It seems that people are speaking out more than ever before about the lack of size-inclusive clothing choices available. Leslie Jones, Tim Gunn, Christian Siriano and many more celebrities have all recently voiced their displeasure with a fashion industry that doesn’t provide options to women who don’t fit a certain body image. Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant recently added her voice to the mix, tweeting that having cool clothes for all sizes “seems like a fairly basic request,” and days later, she was being fitted for a custom Eloquii dress for the Emmys.
The star — who shared her getting-ready shots with us here — was already excited to be attending her second primetime Emmys, but she was especially thrilled that the design house approached her stylist of two years [and SNL costume designer] Remy Pearce asking if they could provide a dress for awards night.
“It’s just been a really fun dream process,” Bryant told PeopleStyle before flying out to L.A. for the ceremony [where she parted with winner Kate McKinnon, pictured]. “I think it’s a different experience for plus size women in film and television to get clothes for events. It’s just not as welcoming for us to get cool clothes that are like equal in glamour, in style to what, I am going to say, ‘small size’ co-stars get to wear. So I’ve had experiences on photoshoots or wherever, where there just aren’t options for us. So to have this experience where they approached me and it’s not us begging them … and they’ve been like, ‘Let’s make this special.’ It’s been very glamorous to me in ways I maybe haven’t experienced before. So it’s been really, really positive … it’s been such a delight.”
When it came to her dress she was game for anything, but did have a few requests. She likes anything on the shorter side (but “not like mini skirt short”) and prefers to wear something comfortable. “I want to feel like I can dance or party all night and not be worried about people stepping on my dress,” she says. “I want to do my own damn thing and I also want to be able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner and not be afraid to live my damn life. So I can’t get into fasting all day to try and survive a certain dress or something like that, it’s not going to happen for me. I am more about comfort.”
And luckily the finished outcome hit all her marks. “It doesn’t feel stuffy to me at all. It doesn’t feel oppressive to wear. I think it’s a cool quality in a red carpet dress, to not have it be like, some insane thing that I am squeezed into and I can’t sit down in.”
Although she gets custom clothes now, she says she didn’t have quite as good of a selection available when she started at SNL in 2012. “When I was hired to SNL, I was 25 years old. I would show up to photo shoots and the offerings really looked like they were for mother of the bride … these kind of dresses that just ruched in a way that [looked like a] 65-year-old woman’s evening gown or something.”
And she didn’t understand why that’s the case. “I just was really frustrated. I am young and I am cool and I want to wear cool clothes! So I think for a long time that has been what I have been trying to find. And it is a little bit of a battle but that’s why places like Eloquii are so good because they’re designing modern clothes for women with real bodies. I forget what the number is but 65 percent of women are size 14 and over — it’s more of America.”
It’s the same point Tim Gunn recently wrote about in the Washington Post: that designers are not representing American women as they actually are, and Bryant agrees.
“I guess I don’t understand what the resistance is to it,” she says. “To me it just feels like a no-brainer that you would want to dress as many people as you could so you could represent your brand. The more that television and film is willing to represent these people; it’s part of the circular nature of fashion and magazines and celebrities that we also have to work together. Either you’re a part of it or you’re not.”
All she’s asking for is something she loves — and she doesn’t think that’s too much to ask. “I don’t know exactly what that means to me but I definitely feel like sometimes there are plus-size offerings that it’s either super retro or super animal print: Here’s a way for you to be bold!” she says. “But I don’t want to put on a costume. I want to feel like anyone else. I want to feel modern and cool and young too cause that’s what I am, yo!”
Do you agree with Bryant?
–Reporting by Alex Apatoff