"Just As Beautiful": Glossy Mag with Style

British e-mag “Just As Beautiful” goes hard-copy.  The magazine targets women size 14-20- that’s interviews, models and advertising.  No dieting articles.  No airbrushing.  Honesty in magazines?  Has the world gone mad?  A few weeks ago, I wrote about the toxic effect magazines and advertising can have on our mental environment- perhaps a publication like this would be less harmful, but still offer the fun of fashion and being glamorous?

I suppose the “bizz” is waking up to under-represented markets, realizing they can make a buck or two without resorting to sizeist arm-twisting and guilt.  I think I’ll keep my eye out for this one, to see if it differs from glossies in other ways.  Could it be less manipulative?  Possibly less vacuous?  

The only troubling detail to me is the title.  Why use a defensive title?  Judging from the cover (I know, I know) I’d say it looks self-conscious in general. 

On the subject of being defensive- I found myself in a shopping mall, passing by a larger woman’s clothing store.  The clothes looked well-made and interesting, so I dropped in to see if I could find a black skirt to supplement the Billie Collection.

The shop assistants were less than friendly.  I explained my errand, asked about sizing based on the measurements I carry around in my moleskin, and they brought out several black skirts.  No smiles.  No chatting.  It might have been my rainbow skirt, great big sun hat, and thick tortiseshell glasses.  It might have been my accent.  (Neither my dressing nor accent causes stonewalling on a normal day.)  It could have been my size. 

Either way, they were less than chatty and outgoing, to the point when I was trying to be friendly at the counter, they just stood and stared at me and my words trailed off lamely.  I wasn’t making tasteless jokes, I had a clear stated purpose (and money!) and they still treated me like the enemy.  They weren’t rude exactly, but I could tell they were glad to take my money and be rid of me.  The way they acted, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sprayed the place with Lysol after I left.

As I walked out, I wondered if this is the sort of thing larger women have to put up with when they go into clothing stores.  If so, what a shame.  Why can’t we women be happy with who we are without feeling defensive or putting someone else down?   That seems to be the modus operendi in our world.  When will we understand that just because someone is different than us doesn’t mean one or the other of us is wrong?

So I say bring on diversity in glamor, but please just drop the baggage!


3 comments

  1. Your experience in the store sounds unpleasant, and odd – maybe they were just having a bad day that day. There are certainly times when I won't go into a high-end store or feel uncomfortable in a store because of my size. I feel like they're judging me, thinking "why is she even in here, nothing would fit her anyway." I've never had anyone actually say anything, however, but the attitude is clear. I don't know if other "non plus size" people have had bad experiences in plus-size stores; I wonder…

  2. Once when searching out a size 14-16 I went into a plus size store. The lady at the counter was nice but said she didn't really think I was the size for this store. I said, "But it says 14-20." She told me that they didn't carry much in those "smaller" sizes. The problem was that mainstream department stores didn't either. I was like "Well, who does carry those sizes if even the plus size stores don't?" The counter lady was nice but admitted that there is a gap in merchandising. I feel left out sometimes even when the clerks are nice, so it is doubly bad when they are snarky, or dumbfounded as in your case. My friend used to manage a plus-size shop and she said sometimes thinner women would come in and her clerks didn't always pay attention to them. She said she had to teach her "just-out-of high-school-this-is-my-first job" clerks to see that thinner women might be buying gifts for plus-size friends. It sounds like the clerks had no training in how to handle their own stereotypes.

  3. Interesting. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience at the store. I've actually encountered that at most mall stores that cater to smaller sizes. I walk in, as about a size 14-16 woman with good sized hips, and get completely ignored. It's frustrating when the clerks then turn to a group of thinner (and honestly, probably more fashionable) women and is all smiles and cheerfulness. It's usually enough to make me walk out, and now that I'm sewing my own clothes, I'm even less inclined to purchase clothes when being treated like that. Based on the sizes they carry, I guess I'm not really their target shopper. But this is Canada, they should be polite to everyone! :D


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