What is an Inbetweenie?

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.

Plus size Jacket (Fashion to Figure), Standard size Top (Peter Morrissey), Plus size Jeans (17 Sundays)

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. 

Plus Size Jeans (Harlow), Standard size Top (New Look), Standard size Jacket (Boohoo)

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! 

Standard size Jeans (Big W), Plus size Jumper (Forever 21+), Fancy Nappy Bag (Il Tutto)

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. 

Standard size Jumper (Boohoo), Plus size Leggings (Harlow)

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

Standard size Top and Pants (Sussans), Plus size Blazer (Boohoo Plus)

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

47 thoughts on “What is an Inbetweenie?

  1. Love it!

    I can completely relate, and even more, I have no desire to struggle into totally straight sizes. It takes such enormous energy to maintain those sizes for me. At the other extreme, I was experiencing heightened health challenges when I sat solely in the plus size end. For me, being an inbetweenie has been a blend of freedom, a release of pressure and a feeling of embracing my body, instead of loathing it or chastising it. For the first time in my life, I am realising that the inbetweenie tag is just the right size for me.

  2. I find it incredibly frustrating you and I and every other female feels the need to have to justify our size.

    You are a stylish women, you have an incredible ability to put together outfits and that’s a huge talent. I’ve never looked at you as plus size or inbetweenie because I see you as stylish.

    In saying all that I do love the inbetweenie tag that’s around now, being tallish and curvy myself I am not plus size but I don’t always fit regular sized because I’ve got long legs, thick arms and after having a baby I have a tummy.

    You are I ncredible I curvy xxx

    1. Thanks so much Lauren. I think people find it easier when there’s a label for something – and I don’t mind wearing the Inbetweenie label at all as I’ve finally found something that fits just right 😉 x

  3. What a great way to start a Monday! I loved this post and I personally think the term Inbetweenie is a great one and feel that is where I belong. Super excited to see what journey ‘Inbetweenie’ takes.

  4. And finally someone understands my struggles. Small on top large on bottom. Something is always too big or too small and never inbetween. So thankyou for writing this post.

  5. The first time I came across the term inbetweenie, I instantly identified with it. Even at my absolute skinniest I have been, I was a size 13 (and people commented that I needed to stop losing weight as I was getting too skinny….) but I am mostly a size 16. I love following along with your “every day styles”, as you’ve helped me find some “standard” sizes that fit me, and some plus size ranges that I actually like! (Can you believe I’d never walked into City chic before finding you?!). Anyhoo, just wanted to say thanks, keep up the great work. You really are helping people like me feel more comfortable in their own skin.

    1. Aww thanks so much Katie – that made my day. It’s amazing the difference it can make if you just decide to be happy – exactly how you are. If that changes – be happy with the changes, if not, just be happy being you. I love that you are part of the tribe x

  6. This describes me. Constantly struggling for sizes that fit. Sometimes a 16 in standard size on bottom and some sizes an 18. Top size 16 but some labels are more like a 14 so they don’t fit. A constant battle and disappointment when I have often come away from a shopping trip with nothing. Looking forward to the inbetweenie journey on your blog. X
    Jules recently posted…Living the dreamMy Profile

  7. Yes, yes, YES!! Thankyou for articulating this Jo. I sometimes use this term too and like you have been called out (bullied) about not being plus size ‘enough’. Geez I sit between a 16-18 and weigh 102 kg. Sure I’m not a size 22 or 136 kg anymore but I’m certainly not regular sizing…I drift ‘in between’ I wear plus labels and some regular labels. I’m not consciously trying to leave my plus size sisters behind, I’m getting healthy after illness and a side effect is losing some weight. It doesn’t mean I’m dissing curvier women or desperately trying to be skinny it just means this is ‘me’ today. I’m happy, I’m healthy…I’m not judging anyone else’s size. I resonate with both worlds but I’m an inbetweenie too. X

  8. fantastic post!! I also consider myself an inbetweenie and have been for most of my teenager and now adult years having being various sizes. I love your IG account (prob gets my bank balance into trouble a bit too much ;)) thank you x

  9. Firstly Jo, I am SO glad you wrote this post because you’ve articulated my feelings so wonderfully. I am glad to find a place I can truly identify without the side-eye I sometimes get when I say I’m plus size. xxx
    Jacqueline recently posted…Flatlining RomanticMy Profile

    1. Yes! the side eyes! I feel like I get them in plus size stores, and in standard stores! All the side eyes silently telling me there’s nothing for me here… I love that you make a label for everyone xx

  10. Fantastic article Jo! I can so relate. I’ve also received comments ranging from “there’s no way you’re plus size” to a fun comment from a shop assistant who after looking me up and down said “I’m sorry but nothing in our store would fit you”.
    If there was such a straight size available as a 17 that would be me at the moment. I’m very much an inbetweenie.
    I have found that the heavier I am, the easier it has been to find clothes. When I was 40kgs lighter than now (in my teens) I still couldn’t find clothes and had to get clothes altered due to my bust and hips. So can’t win when it comes to finding clothes regardless of weight. Lol.

