Have you ever been flipping through the pages of a magazine longingly, sat in front of the TV salivating, or even scrolled through your Instagram feed, craving those straight off the runway outfits and accessories that your favorite celebrities wear, oozing cool? Do you think to yourself “Ugh why? How? SO GOOD!” only to immediately say, “I could NEVER pull something like that off”. I’ve always thought that being able to “pull off a look”, came from your own personal style and pure confidence, so my question is where is the disconnect between the style standards we set for ourselves versus the ones we set for our favorite celebs.
Think back for a moment and remember the 2014 CFDA Awards when uber celeb and fashion maven, Rihanna donned a custom Adam Selman sheer dress covered in thousands of Swarovski crystals. She completed the look with a light pink fur wrap draped around her arms, a sparkling head scarf and long gloves to match. Under the intricate gown almost every part of her body was shown. I thought the dress gave a beautiful look at the curves of the female body, while still possessing a level of utmost sophistication. Needless to say, the media exploded with controversies about the dress. On every social media outlet, people commented on how amazing Rhianna looked, but how the ensemble wouldn’t really be appropriate for anyone but her because, well, she’s Rhianna. But those same rules don’t seem to apply to all celebrities.
The fashion industry has always been this sort of elitist society, and with the emergence of countless social media outlets to ogle over public figures, celebrities, and models, a sort of hierarchy has been created. As a 23 year old fashion student and a plus size woman, I’ve taken notice to how the media portrays larger women in a sort of shadowed light. We see actresses and singers like Melissa McCarthy, Gabourey Sidibe, Adele, Rebel Wilson and Amber Riley, all women that have an amazing sense of style, but are not really known for taking huge risks fashion wise. It seems that plus size women were put into a box, and should be happy to stay there. That is until recently.
Plus size model Tess Holliday broke the mold when she became the first size 22 model to be signed to a major agency (MiLK Model Management) . Her tattoos and retro, quirky sense of style are quickly making her a fashion goddess, in large part due to her Instagram where she has over 1 million followers. She dons more revealing apparel than most plus size celebs, and she looks amazing while doing it. The comments on her photos are mostly from fans praising and thanking her for being such an inspiration, and then there are the comments that say things like “ she has so much attitude’, “I wish I could look that good in a leotard”. My question is, with celebrities giving us “normies” so much inspiration, why do so many of us still feel that these looks and confidence are unattainable? After all, the upper tier of this imaginary hierarchy includes those willing to push boundaries, and if and when they do face controversy about their fashion choices, they somehow become more of a fashion icon rather than a faux pas.
Letting celebrities influence the way that you dress has always been a trend, but to let that influence detract you from taking risks with your own personal style and maybe buying those avant garde, straight off the runway pieces, is an injustice to yourself and the fashion world as a whole. If you have the budget, an amazing tailor, and confidence that kills, you can rock anything no matter how “out there” it may seem. Regardless of your size, I say take the fashion plunge and work it!