I remember a time when shopping in a plus size store on the high street was a miserable experience. There was anything I would rather do than traipse the shops, become a flustered and sweating mess in the changing rooms trying to find
something ANYTHING that fit my body and more importantly, looked nice. Those shopping trips usually meant that I’d come home empty-handed and this experience only worsened as I transitioned from awkward teenage girl into a young woman who wanted very much to develop her own sense of style.I lacked confidence and a demoralising walk to the “fat section” of a shop under the watchful eye of judgemental shoppers to the clothing women my size “deserved”, a mix between that of a middle-aged woman at a Christmas party or a confused teenager. I’d exchange knowing looks of sympathy with my fellow fat shoppers and feel shamed by the women who accidentally wandered into the section and hurriedly exited with embarrassed looks back to the fashion mecca of the straight section of the shop.
In recent years the archaic notion that plus size women should hide their visible body outlines, swaddle themselves in layers of terrible printed fabric whilst reprimanding themselves for being such hideous eyesores to society died along with crocs and heavily frosted lipsticks. Here is a generation of women who have learned, despite societies efforts, to love their bodies, what their bodies were capable of and that shape and size does not define a person.
2016 was the year that plus size fashion, pardon the pun, was bigger than ever. There were new brands, plus size models, brands began using bloggers in their advertising campaigns, their own columns in nationwide and noted fashion magazines, there were TV shows dedicated to plus size fashion, events, conventions. You name it, plus fashion ticked it off its “must do in 2016” resolutions or bullet journal, if you’re a part of that scene.
Hot on the heels of straight size fashion retailers such as ASOS who had already developed a strong online presence with somewhat of a cult following (cmon, who doesn’t love an enabling ASOS email or Instagram edit tempting us to part with our cash for THINGS THAT LOOK PRETTY?!) and with influencers, bloggers and vloggers becoming the new “celebrity”, a gap in the market opened for plus fashion brands to invest in a thriving and unsung size 16+ fashion community reared its head.
As a generation we spend massive parts of our lives on social media. It’s the perfect way to keep us up to date with the latest news, our finances (gulp) and what’s hot and what’s even hotter in fashion. I’ve often found myself climbing into a blogger inspired Lush bath with phone precariously in hand just in case I miss a very important #OOTN from Stephanie at Nerd About Town or serious vintage-esque hair and style inspo from Em at Terrible Tumbles or a must have or I’ll
die be very sad piece from Bethany at Arched Eyebrow (or y’know, a fantastically filtered food picture on Instagram or a Jeremy Kyle-esque Facebook update).
With such real-time updates, fashion has never been so fast-moving and as such my morning ritual of scrolling through the #psbloggers hashtag on Insta means that I’m met with a plethora of fabulous fatshonistas delivering me daily style inspiration before I’ve even had my must have cup of coffee. And the best news? Its attainable and wearable fashion from brands that I recognise such as Yours Clothing. Key fashion led pieces that are tailored to fit every inch of my voluptuous figure. They’re the brands that I trust to make me look and feel amazing in what I’m wearing and knowing that they care about their customers and ensure they’re represented in the best possible way is something that really resonates with me.
It was thanks to social media and a fashion forward brigade of fearless and fierce fatshion bloggers that took their unapologetic style, passion for fashion and the refusal to meekly walk to the back of the store in a bid to dress their bodies.
They battled stereotypical fatshion, those who tried to suppress their right to actually buy clothes (oh hey Jamelia) and they created a community amongst themselves and became each others cheerleaders.
As a brand Yours Clothing has been an imperative cog in this plus size community wheel. By identifying and revolutionising their blogger outreach, Yours has somewhat made the online marketing of its brand YOURS by handing over the reigns to its following, both bloggers and customers alike with groundbreaking campaigns such as #YoursNeedsMe and #FaceofYours (and of course, #BeTheBlogger).
But it’s not just bloggers who have benefited this feeling of community. The inclusion of influencers and loyal customers only appeases Yours’ fashion mantra: “Yours Believe that all women should look awesome, regardless of their dress size. Fabulous ladies curve fashion does not end at a size 14, and we’re the proof”.
These are the women who are in the next cubicle to you at your local Yours store, behind you at the bar as you order your G&T (heavy on the gin), standing in the playground waiting for their child to finish school with another bundle of joy on the way or even eyeing up how you’ve styled that roll neck jumper from the new in section as you sip a venti white chocolate mocha with extra cream and sprinkles at Starbz.
They are women of different ages, shapes, sizes, races and walks of life. As women they’re all unique, with one goal in mind: to dress fabulously, feel confident and to own their own style. To make your style yours.