Promoting Positive Body Image – Companies That Respect All Body Types

Promoting Positive Body ImageThose of you who read my blog know that I tell women to wear whatever they want as long as they are comfortable. One big determining concept in being comfortable in your clothing is having a positive body image: if you know your body is beautiful in the first place, you can rock a grain sack and look like a million bucks. Companies that are promoting positive body image are going to rake in our clothing budget money, and those who don’t respect body image are going to be left in the dirt.

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What is promoting positive body image?

This is where an organization rejects the standard “thin=beauty” attitude that has dominated advertising and entertainment for decades. Entities that promote positive body image will often use a various sizes of women in their advertising. Some companies have gone so far as to sign the “Heroes Pledge For Advertisers,” promising not to “change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features” of the models in their advertisements.

Promoting Positive Body ImageWhat is wrong with the clothing industry?

“The clothing industry has lagged behind in promoting positive body image, to their own detriment. The average size woman is a size 16-18, yet “of the 300 or so brands that showed at New York Fashion Week last season, our analysis found that only 32 offer up to at least a size 16, and 14 produce sizes 22 or above, mostly through partnerships with plus-size retailers or subscription services, and often only in select pieces. Plus size makes up just 0.1% of the luxury market.” From

I know that when I go into a “regular” store (one not specializing in plus size clothing”) I often find row upon row of S, M, and L clothing, and maybe 2 or 3 racks of plus size clothing shoved in the back of the store. Often the plus size doesn’t go above 3x. I usually find NOTHING to try on in those stores. I have clothing money, and I want to spend it, but none of these stores has any clothing for me, therefore, they don’t get my money.

Promoting Positive Body ImageMuch of the time, in a clothing store where they have a good plus size selection, my size is generally picked over, so the cute blouse is only available in size 1x, (which is XL, which there’s a few more selections of, in the S,M, and L department, so XL people aren’t usually looking in the plus size section anyway, but I digress!) and I have to settle for something I find less cute in my size, therefore I leave the store once again with nothing, still holding my money.

Some stores THINK they are promoting positive body image by offering a few items in plus sizes. However, they only have up to size 2x available. They just don’t get it, that 2x (size 16-18) is the AVERAGE size woman. That means 2x is in the MIDDLE of the spectrum, not on the outlying edges. That’s not it guys! YOU DON’T GET IT! You aren’t promoting positive body image by putting a couple bigger sized items out there and still offer rack after rack after rack of S,M,L. which is on the lower edge of the spectrum, and offer NOTHING on the higher edge of the spectrum.

Promoting Positive Body ImageNon-Clothing Companies

Dove is probably the most recognized positive body promoter. They were one of the first to feature real untouched photos of women of all shape and color.

Special K has its “Own It” campaign that features women of all shapes, sizes, ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.

Nike, generally accepted as a sporting goods company, has a funny new sports bra campaign that shows women exercising with the self talk that goes on in their heads. It’s really cute, for sure, but also quite true when it comes to every woman’s poor body image.

Always #Like a Girl campaign is seeking to change the negative image of “you run like a girl!” into a positive phrase. We women do everything “like a girl” because we are girls. So why not say “run a company like a girl” and “win a marathon like a girl” and make them a positive thing to aspire to?

Promoting Positive Body ImageClothing Companies

Of course there are the usual companies specializing in plus size clothing that you can count on to promote positive body image in their advertising. ModCloth was the first to sign the “Heroes Pledge For Advertisers,” Ashley Stewart, Dia&Co;., Torrid, Catherines, Elliqui, and others have been selling plus size clothing for a while now. Ulla Popken started promoting plus size fashion in the 1960s.

However, you would be surprised that several “main stream’ companies are also getting into the plus size clothing market. Walmart, Old Navy, Amazon,, JCPenney, and Macys are a few well-known plus size marketers. However, some of these stores only sell up to size 3x, which leaves out me and most of my girlfriends.

Target of course has a great plus size selection. Funny story, in 2013, Target took some heat over advertising a plus size dress in Manatee Grey, which is a color Target used in several clothing lines including petite sizes. Manatees are big fat walrus-like animals, and some people in the plus size community took offense to the connotations. What’s funny about it, is that I personally didn’t know that Target sold plus size clothing. I looked up the Manatee Grey dress, and found with it, dozens of plus size dresses, tops, and other clothing items, that I immediately loved. Because of the Manatee controversy, Target became one of my favorite plus size clothing stores.

Promoting Positive Body ImageThe Cost of Not Paying Attention to Positive Body Promotion

“How much is this average American woman spending on her wardrobe? According to the most recent figures available from market research firm NPD, US sales of women’s plus-size apparel reached $21.4 billion in 2016. The category is also growing substantially faster than the overall US apparel market, at a rate of 6 percent versus 3 percent year over year.

