In the plus size world, there is a lot of complaining. “Why don’t people just make clothes bigger? Why are bigger clothes more expensive? Why aren’t the models fluffier?” I very rarely partake in these kinds of conversations because I know the plus size and fashion industries well and understand the challenges retailers face when designing or manufacturing bigger sizes. However, I must join the ranks and express some serious frustration I have right now… but it’s with the bridal industry.
I got engaged in April and couldn’t be happier. Like any bride, I was excited to start planning and execute the wedding day of my dreams. As everyone from my mother to the ladies at the nail salon began handing me magazines, it became glaringly obvious to me that the bridal industry does not see me as their target customer and though they are desperately trying to corner the gay wedding market, other than an add for David’s Bridal there was nothing for me.
Now, some might argue that save the dates and rings are fun to look at, but come on, we all know it’s about the dress! Most of you have heard that the average American woman is a size 14 by now, actually closer to 18 these days I think, but you wouldn’t have a clue when flipping the pages of the average wedding rag. Page after page, I saw brides in gorgeous gowns (that probably come in my size) but not a clue that a girl like me could actually find someone to marry her! I mean, after all, that is the subtle message that the bridal magazine industry is selling. When you really boil it down, thin equals love.
This mentality permeates the industry. I recently said yes to the dress, a sample that fit me to a tee. The truly lovely manager of the store casually mentioned that “depending on how much weight you lose, you can have the dress altered.” This exact sentence I know has been said to many a bride; but it is the epitome of bridal fat shaming. What if I was getting married next month? What if I have no plans to lose weight? What if, by some miracle, my partner actually loves me for me and what I look like right now? I know that it was not her intention to offend me, and I wasn’t offended. I was actually just sad that this is such a normal pressure put upon brides. What if someone is recovering from an eating disorder? Or what if I had just lost 100 pounds? It’s these subtle nuances that we must combat in order to change the way we see our bodies and ultimately what we pass on to our children with regards to their body image.
All that to say here are three ways that the bridal industry can reach me and my hard earned money:
- Incorporate girls that look like me into your editorials as the bride. Sure, a plus-size bridesmaid is obvious, but why not suggest that someone a bit bigger than a size 2 can find love too?
- Encourage your advertisers to offer variety. Most wedding gowns come in a wide range of sizes. Show us. Show us what we might look like in your $10,000 gown… we want to spend our money!
- Understand that we want to wear what’s trendy… who doesn’t love a great princess gown? I know I do, but come on! Give me options! I want to see what my shape looks like in a trumpet gown or mermaid cut! I am not afraid to show my figure, let me!
If you’re curvy or have a plus size friend who needs wedding inspiration, send her to Pretty Pear Bride. It’s one space online capturing the plus size bride’s attention and offering her something to look at. It’s what I’ll be reading to help plan my wedding and where I’ll be and blogging about all of my wedding planning.
My attempt at expressing my thoughts on feeling left out of the bridal market is not to boycott the beautiful pages that make it so easy to imagine the beautiful possibilities of my big day, but rather to ask, beg and plead that we plus-size girls be invited to the table. We want to play. We want to spend. And now, let’s eat some cake!