ sized women?
A huge realisation of the lack of media coverage of women between these sizes for me came from an article I came across the other day which criticised the reality TV show Love Island for its lack of body diversity. The show has been slated for only portraying very skinny girls as the epitome of attraction. But what I found most shocking was that Alexandra, who was praised for being the only plus sized girl in the villa, is actually a UK size 8 which highlights the issue regarding the lack of different body types presented in the media even further. She even stated, “bigger sizes clearly weren’t accepted, for me as a size eight to go into the villa and be the biggest girl that is quite shocking to me.”
This made me think about the focus on standard sized girls and plus sized girls and made me realise that I, at a size 10/12, don’t actually fit into the plus size category -which typically starts from size 16. And yet petite sized ranges are not usually made with my body size or shape in mind. So where does this leave me?
I have always known that I haven’t been able to fit into lots of petite/straight sized clothing and as a teenager this used to really upset me, resulting in really hating how I looked and everything about my body shape. I tried countless fad diets that left me feeling even more miserable but was never able to achieve this ‘ideal’ skinny figure.
Fast forward five years and I have since learnt to accept my body type, embrace my curves and become more body positive. This has come with more of an understanding of health and the realisation that comparing yourself to other people can be very harmful. It is physically impossible for me to obtain the exact same body as someone else, so I think accepting that and going to the gym for enjoyment rather than because I feel I have to lose weight is really what has helped me.
It has been so refreshing for me to discover Instagram pages of bloggers who voice life as an in-between sized female and even pages such as @midsizecollective who celebrate girls of sizes 10-18 by sharing their photos on their page in order to celebrate these sizes. I hope with the world of social media shedding more light on the importance of plus sized bloggers and clothing ranges, in future this will result in also focus on ‘in-between’ sized clothing too.