“Why aren’t there any cool plus size clothes? And why don’t the clothes fit even when they’re ‘my’ size? All the shopping makes me feel bad about myself. my skin. Sizing for online shopping is never reliable and trying on things in a locker room is traumatic for me. I love cute clothes as much as the next (smaller) person! Is there a hope ? —Lisa, Georgetown
Everyone’s experience is different. Every body is different. The fashion industry should reflect this, but you’re right, Lisa, it just doesn’t: yet. There is hope, however, some movement in a positive direction. To help us strike fashion gold here, I asked one of my favorite interview subjects to step in and provide both context and expert buying advice. and style for the curve market. Karyn Inder is a model, body positivity advocate, speaker, podcast host, and mental health counselor based in Toronto. “Fashion is meant to be a fun expression of self,” she says. “To think that this freedom and pleasure is a privilege that some of us don’t have is shocking.”
When I first interviewed Inder, for a 2017 Toronto Star article on the rise of curved models, we were all hopeful about the changes taking place in the industry at this time: the shift from a representation symbolism to genuine body type diversity in pop culture, as well as extended sizing enhancement in the retail market. Alas, she says today, “Bigger bodies and our place in fashion, it’s not resolved.”
Feeling left out of the fashion experience is painful, says Inder. “Instead of the clothes – and the people who make and sell them – being at fault, we have to believe that our bodies are at fault. It’s a spiral; you end up feeling bad about yourself and you internalize that. like, ‘My body is too big, I’m too frumpy.’
Shopping, she says, is a lifetime experience. When she speaks in schools, she’s there to encourage body positivity and self-love. She hears stories that worry her: “When a group of girls go to the mall together, the store separates ‘straight’ sizes from plus sizes. You take away that shared shopping experience, which makes someone feel different.
The clothes in the different sections are also not the same. “You can’t just take a size small top and make it bigger and bigger,” she says. “It’s the biggest mistake companies make. Design needs to be thoughtful and take into account that we’re all built differently. Bigger people carry weight differently.
Here’s the thing, she says: “Thinner people, if they order a size online, it’ll fit them more or less. But the same piece of clothing may not hit me in the same places as the person it tested on. So I read the size measurements for each garment. Yes, it’s work, it takes my time and energy, but it helps me feel more in control of the shopping experience. »
When it comes to in-person shopping, Inder has another tip: “Try it, try everything. It will surprise you. Because, she says, numbers don’t make sense with size charts that vary so much from brand to brand. “Sizing is not regulated; it’s not real. I’m an XL/1X, but in my closet you’ll find everything from small to 3X. Also, she says, for your health, try not to let the number define you. “If that’s okay with you, great, that’s all you need to know.” She recommends buying extended sizes (up to 3X) from Reformation (“I’m obsessed”) because when the clothes arrive, there’s no size tag. “Numbers eat your brain.”
For in-store shopping, it launches a plea to brands and store designers: “Please put the mirror inside the locker room? Some people — recovering from eating disorders or self-harm, or who are simply afraid of their bodies — don’t want to have to leave the booth to see how something fits in. “The shopping experience matters.”
Another pet peeve is that plus size shoppers are often shut out of sales. “Sales are fun!” she says. “But you should know that you can return something when the fit is still in question.”
Here are some of Inder’s favorite places and brands to shop for plus size clothing. “Kotn, I’m so stan: it’s Canadian, sustainable, a B company, eco-friendly, they’re building schools in Egypt. I’m obsessed with a long textured dress they have right now. If confidence was a dress, she says, this is it. “I bought both colors in different sizes for different fit options.”
Inder is also a fan of Toronto native designer Lesley Hampton, who is committed to making clothes for every body. She loves Knix for her gym equipment. “I put on the Catalyst sports bra and the high waisted leggings, and I feel like a different person.”
Not that this is the year for sunny tropical getaways, but plus size swimwear is always a good tip to have on hand. (And shopping before the season is a smart way to make sure you’re getting the right fit and not rushing before a getaway or a pool party.) That I’ve ever come across. They are a game changer in how swimming sizes work. They have two types of measurements for the buttocks! »
Brands that pay attention to detail on their websites and show off a range of female body types modeling different styles always win Inder’s favor. She points to Khloe Kardashian’s Good American as a great brand because you can ask the site to show you how the jeans look on models in different sizes. “I send emails to brands saying that when I see something worn by someone my size, I’m more likely to buy,” she says.
Inder’s final recommendation is not for clothing but for home decor. “I love surrounding my home with inclusive artwork. The exhibit makes you feel better about yourself. She loves Brwn Collective’s female form candles, available in a range of body sizes and colors from “Representation matters. Brwn Collective is beauty that comes in all sizes and colors.”
What does Inder really wish there was more to? “My first response is always empathy,” she says. “Many people only consider their own experiences of the world.”
Buy the tips
A selection of great inclusive finds available in a wide range of sizes, from curvy model and avocado Karyn Inder
Kotn Dress, $98, kotn.com SHOP HERE
Inder picks this Kotn dress as her go-to this winter: in soft-textured ribbed fabric with a flattering drape and details like a slightly flared skirt and mock turtle neck, it pairs perfectly with boots. Goes to size XXL.
Kitty and Vibe bikini top $73, bottoms $65, kittyandvibe.com SHOP HERE
This is the swimwear brand to go for cuts up to XXL and chic and modern cuts. The bikini bottom has two different size measurements to ensure coverage where you want it.
Lesley Hampton Top, $90, lesleyhampton.com SHOP HERE
Canadian Indigenous fashion star Lesley Hampton has dressed everyone from Lizzo in her home gym to Devery Jacobs on the red carpet. This signature face t-shirt is available up to size 3X.
Reform Dress, $240, thereformation.com SHOP HERE
This sexy Reformation dress is a faux wrap with flattering gathers and comes in sizes up to 3X.
Good American Pants, $257, goodamerican.com SHOP HERE
Khloe Kardashian’s clothing brand is popular for its jeans and extensive size range. These vegan Better Than Leather pants are a sexy staple and feature five pockets and side slits at the ankle.
Brwn collective candle, $35, brwncollective.ca SHOP HERE
Because representation matters: these Brwn Collective candles, a tribute to all female bodies, come in a range of skin colors and body types. Plus, they’re 100% soy, handcrafted in Toronto. Proceeds go to the Native Women’s Resource Centre.
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