padding op een plussizemodel
Kristiina Wilson ©

Marianne about Plus Size Models and Padding

Every week plus size model and advocate of size diversity in fashion and body acceptance Marianne Nykjaer discusses a topic related to these concepts. Last week she discussed “Body Love Bootcamp“. Today Marianne discusses on plus size models and padding.

Today we’re going to talk about padding plus size models. Say what? You probably never heard of this phenomenon before, have you? Padding is the act of stuffing pads down your clothes, usually on the hips, thighs and boobs, to give the appearance of a fuller body. Why? Well, to start with: it comes in handy for the designer.

More than 1 sample size

Let’s say a designer falls in love with a model with a size 10, but all the samples are a size 14. By using padding he can still book the model and make the clothes look good on her. There are also benefits for the models. Contrary to the regular fashion industry, plus size models come in various shapes and sizes, from 8 to 18. Moreover, there isn’t one standard sample size: different brands use different sample sizes. Finally, depending on which market a model works in, clients prefer different sizes.

On slim models, you also use a bunch of tricks and pins to make the clothes look better.

You understand: as a plus size model it’s impossible to please everyone, because every one wants a different size. Thanks to padding, these girls can work in any kind of market. Especially the smaller sizes, because they can book jobs in their regular – smaller – size, but also book jobs in a bigger size. Even stylists will tell you that this is not a big deal: on slim models, you also use a bunch of tricks and pins to make the clothes look better; how is this any different?


Still, it bothers me a bit sometimes. For me, the beauty of plus size modeling is that there is so much diversity. If you want a model in a size 14, then why not just book a model in that size? And ethically, it feels a bit fake. You make the hips and boobs bigger, but the face, arms, waist and legs stay slim. Very few women look like that and it creates an unrealistic version of a woman’s body, instead of just celebrating and appreciating that models and women come in different shapes and sizes.

Very few women look like that and it creates an unrealistic version of a woman’s body.

I dream of an industry where there is room for everyone: an industry in which bigger models can book jobs for bigger sizes and where the industry makes room for smaller plus sizes (8 and 10) as well, so that these girls can work with their natural size. Wouldn’t that be great?

What’s your opinion on padding: weird, or practical?

(c) images: Kristiina Wilson for Refinery29

About Marianne Nykjaer

Marianne Nykjaer
Marianne Nykjaer is a fashion lover, (plus-size) model and blogger. She mainly blogs about diversity in the fashion industry and body acceptance. She's quite into sports and passionate about (healthy) food, but her main focus is on mental health instead of physical health.

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