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Leave something for me! Why viral trends are hurting the plus size community

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If you’ve been on any social media platform in the past few years, chances are you’ve seen a growing trend of straight-height people buying plus-size items to cut up for a DIY project, usually for single use. . Items are no longer the same size by the time the DIYer finishes their project, and sometimes the end result is something they could have bought outright for a comparable price.

Another trend you may have come across is that people of straight stature buy the largest size item they can find in order to have an oversized t-shirt or sweatshirt. Often the person is objectively skinny and could have bought an XL and gotten the oversized look without resorting to the plus size sale.

Image via Navabi

Why are these trends a problem?

First of all, we want to point out that there are numerous companies that create specific oversize garments for straight sizes. Amazon, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M, American Eagle, Free People, Zara – the list of companies goes on and on for oversized options already available on the market for people of straight height.

Especially when these trends go viral on social media, we have seen the impacts in real time. In one case, the cartel purchased a size 9XL sweatshirt, spread this information to millions of viewers, causing the sweatshirt to be sold in sizes 5-9XL, and resulting in a price increase when they restocked the item. An additional thing to note is that the retailer was the only brand selling a size 9XL through Amazon.

This means that people who needed that size were unable to buy it and when it became available again the price almost doubled.

only roughly twenty% of the apparel market is geared towards plus-size women, even though 70% of American women are at least a size 16. That means the remaining 80% of the apparel market is geared towards straight sizes, which it makes the options for them much greater. Why would anyone in good conscience take an item that is already in such short supply?

When it comes to thrift, it’s incredibly hard to find something in plus sizes, especially if you’re looking for something in a size 3X or larger. Why is that? For starters, not only do we have fewer options in the clothing market, but the availability of quality items that will withstand wear and tear over time is even less.

Navabi Plus Size Free Images
Image via Navabi

Because plus-size people experience this scarcity and lack of access, we tend to wear our clothing items until they literally fall apart, making it impossible for someone else to donate and ultimately save them.

Another thing to keep in mind, especially when it comes to second-hand items, is that plus-size people tend to have a lower job salary. According to an NIH study, “overweight and obese” women earned 9% lower monthly wages and were half as likely to have jobs with bonuses than their slimmer counterparts. Due to this wage disparity, the availability of affordable plus size clothing is an absolute necessity.

Tips for our straight-sized friends

Do your best not to shop in the plus size section if you are not a plus size. Essentially you are taking an item from someone who could actually use it and probably will use it a lot!

the plus bus
Image via The Plus Bus

Spread the word about how scarce plus size clothing is. There are people out there who just don’t know how big of a problem this is.

You can even help when it comes to branding! When you see an ad for a brand that doesn’t carry plus sizes, comment and ask when they are expanding their size.

In the meantime, be sure to support the various plus size thrift stores and plus size vintage stores popping up across the US Plus Bus, Secondhand Curves, and Secondhand Stare are all great places to start!

We cannot fight this fight alone and we need good, straight-sized allies to help us enact change! So go ahead and be sure to share this post with a friend or two, to raise awareness!

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