Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fatshion: I talk plus size fashion on TV!

I was asked to talk about the issues I have faced as a plus sized women who happens to also love and work in fashion on Today Tonight. Yes I was nervous with how I might be portrayed but as it was Patty Huntington from Frockwriter who was asking, who I met at Spring Fashion Week, I trusted her to not sensationalise the story or embarrass me and turn what I had said around. I am really glad I did because now the issue is out there and perhaps something might be done about it.

Watch the video HERE

There are a few issues I want to address:

Plus sized women in magazines
As a stylist I actually see the issue from 2 sides, from the point of a plus sized person but also from the point of someone who works in the art of making beautiful fashion editorials. Yes I do want to see plus sized women in magazines but I also know that samples are all small size 8's and that as I'm only starting out in the business, if I sent a submission of plus sized fashion to a magazine I would get laughed at. Its the job of the in house fashion stylists and editors who have the power, and believe me if I ever got that far then yes I would push the issue. For now I want to work, but I do think about it. I loved that Harpers Bazzar Australian editorial from May 2009 of Crystal Renn by Louis Sanchis, an amazing example of what can be done.

Designers and boutiques having no over size 12
Why? Why not have a 14 and a 16? Isn't the average Australian women a size 14? Why are they just closing out a whole market? I'm a size 16 and I do manage to find clothes that fit, but that is because I am fashion obsessed and am willing to take risks. I don't only try on clothing in my "size" because I understand sizes are different in all stores. Recently I bought a size 8 dress because I could see even on the hanger that it would fit me how I wanted it to as I don't like baggy clothing on me, so if the style is a baggy style I will go down a few sizes to make it fit how I want it to. That dress gets me so many complements, it was $20 from Forever New DFO.

However it seems that a lot of other larger women have trouble. I was recently emailed from a reader, Jazz, who wrote:

"Hi Hayley,

I'm just emailing you to say I find your blog fascinating - in a non-stalker kinda way :P

I am also intrigued as I am also a more to love lady. I find it so hard to find decent clothes for my size that don't look like I'm wearing a mumu.

I'm in Perth myself and I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of anything online...

I am really into the rockabilly/50's style but I am generally a bit of anything - one minute I'm the rocker in the skinny jeans, the next I'm in a nice dress, the next I'm in jeans and a tshirt.

If I'm starting out too broad for you I completely understand.

Thanks for your time,


Well Jazz I discovered during filming the above story that Leona Edmiston stocks up to size 20 online (up to 16 in store).
However I'm not too familiar with shopping for clothing online. If I can't see the item in person and try it on I just can't be sure it will fit. I think it may also be the fact that I haven't got a lot of money at the moment and can't take any risks as I used to buy on ebay nearly every day back when I had a full time office job. So I am going to put the question to my readers who may have some good suggestions for you. I do know that Evans UK ships to Australia and they have some cute pieces from the Beth Ditto collection on sale right now.

There is so much more to say, about how I've been discriminated against numerous times in stores, when applying for fashion jobs etc. I want to hear your stories (if any) and then maybe with all our voices things will change?


  1. I hear Dawn French (British actor and comedian) also has a plus sized label she started because she was frustrated with what was being offered. They offer clothing size 16-47.

  2. Congratulations to the TV spot. I thought you did express yourself quite elaborately and well.

  3. holy moly !
    you did soooooo weelll!!
    you spoke so clearly and with confidence.
    i would be a bumbling fool infront of a camera!!
    well done!!

    i also love the chupa chup challenge you did!

  4. good on you for speaking up about it Hayley - its brave of you (or anyone for that matter!) to discuss their weight/size on national tv! x

  5. Wow, you came across really well on TV. Great job!

    I've just discovered Basque has a "Women's" line from 16 and up, and guess what - they have the same styles as their Misses line. YAY!!

  6. can't wait to have a look when i get home from work!

    city chic has some alright pieces too. their online shop isnt too bad too. though i find trying on their clothes is better.

  7. Yay! You did a fantastic job!

    YOU GO Hayley!

    oh and BTW my friends saw you the other day but were too shy to say hey since I've only met you a handful of time but now that you've been on TV, expect crazy fangirls!


  8. You spoke so well, Hayley! This was so interesting, and the arguments were very well put. Will be intrigued to see what sort of response this piece gets.

