Putting the "US" in Plus
For as long as I can remember, plus-size jewelry and clothing has been treated like an add-on option rather than simply a part of the range of sizes available. Often separated from the rest of women’s attire in clothing stores, for many years plus size shoppers had to contend with limited selections, outdated styles and minimal jewelry options.
And don’t even get me started on finding plus size rings. When you have larger fingers, you know very well not to bother trying on ring styles in the store because very few carry a selection in sizes larger than a 7.
As women, we are created in many shapes and sizes, and Janet Blake Jewelry celebrates all women by crafting one-of-a-kind pieces available in a variety of styles and sizes. Shopping is supposed to be fun! But as I know all too well, many of us who don’t fit into the industry standard, often have the opposite experience.
I understand your frustration
Endowed with my father’s long fingers, I am well suited for playing basketball or the piano (which I do!) but not for wearing rings smaller than a size 8. Initially, I think I started making jewelry because of how difficult it was to find a unique ring or necklace that fit me.
At every in-person event I sell my work, there are always women who tell me their fingers are too large to even try on any of my rings. I love to see their surprise and excitement when I direct them to the rings I have handcrafted in their size!
Now that my pieces are sold all around the world, it is important to me that the pieces I make for my customers are available in a range of styles and sizes for ALL women. Shopping for rings shouldn’t be limited to those of us who wear a size 7 ring and under!
I love seeing women search through our styles and pick pieces that speak to their personality and flare. Emphasizing the “us” in plus means making all women feel welcome here.
Before we get into the latest styles of plus-size rings I offer and what to consider when purchasing jewelry for your body type, let’s take a peek at where plus-size fashion has been and where it’s finally headed.
The Evolution of Plus Size Jewelry
According to a Mic.com article by Rachel Lubitz, the phrase plus size first popped up in the early 1920s and its popularity was spurred on in part by retail giant Lane Bryant. Initially founded as a maternity brand, Lane Bryant has become one of the leading brands in plus-size fashion.
“Throughout these years, the term was solely focused on clothing, and not women themselves. That didn't last for long though, because in 1953, an ad for the brand Korell was printed in a local paper in North Carolina with the line: ‘wonderful action-plus dress for the plus-sized woman,’” Lubitz reported.
Considering that 68 percent of women in America are a size 14 or higher, I had to ask myself: how is it possible that plus-size wearers are made to feel ostracized if they are the majority? Funny enough, the question led me back to the very company that helped coin the plus size term.
Lane Bryant CMO Brian Beitler hinted at the answer back in 2016 at the Refinery29 Every Beautiful Body Symposium where he told attendees that the fashion power balance was off and that it is now shifting. “It was the people with power and money who told the story,” he said. “It’s not that the consumer wasn’t demanding [plus-size fashion], it’s that no one has been listening.”
Well, the world is listening now. Companies have started to turn the volume up on the voices of women who have had enough of old beauty standards, and the Internet has played a great part in helping consumers reshape the conversation. Fashion blogging skyrocketed in the mid-2000s, and as it did, so did multifaceted visions of beauty. Women no longer relied only on mainstream media to guide them on fashion and beauty dos and don'ts. You started to see a rise of empowered women sharing their fashion sense and tastes and their personal stories on their own blogs. Then the social media trend took hold and blogging exploded to a whole new level of credibility. From selfies to professional-style photo shoots, the fashion bloggers were photographing their outfits and sharing them via social media on platforms like Facebook. And then, YouTube came around and vlogging (video blogs) caught fire.
It was refreshing to see so many women own who they are. We now had more avenues, aside from entertainment, to find inspiration from women we could actually relate to, and as bloggers began to draw followers by the hundreds of thousands, a new opportunity presented itself … monetization. Big brands began seeking out plus-size bloggers like GabiFresh and Nicolette Mason to review their products and magazines like Marie Claire and Teen Vogue wanted their input on the latest trends.
Something was on the horizon … change. Everyday women could now influence consumers from the comfort of their own homes and they didn’t need the green light from a media outlet to reach them. The Internet allowed them to speak directly to their audience.
