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At What Point is a model really considered plus – size

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

by Amirah Mercer

Myla Dalbesio in Calvin Klein’s “Perfect Fit” campaign.

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 Elle.com, 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.