Can’t we all just be Fashionistas?

plus sized fashion curvacious  Cant we all just be Fashionistas?

Jacquelyn Jablonski and Crystal Renn for V Magazine, by Terry Richardson

Beautifully Invisible is not a “plus-size” blog.  Do I talk about the straight/plus-sized debate?  Sure.  Do I love the fact curvy models like Laura Wells and Crystal Renn are being utilized more and more by the fashion industry?  You bet I do.  Do I love the positive impact women like Christina Hendricks have had on the way curvy women are viewed? Most definitely.

However, despite the fact that I could be considered a plus-size fashion blogger (I am a US size 12/14, after all!) my sole focus here is not, and never will be, the “plus-size” aspect of fashion.  I write about everything that catches my interest. It just so happens that includes the topic of size in the fashion industry.

plus sized fashion curvacious  Cant we all just be Fashionistas?

Image via off the mark

Earlier today, I was reading a couple of articles that have been submitted to IFB’s Links a la Mode when I came across a wonderful post by LoveBrownSugar’s CeCe entitled “Why Don’t You Love Me? A Curvy Girl’s Ode to Outfit Posts.”  In her post, CeCe says:

“If users on sites like Chictopia, Lookbook.Nu or Weardrobe are in any way indicative of the fashion-forward masses, then these sentiments still resonate loud and clear. Plus size isn’t posh. Curves aren’t chic. Hips don’t get “HYPE”. And thus the unsuspecting outfit-poster who boasts a size of double digits is left to wonder if there’s room for her, or if she should just stand by and look.”

Then I read another post entitled “Getting serious: That weighty issue” by Evie Kemp of One More.  She says:

“I wish the term ‘plus size’ would just disappear into thin air never to be uttered again. I find it bizarre how attractive girls with great personal style will label themselves and their own blog as ‘plus size’. You’re not buying jeans, you don’t need to declare your size. You are writing a fashion blog, the focus is you and your fashion.”

I found myself nodding along in agreement as I was reading both of these wonderful posts. I don’t do outfit posts, but I have certainly noticed the same trends that CeCe described.  Sites like Chictopia and Weardrobe definitely appear to skew toward the more modelesque amongst us, and I hate the fact that a beautiful, stylish woman like CeCe is left feeling like, perhaps, there is no room for her in that world.

Meanwhile, the heart of Evie’s post tackles whether a blogger’s dress size can affect readership and potentially divide the blogosphere into two worlds: that of straight and plus-sized fashion.  This issue of division is something that has been on my mind a lot.  Since starting this blog, I have been characterized as many things.  Some people call me a plus-size blogger.  Others as a curvy fashionista.  Others a fatshionista.  Most ( myself included) simply call me a fashion blogger.

I am labeled in this way and I don’t even do outfit posts!

Yes, I am considered “plus-size” by today’s sizing standards.  But that is just a clothing size.

Yes, I am curvy.  No denying that.  But that is just my silhouette.

Yes, I am a fashion blogger.  I write about fashion-related issues.

But a fatshionista?  I absolutely abhor that term.  I don’t think it’s cute.  I don’t think it’s kitschy.  I think it further divides us. Fatshionista. Fatshion. Isn’t it just fashion, plain and simple? How far should the labeling go? Skinnynistas? Asianistas? Vintage-istas? Greekistas? Blondeistas? DoubleDDistas? ModCloth-istas? Doyougettheidea-istas?

I don’t understand why, as bloggers, we have chosen to further promote and create divisions amongst ourselves. Every blogger has their own niche – whether its street style, editorial, personal style, whatever. If I come across a fashion blog whose content doesn’t interest me, I move on. I don’t need them to label themselves – their content speaks for itself.

But, to each his own, I guess.

I know that there are bloggers out there who do label themselves fatshionistas, some of which could be considered the authorities on fashion for the plus-size women.   I can’t imagine these women want to further divide us, so I feel like I must be missing something by being so opposed to these labels. Right?   Is it because I don’t consider this a plus-size blog?  Is this why I feel these labels are – at their core – wrong?

plus sized fashion curvacious  Cant we all just be Fashionistas?

Fashion isn't limited by size.

I simply don’t get it. What am I missing here?

My size doesn’t define me as a person, so why should it define me as a blogger?

