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Am I Plus-Sized Or Nah? My Experience #OnTheCusp

Christina Brown

This past week has been full of buzz surrounding a few different things happening in the world of plus-size fashion. Earlier this week, myself and seven other amazingly beautiful bloggers (GorgeousinGrey, KellyAugustine, MargiePlus, EverythingCurvyandChic, Liz Black, Sandee Joseph and Megan Murphy) featured in a national Denim Lookbook for Fashion To Figure. Denim is undoubtedly the bane of a plus-size girl’s existence and so Fashion To Figure’s decision to show how real girls wear their denim (for under $40!) was a no-brainer. Obvi, I’m honored to have been part of it. I even had my little quote in a piece about it on Huffington Post and featured on Refinery29. Win!

Denim Lookbook Header

I had so much fun shooting the lookbook with FTF but after the shoot I couldn’t help but wonder how people would feel about seeing ME as part of the campaign. I know what you’re thinking. As a blogger who has adamantly stood up and voiced my opinions on body image issues and plus size power in the past (like HERE), it seems almost comical that I would feel self-conscious about being featured in a campaign like this, right? But the feelings are real. Here’s why. I’m going to let you in on a secret. You ready?

I’m on the cusp.

There, I said it. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I am NOT just plus sized and I am NOT just straight-sized either. I am in that awkwardly annoying state of being somewhere between size 12/14 and occasionally 16 which affords me the luxury of wearing straight sized clothing sometimes and plus size clothing all the time. The cat is out of the bag. I can wear both ASOS regular and ASOS Curve. I can shop at Zara (sparingly) and Lane Bryant. And though it may seem insignificant and unworthy of a blog post, I felt the need to point this out because it puts me in a very uncomfortable predicament as a blogger.  For the sake of NOT being one of those whiny blogs  about “why am I not like everyone else? blah blah blah” I’ve chosen instead to highlight that my personal feelings about being on the cusp have less to do with how I feel when I walk out of the door and more about how I am judged in the wonderful community of digital influence called Style Blogging.

One big headline to surface in the fashion community this week was the #BoycottingTarget campaign spearheaded by fellow fashion blogger Chasity Garner of GarnerStyle.

boycotting-targetChasity eloquently pointed out in her post that she was fed up with Target for not including stylish plus size options in-store, including the upcoming Altuzarra for Target campaign which will sadly only be available up to size 16. Aside from having an incredible sense of style, I admire Chasity for her honesty and her bravery with speaking her mind on all things style as a curvy girl. While I wanted to jump on the bandwagon with her, I suddenly realized I didn’t have a damn thing to say. Why? Because the collection does come in my size. Therein lies my quandary. I could weigh in and support wholeheartedly. But even opening my mouth puts me at risk of being outed as someone who doesn’t really belong in the movement at all. Should I care about what people would think? Probably not. But I do.

Denim Lookbook Christina

Psychologically, people have a tendency toward putting others in categories. We do it to actors, our favorite music artists, and readers undoubtedly do it to bloggers all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been quoted as a “natural hair blogger”, a “plus-sized blogger”, a “beauty blogger” or a “fashion blogger” when in fact I am not one of these solely. I blog about whatever the hell I want. Yes, they often fall under the aforementioned categories but I honestly don’t think one category defines all that I do here on LoveBrownSugar.com. Still, I nod and agree with a smile when introduced as an “insert category here” blogger because I know that’s what makes people feel comfortable. What makes people most comfortable is when someone is definitively one thing. Hence, there’s something unsettling about being on the cusp because it’s almost as if I don’t really deserve to be part of these conversations, let alone the one starting them.

Just like any other plus-size fashionista, when I walk into the straight sized department of a store, I get those “Girl what you doing here?” stares. Or, even better, the good ole “We only had a few size XL’s and they’re all sold out” line. But even more annoying is when I get the same “Girl bye” stares walking into a plus-size store. I can’t win.

Anyway, this post isn’t meant to start up any large-scale movement or to “demand change” in any way, but I’ve always wondered if there were other girls out there who are in that awkward space between plus size and straight, who feel the way I feel. Just random ramblings of a girl on the cusp.

