You know, I’ve written this post so many times, it’s not funny. For ages, I’ve been trying to articulate answers to some of the questions and comments I get on a daily basis with reference to my size. I think where I want to start, right up front, right at the beginning of this post… Is with the end message. All shape, all sizes, have their pluses and minus’, their own struggles, dilemmas and challenges. Talking about the challenges facing one particular ‘size’ does not diminish the challenges faced by others – talking about the issues and challenges facing those who are ‘smaller plus size’, does not take away from the struggles of those who are ‘larger plus size’, or petite, or tall, or muscular, or ‘ginormous in the boobie department’ – we all coexist, each struggling with our own challenges, looking for others who are the same as ourselves to share our tribulations and triumphs with… So, with that preamble out of the way, today I would like to talk about what it’s like to be an Inbetweenie, and what that term means to me…
The more I talk about being an Inbetweenie, the more women I find shouting “yes! That’s me! I didn’t realize it was a thing” like they’ve finally found a little place, a little community who understands how hard it is to be Inbetweenie.
What is an Inbetweenie?
It’s for all those who fall somewhere in the middle – between standard fashion and plus size fashion.
I’ve been a curvy girl my whole life, and I certainly never looked like those girls in the glossy magazines. I’ve always struggled to find things in my size – whether that’s because the store doesn’t make my size, or they only have a rare few in my size that were snapped up long ago – it’s always been a bit of a struggle. Like a lot of plus size girls, as a teenager, I used to dread going shopping with my friends as I knew we would go into store after store; they would try on awesome clothes; and there would be very few things for me. Then, with the rise of the Plus Size fashion industry, I finally felt like there were shops I could go to and find something to wear. Before I lost weight, I was able to walk into (pretty much) any plus size store and find something I could make work. I also found it very liberating to identify with the plus size community. Now that I’ve lost weight, I actually face a whole lot of new ‘inbetweenie’ dilemmas.
On a daily basis, I receive comments from women on Instagram about my size and the fact that I call myself plus size. Some, believing they are paying me a compliment, tell me “there’s no way you’re plus size”; others get very defensive, as I’m not ‘plus size enough’ to use that label; others get a little bit nasty. It all leads me to feel quite rejected by the community I identify with… The truth is, I use the term plus size because that’s the size that I am, and that’s the clothes that I wear.
I am a curvy size 16. Those curves size me out of a lot of high street labels. Yet, in a lot of cases, the smallest size in a plus size label can be a little big. It leaves me lost somewhere in the middle. In some ways I feel like I was much better catered to before I lost weight. Now, can be really hard to find things that fit right. I, like a lot of Inbetweenie women, rely heavily on mass market department stores like Target and Big W who stock extended sizing in their clothing to cater for Inbetweenies. We shop a lot online, at places like ASOS and Boohoo who have tried to close the gap between their plus size and straight size offerings – however Inbetweenies still face a more limited selection with a very large portion of the clothes on these sites, either too big, or too small – and Inbetweenies everywhere will know exactly what I’m talking about!
On Instagram, I received a comment the other day that has really made me think hard about the term ‘Inbetweenie’ and pushed me to pen my thoughts about what it means to me, and why I’m happy to wear the label. The commenter wrote “I really feel like using the tag Inbetweenie is counter productive to body positivity, plus size and size acceptance. Like ‘oh you’re plus size but I can fit into regular size too – so there’…” it really left me feeling ‘damned if I do and damned if I don’t’ – people complain when I tag myself as plus size as I’m ‘not plus size enough’ and now people complain that I’m bragging when I tag myself as Inbetweenie. But here’s the truth of it: I don’t actually see one as better than the other. At its core, I think that’s actually what body positivity and size acceptance is all about. I don’t see standard size as the ‘best’ and ‘Inbetweenie’ as some runner up prize to brag about and separate myself from the term ‘plus size’. I see it as inclusive. For all those caught somewhere inbetween.
Whether it’s your F cup boobs which make those buttons strain and pop; or your curvy hips that cause you to do a ‘pants dance’ to wiggle into standard jeans; or your long torso which causes standard play suits to cut you in half; or your hormones which play havoc with your sizing and you fluctuate between sizes all over the place – WELCOME – you are an Inbetweenie and there are thousands and thousands of women, just like you who understand your struggles! Who understand that Inbetweenie is not ‘easier than plus size’, it’s not some ‘second place to skinny’, that’s it’s a category with its own challenges and issues just like everyone else.
I’m hesitant to put a size reference on the term ‘Inbetweenie’ for a number of reasons. Primarily, sizing, particularly in Australia, is so inconsistent that I find those little numbers on that little tag mean very little indeed. But also because ‘Inbetweenie’ is inclusive – if you feel caught inbetween sometimes, then welcome – WE are YOUR tribe, your community, YOU BELONG. We are the people who understand your unique Inbetweenie struggles, and who relate to your Inbetweenie frustration.
We are also the people who want to share in your ‘Inbetweenie’ triumph and successes!
While I’ve been a little ‘glass half empty’ in this post about being an Inbetweenie – it can be great. By sharing our tips, experiences and wins we can have the ‘best of both worlds’ drawing on fashion inspiration and style from standard and plus size clothing. So, if you feel like you are an Inbetweenie – than guess what, you are!
So, are you part of the Inbetweenie tribe? What are your biggest struggles and successes? Where do you LOVE to shop?
Coming very soon, iCurvy will be the home of an Inbetweenie Shopping Directory – with great hints and tips for where to shop, fit guides and hopefully will introduce you to a couple of new places that you didn’t realize caters to the Inbetweenie.
I’m calling it early… But 2015 will be the YEAR OF THE INBETWEENIE!
NOTE and CREDIT: I was first introduced to the term ‘Inbetweenie’ by Christine Kardashian who designs a label that specifically caters to Inbetweenies http://christinekardashian.com and I am a massive fan of Edith Dohmen who has been blogging about, and supporting Inbetweenies forever http://stylehasnosize.com