BY AMANDA MOSES
As a plus sized woman, I know the struggles of trying to stay trendy in a world obsessed with trim figures. Imagine this continuous battle with size dilemmas magnified by a thousand when you are about to get married! In 2010, I was preparing to get married at the youthful age of 22 and so in my naivety I decided to coordinate everything on my own. The best part of planning your wedding should be picking out the dress, but this isn’t the case for a plus sized person (unless you are “rolling in the Benjamins,” and can afford to have your dress custom made.) For this broke peasant, my Cinderella transformation gown came at a budget. Everywhere I went the options were slim, pun intended.
It’s so disheartening when you are trying to fulfill a fairytale fantasy, but are told you are too big or the shop doesn’t carry that size. My search led me to David’s Bridal, but that was almost 10 years ago and back then their selection wasn’t as broad as it is today. When I did find my dress, an employee said, “A lot of brides end up picking that one,” and poof the little bubble of illusion I had on being special burst.
With my experience being almost a decade ago, a new curvy force is now upon us. There has been an uprising in body positivity being spearheaded by innovative fashion industry leaders. One example of this movement is theCURVYcon, powered by Dia&Co, an annual event inviting women of all ages and sizes to network, purchase clothes in a variety of pop-up shops, attend panels/workshops, and fashion shows. This convention is held around the same time as New York Fashion Week, embracing everyone’s inner fashionista.
I have never felt such a deeply rooted connection with strangers until I at-tended this event. Everyone was so kind and willing to discuss their gripes with the clothing industry. My favorite discussion was during the Kleinfeld Panel, featuring curvy model Hunter McGrady and The Knot Senior Fashion Editor Shelley Brown. The panel shed light on McGrady’s experience, which was similar to mine. She wanted a dress that emphasized her curves with other design specifications, but she couldn’t find it. So she had one custom made. The Knot Magazine and Kleinfeld Bridal (the location of TLC’s show, Say Yes to the Dress) teamed up to display that the wedding fashion industry is slowly changing with a first-ever fashion show, displaying gowns that cater to sizes up to 32.
Inclusivity was the main phrase emphasized at this show. In a press release, these organizations said: “As two leaders in the wedding industry, The Knot and Kleinfeld are dedicated to supporting all those getting married, regardless of their size, shape, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, budget, style, or background. The Knot and Kleinfeld have made it their mission to be more inclusive, not only in fashion but across the board.”
There were Ballgowns, A-line, Sheath, and Mermaid/Trumpet dresses adorn with lace, tulle, and embroideries. The models were refreshingly bright and curvy; each one sashaying across the runway with illuminating smiles across their faces as they bestowed hope to the audience of fashion aficionados.
If I’ve learned anything from the CURVYcon and the Knot/Kleinfeld fashion show is that your shape or size doesn’t matter, we should all love ourselves as we are.
Photos by Amanda Moses