Inclusive brands aim to serve all women
The fashion industry can no longer be content in maintaining the status quo. As a woman who embraces her inner rebel soul, I take pride in joining my sisters in a movement of body positivity. I stand in solidarity with a host of other designers who are also committed to building inclusive brands.
Alex Waldman, co-founder of plus-size clothing brand Universal Standard, told the Women Rule podcast that “we really believe that it’s time to stop othering women by size.” She and business partner, Polina Veksler, are not only addressing the inequality women face in the dressing room, but the boardroom as well. The BMJ medical journal found that a 4.6-point increase in women’s body mass index resulted in $4,200 less in annual income.
“You can say what you want about your abilities, but quite often, you won’t even have the chance to show your abilities because someone will have presumed certain things about you,” Waldman said. “You’re perceived as less capable. You’re perceived maybe as more slovenly.”
Model Ashley Graham, who in 2015 was the first curvy woman in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, said even the term plus size needs to go. “I think the word ‘plus-sized’ is so divisive to women,” she said on CBS Sunday Morning. “I think that when you use the word ‘plus size,’ you’re putting all these women into a category.”
Mallorie Dunn, a New York City-based fashion designer morphed her clothing line into SmartGlamour, a customizable, ethical clothing line for people of all shapes, sizes, heights, ages and identities. Every design is available in XXS to 15X and beyond. Dunn said the brand came out of “many discussions about body image issues and the lack of accurate representation of women, femmes, and non binary folks in the media.”
A 2017 study by the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education found that the average American woman’s clothing size is between a Misses size 16–18, which corresponds to a Women’s Plus size 20W. The journal recommended that updating Misses and plus-size clothing standards be a major priority.
And that includes on the jewelry front, as well. Last year Waldman explained to TODAY Style how hard it is for plus size women to find plus-size rings that fit and are flattering. “A lot of plus-size women can only fit rings on their pinky fingers,” she said. “And sometimes, we want to wear something on another finger.”
Project Runway season 14 winner Ashley Nell Tipton agreed. “I’ve been that person who bought regular-size chokers and had to put ribbon in the back or a safety pin [to make it larger],” Tipton said.
In my desire to continue serving all women, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be adding larger ring sizes to my ready-to-ship online selection, from sizes 5 to 11. Each design will flatter larger hands by lengthening the appearance of the fingers while not overwhelming them.
I’ll also continue to add sizes beyond 11 as necessary as I design additional rings. Because I create handcrafted, custom-made jewelry, I also am able to accomodate size requests on a per order basis.
It’s easy to find all of the rings currently available in your size! Just select “Rings” in the navigation bar at the top of this window and and you will see multiple options to view available rings by gemstone, style and size. Click your size and voilà! All of the ready-to-ship rings currently available in your size will be displayed for you to choose from. This selection changes weekly, so please check back often for new pieces or join my mailing list at the bottom of this page!
Shopping For Plus-Size Jewelry
Not sure what you should consider when purchasing plus-size jewelry? I did some research into the best advice on what to keep in mind when on the hunt for plus-size jewelry. Here are a few quick tips from fashionlady.in on shopping for jewelry for your body type with examples of jewelry currently available in the shop:
- Women with round, square, oblongs, and rectangles faces can opt for dangling earrings, so as to take away attention from the roundness of their face.
A perfect example are these Taper Dangle earrings.
- Long necklaces help in lengthening the look of a square or round face. Voluptuous figures need longer styles to draw the attention downward besides lengthening the height.
This Taper Dangle Necklace comes in multiple chain lengths ranging from 18" to 36".
- If you have thick fingers, huge, oversized rings look great on you.
My Reef style rings feature wide edgy bands with striking gemstones like the Serpentine Reef ring in size 10 shown below. To view all available Reef ring styles, click here.
- Oval or marquise shape stones add length to your fingers.
These Opal Oblique stacking rings fit the bill perfectly!
As I continue to indulge myself in learning this craft of jewelry making as well as discovering more about my beloved customers, their needs and stories, you can always count on me to express what I’ve learned here on my blog - fore the best lessons are always those that are shared amongst friends!
Thanks for reading and let me know below in the comments sectionwhat size rings you are looking for!
Until next time,