'Skinny' and 'plus size' are not the only body types

Dec 7, 2015 at 6:05 p.m. ET

Ever skipped buying a cute one-piece because you're three sizes bigger on the bottom than the top? Ever popped a button off a button-down shirt that fit you everywhere but your boobs? Ever given up on jeans altogether and vowed to wear nothing but leggings until you die? This is for all of us women who have a hard time finding clothes to fit our gorgeous curves.

Yay for looking good and feeling great this summer! We have a huge range of swimwear styles for all body shapes. http://bit.ly/1StrNmb Posted by Target Australia on Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Notice anything unusual about this new bikini ad from Target? In an ideal world we'd all say, "Nope. Beautiful babes and cute suits!" and move on. But this ad is eye-catchingly different: It features an older woman, a plus-size woman, and a woman with boobs. Lots of non-modelesque ladies enjoy a swim and it's nice to finally see them represented in a swimwear ad. It shouldn't be revolutionary, but it is, and it's all part of a new movement in the fashion industry to feature body diversity in general and "curve" models in particular.
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A curve model is a model who, regardless of clothing size, has curves: Bountiful boobs, a big butt, thick thighs, soft shoulders and/or a myriad of other body parts that don't fit into the stereotypical "model" look. And make no mistake, this isn't just another word for "plus size," as curvy has often been used in the past. Rather, it shows that women from a size zero to a size 36 can all be proportioned differently. Just because a lady is slim doesn't mean she has no hips, and just because a woman is bigger doesn't mean she can't have muscular arms.

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"Curve modeling allows a variety of body types to work in an industry that you [would otherwise] need strict measurements for," said 18-year-old curve model Barbie Ferreira, who is often called the "queen of in-between" for her not-model-thin-but-also-not-plus-size measurements. But no matter what label you put on her, there's no doubt she's killing it in the fashion game with dozens of campaigns and hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
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It's that last part that makes her proud, as she loves showing that women who don't fit neatly into a certain category can be beautiful — not in spite of their differences but because of them.

As a woman who has a ridiculously hard time finding a pair of pants that fit my smaller waist but still flatter the killer quads and butt I work so hard for in the gym, this is a movement I can appreciate. I spend most of my life in leggings and skirts, both of which I love, but I wish that I had more options. And I would definitely love to see more women that look like me on websites and in ads, at the very least to help me see what the clothing might look like on a figure like mine.

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Curve modeling isn't a trend I expect to see on the catwalk any time soon but it is one I hope to see on the streets — especially my street! — all the time. And while we're at it, let's see more women of color, older women, women with disabilities and other ladies that show the wonderful and beautiful diversity of womanhood.

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