What is “Plus Size,” Anyway?

“She’s too small to be plus sized.”

I’ve read that response quite often whenever a designer or a magazine features a plus size model. Granted, some of these models are 5’10 and wear a size 12, which in the “real world,” would be considered “straight size.”

However, I just stumbled across a tweet from The Curvy Fashionista (@MarieDenee), where she posts a link from retailer Addition Elle, which asks,

“What is Plus Size?”

Addition Elle’s philosophy on the issue hits the nail on the head for me:

“Plus size” includes a range of shapes and sizes. Some women are short, some are tall, some have wide hips, some have straight hips, some have larger busts, some have smaller busts…but regardless of their features, they have one thing in common.

What is it? Well, that clothing in “traditional” sizes does not fit them, for whatever reason.”

Case in point: I have the WORST time buying shorts. They are usually too tight in the hip, or too loose in the waist. For some reason, I’m in a “no woman’s land” as a size 14.  I don’t want booty shorts or Daisy Dukes. I guess designers must think I want elasticized, pull on polyester shorts (BLEAH!). Apparently, a mid thigh, stylish denim pair in my size is just not possible.

Then I wonder:

But what about a woman who is a size medium on top (say, an 8 or 10), and is pear shaped (a size 12 or 14) on the bottom? Or someone who is a 12 on the bottom, and wears a 38 DD on top? According to the size charts, she’d be “plus size.”

It’s all a bit nuts. 

Men’s fashion is not complex. Pants are the waist size, shirts are the chest/neck measurement. If a guy is larger, he goes to the Big and Tall department.

Why can’t women’s fashion convert to such a system?

By the way, after a lot of searching, I DID finally find a pair of denim shorts! I found these from DEB.

Stylish, comfy, and fit great!

DEB Shops, you get the gold star.

FINALLY, shorts that FIT. Thanks, Deb Shops!

FINALLY, shorts that FIT. Thanks, Deb Shops!

I may be "plus size," but I have a great ass.

I may be “plus size,” but I have a great ass.

Got this tank from Deb, too. I'm showing my arms off, would you believe?

Got this tank from Deb, too. I’m showing my arms off, would you believe?

Deb face

Handmade glass ring from Venice!

Handmade glass ring from Venice!

Love me some gladiator sandals!

Love me some gladiator sandals!

I’d love to read your thoughts on what “plus size” is, or anything on your mind!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday Throws Me a Curve

Ah, #ThrowbackThursday. You clever bastard. I search for fun pics to post, and I am stopped cold by finding pics of me from 10 years ago, looking, well, FABULOUS. Funny enough, during this point in my life, I thought I needed to take 10-15 lbs off.

Circa 2004.

Circa 2004.

But here it is 2014, and though I feel I’ve come to a healthier state of mind in terms of body acceptance and pushing to expand the idea of what we consider to be “beautiful,” I cannot escape the fact that I am too heavy now.

Yesterday during a doctor’s checkup, I stepped on the scale (always my favorite part) and noticed that 5 lbs crept on over the last month! How could this be?

Was it the Girl Scout cookies I inhaled over the past week? The popcorn at the movies? The Chex Muddy Buddies we devoured while watching March Madness? All of it? Probably.

I’m not going to beat myself up over the gain, I won’t go there. However, I need to put the brakes on the treats. There’s no denying that getting heavier isn’t going to help my back get stronger,  make the joints feel better, or lower my chances or developing diabetes or heart problems. It’s more than a vanity thing for me.

So, I’m going to do this a step at a time. Add more veggies, watch the sugar, drink more water. Walk as much as I can handle while doing physical therapy. And of course, rock some fashion while doing it all!

I don’t expect to become a supermodel. I just want to feel good and if that means having to lose some of my caboose, that’s ok!

Mesh top 1Mesh top 2

Blue nails

"London calling" socks!

“London calling” socks!

Feeling “blue from my top to my toes.”

 

It’s a struggle sometimes to “age gracefully.” Most of the time, I’m feeling good, working it for all I’ve got, but then there’s that pesky white hair in my eyebrow -the deepening line around the mouth- the softening jaw, that can throw me into a funk.

I think that’s normal, though -to fight through the feeling of “aging.” We want to feel healthy and look good. It’s just navigating the delicate balancing act of accepting what looks graceful versus becoming a plastic freak show. I don’t want to be a slave to my weight or my age.

