Not all of us are supermodel thin, but most of us aren’t the size of the curvy plus models in all the ads these days either. If you wear the larger end of traditional sizes but the small end of plus sizes, you might consider yourself to be “midsize,” “midi,” or “in-betweenie.”
There are unique benefits and disadvantages to being an in-betweenie. Read along for tips on how to gain confidence and dress your best as a mid-sized woman.
Dressing Your Best as an In-Betweenie
Growing up, I was always four to six sizes larger than other girls my age. In high school, I was so insecure about my size and I constantly worried that others judged me for how “fat” I was. I was eating one meal a day, running five miles a day six days a week, and limiting my sugar intake to only on weekends. I wore shapewear under everything – even though I was only a size 6! Now in my mid-twenties, I feel so sad that I wasn’t more confident in myself and in my body as a teenager. It has taken me years to recognize that as a woman who will never be a size two – no matter how many miles I run or how many treats I say no to – I am beautiful and my body is worthy of being loved and respected.
Seeing women my size thrive in the media, particularly on social media, has helped me accept and love my body. Instagram accounts such as @sassyredlipstick and @caralynmirand show fashionable, classy women with bodies like mine. With their example, I am learning to love my body and to dress in flattering styles that make me feel confident and beautiful. Here are some fashion tips I’ve learned along the way that perhaps will help my fellow in-betweenies:
1. Know Your Real Bra Size
Understanding how a bra should properly fit was a game-changer for me. Before being professionally fitted, my bras were too small and I was constantly falling out of them – which made my cleavage a lot more noticeable and made me feel self-conscious in many tops. Wearing a properly fitting bra made my breasts perkier and my waist appear smaller, which gave me the confidence to wear clothes that flatter my body and make me feel good.
I was professionally fitted by @brafittingsbycourt based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her Instagram account and her website are a wealth of knowledge! If possible, I highly recommend finding a professional fitter near you.
2. Understand That Clothing Sizes Are Arbitrary
As a midsize woman, the sizes that I wear are all over the chart: At some stores, I wear a medium, at others, an XXL. My jeans range from a 10 to a 16, and they all fit differently! Separating my self-worth from the size of my jeans released me from feeling anxiety about shopping, swapping clothes with friends, and occasionally fluctuating sizes – whether up or down. Rather than focusing on the number or the letter on the tag, I wear clothes that flatter my body and give me confidence.
While “straight sizes” have always been the norm, recent years have shown an increase in plus sizes being offered. Some stores, such as Torrid, specialize in plus-size women’s clothing. The unique experience and advantage of in-betweenie women such as myself are that we can fit into clothing from both kinds of stores. While I do most of my shopping at straight-sized stores, my favorite swimsuits and lingerie come from plus-sized brands.
3. When in Doubt, Size Up
Whether you’re a traditional-, mid-, or plus-sized gal, we can all agree that squeezing into something too tight is not the answer. While wearing clothes that hug you in just the right places is always ideal, if there is any doubt as to whether an item is too tight, size up just in case. I have learned the hard way that if I buy a piece that is just a liiiiiittle too snug, telling myself that I’ll lose a couple of pounds or that it will get looser as it gets worn, that piece ends up in the back of my closet and eventually in the Goodwill box.
Sizing up doesn’t mean that you wear baggy clothing. It just means that you don’t force yourself to squeeze into the smaller size that you wish you were. Gracefully allowing yourself to size up when needed demonstrates maturity, humility, and elegance.
4. Accessories Are Key
Hailey Bieber has taught us that anything looks great if you pair it with the right accessories. For midsize women who sometimes struggle finding something to wear, this means that focusing on the perfect accessories can turn an outfit from drab to fab. The right earrings, necklace, or hair clip can change the vibe of an outfit entirely: Chunky gold hoops turn bike shorts into a cute athleisure look, white tennies make a dress ready to walk your dog, and the right coat can transform jeans and a t-shirt into the most stylish outfit to run errands in.
Luckily for curvy women, jewelry and other accessories cannot be outgrown! So even if you don’t fit into your jeans from high school, you can definitely pair a basic white tee with the simple gold chain you stole from your mom’s jewelry box and immediately look put together (at least I do that – thanks, Mom!).
5. When You Look Good, You Feel Good
Our queen Serena Williams once said, “I don’t think you can play well or do well unless you look good.” I interpret this to mean that when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you do good. Serena attributes much of her athletic success to the fact that on the court she always looks her best. What I love about fashion is that Serena’s “best” can be completely different from my “best.” Developing your own style is so important when it comes to looking and feeling your best. Ultimately, clothing that you feel comfortable in will enhance your confidence and your natural beauty will show.
It’s worth noting that when you look good and feel good, you will not only do well, as Serena does on the tennis court, but you will also do good. Caring for your body by dressing in a way that resonates with you will tap into your femininity and your truest self, which will allow you to live authentically and honorably. I truly feel that I have become a better, more feminine woman as I have learned to dress my body in ways that honor and respect her.
6. Confidence Is What Really Makes You Shine
Dressing your best as an in-betweenie is done not only by following these tips but also by experiencing the mental shift that any woman of any size can wear anything she wants if she has the confidence to do so. By finding midsized women on Instagram who are shaped like me, I have come to recognize that size is not the defining factor when it comes to looking good. Ultimately, finding clothes that you feel comfortable in and developing your own style will provide you with the confidence to wear what you want and to rock whatever style resonates with you.
The tips above are lessons that I have learned in my journey to love my body and to gain the confidence to wear clothes that flatter my curves. Just as I benefit from seeing midi women truly radiate, I hope that my newfound confidence can help other women my size gain confidence in themselves and their bodies as well.
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