This is what it's really like to be plus sized and shop on the high street

18th Dec 17 | Beauty

It's harder than you might think.


With the burgeoning body positivity movement, you would think that acceptance of plus sized women was becoming more widespread.

However, it’s clear we haven’t yet reached some new era of enlightenment. In fact, it’s still incredibly difficult to shop on the high street if you’re plus sized, as blogger Bethany Rutter found in a recent experiment.

Bethany is the social media editor for online retailer of plus sized clothes navabi, and she embarked on a quest to find out what shopping on the high street is really like for a woman of her size.

The task was easy: she was to find seven key items in her size in each shop she went into on London’s Oxford and Regent’s Streets – a white t shirt, a pair of skinny jeans, a round-neck sweater, a pair of black trousers, an evening dress, a black jacket and a biker jacket.

Bethany, a size 20-22, was accompanied by Linh Nguyen, a size 8. The challenge was to see the contrast in the shopping experience for the two differently-sized women.

People keep telling me how nice I look today and I can’t say I disagree ✨

A post shared by Bethany (@archedeyebrow) on

The duo hit up some of the biggest stores on the high street: Marks & Spencer, Topshop, Miss Selfridge, River Island, Next, John Lewis and Zara.

Putting it simply, the results were pretty demoralising for Bethany. Whilst Linh managed to get all seven items in every store they went into, Bethany only managed on average two items per shop. In fact, Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Zara didn’t even go up to her size, so she couldn’t find anything in those stores at all.

Think of how many times you’ve nipped out to the shops on your lunch break to buy a last-minute outfit for wherever you’re going that night. Unfortunately, this video shows this isn’t really possible for Bethany and other plus sized women. They instead have to settle for online shopping, which is hardly the best option if you’re looking for an outfit ASAP.

It’s a look, what can I say

A post shared by Bethany (@archedeyebrow) on

Unsurprisingly, Bethany was pretty disappointed by the experience. She says: “For most people shopping is generally pleasurable, so it’s easy to forget for some people it is literally impossible.”

What makes her experience even more shocking is that Bethany was shopping on one of the world’s biggest retail hotspots in a major capital city, and her options were still so limited.

The experiment comes as part of navabi’s #moreplusplease campaign, which hopes to get plus size women equal status in fashion in terms of both products available and representation in the media.

Unless you’re plus sized yourself, chances are you didn’t have any idea the troubles many women encounter when shopping on the high street. This video shows how far there still is to go before equality is achieved.

© Press Association 2017