“This figure is so abysmal in part because there is almost no selection in the luxury market — for that, high-end shoppers beyond a size 12 generally have to seek out the startup 11 Honoré, which works with designers like Christian Siriano and Milly to carry sizes above those stocked in most department stores, or else be wealthy and in-the-know enough to order directly from the brand. (Prabal Gurung, for one, has said he’s offered sizes up to 22 for private clients since 2009, but no major retailer has bought beyond a 14.)” From

In Conclusion

The plus size clothing market is growing in leaps and bounds, and those clothing lines that don’t jump on the bandwagon are going to get left behind. Women are standing up for their positive body image now more than ever, and are going to buy from companies that respect positive body image. Stores that continue to ignore this market are going to fall by the wayside, and will be left laying in the dirt, wondering what happened.

Psst!  Where did you get those clothes?

My favorite stores are Amazon, Target, WalmartAshley Stewart, KiyonnaModCloth, Catherines, Dia&Co, Macys, and Ulla Popken,

In the first picture, I am wearing:

  • Single button, waist tie, silky black jacket, from Ulla Popken
  • Paisley Skirt, Lane Bryant off the rack
  • Violet tank top, Jessica London catalog
  • Black ballet flats, Target

====>Shop these looks today by clicking the links above, or find it all on Amazon here!<====


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  1. Michel

    You serve some great points here, and yes I actually never thought about it, but there is a general lack of plus-sized clothing in most of our stores. In some of the younger type stores, the XL sizes are like the medium sizes in other stores.

    The clothing industry is certainly doing themselves a disservice working like this, as there are many beautiful plus-sized women who don’t like to wear frumpy clothes. That is why the select few plus-sized stores are raking in the dough because they know how to cater to the majority of the public.

    • RhondaLeigh

      Hi Michel, thank you for reading and commenting.  While researching this article, I knew there was a little problem with plus size offerings in the stores, but I didn’t really appreciate that the problem was a lot bigger than I thought.  I hope the manufacturers and retailers get the picture soon.  Thanks again for your comments!  RhondaLeigh 

  2. Antonio


    I could not agree with you more, as you must be comfortable in your own skin. Any company that help men and women to look and feel good in any clothes they choose to wear.  The article was very informative and it is good that companies are starting to wake up, but it doesn’t help that catwalk models are still size zero. This is so unrealistic and I believe unhealthy, as people will get uncomfortable in their own bodies.

    Do you have companies in the US specialising in clothes for the bigger person. Here in the UK we have a company that specialise in large sizes called Evans.

    Thank you


    • RhondaLeigh

      Hi Antonio, thank you so much for stopping by my blog.  You are so right about the size 0 people on the catwalk, and their promotion of unhealthy body image in women and girls.  What’s even more aggravating is a that some companies that have “some” plus size offerings model their plus size clothing with models that are NOT plus size.  It’s as if they just can’t give up that image that thin = good.  Well, hopefully that’s changing.  And yes, we do have stores that specialize in large sizes.  Woman Within is affiliated with King Size, a plus size store for men.  Thank you again for your comments!  RhondaLeigh

  3. Olufemi

    Hi Rhonda,

    Nice article. You have really touched an important point in the lady’s fashion world. It is so difficult to get nice styles even for the US size 16. The other day I ordered XL from an online company and it was so tight I could not wear it. I am size 16, shouldn’t XL be a bit loose? I really don’t know why everybody should be slim. I know we should watch our weight for health reasons but we all have different racial or genetic make ups. 

    Thanks for encouraging the art of positive self image.

    • RhondaLeigh

      Hello Olufemi!  Thanks for reading!  You see that even the clothing industry can’t agree on what size an XL should be.  It really depends on the size chart the company is using as to what number size goes with each X size.  I have run into this a lot.  I am reading a book called Health at Any Size, and finding the racial and genetic make ups are only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to being fat or thin.  So you are absolutely correct that we can’t all be slim.  Thank you again for ready and commenting!  RhondaLeigh 

  4. Gomer

    I admire girls who in spite of being chubby, they are still confident of their looks. They may be wearing one of the clothing produced by companies who knows how good looks are made among chubby women. And you are right with this article, there are specific clothing that actually boost positive body image, like that one girl in wearing bra in the picture. She looks chubby and yet sexy in that outfit. And it’s probably made by companies that respect positive body image. 

    In the stores listed in this article, which one is your most favorite to shop?

    • RhondaLeigh

      Hi Gomer, thanks for your comment.  I would say that my favorite store is Ulla Popken.  They have clothing size 12-38, and tons of choices.  They have been catering to plus size women since the 60s,  I really like that you recognize the need for positive body image for plus size women.  Thank you again for reading and posting!  RhondaLeigh

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