What exactly does plus size mean?
Is size 16 plus size?
The confusion surrounding what plus size means is a dilemma many women face when shopping for clothing and swimwear – particularly online.
In Australia today the average size is 14/16 so by definition plus size should be any size larger than this. However, in the modelling world a plus size model can be as small as a size 12. Robyn Lawley is a perfect example of a very successful plus size model but she is only a size 12 – below the average so why should she be considered to be plus size?
There is a stigma attached to the word “plus size” so many retailers opt for “real size” which is a better definition for catering to the diverse range of body shapes and sizes.
Adding to the dilemma – there is no standard in sizing in Australia. A customer can be a size 12 in one clothing label and a size 16 in another.
Seeing a diverse range of models should be the norm – we can’t all be leggy size 12s and it might change our perceptions of what looks good. Who doesn’t love seeing a gorgeous confident size 16 model rocking the latest swimsuit – Ashley Graham is a beautiful sexy woman and a size 14/16.
There is a growing trend towards advertisers and fashion labels using healthier real sized models but the change is slow. Sports Illustrated recently showcased plus sized models on the catwalk and the positive public response was overwhelming. The brand Dove now focusses their advertising for real women and uses a variety of women of all ethnicities, shapes and sizes. Hollywood is embracing diversity with many top actresses a healthy size 12/14 – think Beyonce, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lawrence.
Being healthy and within the normal BMI should be the focus, not the size or the labelling attached to a size. Women come in all shapes and sizes and our diversity should be celebrated and embraced.