October 21, 2021

Here’s What Gaining Weight Taught Me About the Power of Clothing


Why did garments nonetheless maintain a lot energy?

My expertise as a style journalist helped me perceive why. Style is a lens by which our tradition measures worth. When you get your palms on the Balenciaga sweater or Gucci gown of the second, you’re immediately perceived as value greater than the individual subsequent to you. And when these items are unique to girls measurement 0 to 12, it tells these of us who put on a measurement 14 and up that we aren’t invaluable.

After almost 10 years working in style—first as a plus-size model, then as an editor—and almost 20 years as a client, it’s doable that concept could by no means go away my head. However now I’m at the least capable of override it (i.e., after my laundry-bin match, I nonetheless put one thing on my physique and bought my ass to work).

Past what our exclusion tells us subliminally, we additionally face a really actual ripple impact. When girls above a sure measurement don’t have entry to sharp, well-made garments, we face a measurable disadvantage. When we now have to put on one thing shitty—shock!—we really feel shitty. I used to be sick of beginning my day with that feeling, as a result of it legitimately affected my work: I’d be in a foul temper throughout a morning assembly, or I’d be preoccupied whereas enhancing a narrative, or I’d skip a nighttime business occasion as a result of I didn’t assume I appeared like I belonged there.

Two in three American girls put on above a measurement 12, however we account for less than 17 p.c of spending in girls’s retail. And let me let you know, it’s not as a result of we don’t like to buy! I grew to become so obsessive about the concept that tens of millions of girls like me have been going through an identical drawback at work for being plus-size that I flat-out stop my job to assist them.

A yr later, I’m launching my very own style model known as Henning. I’m proud to say that our first assortment is made up of high-quality, fashion-forward workwear items in sizes 12 and up. (Keep tuned for its launch this fall.) The items are impressed by the ones I wanted throughout my time at Glamour, and our objective is to unravel the fashion and match points plus-size girls should cope with.

To date, the better part of engaged on the enterprise is speaking to girls who really feel the manner I did when getting dressed for work. We’ve had them inform us issues like, “I really feel like I’m enjoying dress-up in my grandma’s closet,” and, “I’m drained of dressing like I’m going to a funeral after I’m actually going to characterize my firm in a enterprise assembly.” It’s feedback like these that allow me see I wasn’t the just one swearing at my closet, fidgeting in conferences, and lacking alternatives. They reinforce my perception that the energy of good garments is an influence all of us want on our facet—it doesn’t matter what measurement we put on.

Lauren Chan is the founder and CEO of Henning. Previously, she was a plus-size mannequin and style editor. Comply with her at @lcchan, and Henning at @henning.





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