{ 29 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

                            • Natalia October 27, 2011, 5:56 PM

                              Fashionista is a dumb way to call yourself in first place. To me it is related to somebody superficial who only cares about clothes and who gets crazy anytimes a designer collaborates with H&M. As for fatshionista… wow it’s the first time I hear that word (probably because I don’t visit enough fashion blogs). I guess some curvy girls label themselves like that to protect themselves from the critics. Something like that. But I think you’re right – it’s just a way of dividing fashion bloggers.
                              Natalia latest blog post: Inspiration galore part 2

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:47 AM

                              Thanks for that link, Heather. That LA Times piece is very reminiscent of a NYT piece that ran last year. Although I think much of what they say is true, I think some of it is just excuses. The bottom line is, there is a demand for clothing in bigger sizes and limited supply. Further, the idea that fitting a size 12/14/16/etc is difficult due to our curves is difficult, while smaller sizes are more uniform is ludicrous. I know women who are size 0′s and are curvy, and women who are size 16′s and are fairly straight. Curves have nothing to do with it (runway and sample sizes are a different story altogether).

                              The good news is, more and more designers are starting to reach out into the “plus-size” market. Hopefully that continues!

                              Reply
                            • Bere Parra October 30, 2010, 9:35 PM

                              Such a well written and relevant post, THANK YOU. Discrimination against overweight people has boosted up since it’s become national health priority in the US and Mexico to fight against weight issues. Sadly, what you say about most people involved in Fashion one way or another is very true: there is a strong stigma regarding size and shape. However, if Fashion bloggers embrace the ridiculous labels placed upon them, this attitude will never end. The term “fatshionista” is so denigrating I feel my blood boiling as I type.
                              I’d like to share a personal experience: I work in retail and I was once attacked verbally by an old lady who came to the store and signed for me to come closer to her, which I did. Then she told me that “I needed to lose weight” and giggled, like what she’d just said was so ‘cute’ and friendly. Needless to say, that was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. Yes, I am fat (I weight at least 40 kgs more than I should) and I know my health is in risk. Am I concerned? YES, OF COURSE I AM. Do I want to do something about this? YOU BET. Do I have self-esteem issues and a very poor will power? YES, SADLY, YES. But does that mean that random strangers can discriminate against me, make me feel bad? NO. Is my weight all that matters about me? OF COURSE NOT.

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 1:49 AM

                              Bere, thank you so much for sharing your personal experience with us. Sadly, what you encountered isn’t all that uncommon. Too skinny. Too fat. Too busty. Too whatever. Someone is always willing to point out our faults. Yet, oftentimes, we are our own biggest critics. The most important thing is for an individual to realize that who they re isn’t defined by things like weight. You are defined by the things you do and the choices you make. You are defined by the experiences which shape your life. Not by your looks. Not by someone else’s ideals.

                              I applaud you for everything you said above… it shows you are a strong woman, and we need more of those in the world!

                              Reply
                            • Casee Marie October 29, 2010, 10:26 PM

                              BRAVO. I used to strongly dislike the fatshion term because I didn’t really know where it came from or what its purpose was. I still don’t understand completely, but it seems like women who would be hit with the word “fat” from the industry decided to simply take it and throw it back in the industry’s faces? I kind of like that they’re taking a stand, it’s almost like they’re saying, “If you think fashion has a size limit, we don’t need YOUR fashion.” I respect the women who want to be part of that, but for myself I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to close myself away from “fashion”. I’m also just completely bothered by the word “fat”. I can’t call myself that and be happy. It’s not a happy word to me. Equally, the word “plus-size” is TERRIBLY frustrating. I find myself using that or “curvy” when I’m trying to describe someone who isn’t thin and I hate when I do that. I feel like it’s a gross misuse of both words, but what else is there to use, you know? It’s always used with that “If-you-know-what-I-mean” tone, and it’s really not right and it’s really not fair. Plus size isn’t even a size. From a designer standpoint 8+ might be considered such, but in the real world (and let’s face it, for most of us designer clothes simply are not the real world) there are juniors, petites, misses, womens. Womens sizes usually get labeled as plus-size in my experience — so my size 12 self falls into the non-plus-size misses of the real world, but the plus-size of the designer world? It’s just confusing and I really don’t see what it’s necessary. I wish people would mind their own business about a woman’s size, but conversation has to pave the way for that acceptance so it’s really a vicious circle, you know?

                              Anyway! Thanks again for another wonderful and stimulating read.

