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In a previous blog on diet culture, several contributors to diet culture were mentioned. Diet culture comes from many places - the diet and “wellness” industry, the fashion and beauty industry, and often from healthcare providers.
In this post, we will look at how the fashion and beauty industry influences how we feel about ourselves and our bodies and list some places where people in larger bodies can find clothes that fit!
We are surrounded by media so it’s no surprise that it affects how we think we should look. Many of the images we see aren’t even real. Real or not, they try to define what beauty is. Marketers have greatly impacted what we think we should look like. Thanks to clever ad schemes, women are convinced we should dye our hair, shave our armpits and have long, thick lashes (but obviously, they should look natural and not have any mascara clumps). Ads work by reminding us of what we are lacking and offering a quick fix.
Unfortunately, in the fashion world, there is often only one size. Clothing is created to fit one body size and it’s not realistic for most. Even fashion models can have a hard time maintaining that body shape.
Along with difficulties finding clothing in the right size, there are cases of “plus-size” lines of clothing costing more. There is an argument that bigger clothes use more materials and cost more to make. But shouldn’t that mean that an x-small should cost less than a size M or L? It doesn’t of course. When clothing is mass-produced and materials are purchased in huge quantities, the price difference to produce a larger item of clothing is minimal. (Here)
Those words came from an inspiring session at this year's National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) conference by Dr Ben Barry . He discussed how the fashion industry has been part of creating the “ideal body.” Dr Barry is chair of Ryerson’s School of Fashion and Social Change. He asked conference attendees to consider where they buy clothes. He then asked if someone in a larger body would be able to find clothes at that store. In most cases, the answer was no. He noted that large bodies and disabled bodies are size out of fashion. He shared that "fashion can make us feel at home or outside of our bodies."
Dr. Barry is working to shift our ideas of the ideal body to include people of all shapes, sizes and abilities. He shared that "most dress forms at fashion schools only go up to a size 14." This excludes a huge portion of our population. He noted that "plus size is not plus size... it's average!" His students are being taught to create size and ability inclusive clothing! He shared that "the new fashion system should value respect and celebrate the full panorama of bodies." Keep an eye on his work as he works towards changing the system!
Check out Canada's DARE magazine if you're looking for a plus size magazine.
Mettamade - www.mettamadeinhamilton.ca
Consign your Curves www.consignyourcurves.com
Addition Elle www.additionelle.com/en
Joe Fresh www.joefresh.com/ca
Your Big Sister’s Closet www.yourbigsisterscloset.com
(Thanks to our friend Alicia Worobec, Certified Intuitive Eating Coach & Personal Trainer for her tips - check her out here!
Eddie Bauer www.eddiebauer.ca
* Many of the stores listed in the previous section also carry activewear.
Muna and Broad www.MunaAndBroad.com
Alicia Worobec also shared that “Unfortunately there still is a major gap in the market for sizes beyond 3X.” Clothing companies - we need you to do BETTER!
We look forward to the day when this is not even a post that needs to be written, where clothing is accessible for all bodies.
Because many of our clients live in larger bodies and share much frustration in finding clothing that feels good. When clothing is not available for all sizes one can easily get the message that "my body is wrong." But that is far from the truth. At Gut Instincts Nutrition Counselling we believe that all bodies deserve to be valued, are important and deserve to have access to clothing, without feeling shame.
Shame can cause one to have a tumultuous relationship with food. If you’d like help working on your relationship with food and/or your body then book a free discovery call today. If we've missed any stores that you'd like highlighted then please share with us so we can include! We’re working hard at dismantling the damage the diet culture has done to our world, things are starting to change in the right direction!