The next step toward truly inclusive fashion? Plus-size jewelry
When you think of “plus-size fashion,” you probably think of wrap dresses and swimsuits and wedding dresses and pants and shirts and sweaters and so on. But have you ever thought of jewelry? If you’re not a plus-size person, probably not. That’s because it’s a section of the plus-size fashion industry that has largely been ignored. That is, until now.
On July 11, the innovative plus-size brand Universal Standard will officially launch its own collection of limited-edition plus-size jewelry, which is actually available on its site right now. By “plus-size jewelry” what we mean is jewelry created with the plus-size woman in mind.
“The most basic problem is just that it doesn’t fit,” Alexandra Waldman, co-founder and creative director of Universal Standard, said in an interview with Mic. “Regular jewelry isn’t made to scale. This is a line of jewelry that is meant to look native on a bigger body. The longer necklace falls exactly as it should on a longer body. The rings fit. The jointed choker always lays flat on the chest, and can be worn on a larger neck really beautifully.”
It’s a plus-size fashion problem that Waldman says hasn’t been addressed largely because people who aren’t plus size simply don’t understand. But with the body-positivity movement growing, and plus-size women’s voices getting louder in fashion, these problems are starting to get addressed.
“I think that unless you are a person experiencing it, you don’t know it’s a problem,” Waldman said. “It’s been going on for so long, but I think plus-size women are waking up to the power of speaking about it. For a very long time, we were taught that you get what you deserve for being bigger. Your lack is a state of being in response to a bigger body. But I think with everything happening right now, it’s turning on its ear. We want to be able to make things for this woman that straight-size women have had for years.”
Indeed, other than Universal Standard, the other new and notable plus-size jewelry line debuting is from Ashley Nell Tipton, the plus-size designer who gained fame from winning Project Runway. Her collection, with XS Accessories, is being called “wide-fit jewelry” and is comprised of trendy little rings, bracelets and necklaces.
Meanwhile, Universal Standard’s six-piece collection is also comprised of basic jewelry pieces, like a bracelet, a necklace, a pair of drop earrings, two rings and a choker necklace, all in shiny silver.
“We wanted to do something that suits our aesthetic and has an understated drama,” Waldman said. “I don’t like anything that screams. So wearing those things, you notice the taste of the woman immediately.”
Already, Waldman can tell that the collection is set to change some lives, recounting the reaction of a woman who first saw the collection at a showroom.
“We had one girl get so emotional to put the ring on her middle finger,” Waldman said. “She was like, ‘I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve been able to do this.’ She welled up. It’s like the world suddenly was seeing her.”
Though the current collection is limited-edition, Waldman promises to continue to expand the line.
“It’s really sad when you’re constantly faced with this idea that you’re not part of this,” Waldman said. “So we decided that we’re going to absolutely make it our own and keep creating beautiful things for women who haven’t been able to wear this kind of jewelry ever before.”