Did you know that the majority of American women wear a size 14 or higher? This means that more than not, women wear what the fashion industry considers to be plus-sized clothing. So, why is it still so hard for a woman in this range of sizes to find their dream wedding dress?
Plus-sized women face damaging stereotypes, pressure to diet, and unhelpful boutiques that don’t offer their sizes. This makes what should be a joyful experience for a bride depressing and anxiety-inducing. The good news is that the industry is finally changing for the better.
Facing Plus-Size Stereotypes
It’s possible to cite many reasons that finding a plus-size wedding dress is so difficult, but the main underlying cause runs deep in our culture. It is the stereotype that women must fit a specific mold to be lovable, beautiful, or desirable.
When fashion industrialized and began mass-producing clothing, the industry didn’t set any real standards for size. Every company found its own standards and definitions, and these primarily centered around what was considered a normal body type. The stereotypes that plague women who don’t fit this mold continue today.
In the wedding dress market, brides face these stereotypes all the time:
- Many boutiques carry a limited range of sizes and may not even go up to 14 or 16.
- Retailers that carry so-called plus sizes may only do so for a few dresses.
- Consultants don’t provide the same welcoming experience to bigger brides.
- Some brides even report disrespectful behavior from consultants.
The message is clear: plus-sized brides don’t need bridal gowns. If they do, they should be grateful for the few choices made available.
These stereotypes make it difficult for brides to find dresses not just because it limits their options. It also makes the experience of shopping a dreaded chore. Who wants to engage in the process if it will only serve to bring you down and make you feel bad about your body?
Pressure to Engage in a Toxic Wedding Diet
Today, size and body inclusion is a growing trend, thankfully. But the fashion industry, and wedding dressmakers, in particular, lag far behind. It is still difficult for many brides to find a range of options to fit their bodies.
If you have struggled to find a wedding dress that you both love and that fits your body, it’s understandable that you might turn to a diet. The wedding industry does not do a great job of supporting body diversity. The inevitable result is that many women feel pressured to diet and lose weight.
This “shedding for the wedding” mentality is toxic and unnecessary. It supports the damaging stereotypes that fat women are unlovable and unsexy. It also gives into the bridal industry’s limitations on women who don’t fit the mold. Pushing for weight loss only reinforces the lack of dress options for bigger women and makes the shopping experience more miserable.
Yes, You Can Find a Beautiful Plus-Size Wedding Dress
The fashion industry as a whole is becoming more inclusive. The wedding dress industry inevitably lags behind, but it is also changing for the better. It’s easier than ever to find boutiques and designers that not only accept and work with plus-sized brides but cater to women who need larger sizes.
Today, you can find wedding dress designers and boutiques embracing body inclusion in most big cities, but there are a few mainly known and celebrated for it. For instance, Texas has been experiencing a “wedding boom” since mid-2021. If you’re willing to make the trip or already live in the area, check out these wedding dresses in Houston, sold by Morilee, who carries a wide range of dresses and goes the extra mile to be inclusive.
The numbers don’t lie. Most women don’t fit the ideal standard the industry created decades ago.
This means the industry has to change, or it will risk losses. While some boutiques may continue catering to thin brides or those willing to crash diet their way to the altar, most have to adapt to survive. Keep looking for those designers and retailers at the forefront of acceptance. They’re increasing in numbers all the time.
The Future is Inclusive
When more women than not wear sizes considered “plus,” The question arises if plus-sized is even a relevant term. Innovators in the fashion industry say no. Size inclusion may be slow to come to the wedding dress industry, but it is happening. If you’re not happy with the experience at a bridal store, you can find a better one that accepts you for who you are.