Monday, August 29, 2011

American Apparel XL Campaign

Photo from

American Apparel is looking for "The Next BIG Thing." I have mixed feelings about this curvy woman search.  On one hand, I think it's positive that bigger sizes are being offered, but on the other hand I can't help but think but the average size woman wears a size 12/14, so why are these sizes still considered plus size?  The company is only providing twenty one items available to the "bigger" sizes and four of them are unisex and the ad is full of awkward size references. The Jezebel article, American Apparel introduces Size XL, Holds Search for 'Booty-ful' Model, sums it up,

"Maybe we should be excited that another company is acknowledging the existence of (slightly) larger women, but carrying a freakin' 12 just seems long overdue. Plus, it isn't like American Apparel is offering all of its women's clothing in the larger size. There are only 21 items for women in the "XL & Larger" category online, and four of those are unisex. Even though American Apparel desperately needs customers, it still doesn't want to see its hipster getups on anyone who actually wears a "plus-size."

On a positive note, when looking through the submissions, you can see and hear how great the numbers of girls and women are who crave acknowledgment and are sick and tired of the images and messages still sent to starve to be a certain size, preferably one that is a single digit in size.  Health and beauty do not have one size, shape, or weight and it's important that this conversation is happening.

Photo From:

I only wish that when I was a teenager, when the images and expectations of the messages that were being sent as to what my body should look like, and what size I should wear, and the small window of what was considered acceptable, I had access to or even knew of communities like fuckyeahchubbygirls or Body Love Wellness.  It could have prevented years of self-loathing, constant struggling, unrealistic image of my body, and obsessive relationship with food. When I look back at pictures from high school or even college, I think why did I think I was massively huge to the point of disgusting?  I was athletic and healthy, but the notion that wearing anything about a size 10 was appalling created such a warped view of myself.  Even though I think we have a long way to go, we have come a long way and I'm happy to know about these communities now, for myself, for my friends, and for all of the young women I will encounter who I can share this information with.

What do you think about this campaign?  What about the language used? Did you or do you struggle with body acceptance?  What are some positive sites or images you use as a reality check in this age of photoshop?  Comment below or email me


  1. My daughter and I have been happy to find which lets you shop several clothing sites at once including Torrid which has young, edgy clothing. It is such a relief to have a big selection of styles and price range.
    In some ways the clothing industry has become worse. Size 10-12 was easily found in stores when I was in school and most stores carried up to a size 18, even trendy stores. Now they seem to think that 0 to 2 is a size range for adult women.
    It is especially strange in my rural(ish) community to have all the stores at the mall catering to tween sizes, when our population trends to plus-size.
    Let's face it. The industry is never going to allow us to be happy with ourselves - because happy doesn't sell.

  2. I love this post, Laura! And I'm really conflicted about the American Apparel issue. The advertising in general so degrading and at times near pornographic (even for children's clothes!) that I have difficulty supporting them period. But at the same time, seeing some size diversity in advertising and bigger sizes for sale at a major retailer is never a bad thing. So yeah, I'm torn!

  3. I think the industry is wrapped up in the same mentality that is being fed to everyone through the "health" industry. Health isn't and shouldn't be an industry. And this obsession with the number we weigh or the size we wear being a direct correlation to one's health only leaves women (& men) plenty to obsess over. But the community of body positive and self-acceptance is growing!

    Thank to both of you ladies for your feedback.