    Andrea xx

  9. Well done, Hayley!

  10. I am a fashion retailer and find it very dificult to access larger sizing that is more fashion friendly and not grannie looking,my best selling sizes are 16 to 22 and there is limited fashion in these sizes, if you can help me find other affordable labels that carry larger sizes that would be great..


  11. Brilliant work! I'd actually really like to see more clothing shoots with plus sized women as I agree with the designer, upsized 'normal' clothing isn't the answer. I'm a size 16-18 and whilst I can get a dress the same design as a smaller size in say, Target, it will invariably be too short at the back once my curves are accomodated! Conversely, most plus sized clothing stores assume we are all 6ft tall and top heavy or even square shaped! Their stuff is just too big!

  12. That was wonderful, well done! It seems to be increasingly in the media these days (much like airbrushing and what not), hopefully it goes somewhere positive.

  13. Hi Hayley,
    wow what a great story, it's about time sometime did something about the "discrimination" towards plus size girls. I am a size 14 girl and like you have difficulty shopping at stores that go up to that size, mainly because the size "14" is different in every store. Apparently this is because Australia does not have a standard that stores have to meet for sizes. I recently, went into cue and tried on five different suit jackets, two fit perfectly. What does that tell you? The pants or skirts don't fit at all. Its really terrible that to get things that actually might fit we have to turn to cheaper stores. I love Australian Designers I just wish they would love us 14 plus sizes back.

  14. It's a complex issue and in a way, Today Tonight is never going to do justice to that because they wanted to create a simple, adversarial story about how "there are no plus size clothes".

    That said, I think you did a good job of suggesting some of the complexities, both in the interview and in the points you make here.

    D'you know, I was in a dress shop just earlier trying on a dress to wear to a wedding, and there was another lady angsting over wearing size 14 pants. I said to her, "You can just cut out the label – nobody will know!" but she couldn't seem to rid herself of the stigma attached to clothing size.

  15. I'm so glad they asked you to comment on this issue....and you did so perfectly.

    For so long i have been following your blog and admired your bold sence of personal style and self confidence to contantly put yourself out there in blogger-verse....despite that disgusting hate filled comment you received some time ago. (honestley, what a c**t of a girl)

    I've always had size issues and found it affected peoples perceptions of me in the fashion industry. Luckly i managed to secure a job with someone who could see past the fact that just because i was a size 14-16 i actuially did know how to design something other than a tent dress.

    I have since lost weight (now more like a 12-14) and i do have to say it was in relation to working in the industry.



    Bardot run to a size 16 and also have a plus sized line called Monroe which i think you can buy online.

    Susanne's has been doing alot of Zara knock offs. their sizing is very friendly....i bought a size 8 blazer from them when i'm usually a 14 anywhere else.

  16. I believe that the national average has moved up to a size 16 now.

    I'm passionate about this issue too, well done on being an educated, eloquent and enthusiastic voice.


  17. Hayley, I really think you are a pioneer in this issue. You've put yourself out with your blog, working in fashion, everything else you do! Don't let your voice go unheard!

  18. Well done! Very eloquent! Although I think you hardly represent plus sized. At a size 16 and still able to shop at Sportsgirl and Forever New you are very much on the tiny end of plus sized.

    I think the segment was great and you were great in it but it irked me that the 'plus-sized' girl was barely pushing a size 16 and the plus-sized guy was upto to size 20's. Like it's more acceptable to show a really fat guy but the girl is only allowed to be a little rounder than normal.

    Not sure if that's just me having a weird rant though. Congrats though Hayley, job well done!

  19. hayley you are adorable in this video!!!

    A few years ago I put on a lot of weight overseas ( like 30 kilos) I came back a size 18. Shopgirls really were awfull to me- like your back in high school or some crap. It was impossible to find anything that fit me properly and made the most of my curves. I am not the type of person to want to blend in to a crowd- I still wanted cute clothes regardless of what the shopgirls thought. i started buying a lot from op shops and altering it, it was the only way i could get cute clothes. I am back to my normal size now ( 10ish) and can't believe how differently i am treated in stores. I avoid chain stores like the plague now ( I hate that nasal " hayeeeee can i help you" crap). It's still hard to find clothes that sit properly- I don't think it matters what size you are it's always hard to find well tailored stuff.
    Anyho i reiterate- you are soooo cute hayley and good on you for putting yourself out there- you are an inspiration lovely.

