The start of summer is now only weeks away and this one is looking to be a scorcher. This means more dresses and bikinis which, for some women, is not a problem. Yet, for plus size women, there seems to be an unwritten rule about hiding your body. Which makes plus size fashion a little limiting at times, especially during the summer. But what would happen if plus size women not only challenge the rule but change it too?
A video published by the FaceBook page I Heart My Body was the first of many to conduct a new kind of social experiment. In the video, three plus size women try on bikinis for the first time, something they avoided because of insecurities, a lack of confidence and even fear. While they were anxious about the real at first, they were also surprised: revealing so much of their body felt strange, but they still felt sexy and confident. One woman even openly declared that this made her want to spend her summer on the beach, rather than avoiding it.
Similarly, Buzzfeed writer Kristin Chirico recently did her own experiment. For one week she wore clothing that did not hide her belly, which meant saying goodbye to her favored A-line styles for the time being. She was admittedly nervous about the experiment, and the first few days left her anxious and needing confirmation that she looked good. But, by the end of the week, she had realized that, like the women from the previous experiment, that she looked and felt good in all the clothing she wore.
Lauren Gordon, a writer for Revelist, also challenged herself to skip over the usual plus size fashion for bathing suits. But, she took it a step further and went to the beach in her chosen suit. For Gordon, she explained her avoidance of bikinis began at just 5-years-old when a friend said she couldn’t wear one because she was “fat.” The fear caused her to struggle with body positivity and personal confidence, so the experiment was especially nerve-wracking for her. But, after trying a couple suits on, she said she felt more like herself than she did in other options. Her trip to the beach? She enjoyed herself immensely, and no one said anything bad to her.
The biggest take away all these women found was that they cannot let their fears and insecurities dictate how they dress and what they do. As Kristin stated at the end of her experiment, the “no visible belly outline” rule of plus size fashion only exists because we allow it to, just like with so many other things. So stop letting other people tell you what you can and cannot wear. If you like something- be it a dress, top, or bathing suit- and it makes you feel confident, sexy, or just plain happy, wear it! So this summer, consider challenging yourself to face a clothing fear; you never know what new style you will fall in love with.