  11. Really loved reading this! Never heard the term ‘inbetweenie’ before but it sums me up perfectly! I can range from a size 12-18 depending on the brand and/or my weight at the time, but always found that if I tried on plus sized clothes they never fit well. Being on the shorter side doesn’t help either! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in the inbetweenie world of fashion!

  12. Thank you for writing this blog post. As a dude who is in love with his “inbetweenie” girlfriend, I hate the fact that she feels like she can’t “fit in” to clothing. I am showing her this site. Thank you for posting.

  13. Absolutely love this post. So very glad you got it all out and hit publish!

    I didn’t really know what I was until I started seeing you talking about Inbetweenie. Nikki from Styling You helped as well, sharing some plus size brands like Harlow that start at a 12. Cut for curves that aren’t catered for by standard size brands.

    My boobs are a whole size bigger than the rest of me. I have chronic oedema which means I regularly fluctuate 4kgs.

    I measured myself before I had a baby and my hips were a size smaller than my waist, according to the standard size chart I used to measure myself by. It wasn’t that I had a big waist. I just had tiny hips. I couldn’t find anything to fit me when I was a size 8 or a size 10.

    When I got pregnant, I got thighs and they’ve never gone. Now I match better – my thighs and baby got back booty balance and my waist looks smaller by comparison.

    I used to describe myself as an hourglass with too much sand in the middle, but now I’m a proud Inbetweenie!

    I love to shop at Boohoo, Katies, Country Road, Sussan, Verily, Metalicus – to name a few! I wear a lot of vintage and thrifted finds. A full (or maxi) skirt with a tucked in top is a great look for me. Jersey dresses are great. Hi lo layers work well. Love a printed pant with a quarter tuck draped top. A cropped waterfall jacket rocks my world.

    Oh and why are people such arsehats? I read a great description once when someone was having a go at the whole “inbetweenie means show off” thing from one of your readers on Instagram, who said that the commenter was putting their values onto you and drawing conclusions. They valued a straight size as the ultimate prize and everything else was therefore negative. I love that you have spawned an entire Inbetweenie community. It has made me try brands that I wouldn’t have before. I need more boob room or butt room in some items and the smaller end of plus size brands has been great for me there.

    Today I’m wearing size 16 pants and a size M top. They both seem to fit!
    Kim-Marie, Chief Dreamer at Kimba Likes recently posted…Autumn Ankle BootsMy Profile

  14. Hi Jo,
    This is a beautifully written post, thank you for sharing it! So much of what you’ve said is exactly how I feel about being an inbetweenie! Can’t wait to see your shopping directory. 🙂

  15. Oh I can relate to this. I am tall-around 5 feet 9.5 inches and actually not very curvy. I have narrow hips apparently and not much bum but a thick chest so I am all over the place in sizes. At my heaviest I was wearing a US 14/16 but I am now more of a US 12 on bottom and 14 on top only jeans seem to be weird and I usually go down a size in jeans because what fits in the change room will stretch out after half an hour of wear and be sliding off me. My waist-hip ratio means I often have to choose pants baggy in the seat or too tight in the waist. In order to cover my chest I usually buy XL but it can be sloppy in the arms and too wide below the bust area. I actually find myself envious of women who are heavier/larger than I am in all the right places but have nice proportions and delicate ankles and long necks. I know some of the plus sized models are photo-shopped like that though. No one escapes the photo shop. Appreciating my body for what it is is a challenge and I am actually better at it now than when I was younger and thinner.

  16. Just heard this term recently and it describes me perfectly. I try and find clothes that work for my body but always end up wearing the same things: tee-shirts and jeans or yoga pants. I look at plus-size fashion for inspiration but never find anything that fits in those sizes. If I find a 14/16 that fits it’s rare. I’ve considered learning how to make my own clothes but I don’t have the time. I always end up feeling like a big frumpy goofball trying to pass off a a sheep in lambs clothing. I sure hope more places start carrying these inbetweenie sizes.

  17. Just stumbled across this post, and I’m so glad I did! As a curvy US-size 10 or 12, I’ve often had a hard time fitting into both standard clothing that’s based on a straighter model, or plus sized clothing that often is the right cut but has too much space. Thanks for articulating the struggle it can be to be an inbetweenie! That being said, I love that I can now find outfit posts with people that actually look like me and find places to shop thanks to this now being a thing! For fellow Canadians, some places I’ve been loving are Forever 21 Plus (my local store started stocking size 12 pants and 0x swimwear with great cute, perfect for the inbetweenie) and Rickis (a saleswoman told me they design based on a “curvier” model, so I’ve found that helpful in the work pants department)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge