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Why “girls plus” should not be a clothing section

 

I have belonged to a separate category, according to the fashion industry, since elementary school. As young as 10 years old, I remember searching stores for the section that had clothes for girls like me. My wide blue eyes would take in all the pink and sequins and glitter that make up the girls’ clothing sections and fall sad as I checked the tags, seeing sizes that my round tummy and chubby legs wouldn’t fit into.

More often than not, finding those sizes meant I had to find a different part of the store and read signs until I found one reading “Girls Plus” or something else insanely demeaning. To this day, as a grown woman, I am forced into back corners to find the three or four racks of clothing that are made for women like me.

It’s still disheartening, but because I am a grown up I understand that larger sizes do not mean less worth as a human being, no matter how many times per day messaging like that is pushed towards me like an unappetizing meal I’m supposed to eat out of politeness. For young girls though, like the one that I was not too long ago, such realizations do not come easily.

Girls plus should not be a section.

Girls with belly rolls and full cheeks should never have to feel sad about their bodies. Girls who have attained hips a little sooner and a little bigger than their friends should not feel that they are different, should not have to look for special signs and special sizes and their clothes should not be more expensive.

We are young and naive and frightened that people who see us buying girls plus clothes see us as strange. We think that it’s strange that we have to look for special signs and special sizes and that our mothers have to pay more than other mothers do.

Girls who walk into stores looking for their back to school outfit should never sit in a dressing room crying because the biggest skirt they had wouldn’t fit their waist. Think about all these girls, looking for the girls plus, and their self-esteem. There is so much waste, so many wasted tears and frustrations and steps to separate sections.

We grow into young women who avoid mirrors and photos and don’t smile at our reflections. And it takes years to remember what it’s like to not care about the number on our tags and we’re still confused about why our clothes cost three times as much. We believe that there is an “us” and a “them” and the them is girls who have never had to worry about finding the girls plus and have never cried in dressing rooms.

Those sections told all the girls that there is a “them” versus “us”. We get used to back corners, separate sections, and feeling like there is too much to us. That our bodies are too big and that they are wrong, and that the store had to go to all this trouble of making a separate section just for us.

We are not girls plus, they are not girls plus, they are just girls. Therefore, there should be no plus section.

 

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Daily Prompt: Pink

How the colors I wear reflect my personal growth.

For a period of my teenage-hood I was very particular about the colors I would wear. If the colors I adorned my body with directly related to how people thought of me, then that black sweatshirt on black skinny jeans and black Converse shoes ensemble was the best way to indicate that I was cool.

As a result of this desperate need to not look like the

old selfie
An old selfie for you, brought to you by a 2012 slide phone and chunky eyeliner. This was actually a light makeup look for me at the time.

norm at my school, soft colors were out. Instead, my chosen outfits heavily relied on black, on neon greens, pinks, and oranges, and on deep reds and purples. My clothing became a barrier between myself and the people around me.

 

I embraced the fact that I had always been known as a quiet person and kept to myself unless my few close friends were around, earbuds in and bent over a notebook, doodling. I just hoped that people took my silence to mean that I was cool and edgy and didn’t need their conversation, though the reality was that I was too socially anxious to approach groups of people and attempt to participate in conversation, and they just thought I was a weirdo.

I have grown in many ways since that era of my life, though I still am quite shy when forced to talk to more than one person at a time and I still wear Converse sneakers almost every day. My clothes remain a key part of who I am, because like most of us, I find joy in expressing myself through them. Today though, they are not adorned as a social barrier. Rather than the thick layers that hid my body and harsh traffic-cone colors that made people literally cautious to approach me, I now wear soft colors.

current selfie
2017 me is better at eyeliner and finding my light.

I wear dusty pinks, heather grays, and sky blues, all an invitation to start a conversation with a person who’s continuously working to overcome her timidness in an effort to let people know she loves to chat and makes a loyal friend. It took a few years, but I finally learned two things: shutting yourself off from the world for the sake of your anxieties harms both yourself and the people who haven’t gotten the chance to know you and people who feel the need to dress ‘cool’ are never actually cool.

via Daily Prompt: Pink