It’s an undeniable fact that curvy women all over the world have been relegated to shapeless shifts and oversized sweats for far too long. Like old wives’ tales passed from generation to generation, a set of so-called “rules” has dominated the conversation about plus-sized fashion for decades. It can be said that those “rules” are a product of their time, but you’ll find them still being believed today, keeping curvy girls from fully expressing themselves through their clothing.
In this article, we’ll call them what they are: myths. The truth is that there are no rules about what a woman can or can’t wear, regardless of her size, shape, or the color of her skin. Below, we’ll debunk the most common myths surrounding plus-sized fashion:
Myth #1: The one about wearing horizontal stripes
One of the oldest, most enduring myths in plus-size fashion is “horizontal stripes make you look wider”. While it’s true that wearing horizontal lines can have a certain visual effect, it isn’t really enough to warrant warning an entire population of women off of buying one of the most popular and prevalent styles available.
Curvy women can absolutely wear horizontal stripes if they want to. Renowned style blogger and influencer Gabi Fresh recommends going with thicker or wider lines, so as to create a sense of proportion on a bigger figure. Go for stripes that at are at least two inches wide and you should be golden.
Myth #2: The one about leggings
The debate about whether leggings can be classified as pants or not has been going on since at least 2017. People feel very strongly about the issue as well, writing long, impassioned essays for or against the matter on sites like Medium or HuffPost.
Our take is that leggings can be whatever you want them to be. Stretchy, breathable, and utterly comfortable, it’s a skin-hugging article of clothing that can be very flattering on a curvy body. Go for plus-size leggings that have distinctive stylish details to set them apart from the pairs you wear at home on the weekends. They should also be opaque enough to pass the underwear test. If they’re too thin, you can still wear them with a long dress or shirt to cover up the unmentionables.
Myth #3: The one about wearing prints
This myth comes from the same school of thought as the first one on this list. Plus-size women have consistently been warned against wearing bold, busy patterns since apparently, they can make you look bigger. In fact, a good handful of these supposed rules have to do with making sure that a woman looks smaller than she actually is by camouflaging and concealing “problem areas”.
As above, there can be a certain visual effect to wearing prints. However, just as above, we can’t justify it as reason enough to restrict an entire group of women from wearing prints if they want to—and which prints, anyway? Why is it a bad thing to draw attention to a “problem area”?
There are some questions that we don’t have answers to, but we can tell you that you’re free to wear prints as a plus-sized woman. The key to making them look fabulous is by infusing contrast into your ensemble: try a printed top with a solid pair of trousers, or mix and match patterns in the same color family.
Myth #4: The one about wearing dresses that cling to every curve
There’s really no word for the way plus-sized women have been induced to following these fashion myths other than “shamed”. The fashion industry and society at large have shamed gorgeous ladies from wearing anything that shows off their unique and beautiful shape. Instead, they’ve been bullied in the other direction and needlessly forced to hide their bodies in layers of fabric and huge clothes.
Yes, you absolutely can wear a body-con dress as a plus-size woman. Why shouldn’t you? Ashley Graham and Rebel Wilson do. Choose a nice, stretchy fabric and go for pieces with eye-catching detail, such as a side-knot or ruching over the front. You can also accentuate your waist with a wide accent belt.
Myth #5: The one about only wearing black
Many curvy girls tend to keep to a monochromatic wardrobe, having been told all their lives that black is the only flattering color on a larger frame. It’s a claim that can only be described as “patently untrue”. There are no shades that are off-limits for a plus-size woman!
If you love a color, go for it. Bright, vibrant shades won’t make you look any bigger or smaller, so don’t be afraid to embrace a shade that you love. A good tip to keep in mind is to wear colors that complement your skin tone, but it’s applicable to anyone regardless of their size.
There’s really no good reason why plus-sized women should keep believing these restrictive myths. Breakaway from them, embrace your uniqueness, and celebrate the attributes that make you beautiful!
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