So here’s for trying to eat better, exercise a little more, and living in the moment. Cheers!

Look for my next post to come from PARIS! Au revoir until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

WHAT I WORE:

Mesh top and maxi skirt – PASSPORTS

London socks- FOREVER 21

Blue leopard sneakers – FOREVER 21

IFB_SEAL_RED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmo Gives a Voice to Curvy Gals; Now Let’s See Them!

I stumbled upon an excellent online article by Anna Breslaw, sex editor of Cosmopolitan, about the realities of being a fat woman. For “What Being a Fat Woman is Really Like,” Breslaw interviewed two women (referred to Woman A and Woman B) who proudly call themselves “fat”. Both women candidly discuss dating, sex, how they handle negativity, and health. I found myself nodding along with many of their statements, especially when Breslaw asks how they feel about other women complaining about their bodies:

“I hate it. I always notice it, and it feels like shit. I was at the salon yesterday and a woman was complaining about getting “so fat” at her waitressing job and she was literally half my size. It made me feel like shit, and I felt bad for her, too. Stop thinking about yourself in such shitty, negative ways! It’s so bad for you. Also, you’re not fat. Fat is just a descriptor, and you don’t match that descriptor in any sense of the word. So stop.”

That’s a major pet peeve with me, too!

As much as I appreciated Cosmo including an article about curvy gal realities, why not include the women’s names? Photos? Perhaps the women preferred to be anonymous, but my feeling is, if they were proud of themselves, then show it!

Or- was it something else? Was Cosmo not ready to show off plus size “real” women?

I’m a subscriber to the magazine, and I enjoy the fashion, sex tips, and current issues. However, I challenge the editors of Cosmo (United States) to include PICTURES of curvier women. Maybe even women over 35! Going back over the past year’s covers, it looks like Jennifer Lopez is the only cover girl over 40. Let’s put money where the words are.

Cosmo holds an annual “Fun, Fearless, Female” award every year. I ask them to be fearless and include more plus size celebrities Rebel Wilson, Amber Riley, Queen Latifah, or Melissa McCarthy. We haven’t seen many curvy gals since Adele’s December 2011 cover.

article-1320253992910-0EA160C700000578-225499_466x627

Now, that would be truly fun and fearless.

IFB_SEAL_RED

 

February is for Love – Loving Who YOU Are!

Let’s face it; everyone either loves or hates the month of February. It’s either a time to spoil (or get spoiled by) a sweetie, or make like Bridget Jones and eat ice cream, singing “All By Myself” full voice on a Friday night.

I’ve had my share of love/hate moments with this month over the years (thankfully lots of love now!), but what we all could use is more love for ourselves. To truly embrace who we are in this moment. Yes, we’re not all supermodels. Yes, we might have a little more love handles than we prefer. Maybe we’re wishing for more curves like Beyonce’! However, always living in the idea of “I wish I was more like..” will never allow happiness in the present.

It’s not easy to get to this acceptance. As women, we are bombarded daily with images, headlines, and “the ultimate diet/workout” to get sexier, hotter, better. When I was working regularly as a professional actress, I was a size 4 and worked out like mad to stay at that size and still felt pressure to be smaller, leaner. Even a casting director told me, “if you could lose about 10 pounds, you would do better for casting.” I weighed 125 pounds, and those words devastated me.

The girl in the middle (me) is a size 4 and told she needed to lose 10 lbs.

The girl in the middle (me) is a size 4 and told she needed to lose 10 lbs.

Today, I’m a size 14 and weigh around 200 pounds (I check in every other week). I got to my size from various reasons, but the car accident I was in 2012 severely limited the activity I could do. My life as a dancer diminished, and I could not audition for as many projects. Of course, this depressed me, but it was mostly because I wanted to be more active and not because I hated my body. The saying is true – “with age comes wisdom,” and being over 40 made me realize that I deserved to be loved, and shouldn’t I love ME? Besides, our spirits, our hearts, our minds, our achievements, our families, and our friends are to be celebrated and cherished. Our bodies are our shells we travel through life, and they will change!

I’m glad to see the Plus Size movement is beginning to get positive focus from designers, magazines, Hollywood, and advertising. There’s still a long way to go, but in the meantime, send yourself the gift of love this February. YOU are beautiful!

Yes, we all are beautiful!

Yes, we all are beautiful!

