Where do I Belong in The Fashion World?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"The only thing worse than not knowing where she belonged... was knowing where she didn't." ~ Tessa Shaffer

For me, every piece of clothing I own has a story. Some stories are more interesting than others and some hold painful memories that run deep. But I always remind myself that within each story, there is a lesson to be learned so all the stories must be told.

Let me share my story on this black floral maxi dress...

During my recent trip to Los Angeles with Alysse of Ready to Stare, we visited the offices and showroom for Xehar Curvy, a new plus size fast fashion brand. The owner Hadari Oshri was nice and engaging. After chatting with her for a few hours, she wanted to gift us some items. However, I was skeptical about fit as the brand only goes up to a size 3X.

She kept reassuring me that she would find something that fit me and was so sure it would not be an issue. Boy, was she wrong! After trying on about 20 pieces, she handed me this dress to try on and it fit. The look on her face showed relief. The look on my face showed disappointment and sadness. Honestly, I wanted to cry.

At this point, my confidence had taken a hit and I was feeling like something was wrong with me. Meanwhile, she looked flustered from rushing around, trying to find styles for me to try on. 

Alysse, on the other hand, didn't have as much of a struggle as I did but she did have to size up to a 3X in some items, when she regularly wears a 2X (18/20). She saw my disappointment and tried to console me.

Ironically, during our meeting with Hadari, I expressed to her the great need to expand on sizing, especially to a 5X. I told her of my own experiences of limited fashion and how women size 24+ felt excluded and forgotten, not just by straight size brands but plus size ones too!

At the time, I don't think she truly understood the struggle UNTIL... she saw firsthand how I couldn't fit into hardly anything she had in-stock. 

Later on during our trip, we went to visit designer Melissa Masse at her West Hollywood store. Again, her brand stops at a 3X so I thought for sure, I would not fit into anything. I was wrong! I fit into everything I tried on and even fit into a 2X in this dress, which I quickly took home with me. I will talk more about Melissa and Jill Alexander (another great designer in Northern California) in a future blog post.

So the lesson to be learned? It is not my fault or any other woman's fault if something doesn't fit or our size doesn't fit us and we are forced to size up. The size tag is such a thing of vanity that many of us hold too much value in. 

Sizing is inconsistent across the board because companies use different fit models, some an 8, some a 12 and some an 18. Also, it depends on fabric, cuts, etc. I find I have more luck in fitting into a 3X when it is with designers who actually take the time to make sure the fit is spot on and accommodates a plus body. Most fit models have flat tummies and are toned. Most plus size women (especially above a size 22) are not.

I'm to the point where I feel like if a brand comes to me and says they are truly invested in catering to plus women and truly care about building our confidence via fashion, I am going to ask them what sizes do they carry and I will personally try on every single thing in my size to see for myself. If they stop at a size 3x, I will kindly tell them that using the word ALL is very misleading and they are missing out on an entire demographic whose money is just as green as those under a size 3X.

You can't say you want to celebrate ALL bodies but stop at a size 3X/24. You also can't say the same while carrying sizes 4X and 5X that don't even fit someone who is a 1X. Let's get this fit right before we even try to talk to empowering women.

I think more women will feel validated and like they belong in this space if they can find clothing that actually fits them.

Like Hillary Clinton once said:

"Let's continue to stand up for those who are vulnerable to being left out or marginalized."

In regards to the dress I was given by Xehar Curvy, I decided to give this story a happy ending where I wore it during a recent photo shoot with my friend Bettye of Fashion Schlub, exuding my confidence and happiness. Because at the end of the day, I wear the dress, it doesn't wear me.

My shoes are from Lane Bryant and clutch is old but similar here.

Even though the dress was gifted, I was not paid to write this blog post. I was inspired to write it because I felt the story of this dress needed to be told. 

I took my power back by wearing this dress in a positive way. I let go of those negative feelings I had when it came to this dress because at the end of a day, it's a dress I look fabulous in, regardless of the experience I had when getting it.

Despite feeling ignored, passed over and often forgotten in the fashion world, I am still here and I am not going anywhere. I shouldn't have to lose weight to get to a smaller size just to have more shopping options. Everyone is worthy of fashion. #fashionisforeveryone

For a long time, I asked the question: Where do I belong in the fashion world? 

I now realize that while the fashion world is not perfect and some circles might not be accepting of me, I can create my own space where I belong. And stand strong while looking amazing. 

What are some of your fashion stories? Please drop a comment below and let me know.


  1. I love that you turned your bad try on experience into a good one. The dress is lovely on you! I hope LANE BRYANT and other brands are listening. I've enjoyed your posts with Alysse on the road in your LB duds but I can't fit into LB anymore. Need at least a 30/32, and I know I'm not alone. I'm a proud fat woman, in dark moments when I think about trying to alter my body through surgery or some other drastic means, those feelings are often triggered by not being able to find clothes that fit. Surgery and those drastic means can be dangerous or even deadly! Clothes that fit all sizes could absolutely save lives (and make $$$ too.)

  2. I'm a plus-sized woman who yeahhh has stories but right now is in here to thank you for the life-changing quotes that go right along with the fabulous writing and even greater than that photos and style! I found you through a photo published on Eloquii

  3. I'm sure you have heard this many times, but plus size brands would expand their sizing if there was a true market for it. This is a business decision. Period. I used to work for a plus size brand that I will not name, an size 24+ only made up about 5% of our sales. That's right FIVE percent, and were often the last items to sell.We feel ya, but with the retail landscape constantly changing, it is about profit. If there was truly a profit to be made in size 24+ you would see many retailers providing more items in those sizes. My best advice is to keep pushing your size 24+ ladies to buy buy buy, and not wait until clearance! Only then will retailers start to expand their size ranges. Remember when stores wouldn't dare carry a size 16/18? Well the demand for those sizes led to more options. (i.e. size 14 sold faster than size 4). Talk with your wallets,and I guarantee that more retailers will expand their 24+ offerings. It's all about business.