5 Curve Models on What's Good and Bad in the "Plus Size" Fashion World

Change is a coming, people. For girls with curves or anyone who has struggled to find their dream trend-ticking, personality-fulfilling fashion pieces over the years due to a shortage in the sizes on offer or a noticeable lack of design credibility, things feel like they're turning in the right direction.

The terminology is still a minefield—should there even be a separation between supposedly "straight" sizes and "plus" sizes? There's still a problematic ratio in regards to how many consumers are looking for sizes outside of the once-standard set and the models that are chosen to feature in campaigns or even be photographed for e-commerce. And, whenever I'm on the hunt for cool "curve" fashion pieces, I do hit a bit of a wall—there's a great deal of lazy, boring, unflattering product out there—and constantly question why this category is such an afterthought when the average size in the UK is a 16. 

It's not all doom and gloom, but there's still room for improvement. And that's why I wanted some key girls in the know to talk candidly about what's good, what's bad and to offer up some IRL advice to any brands and designers out there who are willing to listen. Thanks to my friends over at Models 1—an agency that has a host of brilliant curve models—we assembled a crack team of pros. Keep scrolling to discover what they had to say, and shop some of our current favourite ASOS Curve pieces at the end.


(Image credit: @roseconcenion)

Where do you think the curve fashion industry is going wrong?

I don’t think they are going wrong, but it would be nice to have more pieces that not only hide problem areas (tummy or arms) but items that help create shape. For me, I love a good bodycon dress that has structure so that I don’t have to wear so much shapewear.

Are there particular clothes/pieces/trends that are not working?

For plus I don’t think we have explored enough to see what works and what doesn’t work. I think we have to go back to construction rather than making quick fashion pieces. 

What do you think is good from the plus-size selections available today?

I used to love the fact that in the UK I was able to go into a high street store and see sizes up to 20, however that’s not enough. And I have noticed that stores now separate the sizes by having a “plus size” section. And I find that the fashion in that section isn’t the same as the rest of the store, and treated more as an afterthought, which is a shame. 

I would like to go into a store that I know carry plus sizes and have it all mixed in together rather than having it segregated.


(Image credit: @jadasezer)

Where do you think the curve fashion industry is going wrong?

They are missing a trick by the lack of variety. Plus size girls just want to wear what everyone is wearing. 

Are there particular clothes/pieces/trends that are not working?

Umm… I think people assume plus girl are just round; sometimes the fit is really off key. Curvy girls can have waists, hips and shapely bodies too!

What do you think is good from the plus-size selections available today?

I’m loving the new lingerie and swimwear collections that have extended their sizing. Growing up, finding the right size was always such a terrible struggle.

Related: The 4 Golden Rules of Shopping ASOS Curve, According to Insiders


(Image credit: @philomenakwao)

Where do you think the curve fashion industry is going wrong?

Honestly, there is much to be praised in the fashion industry. In less than a decade the progress has been phenomenal. We’re now seeing models of all sizes on runways and in beauty campaigns, two areas that were previously the preserve of traditional straight size models.

An area that could be improved on is actually in the way you’ve worded the question itself… Saying "curve/plus" industry implies that there is a difference in the way women of different sizes consume fashion, and this isn’t the case. The sooner we remove the division between straight and plus (curve), the better. I cannot wait for the day when you can walk into any store and get any piece in all sizes.

Another thing that has unfortunately been slow to change is the range of ethnicities and body shapes amongst plus retailers and their advertising. Not every plus woman is white and hourglass, there are so many other body shapes, ethnicities and abilities that need to be shown and represented across the board, not just in one token campaign. ASOS is a brand that does a brilliant job of this, and I really congratulate them for leading change, especially in the UK.

Are there particular clothes/pieces/trends that are not working?

I believe everything is for someone. There really isn’t a trend that doesn’t work as style is very personal, and I don’t think anyone should tell anyone how to dress or how to feel about the way they wish to express themselves.

What do you think is good from the plus-size selections available today?

Today brands are realizing that plus women are not ashamed of their bodies. The previous school of thought was to hide everything in oversized shapeless garments. But now we have so much choice, and the access to clothes has improved (online particularly; physical choice has a long way to go). Whatever you’re style you can usually find something that you love to express yourself.


(Image credit: @aboutlaurenmay)

Where do you think the curve fashion industry is going wrong?

I feel like curvy woman are sometimes put in a box as to what they can wear, and most of the items available to curvy woman are not the most flattering. I also think that brands advertise their curve items as a niche market when curvy women are very much the norm and should be included on websites with bigger sizes added.

Are there particular clothes/pieces/trends that are not working?

No, because I think with confidence you can wear whatever you feel looks good for you.

What do you think is good from the plus-size selections available today?

I like that brands such as Adidas and Puma have added curve ranges to sites such as ASOS, but curvy women are no different to any other women—I would like to see more campaigns with brands using curve and straight-sized models together instead of one or the other.


(Image credit: @karmi_op)

Where do you think the curve fashion industry is going wrong?

I think the plus-sized industry has a problem where it uses the wrong models to represent the product they are trying to sell. It seems wrong to have a size 10 model photograph in a range that starts at a size 14 or 16. It would be great if there were true to size models showing off the clothes at all the sizes available. 

Are there particular clothes/pieces/trends that are not working?

I think there is something missing from the market—plus-sized brands tend not to offer sportswear for women. This exacerbates a stigma that already exists that women over a certain size do not work out/can not even try, which is very alienating. 

What do you think is good from the plus-size selections available today?

I think the plus-sized industry is offering amazing swimwear and lingerie. It has become a lot more flattering and diverse, showing that all girls can be sexy at whatever size—plus-size girls do not need to be limited to a swimming costume! 

As the vote on ASOS Curve being awesome seems unanimous, take a look at our favourite pieces to shop below.

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and MatchesFashion.com, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.