Seriously fantastic news for teens this week! Rue21 has launched a plus-size line, called rue+. When I was a teenager — in the not-so-long-ago days of the early 21st century — plus-size clothing was essentially nonexistent. At least plus-size clothing that consisted of anything a teenager would feel comfortable enough wearing to high school. There was Torrid, of course. Born as a Hot Topic brand, Torrid was brilliant for those hybridized emo/punk days that consisted of listening to a lot of post-2000 Green Day and Papa Roach and wearing a lot of red and black striped everything. But aside from the "husky" sections of a few department stores, that was it. The terms "plus-size" and "teen fashion" mixed together just about as well as alcohol and iPhones. So I guess that's why I'm so pumped for rue21's latest endeavor.
As far as teen-centric fashion brands go, many have been stepping up their game in the past few years when it comes to incorporating plus-size fashion. Forever21's plus line evolved from the small corner of a few select stores to a full range sold online and in many IRL locations. Wet Seal's plus-size line, released last summer, has already garnered the attention of bloggers and fashionistas alike. But for some reason, these collections (though amazing and necessary) didn't seem as geared toward teen girls. Maybe because so many women shop F21 and Wet Seal way past adolescence (I'm not remotely ashamed of falling into this category). Rue21, on the other hand, has always been a teenage dream (despite the "21" in its name).
From Forever 21 and Wet Seal's plus-size lines.
One look at rue21's website will meet you with actual teen models, kitsch and wonderfully O.T.T. sequined pieces — not to mention Minnie Mouse and Frozen sweaters. Granted, I would wear all of these things... but more importantly, I think a lot of teenage girls would, too. It's no secret that childhood and adolescence can feel like THE WORST THINGS EVER, and being plus-size in a world constantly telling you how wrong and hideous and unhealthy it is to be fuller-figured doesn't make those formative years any easier. I'm a firm believer, however, that feeling like you look good can very often make you feel good. Previously, the former has been really difficult for plus-size teens with a horrific lack of clothing options available to them.
Rue21's plus line will incorporate sizes 14-24 (or 1X-3X) and continue with the brand's affordable pricing. They will also be working closely with Orange is the New Black's Danielle Brooks and plus-size bloggers Gabi Gregg, Tanesha Awasthi and Chante Burkett. In forming these collaborations, rue21 is not only ensuring that its products reach many, many more young women; it's also recognizing the vast influence plus-size fashion bloggers and plus-size role models play this day in age. Something that, unfortunately, a lot of brands and designers still seem to be missing.
Seriously, this is a collection you will want to tell everyone about. Find your younger siblings, and have them tell their friends. I would never personally want to be a teenager ever again, but I know for a fact that I would have felt much more comfortable as a 15-year-old had I not been forced to wear garbage-bag-like-dresses and un-tailored denim. To be honest, I'm about to hop on the rue21+ bandwagon myself.
Here are some of my favorite items from the range, thus far:
Frozen Sisters Sweatshirt, $24, rue21.com
Midnight Sparkle Plunging V-Neck Mini Dress, $30, rue21.com
Burgundy Southwestern Midi Skater Dress, $25, rue21.com
Charcoal Faux Leather Bomber, $35, rue21.com
Gingerbread Family Ugly Christmas Sweater, $22, rue21.com
Images: Forever 21; Wet Seal; Getty Images; rue21