We're sick of hearing normal-shaped women being labelled "plus size". Why the title, and who came up with it? Just make it go away!
When I started Sequins and Sand, it was basically out of frustration. Frustration that it was all but impossible to find well-priced summer wear that wasn't either skimpy or frumpy.
Back when we were young and waif-like, the world of beach wear was our oyster. We could take our pick from rack after rack of deliciously skimpy bikinis, and we could strut our stuff with the best of them. Now, as women in our 40s (and proud of it!), we've outgrown those heady days – both physically and mentally – but we still want to express our individuality when we're stepping out by the beach and by the pool.
In short: we're not clones, and even if we're not the fresh young peaches that we used to be, we still deserve to wear clothes that make us look spectacular – not just frumpy, assembly-line, chain store blah.
In the process of building up Sequins and Sand we've been privileged to be able to help women like us to find summer clothing that compliments their shape and style. But we've also been forced to do something we're not proud of.
The Plus Size war on waistlines
It's with great reluctance and a deep sense of hypocrisy that we use the words 'Plus Size' to describe part of our range here at Sequins and Sand.
Hands down the most popular sizes in our resort wear collection are Medium-Large in clothing and sizes 16-22 in swimwear. As far as the wonderful world of marketing and "branding" is concerned, these fall under the banner of Plus Size. As an online swimwear business, we're more or less obliged to use the term because it's common currency - women are searching for it, and if we don't call it Plus Size they may never find what we have to offer them.
So why have I got such a Plus-Size bee in my bonnet about it? Simple.
As women we're already expected to shoulder an enormous burden - to be the perfect mother and wife, to balance a career with our household duties, all while doing our best impression of Elle. We're busy. We get precious little time to devote to ourselves, and those sacred couple of weeks every summer when we get to leave home and work behind and actually relax by the beach are for many of us the only sanctuary that's left. Only now we have yet another thing to add to our list of anxieties. We're not us: we're "Plus Size".
Why Plus Size is the new Normal
According to a 2009 study of some 4,500 Australian and NZ mothers, a dismal 10 percent said they were happy with the way they look and their level of fitness.
In this context, the term "Plus Size" creates a false division that only serves to further smash women's body confidence – as if up to a certain size you're "normal", and above that you become somehow freakish.
And why do we even need it when we've already got a perfectly good sizing system. You don't go into a shoe shop and see sizes 5-11 and then "Plus Size". So why should we subject womens' bodies to this ego-abuse?
Especially when it's clear that "Plus Size" is increasingly the norm – the average dress size in Australia nowadays is 16.
And now, the good news
So the Sequins and Sand mission has gone beyond simply sourcing and offering the right size clothing. What we're about is restoring womens' confidence. The confidence to get out there, in extreme conditions, on the beach, baring your almost-all, not giving a damn and just having fun!
And there's been a genuinely positive aspect to the "Plus Size" revolution. More designers are waking up to the fact that all women need to feel good in their skin, and are creating beautiful clothes that let us all shine - no matter what shape or size we might be.
We'd absolutely love to sell stunning resort and swimwear for women from size 8-22 without having to use categories and keywords like 'Plus Size' for them to be found.
The bottom line is, we're all women, wanting to embrace and celebrate summer. We come in all different shapes and sizes –always have, always will. So let's drop the Plus Size baggage. We've got plenty to carry as it is, thank you very much.
Where do you stand on the Plus Size issue? Are you plus size and proud, or do the words turn your stomach? Can you come up with a better name? Send us your ideas, and let's see if we can come up with a nicer name for normal bodies.