WITH the UK average dress size now a 16, reports of Jacqueline Jossa being called “plus-sized” last week sparked outrage.
The former I’m A Celeb winner, 27, who is a size 12 hit back at the comments, saying she hates the term and is certainly not ashamed of how she looks.
Many women know that fitting rooms can be a nightmare, as Jac discovered in summer when she found she couldn’t fit in a pair of Zara’s large-size shorts and went on to social media to criticise the chain’s sizing policy.
Telly star Stacey Solomon branded the same store “dangerous” after being confused by its sizing and shoppers have highlighted size discrepancies between brands.
All this at a time when two in five women say they are “displeased” with their bodies, according to a YouGov poll.
Here, size-20 model and influencer Felicity Hayward, 32, from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, reflects on the “plus-sized” tag, looks at what stores have to offer . . . and reveals how to bring some self-love into your life.
WHEN Felicity Hayward burst onto the fashion scene in 2012, modelling terms like “plus-size” were a novelty.
“When I started, I felt I was part of a crew that was making a change,” she says.
“I’m still a size 20 and, though I don’t mind it, can’t we all just be women, regardless of our size?
“It’s 2020 now and isn’t it all about being kind? It’s ridiculous that society views a size 12 body like Jacqueline’s as being a bigger body. No one should be worried about being that size.
“Luckily, Jacqueline has got body confidence, which to me is accepting who you really are and understanding as women that our bodies go through so many changes in our lives.
“People need to understand the perfect body doesn’t exist.”
Felicity has not always been so sure about herself.
“I was born in a small town and I was always curvy. I could never find clothes to fit me, so my Nan and I used to buy charity-shop clothes and remodel them based on what was in the High Street shops.
“When I was a teenager, I used clothing as armour, because I looked different to everyone else.
“It was only when I came to London at 17 and met other people like me that I started to peel back those layers and love myself for who I was.”
She was “scouted” dancing in a pub in Shoreditch, East London, and did a shoot for fashion photographer Miles Aldridge.
She says: “It went viral because plus-sized girls weren’t used very often, especially in high fashion editorials, whereas now nobody would bat an eyelid.”
Since then, Felicity has appeared in Vogue and signed as a model to Milk agency in London.
She was the first Curve Ambassador and stylist for ASOS.
In 2015, Felicity launched the #SelfLoveBringsBeauty campaign.
“It’s all about empowering women to be the most confident they can be in their own skin,” she says.
“Finding self-love in ourselves where we say ‘my body is my best friend’ is one of the most important lessons we can learn.”
She has to deal with trolls all the time.
“When you put yourself out there, you’re always bound to get them,” says Felicity.
“I think there should be a verification process to weed out trolls. But I don’t let it bother me.”
When asked about stars like Jacqueline and Stacey speaking out about sizing issues, especially given the average dress size for UK women is a 16, Felicity says: “It’s a step in the right direction and will make a difference.
“If there was an industry standard throughout all the shops it would help so much. It’s detrimental to young girls’ minds how different the shop sizings are.
“Confidence within yourself is one of the biggest things with your body, but it comes with age and maturity.
"When you look at the older generation and they’re on the beach, sitting there with everything hanging out, living their best lives.
“It’s how we should all feel.”
“We only have a very short amount of time on this planet and we go through so many other stresses. Putting pressure on your appearance shouldn’t be one of them.
“Forget the labels, no matter what size you are, we are all amazing just the way we are.”
- Felicity’s second Playful Promises collection (playfulpromises.com) will be released on November 3.
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