At what point is a model really considered plus-size?

Calvin Klein’s latest ads for their “Perfect Fit” campaign feature models Jourdan Dunn, Ji Hye Park, Lara Stone, and, most notably, Myla Dalbesio; a size-10 model who’s appearance in the campaign has sparked a national conversation about what “plus-size” really means, while simultaneously putting a vastly underrepresented body type into the mainstream.

While we’re PUMPED to see a beautiful size 10 woman modeling lingerie, the chatter about Dalbesio being plus-size is a little befuddling. Take a gander on Twitter and you’ll see a range of responses, some celebrating Calvin Klein for using a “plus-size” model, but most, like me, saying, THAT’s plus-size?

In a statement to, Calvin Klein confirmed that Dalbesio is the “biggest girl” the designer has ever worked with. But it should be said that Calvin Klein never referred to Dalbesio as plus-sized, still the story’s prevalence in the media has raised questions about both what plus-sized really means and how we got to this definition. 

The truth is, in fashion terms, Dalbesio sits at an “in-between” stage between the “straight models” and plus-size models, who generally start at size 16. As Dalbesio said on the Today Show this morning, “I am among one of many girls that are, like, ‘in-betweenies. So we’re not skinny enough to be straight-size — [meaning] these size 0, size 2 girls — and we’re not large enough to be considered for plus-size.” Either way, a size 10 is not a size we see often enough in the modeling world and we’re so happy Dalbesio is here. 

Rewind half a century to the 1950s when Marilyn Monroe was considered the ideal, with a body type that would be considered pretty unconventional today. No she was not, as some reports say, a modern-day size 16, but she was far curvier than most anything we’re accustomed to seeing in today’s beauty world. With the inclusion of more voluptuous bodies in the modeling mainstream like Kate Upton and now Dalbesio, hopefully we’re on a path to really embracing the many different body types that women can and do have.

Over the last 24 hours the Twitter conversation happening over whether or not Dalbesio is plus-size has led to some rightfully angry outcries.

But the reality a size 10 is not considered a plus-size body, even by today’s unrealistic modeling standards. What a size 10 is, is a representation of a body type that we are super happy to FINALLY see in the modeling world.

“I’m getting these emails from 15-year-old girls in the middle of America that are saying, ‘Thank you so much, I’ve never seen myself represented in this way before,’” Dalbesio said on the Today Show

The fact that Calvin Klein released this ad with none of the plus-size gimmick so common in the fashion industry signals a sort of progress. We, women, come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s cliché to say, but it’s true, and the fashion world needs to be reminded of that.

It’s exciting to see a girl my size modeling, because, in all honesty, as a customer I want to picture how the clothes might look on my size 10 frame. Other designers take note, and let’s get models of all different sizes modeling the clothes you make and sell. Women’s body shapes run the gamut; the women who model the clothes should run the gamut too.

(Image via Models)

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