I receive the most styling requests from women who would identify as plus size. I must admit, it's maddening to walk from specialty store to specialty store looking for flattering styles. Even maternity wear has more fashionable options than plus-size clothing, and that's saying a lot. How hard is it to design clothing for all body types?

Tim Gunn feels the same way. I read an article he wrote earlier this week taking the fashion industry and even his own show Project Runway to task for not creating flattering styles for women sizes 14 and up. He makes many compelling points.

I'm pretty sure Tim Gunn and I were separated at birth. We agree on so much these days, including our opinion of the latest winner of Project Runway. I too, like the judges, desperately wanted a designer who focuses on fashion-forward plus-size designs. Alas, it was not to be. It's not her fault. She's trying to succeed in a very shallow pond. Not many designers or brands care to cater to the plus-size community. Women are stuck with whatever they can find -- good, bad, or ugly.

This is where I come into the picture. Women are desperate to find fashionable pieces that look good on them, so they elicit my help. I've been touring plus-size sections and stand-alone specialty stores, taking notes and pictures. I vet the clothing for them. In many cases, the women send me pictures of themelves trying on clothes in front of the mirror for approval (comes with the territory, I suppose).

Most women don't know how to dress their bodies even when they have options. It's common for me to argue with someone about how she thinks she looks. There's so much body dissatisfaction in our country that we honestly can't  see our bodies for what they are. We mentally exaggerate our flaws. 

I read the comments on Gunn's article. Comment sections are evil, dark places that no one should visit. I don't encourage anyone to go there. I was amazed by how many people suggested that rewarding plus-size women with fashionable styles is encouraging obesity. I teach communication for a living, so I won't elaborate on this clearly fallacious, nonsensical argument. No one responds positively to shaming -- fat shaming, skinny shaming, body shaming.

I'm not a seamstress, but how hard is it to add shape to an otherwise boxy jacket? Or choose another fabric? Why do designers choose horrible prints for plus-size clothing in the first place?

A truly good designer has the ability to design for all types of people. May we remember during this runway season as designers parade new styles in front of captive audiences and flash bulbs that there are women anxiously awaiting those designs in their size.

Published by Heather Leigh Stanley