Hit me in the comments section with your opinions. Are you on the cusp? Come forth and let your voice be heard. Please be nice – no snatching wigs allowed.

  • LexiWithTheCurls

    I was totally in this space just a year ago which made it difficult for me. Literally everything you are saying was me- I would go to Zara and I might be able to get a FEW things (in XXL since I think their stuff runs small) but it was VERY limited. Then I would go in Ashley Stewart and they would look at me like I was crazy. I was simply annoyed being on the cusp because it was hard to find clothes that fit me well. I could buy tops in Ashley Stewart, but pants..not so much. So more than anything, it was just annoying to me. But I totally understand. Then I started seeing all the plus sized fashion blogs battle it out saying that someone can’t claim they are “plus sized” so then it confused me even more. So there was no place to “belong” in “online world”.

  • http://glamazonsblog.com/ Glamazons Blog

    Love this! Blogging is for creating a voice where there is none, and people on the cusp should be a part of the body image conversation too! Yet I’ve never seen that perspective until now. I didn’t realize you’ve experienced pushback from straight and plus size groups – that’s a tough place to be in that I’m sure other women can relate to.

    I get frustrated when people play the game of “oppression olympics” (© Jamilah) where we invalidate someone else’s experience because we opine that ours is worse. The goal should be body acceptance for everyone: plus size women who are size 16+ AND women on the cusp. Everyone’s perspective is different and valid, and the internet should be a tool to encourage self-love and create a sense of community, not to tear each other down or belittle anyone’s experience. That’s fueling the same divisiveness and tension we’re supposed to be rallying against.

    That said, proud of you for putting yourself out there and giving cuspies a platform to share their stories. SO inspiring!

  • The Get Fit Diva

    I loved the Fashion to Figure lookbook–you and the other beautiful bloggers WORKED it! There are so many amazing looks and I’m looking forward to wearing colored denim this Fall I’m an in-betweenie as well. I’m in that “awkward space between plus-size and straight” as a size 10 (sometimes 12 depending on the designer). As a health/fitness blogger, I strive for good health and won’t let a clothing size dictate that. I am 5’10″, busty, and a size medium in anyTHANG just isn’t going to cut it! I’m all about finding fashion (and comfort) in the things I like no matter if it’s plus or straight-sized.

  • http://sarcasmandcandy.com/ sarcasmandcandy

    I’m on the cusp and it’s kind of a pain when I go shopping. Trying to remember which stores run smaller and where I can buy shirts but not bottoms and vice versa is too much. You have to go shopping with a mental list of places that you have to avoid altogether which usually leads to me just getting frustrated and not finding anything.

  • Ky G (@KrickettwithaK)

    I too am on the cusp and it’s so totally frustrating to shop because like you said, you go in a straight-sized store and they look at you like you’re crazy or sizes are truly limited…why aren’t there just as many XL or XXL as there are XS or S????? But if you go in a plus size store/section it’s mostly everything is too wide or has big floral prints or has big arse buttons. *sigh* I’m trying so hard to lose weight to wear a straight size consistently because it’s a pain otherwise if you live in a smaller city with only 1 mall, 1 Target and don’t like shopping online.

  • http://lifeofarealmama.blogspot.com/ Damali Goree

    Yes! I’m one of those girls! Lol! Big in some places, small in other places. Size 16 but sometimes 14. My arms and my stomach are my biggest issues when it comes to wearing straight sizes…smh. I have the worst time at Target because of the width of the sleeves…drives me crazy!!

  • Robin Hardeman

    Wonderful post! I’m not on the cusp but I appreciate your openness about the topic. Totally agree with Chasity Garner and the Target collabos. I haven’t blogged about any in some time since the sizing is so limited. Actually I think being on the cusp is a good thing because you can dabble in several brands and not be limited to just plus size. Happy Shopping!
    http://www.robincharmagne.com/blog

  • Nicole

    I feel u 110%! I am small plus size. Because of my breast size and butt size, I can fit some XL but some times i need that 1X. Causes you to get shade from both sides. Dont be afraid to voice ur opinion and stand up for others, even if they don’t want u standing up for them.