Recommended Reading: In Style, April 2013.
Few people know that I used to be a runway model. It wasn’t anything fancy, and it wasn’t with a large modeling company, but I learned how to walk a runway and how to put together a fashionable look. I did it at first to help a friend, but she asked me to continue, and I thought I would make some extra money. I made some, but mostly I got some nice clothing.
At the time, I thought of the fashion world as glamorous. I also thought being a runway model would be fun. It really wasn’t. Only one store hired me for their shows. It specialized in plus-size clothing. At the time, I did not consider myself plus sized. I could wear a medium or large, depending on the style, and my weight fell into the healthy category (probably one of the few times in my life when this happened).
However, the other stores wanted sizes 2-6. That was not me, so I got “stuck” with the plus-sized clothing. The smallest size in that store was too big for me, but they pinned me into the clothing and made it work. I felt horrible about myself every time. About three runway shows later, I quit. Although I got to keep the outfits I modeled, it seemed pointless because they didn’t fit. I did sell some of the pieces and made some spending cash, but that ended my modeling “career.”
The modeling company I worked with pushed the envelope at the time, hiring models of all shapes and sizes. I supported that. Today, however, the clothing industry seems to be slightly more progressive–only slightly. I see more plus-sized models and a push for “real” women models and mannequins. Progress is slow, but it’s still better than when I modeled. Now, as a true plus-sized woman, I have more shopping options. Still, some doors are closed to me.
For years, I have dieted…and dieted…and dieted. I finally found something that works for me, and I have lost a total of 95 pounds (the details are for a different topic). I have more pounds to lose, but what’s most exciting right now is that I’m in a size I thought I would never wear again. I’m still in plus-size clothing, but in another ten pounds or so, that won’t be true anymore. In the meantime, clothes entice me, and I am powerless to their pull.
A wonderful friend of mine in the retail industry is also losing weight, and she passes down her clothes to me as she shrinks out of them. She’s one size smaller than me, so as she moves to the lower size, I move into the size she just vacated. I love it! And since I have little money to replace my wardrobe every two months, it provides me with new clothes!
Typically, these are not the kinds of styles I would choose for myself: color, lace, sheer material, and patterns, but they fit me, flatter my ever-changing figure, and they’re in style. Consequently, I find myself curious about fashion.
This curiosity drew me to In Style magazine. The cover also enticed me. Zooey Deschanel graces the cover dressed in red, her dark bangs brushing her eyelashes. I’m not particularly fond of her new show, but her acting and singing voice entertain me. Inside the magazine pages, Deschanel talks about style and a little bit about the ridiculousness of it. She also reveals her intelligence.
Despite not being very academic, I recommend this issue of In Style magazine mostly because it’s spring. I’m ready for color, skirts, and strappy sandals. If you don’t love it for the fashion or the beauty tips, it is still worth reading about Zooey Deschanel.
Although I am enjoying my new-found interest in fashion, part of me feels like a traitor to plus-sized women. I may not wear those sizes soon (and hope to never wear them again), but that image will still be a part of my inner character. I hope that I will remember where I came from, though, and never participate in discrimination and judgment of plus-sized women.