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 1:34 AM

                              I think part of the issue is that, although certain women seem to find the term “fatshion” empowering, others like myself, find it quite the opposite. Terms like that just further the divide that already exists in the fashion industry, and propagates the “us” vs. “them” mentality. Fashion should be inclusive. It should be accesible to everyone, regardless of their size or shape.

                              As I said in the post, I understand that “plus-size” fashion is a niche for some bloggers. I have nothing against that. I just don’t understand why any of the labels are necessary, when content speaks for itself.

                              Anyway, thank you for such wonderful comment. AS always, I love reading your thoughts!

                              Reply
                            • Casee Marie October 29, 2010, 10:26 PM

                              BRAVO. I used to strongly dislike the fatshion term because I didn’t really know where it came from or what its purpose was. I still don’t understand completely, but it seems like women who would be hit with the word “fat” from the industry decided to simply take it and throw it back in the industry’s faces? I kind of like that they’re taking a stand, it’s almost like they’re saying, “If you think fashion has a size limit, we don’t need YOUR fashion.” I respect the women who want to be part of that, but for myself I couldn’t and wouldn’t want to close myself away from “fashion”. I’m also just completely bothered by the word “fat”. I can’t call myself that and be happy. It’s not a happy word to me. Equally, the word “plus-size” is TERRIBLY frustrating. I find myself using that or “curvy” when I’m trying to describe someone who isn’t thin and I hate when I do that. I feel like it’s a gross misuse of both words, but what else is there to use, you know? It’s always used with that “If-you-know-what-I-mean” tone, and it’s really not right and it’s really not fair. Plus size isn’t even a size. From a designer standpoint 8+ might be considered such, but in the real world (and let’s face it, for most of us designer clothes simply are not the real world) there are juniors, petites, misses, womens. Womens sizes usually get labeled as plus-size in my experience — so my size 12 self falls into the non-plus-size misses of the real world, but the plus-size of the designer world? It’s just confusing and I really don’t see what it’s necessary. I wish people would mind their own business about a woman’s size, but conversation has to pave the way for that acceptance so it’s really a vicious circle, you know?

                              Anyway! Thanks again for another wonderful and stimulating read.

                              Reply
                            • Ashe Mischief October 27, 2010, 2:20 AM

                              Yes! I wrote about this recently myself, as a great blogger girlfriend encouraged me to become more active in the plus-sized & fatshion community. I love the inspiration these ladies provide, but I just write about fashion for all women… so where do I fit in? I’m glad to see more women talking about this, trying to conquer that divide, and just make it all about fashion!

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:59 AM

                              This is one of those topics that seems endless. There are so many facets which can be discussed… but ultimately it all comes back to that divide. How do we conquer it when others strive to make it larger?

                              Reply
                            • MJ October 26, 2010, 8:44 PM

                              This is a FANTASTIC POST!

                              I’m not a fan of the Fatshion term either, though I think they use it to help make plus size fashion more acceptable.

                              I started doing more plus size fashion posts on my blog for the simple fact I may have readers who need fashion geared towards them. I’m a 14/16 which is considered plus size on the runways but I don’t consider myself a plus size fashion blogger by no means. For me, if I’m going to talk about fashion, I’m going to cover all types of fashion that peak my interest.

                              So yes girl, we ARE ALL FASHIONISTAS! Curves and all! :)

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:56 AM

                              You and I are a lot alike, my dear! :)

                              Reply
                            • Jody Marich October 26, 2010, 8:18 PM

                              What a great post! This is such an ongoing debate and although I am petite, I still hate this divide. Don’t make fun of someone or label them because of who they are. Embrace your curves and love who you are! And I agree with Cece From LoveBrownSugar “I long for the day when the line between “plus” sized and “regular” sized is no more. When we can just be and not be defined by constraints of size” amen sista! XO

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:55 AM

                              Thanks so much for your comment Jody – I agree completely!

                              Reply
                            • Anonymous October 26, 2010, 8:03 PM

                              Great post and I couldn’t agree with you more! What we call or label ourselves is not only divisive but to me it’s useless. Size shouldn’t have anything to do with fashion and style and when bloggers label themselves plus-size or fatshion bloggers they are only reinforcing the fashion industry’s stereotypes that larger women need to be in there own group. Blogging is about community and having a niche is fine, but labeling your genre of blogging is taking it a bit far

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:55 AM

                              Here, here. I agree 100%

                              Reply
                            • Anonymous October 26, 2010, 4:28 PM

                              Great post doll… I’m not a fan of the labelling thing too, why should it define us or who we are?
                              Thank you for sharing this with us – I know you’re very passionate about this topic.
                              It annoys me that the media and the industry have a huge hand/influence in using such terms or labels as I have once mentioned before. See below for the hype!

