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Exclusive: Denise Caldwell on Making Plus-Sized Clothing More Inclusive

Exclusive: Denise Caldwell on Making Plus-Sized Clothing More Inclusive
Denise Caldwell

Fashion expert and advocate for inclusive clothing Denise Caldwell opens up about how plus-size fashion is expanding.

While diversity is important onscreen, it is also important in clothing. Unfortunately, the fashion industry has long left out plus sized voices.


Fashion expert and advocate for inclusive clothing Denise Caldwell says that plus size fashion is improving every day. The celebrity stylist believes that recent efforts by stars and online activists alike have expanded the industry in a positive way.

Sonia Baghdady talks with Denise Caldwell | Advocate Now

"I feel like it's evolving on a daily basis," Caldwell tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now. "It's really been an evolution that has really empowered women to love themselves for the size that they have been given or the size of their desire to be walking along with the body in the skin that they actually have."

When it comes to plus sized clothing, many brands that claim to be inclusive are only doing the bare minimum, according to Caldwell. She defines "inclusive sizing" as that which goes beyond the national average.

"I love when brands can actually go from the smaller spectrum to the larger spectrum. We see a lot of brands that say that they're inclusive sizing ... It's not really inclusive if you're only doing a size fourteen to sixteen, which is the average size of most American women. We need them to kind of up the ante a little more to be at a size twenty to twenty-two."

As the fashion industry improves, Caldwell believes people can increase their confidence by focusing on their own styles instead of what's trendy, or what they feel they're "supposed to" look like.

"That's just a confidence thing. It's really about what you feel in your skin and in your heart. Don't worry about what the tag on the back is saying, because in some stores you may be a size six, and in other stores you could be a size eight or a size ten. And regardless of that, it's really about the fit, how you feel in it and how it looks and what you're going for."

For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.

What is the average US women's clothing size?

The average size worn by women in the United States is 16 to 18, increasing from size 14 ten years ago.

What sizes are considered plus size?

In the fashion industry, plus size is identified as sizes 18 and over.

What major retailers carry plus-sized clothing?

Forever 21, American Eagle, and H&M have sizes up to at least 20.

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