Fashion, Style News
Robyn Lawley may have landed a Ralph Lauren campaign and Vogue put Adele on the cover, but plus-size women (or what is considered "plus-size" by fashion execs) are still treated as an insignificant minority in the industry. Despite the fact that 57 percent of American women buy plus-size clothing and the average woman is a size 14, it is still difficult for curvy shoppers to find their sizes in stores. In fact, there are still only two plus-size lingerie stores in the entire country.
So we spoke to Chrystal Bougon, owner of one of the two stores, Curvy Girl Lingerie. At size 22 with a background in the adult toy business, Chrystal knew that curvier women wanted to dress as sexily as size 2 women but simply don't have the options. So we asked the entrepreneur about the state of the plus-size world today -- the good, the bad and the promising.
HuffPost: I was really excited to see what you're doing, mainly because I feel like we've been hearing so much about plus-size lately. Do you feel like there's some sort of cresting happening in the industry right now?
Chrystal Bougon: Yeah, it's crazy. At first I thought it was just because I was sensitive to the word, so I was seeing a lot of it in the media, and I saw it on a lot of sites that aren't what I would call mainstream. But it's also been in the mainstream media, like "Good Morning America" and "The View." I'm like, wow -- when I started my store, I kind of felt like there was momentum. But now it's like wow, we're really in the middle of this really huge movement.
HuffPost: Do you think it has anything to do with larger trends, including talk of too-skinny models and eating disorders in the fashion industry, or do you think it was just about time?
CB: I think there are probably a lot of things at play there. But the average American woman is a size 14, so I think it was coming. Now larger people are more in command of what’s being created, because we need more stuff! We need clothes, stuff that doesn't look like muumuus. We are such a huge part of the population.
HuffPost: Do you think all the talk we're hearing about plus-size is just hype or are we seeing real developments on the ground when it comes to mainstream retail?
CB: Well, I think that there are still not a lot of places for me to shop. I'm a size 20-22 and there are about three places I can shop in an actual store. You can buy stuff all over the place online, but when you're curvy, it's really hard to buy stuff online. And the different lingerie companies sell lingerie from all kinds of different manufacturers, but you don’t know that when you're online. So I would order everything in my size, say 10 items, and then I would end up returning seven of them because seven of the 10 didn’t fit.
So it's like the Wild Wild West out there as far as plus-sizes go, because curvy bodies are so different. Our curves are in all different places so it’s tricky for a plus-size manufacturer to find patterns for everybody. Everybody who is a size 20 doesn't look the same. Some of us have big booties, some of us have big boobs... I just think really it's a big thing, because there are so many more of us, and we're demanding that we get paid attention to and we don’t want to hide anymore. We don’t want to just wear muumuus and caftans and big color-block things that you can find at Walmart. We want to look sexy and we want to look relevant and cute. We're not going to hide. We're done hiding.
Interview continued at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/plus-size-lingerie-store_n_3598556.html