The year is 2017 and the average woman in the UK wears a size 16. But is it easy to find plus-size style inspiration in the mainstream media? You bet it isn’t!
Last month Vogue featured Ashley Graham on its cover, one of the world’s top plus-sized models. This would seem like progress, if Vogue had not been accused of photoshopping. Growing numbers of people are questioning why Graham is positioned differently to the rest, and if Gigi Hadid’s elongated arm is an attempt to make Graham appear thinner.
Social media doesn’t help things either. Many Facebook pages and Instagram accounts claim to be dedicated to plus-size fashion. But a quick scroll through their content often reveals that the models are all a size 12 (hardly plus size!) and the photographs are so low quality that they could have been taken in someone’s spare room with a flip-phone camera.
So here are five plus size ladies of Instagram that are guranteed to inject life into your Instagram feed. Each lady has a different style, all of them are multitalented, and none of them apologise for their dress size.
1. Chloe Elliot
Plus Size Fashion & Beauty Blogger, Chloe Elliot’s style is versatile, romantic and incredibly feminine. I can’t help but be reminded of Princess Peach looking at her. A firm fan of all things pink, lipstick and lingerie, 27-year-old Chloe is a force to be reckoned with. Following her on Instagram is truly like following a close friend. Bubbly and down-to-earth, she gushes about her love for her dog, shows off her new glasses, and is open about having psoriatic arthritis. Follow her for cute accessories, dreamy fashion and for her adorable miniature dachshund!
“Show what you want to show, build your confidence and let nobody tell you what you can and cannot do with your body”- Chloe Elliot
2. Olivia Campbell
Watch: ‘I’m Not Curvy, I’m Fat’
Another beautiful Brit, Olivia Campbell seamlessly combines couture that is sexy, classic and comfortable. Basically, if Donna Summer and Beyoncé had a baby – Olivia would be it. She oozes sexuality and power, whether she’s wearing Ivy Park active wear or one of her many to-die-for figure hugging jumpsuits. A mother and a plus size model, Olivia’s feed is full of bold styles and empowering mantras. She has multiple posts on where to go to find the perfect pair of jeans, which is a god send because shopping for jeans can be soul destroying. And did I mention that her hair is goals? Follow her for feminism, and for fashion that is pure fire.
“I get offended when I say to people, I describe myself as fat, and they go ‘Oh you’re not fat, you’re curvy!’ and you’re like ‘….no, I’m fat?’ Like why is it such a bad word? How dare you be fat and happy? Like, how dare you be fat and having sex? How dare you be fat and be getting chatted up more than me?” – Olivia Campbell
3. Tess Holliday
31 year old Tess Holliday is a mother, plus-size model and a make-up artist from California. After modelling for over seven years, she has more than one million followers on Instagram. A stunning redhead, Tess rocks bold prints and chic accessories, and just exudes body confidence. Most of her photos are accompanied by the hashtag #effyourbeautystandards – this is a hashtag Tess created which is all about rejecting the mainstream media’s definition of what is beautiful. Currently , #effyourbeautystandards has been used more than two million times on Instagram. Try it using it on your next selfie! She’s also got dry, witty sense of humour. Here she is calling out a hotel on its supposed “one-size-fits-all” robes. Follow Tess for your daily dose of body confidence.
“I was tired of being told that I was too fat to wear what I wanted, that because of my size I “shouldn’t” wear a bikini, show my arms and/or whatever ridiculous “rule” people say plus size women shouldn’t wear” – Tess Holliday
4. Megan Kimberling
Megan Kimberling is a fine art conceptual model, and the ambassador for Girlgaze – an amazing multimedia project that supports female photographers. Megan’s style is dramatic, alternative, and sometimes gothic. You can not help but be reminded of American Horror Story’s ‘Coven’ as you scroll through her Instagram feed – and the results are striking. One minute she’s rising out of the sea like an inky mermaid, the next minute she’s playing homage to Mad Max in the middle of the desert. Her personal blog ‘Diary of a Fat Art Model’ is extremely honest – she remains down to earth at all times. If you’re looking for a bit of modern art to give your feed some variety, and want to know how to effortlessly pull off black lace and pentagrams, Megan Kimberling is the girl for you.
“You think I walk around naked in public with my hair and makeup done and a professional photographer? No. I don’t. I have a Monday-Friday office job where I am in jeans and a tee most of the time. If I brush my hair, it’s a good day” – Megan Kimberling
5. Essie Golden
Based in New York, Essie Golden is so many things all at once. A plus-sized model, a body positive advocate, a blogger and one of the faces of the Golden Confidence Pool Party. Her style is consistently on trend. She rocks thigh high boots, pours herself into racy leather skirts and has a seemingly endless supply of beautiful swimsuits. Her swimsuit obsession is a huge part of who Essie is – one of her core beliefs is that all plus sized women should be able to feel beautiful in swimwear. The Golden Confidence Pool Parties are events directly inspired by Essie herself. The glamourous pool parties allow plus size women to get together in their hottest swimwear and celebrate their body confidence together. Follow Essie for good vibes, bold prints and the latest trends.
Essie has gone on record as saying she “won’t purchase magazines like Vogue because they don’t advertise to them (plus size women), or showcase women who look like them”