A Shopping Guide for Curvy Girls: 21Squared

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Navigating the fashion world as a plus size woman can be incredibly difficult.

Shopping is already a total pain, but when you’re faced with fewer style choices, higher clothing costs, inaccessibility to in-person stores, AND constant judgement from people who don’t feel like your body should even be displayed? Yikes!

But the world is starting to change.

Retailers are beginning to realize that HELLO, fat women want to look fierce too, and we have the spending power to do so. Social media has allowed people of every shape and size to spread their stylish wings. Bikinis now exist in sizes other than small and crop tops in bold colors are available for every body. There are even more brick-and-mortar stores opening up that sell plus size fashion, allowing people to even try things on.

Yet there’s still a disconnect.

While there are a lot more options than there were ten or even five years ago, many brands are not actually inclusive. They promote “PLUS! INCLUSIVITY! EVERY BODY!” yet their models are barely a size 16, perfectly hourglass and proportionate. Their sizing won’t go past the ambiguous “3X” which can range from an 18–24 in size.

This makes plus size shopping a permanent guessing game. Clothes that look great on one plus-size body may not translate AT ALL to someone of a different height, body shape, or weight. Everything is bought with fingers crossed, and every single plus-size online shopper becomes the QUEEN of return policies.

Shopping for my body has always been a rollercoaster. At 5’9” with the majority of my weight hanging out in my stomach and a size range from 22–26, I am very rarely portrayed in the clothing I want to buy. Usually when shopping, I will have to order ALL THE THINGS and guess what might be worth keeping. Some won’t fit. Some will look NOTHING like the model. Some might surprise me by looking unexpectedly amazing. But I always end up returning more than 50% of it.

I’m confident in my body. I like looking in the mirror. I want to see more soft fat people who look like me in catalogs, ad campaigns, and clothing websites. But when I don’t, I start to wonder. If they aren’t representing me… Do they even see me?

Thankfully social media, especially Instagram, has allowed me to fill my feed with women who have bodies like mine. This representation is SO important. But I want to bring that to my shopping experience, to see just what my favorite brands look like. Often this involves digging through hashtags, sending DMs, and scrolling for hours to see if at least ONE person has tried on that hella cute dress from ASOS Curve.

So what if there was a way to find that diversity?

That’s where 21Squared comes in.

A curvy app that has created an all inclusive, user-driven fashion community and marketplace built on the premise of #nblb — No Body Left Behind. You can shop some of the best brands, like ASOS Curve, LOFT, Lane Bryant, Talbots, and more. But when you find a piece you love, honest reviews and photos submitted by real users wearing that piece are right there. You can also follow people, allowing you to see bodies just like yours anytime you need that representation.

Shopping should be fun, no matter your size or shape. Let’s make it that way!

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