In the modelling industry, size 12 Bree Warren is considered plus-size. You might be thinking, why is size 12 plus-size? The labels of the fashion world can cause a lot of confusion. Brisbane native Bree gets shocked reactions all the time as to why she is considered part of the plus category. It also makes others feel insecure about where it places them in the fashion world.
Bree is now based in New York and has worked for big names like Forever 21, Lorna Jane, and ASOS. She describes herself, saying, “I’m tall, I’m in proportion, I have wide hips, and I’m bigger than the average model, but it doesn’t always translate in photos because I’m healthy and in shape.”
Being a size 12, she says the label plus-size is ridiculous, but if you simply go by industry standards, plus-size just means anyone who wears a size about size 10. That pretty much leaves the majority of the population in the outskirts of haute couture when you consider that the average dress size for Aussie women falls between sizes 14 and 16.
These labels are inaccurate and dangerous. Society is setting the standard that anyone who is size 8 and under is skinny and any above those sizes is overweight. To get a better picture of one’s health requires more than just examining their clothing size.
Bree is happy to note that the fashion industry is changing and creating more opportunities for models of different body shapes. She told reporters, “I think mainstream brands are really starting to look at booking a model for a model, regardless of size.”
For a long time, fashion has only highlighted one size, the classic straight-size. Seeing the change the industry is making is a step in the right direction. This new trend for curvy figures has been helped by the rising popularity of curvy celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Nicki Minaj to the Kardashians. The newest generation of teens and young women will know that there are plenty of body shapes and they are represented in the media. The main message is that it’s okay to be different.
Model Jennie Runk does not agree that the term plus-size is negative. She feels it is “just a term.” Labels are not a big deal. That is one idea that should be promoted more by celebrities because ultimately, a woman is so much more than the label on her clothing.
Browsing through the comments on Bree’s Instagram account, there is evidence that using the term plus-size is bad for the way society views a healthy body image. By setting a limit that size 8 is the biggest you can go without being shamed into feeling bad about your body, the industry is setting people up for disappointment. Not only that, there are different things to take into account when judging what a healthy body type is.
Society’s standard on what is healthy needs to be changed. There are athletes who are healthy but have a high body mass index even though they are fit. We can no longer define health by the number on the scale or clothing sizes. The best way to determine if someone is healthy is to measure blood pressure, monitor mental health, and monitor the amount of activity they do.
The change in the fashion industry has been slow and steady, but instead of just being happy about including curvy women in ads, why not promote health. Having a healthy body is so much more important than being fat or thin or straight-size or plus-size. You can be thin and fit or you can be curvy and fit, but the emphasis should be made on good lifestyle choices rather than dress size.