Most women in America today wear a size 14 or bigger. However, some clothing manufacturers seem to ignore this fact. They don’t focus on plus-size women when designing clothing. Although women are willing to accept something less than ideal in many situations, they want the perfect wedding dress. They may struggle to find this dress in stores and wonder what they can do.
In addition, women who wear these sizes are subject to damaging stereotypes. People often tell them to lose weight so they can have the dress of their dreams. These ladies may visit multiple boutiques looking to find the ideal dress only to strike out again and again. As a result, they don’t look forward to their wedding. They become anxious and depressed when thinking about what should be one of the happiest days of their lives.
Thankfully, the industry recognizes the need for wedding dresses in larger sizes. It now offers more variety for women who wear a 14 or bigger, so there is no need to look for someone who can provide a custom wedding dress plus size. Women everywhere are thrilled to see this but want to know why the industry has ignored them for so long.
Experts give many reasons for the lack of attractive wedding dresses for plus-size women. However, it all goes back to American culture. Americans have this idea that women must have a certain body type to be desirable, beautiful, or lovable.
A report issued in 1911 found that two-thirds of all clothing was handmade at home. It wasn’t until the 19th century that manufacturers began producing clothing to sell to consumers in mass. Undershirts and pantaloons were the first items to be made in a factory, with corsets following soon after. Sailors and slaves were the only ones wearing mass-produced clothing regularly, and these clothes only came in one size. The individual would need to make the necessary alterations. Following the Civil War, manufacturers began to branch out and mass-produce clothing for both sexes. By 1915, most department stores had ready-made clothing available. However, they rarely carried plus-size clothing.
Standards weren’t set for size as the industry took off. Each company determined its own standards, which typically revolved around what they considered the normal body type. This was the start of the stereotypes that continue today. What stereotypes remain in the bridal industry today?
Many wedding dress boutiques only carry limited sizes. In fact, some stores don’t carry anything bigger than a size 12. This means women who wear larger sizes are unable to find their dream dresses in these stores. If a retailer does carry larger sizes, the selection often remains limited. The woman may have to settle for a dress she likes rather than one she loves.
Consultants often overlook women who wear larger sizes and spend less time helping them find a dress. In fact, they may even be disrespectful to these women. They act like these women don’t need a wedding dress. If the women do, they should be happy with what is available. No woman wants this type of experience when shopping for a wedding dress, but it happens more than most people realize.
Go on a Diet
Many plus-size women hear they need to go on a diet if they want the wedding dress of their dreams. While body and size inclusion continues to improve, the wedding industry has yet to catch up. The struggle to find a wedding dress remains common today. As a result, these women may decide to go on a diet so they can have the dress of their dreams.
The wedding industry has yet to support body diversity in women. In fact, there is a term for women dieting in order to fit into a wedding dress. It is known as “shedding for the wedding.” This mentality is not healthy and should not be encouraged. Nevertheless, many women feel the pressure to diet and take off excess weight. They view themselves as not sexy and unlovable. However, they aren’t the only ones who are hurt.
The wedding industry actually harms itself by carrying limited sizes. There are plenty of women willing to spend money on a wedding dress if they could find one that fits them. When they can’t, they turn to other options, and bridal stores lose out on their business. When the bridal consultant suggests the person should lose weight, they may go elsewhere and leave a negative review of the shop. This could also harm business.
Finding the Perfect Dress
The fashion industry is moving toward being more inclusive today. While the wedding dress industry has yet to catch up with the industry as a whole, improvements have been seen, and more boutiques and designers are creating dresses with plus-size women in mind, particularly in big cities. If a woman is willing to travel to one of these cities, she will find a larger selection of dresses to choose from.
Make it fun to try these dresses. Gather the bridesmaids and the bride’s mother and spend a few nights away from home shopping for wedding dresses and engaging in other fun activities. This is a great bonding experience for the group and increases the odds of the bride finding the perfect dress.
Until bridal shops everywhere begin offering plus-size dresses, they will lose business. Some boutiques will refuse to do so, and some women will choose to crash diet to fit the dress of their dreams. However, this is not the case for all, and that’s what will hurt the wedding dress industry. These women will find other ways to get the dress they dream of, as they want their wedding day to be perfect in every way.
Is plus-size a relevant term today? With so many people falling into this category, plus-size is actually becoming the new normal. Fashion industry innovators recognize this and are working to provide clothing for these individuals. The bridal industry must do the same if it wants to stay relevant.
Women who encounter a bridal shop that doesn’t cater to them should look elsewhere. There are more choices in the bridal industry than ever before. Take the time to find a shop that caters to women who wear size 14 or larger, and have an amazing wedding dress shopping experience in every way.