  20. Hayley, you did a great job. First Today Tonight segment I've seen that I actually agree with!

    Personally, I have seen things from both sides of the fence. I used to be a size 8-10 and am now a size 14-16. Clothes shopping is definitely a lot harder now... especially for formal events where I can't really get away with wearing "stretchier" fabrics like I can with my casual clothes. It is especially disheartening when I try something on that I love but it's just that LITTLE bit too tight and there is no bigger size. That REALLY REALLY upsets me... and so many times I have felt like crying in the fitting room wishing I was thinner!

    So thank you! I hope designers watched it and listened!

  21. thankyou so much for putting this out there. it's horrible that some brands only make up to size 14...i'm with you WHY???

    congratulations, you did a great job!

  22. I'm sorry I missed your interview.

    Like you, I don't like buying clothes online. I like to be able to try them on and feel the fabric, although I did recently buy a custom dress on etsy, so will have to see how it goes :)

  23. You really need to try Towanda..

    They're off little Bourke St right near Myer. They stock 14+ and it's gorgeous stuff.

  24. Mad respect Hayley

    You rock girl. Big ups for having the balls to speak from your heart and give it to the many designers that you promote and rep on a daily basis.

    I concur, why can't they make over size 12? It's bullshit.

    Well regardless you always look hot babe x

  25. wow hello, im a fan of your blog and i watched that thing on today tongiht - and you were awesome. I think you are very talented and you will go far in life with what you choose to do. no words can express how inspirational you are to others.

    well done hayley :)

  26. you sounded great in the interview, congrats!
    its a complex issue and the way it was presented was very balanced and interesting.
    my sister is a size uk 12-14 (which is hardly 'fat' but you should see the way people treat her in stores!) her dress sense is awesome -i wish i could get away with half of what she carries off- but she's basically stopped shopping in the high street and only buys vintage. she hates the selection in plus-sized shops, its always so boring! with vintage, she can buy things for 'older' women and alter/style it to her personality.

  27. I am from the US and I am also a plus size woman who enjoys fashion. I love your blog. You have a faithful fan in me.

  28. congrats, darling!
    I love that this issue/topic is now discussed!

  29. awesome interview! i love your haircut btw. and your glasses always make me smile. love em!


  30. Hi Hayley,
    I went to watch the vid but its saying it has been removed by user. Will it be back on?
    Would love to watch :)

  31. I doll I managed to catch your interview, good on you! I totally support your thoughts on this issue :) Great to see aussie bloggers making a name out there too! Xx

  32. that was a great interview Hayley!

    There's this blog (
    that's NZ based that has a lot of online shoping sites which deliver to OZ & NZ.

  33. great job and congrats! couldn't agree with you more honey. nice work!

    xxx BEL

  34. Love this Hayley! I am also a BG as my friend 'lovingly' calls me or Big Girl. Haha.

    I am the editor of a new NZ fashion website/blogsite (Designer Direction) and we are just about to get into fashion editorials.

    I would LOVE to do a plus-size shoot and screw what the starved, stick thin industry says. If you are ever over here in NZ, we could do with a kicka$$ stylist to style up a storm and represent!

    All we need is a wardrobe to go with it!

    Love your work!

    Melody @

  35. Ohhhh it's so frustrating! I'm normally a size 12/14 and while I don't consider myself to be big, I've put on some weight lately and I've found it so much harder to find clothes that fit properly.

    Shops should acknowledge that women come in all sizes and have a wider variety. I also think that they should be incorporated as part of their normal line- it's great that some brands, like Basque as previously mentioned, have "plus sized" lines...but isn't that slightly degrading?

  36. Hey Hayley!

    I recently saw you at the Trimapee show and you looked fabulous!

    I make most of my clothing myself, but I find that many Melbourne designers use a lot of jersey and draping. Labels like Kirrily Johnston, Trimapee, Claud Maus, TV, etc. always make SOMETHING that's supposed to be worn baggy but can look just as good fitted. I guess it's all about how much money people are willing to spend.

    I say everyone should protest and go naked for a few years. It would put me out of business, but hey, points will be made!

  37. yeah me and naoto end up dressing similar most of the time! love your pics, and you!!!


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a message but remember to play nice!