The chubby body used to be popular for 400 years, but then it was met with mocking glances even though most of the women were overweight. In recent years, plus size fashion has grown strongly to combat body stigma.
Before 1900s: Plus size fashion was commonplace
Before the 1900s, the body was supposed to have curves. In the seventeenth century, women with curvaceous bodies were still praised as healthy and wealthy.
You can check out the collection of Windsor Beauties paintings depicting the wife and mistress of King Charles II, UK, for a portrait of the woman in the 1600s. Women then looked short and stocky with double chins and big chest.
Even in the 1800s when the corset trend began to prevail, women were still only beautiful when they had a round figure and a narrow waist. However, at this time, clothes are still made by hand, not mass-produced.
Even at the beginning of the twentieth century, an oversized body was still considered beautiful and fertile. For example, sex symbol Lillian Russell weighs up to 90kg. But things quickly changed after that.
The transformation in the second half of the twentieth century
In the 1950s, plus size fashion had a chance to “revenge” thanks to the curvaceous Hollywood princesses such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor.
However, fashion at this time does not really honor obese women, but only emphasizes thin girls with full breasts and buttocks. But the fact that girls like this are often invited to appear in weight gain drug ads also help women with full bodies feel more confident.
Fashion these years favored the hourglass trend, typically Christian Dior’s New Look product line created a wave of hunting at that time, with tight waist and flared skirt designs. New Look has succeeded in flattering the plus size trend, even though the catalog girls aren’t oversized at all.
Unfortunately, plus size girls are just loved before the world turns to skinny girls. The 1960s were a tough time for plus size fashion. Clothes at this time are made only to fit supermodels with toned bodies. Typical is the British model Twiggy, praised despite her thin body.
Realizing that they are not being taken seriously, women around the world have united to make a revolution against discrimination against fat people. Activists in New York organized a “Fat-in” movement where they ate ice cream and burned posters of Twiggy. They also organize plus size fashion shows and raise funds to raise awareness about the problem of excess fat.
Plus size fashion is also favored as Queen size. Lane Bryant company opened branches throughout the US and the first luxury plus size fashion house Marina Rinaldi was born in 1980.
However, the standard of thin and toned continued to prevail in the 1970s and 1980s, the hair could be big but the body was not. Look at Farrah Fawcett, Jane Fonda or supermodel Naomi Campbell – they’re tall, fit and strong. This is the perfect body of the 1980s.
By the 1990s, the ultra-thin body resurfaced with slim girls like Kate Moss. This is the era of skinny girls and all the magazines and catwalks reflect this trend.
However, Jean Paul Gaultier also sometimes went against the trend when inviting the fat girl Stella Ellis to perform in his shows. Ellis has become his muse and plus size fashion has found a glimmer of light again.
Plus size fashion finds its place in the 21st century
Starting in the last years of the last century, audiences have regularly seen women of average or plus size on television and even in magazines. While Victoria’s Secret has given us lingerie queens like Gisele Bündchen. Women of all sizes are starting to fall in love with makeup artist Tess Holliday. Or overweight actress Gabourey Sidibe.
The 2000s saw size diversification in the fashion industry. Retailers realized that skipping the plus size “piece of cake” was a big mistake and quickly launched many collections to fill the gap.
For example, JCPenney has built boutiques dedicated to plus size fashion. And even invited plus size designer Ashley Nell Tipton to create her own collection.
Aging and childbirth are the inevitable reasons why most women have excess fat, which leads to oversized fashion. Therefore, excess fat is also a friend and companion to witness the growth of women. Fashion should have a formal space for excess fat and fertile curves to speak.