From: https://www.facebook.com/garnerstyle

Thick or Thin, Barbie Can’t Win

Recently, Cosmopolitan published an article regarding the possibility of a “plus size Barbie” doll to market to girls. Since the standard Barbie has come under scrutiny in the last few years for setting unrealistic beauty standards, this doll could be a way for girls to see another side of beauty. I am all for this idea, however…

Overall, the doll looks like Barbie, except she is thicker in the arms, legs, and has a wider waist. She does have a more realistic shape, and there are curves. But then her face has…three chins.

It’s not that the number of chins that bothers me. They just look completely out of proportion with the rest of the body. I am built much like this doll (as many women are), and there is no way we would have three chins! I am purely speculating here, but is this another message of one cannot be “beautiful” if we have a little extra? Why does this Barbie have a thicker, curvier shape and then her face is off balance?

This little controversy reminds me of the recent problems Target and H&M faced by using either pregnant or medium sized models to promote their plus size department. Even though both retailers have apologized for the advertisements and removed them, there is still a lingering feeling that retailers, manufacturers, and designers still have a fear of “plus size.” Just like with our childhood friend Barbie, the views of what is “plus size” are still warped and not quite realistic.

The two "Barbies."

The two “Barbies.”

 

 

Fat Shame from Two Sides of the Scale

A lot can happen in 10 years. Physically, 10 years ago, I had a very fit body when I was a gypsy professional actress/singer/dancer. Mind you, I was a size 8 and I felt a lot of pressure to get back to a size 4, which I was a few years before then. To stay that size 4, I had to work out endlessly and deny myself real meals. I recall a lot of protein bars and salads.

My focus changed over the next couple of years from performing to teaching, and the weight crept on slowly to a size 10. After a car accident in 2012, my ability to work out the way I usually did diminished and now I am a size 14. According to most statistics, I am considered to be an average size of most American women.  So if I am considered “average,” why is my size not available in most retail outlets? Or if it is, why is it in a plus size department?

When I go to shop, if it is a store that does not specifically cater to a curvier woman, I notice two things: the clerks ignore me, or, there is a pitiful selection of “plus size” in a far corner of the store. What I do find in that little corner are big smocks, oversized t shirts, and maybe some jeans. Nothing cool for this fashionista.

On the other side, sometimes when I go into a plus department or plus size specialty store, the clerks give me a basic greeting and then go away, and as I pull through the racks hoping to score a great find, I feel glares from other customers. One lady said to me as I browsed, “you’re too skinny to wear these clothes.” I’m too skinny?!!! Tell that to the “straight size” stores!

I have entered what it appears to be “No Woman’s Land,” the gray area of the size 14. Too big for most fashion designers, but too small to belong to the Plus Size club (even though I technically am a plus). I didn’t like feeling pressure as a size 8 to be smaller for casting directors, and I don’t like having the pressure to change to be accepted in fashion.

I began this blog, CURVES RULE! as a way to deflect those feelings of pressure and to accept myself for who I am, at any size. As I continue to heal from my injury, I look forward to becoming more active and feel better. However, when I do lose weight, it will be because I’m being more active, not because I have to see a certain number on my scale. Photos of myself at a heavier weight will not be burned or hidden away, nor will I scorn myself. No matter my size, I am still me and deserve to be respected.

Statistics claim I’m “average,” but I think I’m pretty exceptional. Here’s to all you “averages” out there!

Dress, Forever 21 Plus. Shoes, "Something Blue" Manolo Blahnik.

Dress, Forever 21 Plus. Shoes, “Something Blue” Manolo Blahnik.

 

Coming to Grips With My Hips

On June 25, 2012 I was involved in a car accident that has left a profound effect on my daily life and health. I suffered a back injury which has limited the type of physical activity I can do. As someone who has enjoyed dance, kickboxing, and training with weights, it’s been a challenge to find new ways to be active. Unfortunately, weight has crept on over the last year and a half, and I am the heaviest I have ever been.

After feeling sorry for myself for several months, I decided to look at things differently after reading Tess Munster’s blog, www.theplussizelife.blogspot.com. Here is a woman who is a size 22 and gorgeous! She is considered to be a top Plus Size model, and her mission is to help empower women of all sizes to feel and look their best. I am joining her mantra of #effyourbeautystandards and celebrate the body I have. I will eventually regain my activity thanks to an upcoming back surgery, but until then (and after), my goal is to love who I am, no matter the size!

I am who I am!

I am who I am!