                              B-you should take a look at today’s headlines in the Daily Mail UK: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1323927/Crystal-Renn-admits-Yes-I-lost-weight.html

                              Do I sniff some industry pressure and will she follow in Sophie Dahl’s footsteps of losing more weight?

                              DM on new magazine -refer to headline: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1316172/New-magazine-Just-As-Beautiful-use-larger-models.html

                              Literally 2 days later publishes this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1316663/Why-magazine-Just-As-Beautiful-large-women-big-fat-con.html

                              Anyhow, I hear ya girl, also agree with eviekemp – put this forward! Good luck!
                              x.o.x.o

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:54 AM

                              Thanks, darlin’! Those links were very interesting reads.

                              I have to admit, I am not a fan of the idea of that magazine. I hate things that are exclusive like that. “Only for thin people” “Only for fat people”. Why does it have to be one or the other?

                              As for Crystal – it will be interesting to see where her path takes her. You have probably already seen this, but just the other day , Paulina Porizkova stood next to Crystal at an event and compared their bodies. Turns out there isn’t much difference between today’s “plus-size” and the “average” swimsuit model of the 1980s.

                              http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2010/11/in_case_you_needed_more.html?f=most-commented-24h-5

                              I loved the fact Paulina did this.

                              Reply
                            • Anonymous October 26, 2010, 4:14 PM

                              I personally don’t like the term fashionista, to me fashion is just a part of my individual expression, we all set our blogs up as an outlet for our creativity, and I agree with you, that you can still have a personal style blog if you are a size 0 or 12, like you said to each, his own, thanks for bringing this up, what a wonderful topic

                              Keep In Touch

                              XOXO
                              J

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:49 AM

                              Thanks J – ultimately we are all just people who write about the things we love :)

                              Reply
                            • kristy eléna October 26, 2010, 12:27 AM

                              great post and i agree with you. i don’t like the term plus-size and i definitely don’t think bloggers should be furthering the division with terms like “fatshionista.” it makes me very happy to see women who love and enjoy fashion without letting things like size or weight get in the way of that enjoyment, but i feel that what they are forgetting is that by labeling they are in fact letting it get in the way. there’s no need to distinguish, just like there shouldn’t be a need to distinguish a model as being “plus-sized.” sigh… hopefully we will get there.

                              Vogue Gone Rogue

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:41 AM

                              From your lips to the fashion god’s ears! :)

                              Reply
                            • Elaine October 26, 2010, 12:07 AM

                              This was a great post.. I also wish we fashion bloggers would get past each other’s sizes. Who cares???

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:40 AM

                              Exactly, Elaine – who cares? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be: too many people!

                              Reply
                            • Anonymous October 25, 2010, 11:33 PM

                              This is so well written, Beautifully Invisible! Thanks so much for leaving me that inspiring comment and for quoting me in your post. You most definitely should not put yourself in a box. We’re fashionistas and no one can take that away from us. I long for the day when the line between “plus” sized and “regular” sized is no more. When we can just be and not be defined by constraints of size…wonderfully written piece!P.S. I’m a “DoubleDDistas” and proud of it! LOL

                              Cece from LoveBrownSugar

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:39 AM

                              Heheh, I am in the DoubleDDista club as well ;)

                              Thank you so much for your comment Cece, and congrats on getting such an important conversation going! Between you, Evie, and V – very important issues were raised. My thoughts here are just a small part of a much bigger picture!

                              Reply
                            • eviekemp October 25, 2010, 8:12 PM

                              This is such a great post on this issue. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and sharing your opinions. We’re very alike! And I also totally hate the term fatshionista!

                              I really think you should submit this for Links a la mode today! Go do it, it should definitely get picked!
                              evie x

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:37 AM

                              Thanks Evie – I was delighted to see your piece was picked for Links a la Mode. Congrats, much deserved!

                              Reply
                            • Tanvi October 25, 2010, 5:36 PM

                              I hear you loud and clear. I have com across such blogs too … and in fact they take pride in the term ‘Fatshion’ but I do not get it … Great write up! I will have to agree with you cent per cent here! :)

                              Reply
                            • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 12:36 AM

                              Thanks Tanvi. Maybe I would see it differently if that was my niche, but I just don’t get it!

                              Reply