Fashion Enthusiast Katelyn Pilley’s Take on Plus-Sized Fashion

Anyone with functioning eyesight knows that there are disproportionately few plus-sized women allowed into the fashion world.  However, women who have never needed to shop for plus-sized clothing are often unaware of the difficulty of finding flattering, trendy clothes in plus sizes.  Katelyn Pilley, called KP by her friends, has taken it upon herself to advocate for plus-sized women by increasing their representation in the online fashion community through her Instagram account @pluspisces_.

What got you into plus-sized fashion?

For as long as I’ve worn women’s sizes, I’ve needed plus-sized clothing. Soon, I realized the way I shopped had to be a little different than the way my friends did.  Back then, a lot of plus sized clothes weren’t that attractive.  They weren’t in style and looked like they were for women much older than I was. It was the start of me realizing there is not a lot of space for bodies like mine. 

What inspired you to start the @pluspisces_ Instagram account?

I’ve always been interested in fashion and have tried to dress in cool and interesting ways.  For me, it’s a great form of self-expression.  For my current job at Buffalo Exchange, a commission store in Allston, I need to know a lot about fashion trends.  Applying for the job helped me realize how much I care about fashion, and I wanted to let plus-sized women know they could wear whatever outfit they felt good in.  I feel like there’s a lot of pressure for plus-sized women to only wear outfits that hide their bodies, like leggings with a tunic.  I started @pluspisces to let plus sized women know that they can rock mom jeans and a crop top if they want to. 

What are some of the frustrations you’ve encountered in shopping for plus sized clothing?

A lot of times plus-sized clothes come in a completely different style than the rest of the clothes in the store.  For example, Forever 21 has a different line for plus-sized clothes.  Sometimes I walk into a store and just want what’s on the mannequin, but can’t have it because it’s not in plus size.  Keeping up with trendy denim is also really difficult because plus sized jeans tend to come only in boot cut.  It was so hard to find mom jeans, and it made me feel like I was only allowed to wear one kind of jean.

Are there any stores you wished carried plus sized clothing?

I feel fortunate that a lot of the younger stores, like Forever 21 and H&M, have started carrying plus-sized clothing.  I’ve never found something in Urban Outfitters that fits me though, which is sad because their stuff is really cute.  A lot of the higher end stores don’t carry anything in plus sizes.  The average size for women in America is size fourteen, so plus-sized women are really left out of the fashion world.  You have to work so much harder to be cute.

What are some of your favorite places to shop for plus sized clothes?

Boo Hoo (an UK-based online store), Forever 21, Primark, Target, and Buffalo Exchange all have good stuff.  You really have to hunt though, and you have to try everything on even if you’re not sure it will fit.  Sometimes something’s not in your size but still looks good on you. 

What is your opinion on the current plus sized models?

By and large, they are white women who fit into a size twelve to fourteen.  They’re still conventionally attractive and have thin faces.  If you just looked at a headshot of them, you would think they were skinny.  I still love them and what they’re doing, and I follow them all on social media, but the body positivity movement needs to be more intersectional.

What do you say to the argument that plus-sized models are bad for society because they are unhealthy?

I think that unless you’re someone’s doctor, you have no business telling them that they are unhealthy.  If you see a picture of a skinny girl eating a burger, guys will be commenting, “I need me a girl like that.”  But if you see the same picture with a fat girl, the reaction is different.  Technically, both of the girls are eating unhealthy, but people only lash out at the fat girl because they don’t like what they see.  The “health” argument is really just an excuse to uphold the thin desire.

Do you have any last words of advice?

The biggest thing that I have to say is that I came to the realization that this is the body I have whether I like it or not.  Even if you want to change your body, you still have the right to love yourself as you are now.  Love the body that carries you through life.  Why hide it under leggings and a tunic?  Life is too short not to wear the clothes you want.

KP graduated from COM with a degree in advertising last December and has started working at Buffalo Exchange in December.  Follow @pluspisces_ to follow her fashion journey and to see her amazing outfits.


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