STORY BY JEFFREY PINEDA, OPINIONS/FEATURE EDITOR
IMAGERY BY BELLA GARCIA, MANAGING EDITOR
Fashion trends have been loved by many and worn by all and with recent body-positivity movements fashionistas everywhere can share the same looks; but don’t seem to receive the same reactions.
Through movements and advocacy from plus-sized social media influencers, unrealistic beauty standards have become denormalized creating an environment where everyone is considered beautiful. The success of social platforms has created a narrow definition of what beauty is, redefining what is socially accepted as beautiful.
As the fashion world continues to progress and shift towards inclusivity, many underlying elements feed into the “ideal beauty”. Considering the enduring popularity of TikTok trends such as the clean girl aesthetic or the ongoing Y2K trend, it’s inevitable that one won’t notice the preference for outfits worn on thinner bodies. Many of these fashion trends tend to overlook plus-sized people, making it more difficult to not just appear trendy but also feel seen by the industry.
I conducted a survey that asked Cypress College students to rate an outfit on a thin individual and the same outfit on a plus-sized individual to see if one’s body really makes or breaks a look. The goal was to rate the outfits out of 5, with 5 indicating they like the outfit and 1 indicating their distaste for it. I first introduced these two images of TikTok creators @rubyelliott77 and @gracey.macey; both wearing the same outfit: a black tank and a pair of distressed jeans. Ruby, the thinner content creator, received an average of 5/5 based on her look while Gracey received an average of 2.5/5.
Film major Jared Rivas said, “I would rate it a three just because I think it has the foundations of a good outfit. I personally would think an accessory would just elevate the fit a little bit more.”
Many opinions were based around both girls outfits while others believed the outfit simply wasn’t flattering on Gracey. I showed a second pair of content creators in the same outfit, this time with @mykacloset and supermodel Kendall Jenner. In this outfit, both girls were wearing a cropped tank, leather pants and a sheer button-up overlay. The response was nothing but similar to the first one with students rating Kendalls look an average of ⅘ meanwhile Myka’s look was rated an average of ⅗. Bias was expected especially with a controversial figure like Kendall Jenner nonetheless she still received a higher score compared to Myka.
“I think that the fit isn’t an objective fit that would look bad on different body types. I just think the fit is kind of plain, there’s not much to it. People are perceiving it more as high-fashion because it’s worn by a model, specifically Kendall Jenner than if it was on someone plus-sized” said sophomore Dani Pardo.
In the end, the results showed a clear preference for slimmer bodies. Cypress students and society overall might not realize, unconscious bias towards plus-size individuals still exists. It might not be as blatant and in your face as it was in the early 2000’s where plus-size individuals were continuously body shamed but one’s focus still remains on the physique of the wearer instead of the outfit.
Let’s leave the fatphobia in the early 2000s but keep all the cute fashion pieces we all adore. Overcoming unrealistic standards will never be easy, nor is any social movement. By addressing and acknowledging these issues, our fashion community and society will begin to change and create a revolution both in our wardrobe and the world.