Having been in the industry since the 90s, I’ve experienced firsthand how exclusive this world is. If you aren’t young, thin or rich…it’s not easy being fashionable!
Click play on the video for my story of being a stylist dealing with fashion exclusivity.
Back then, I was in my 20s. I wasn’t overweight. But I was definitely underpaid. And when I’d get booked on an editorial shoot, calling in the showroom clothing samples felt like jumping through circus hoops. It was such a pain to get the PR person to return my call! Most times, they’d ignore me. But occasionally, they’d fess up on the phone by telling me that the publication I was working for wasn’t “a good fit for their brand”.
Ultimately, I’d find the showrooms that wanted to work with me, or more specifically, get featured in the national magazines I was styling for. But it was never easy. The message from their PR read loud and clear, we’re too ____ for you. (Fill in the blank with expensive, beautiful, bespoke, luxury, etc…)
When the economy collapsed in 08, there was a shift towards more inclusivity. PR firms that never returned my call were now sending garment bags! Loads of cream colored cashmere, flirty, floral dresses, or whatever items met the style direction for the specific shoot came my way.
Fashion is exclusive
But the exclusivity of fashion was still there, and still exists.
While high end fashion is more easily assimilated through fast fashion, and style bloggers (and the internet in general) have created a more level playing field, the message of not being a good fit for their brand prevails.
Whether you’re over 40, overweight, or underpaid, you’re made to feel out of proximity to what’s in. The world of fashion does little to make you feel like you belong.
Being fashionable for women who aren’t young, thin or rich
Sure, you’re seeing more plus size models walk the runway. And older women are getting more ad campaigns than ever. But this is on the fringe of fashion. You have to look hard to find inspiration that’s totally relatable to someone who isn’t young, thin and rich.
Thankfully, there are trailblazers paving the way on the fringe, and they’re providing a more realistic view into the exclusive world. And thanks to them, the definition of what’s in is not only shifting, but it’s expanding so more people can feel fashionable.
Fashion really is for everybody
If you’re over 40, overweight and underpaid, yet you still want to fell fashioable, you can!
Although the runways may feel too far away from your reality, there are plenty of people proving that real fashion is about self expression and creativity. Without exclusivity!
Here are a few style stars who are over 40 and overweight. I certainly hope they aren’t underpaid because they’re doing an amazing job of showing us what’s possible and IN fashion.
Models + Influencers over 40
Plus size models + Influencers
Do you feel excluded from the fashion world?
Amen! I certainly do feel excluded now. I never used to. But, after gaining 20+ pounds due to a crazed thyroid, I sure do. I’m glad you and others are putting effort into making women feel good regardless of size.