Rethinking The Appeal Of Plus Size Clothing: Olympian Athlete Inspires Companies

Olympian Amanda Bingson, who gained notoriety for her cover spread on ESPN, as reported by the Inquisitr, as well as for her hammer-throwing skills in the 2105 Olympics in Beijing, knows all too well what it is like to not meet the American cultural ideal of “thin.” In fact, she’s in a class that is highly under-represented: her shoulders are a size 16 or 18 (plus sized by American Standards) and her waist is a size ten, not considered plus sized by most retailers, according to ESPN.

In fact, studies show that 67 percent, more than two-thirds, of American women wear a size 14 -32, clearly putting them in the plus-size category. Yet many designers, including those for teenagers — often the most fashion-conscious among us — only offer clothing that is available from size 0 – 12. While this seems to be counterproductive to sales, other studies have shown that the ability to wear the much-coveted small sizes and designers may actually make them more in demand among those who can wear them. But that isn’t the case for Amanda Bingson, who has stated that she’s always had difficulty finding nice, fashionable clothing for her age group, according to the New York Post.

“It sucks shopping for bigger clothes, and when I was younger, it was even worse. You had to go to the third floor of a store all the way towards the back where the bathroom was located.”

25-year-old Bingson, who holds the American record for the hammer throw, is officially sponsored by Nike, but has many other retailers who are now interested in starting up clothing lines for larger ladies with Bingson as the spokesmodel. In fact, Bingson was flown to New York by plus-size chain Lane Bryant to participate in the retailer’s new campaign, #PlusIsEqual, a slogan which is taking social media by storm, showing that plus-sized women are worthy of attractive, sexy clothing. While Bingson is contracted with Nike for performance wear, she has no official casual or formal wear apparel company who has the monopoly on her persona.

The latest clothing company to enlist the Olympian model is Slink Jeans, a plus-size apparel company that launched online on Sept. 16, and featured Bingson in an alluring, sensual photo shoot on Malibu Beach wearing its jeans and T-shirts. Slink jeans may be for larger women, but it is also for those with bigger pockets, with some of its T-shirts retailing in the vicinity of fifty dollars. While many clothing companies are beginning to sell plus-sized lines, in general, they are more costly, which is a hardship for many women.

[photo by Getty]