If you made Emily Mariko’s leftover salmon recipe exactly one time in October 2021 and never thought about it again, you’re probably pretty familiar with the speed in which TikTok trends become omnipresent and then *poof* disappear, only to be replaced by another trend not long after. It’s far more obscure to witness a trend that sticks around for a significant amount of time, like the ongoing uplift around mid-size fashion.
Referring to the size range that’s not quite straight size (between 0-8) but also smaller than what’s conventionally known as plus size (which is 16 and up), mid-size fashion hits that spot right in the middle. Ranging between a size 10 and a 16, these individuals can find it hard to shop at some fast fashion stores and from most high-end designers, but they’re too small to fit into clothing from plus-only retailers. Which obviously makes it tricky to find clothing that fits—and what led to the hashtag #midsizefashion to start trending on TikTok in 2021.
As creator Madison Beltran, who is a size 12 and considers herself mid-size, puts it, “There are a few different definitions of this word. The way I see it is I put myself in the category of being too big for a size large and too small for the first plus-size.”
Now, nearly a year later, that hashtag is still trending. There are over 525 million videos on the app with that hashtag and this corner of the body positivity movement shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Because while the average American woman falls somewhere between the sizes of 14 and 16, only 20% of the clothing market creates items that caters to those body sizes—not to mention there are very few mid-size celebrities in the mainstream and it’s a category often ignored by traditional media, including fashion magazines.
Remi Bader might be one of the most well-known champions of mid-size fashion. Best known as the beloved content creator who catapulted her hilarious (and relatable) try-on hauls into a full fledged career over the pandemic, her rise has led to major opportunities, like a modeling contract with Victoria’s Secret and a forthcoming clothing range with Revolve. Both of which haven’t quite had a great track record when it comes to designing for or marketing to curvy women. Remi rose to her current level of success because her videos were reaching the women who have felt stuck in the middle with their sizing. When they watch her content, they feel like they’re finally being seen and that they’re no longer misrepresented. In a way, Remi found a way to fill a hole in the current fashion market.
That one creator’s shopping hauls aside, mid-size fashion content runs the gamut. Some videos show realistic recreations of outfits first seen on Pinterest, while others offer tips on how to dress if you want to emphasize your best features and downplay the ones you feel less confident about.
Jess, also known as @midsizefashioninspo is kind of the queen of this type of content. With over 297K followers and a whopping 4.5 million likes, she’s created more videos about tummy flattering outfits than you even thought possible. And the comments section? It’s all mostly female commenters asking where to buy her skirt or top, sending a string of heart eye emojis and laying on the comments about how gorgeous she is.
Not only are these videos sharing styling tips and ‘fit ideas, but they’re also inspiring confidence—showing how to love your body. The reactions around some of the earliest videos in this space made it clear that there was a real interest and a need for this content. They could also see how clothing they saw online or in the window of stores finally looked on a body like theirs, since most models are either straight-size (and on the very small end) or truly plus-size. With this spiral of viral content, they now have a trusted source to turn to when searching for outfit inspiration, an honest review of a clothing item or as a place for discovery when it comes to brands that do mid-size clothing well. These women finally saw themselves reflected in their phone screens and there was a desire to see much more of it. Hence the ongoing viral-ness of this trend.
The mid-size fashion movement offers a strong example of how TikTok can provide a tangible solution to a problem that’s being overlooked—both by people who relate and those who had no idea it even existed. It also shows how important fashion influencers can be, since their ability to speak to consumers can also fill the gaps left wide open by the traditional fashion community. Plus, these very niche content creators can build a career on their own, while lifting up women just like them. Truly, what’s not to love about a trend that’s all about building women up and helping them feel more comfortable (and stylish!) in their own skin?