We are halfway through March, and by this time many or all may be aware that this month is Women's History Month! One of the ways Literally Outside guides itself is by being Literally Accessible, this means we value and encourage an environment that is comfortable & inviting for all; so, we ensure our pieces are too. Historically, women have been excluded from outdoor apparel and activities, and plus-sized women even more so. Given that many women across the United States are now considered “plus-size,” this is a major barrier. Women and those of plus sizes should be able to find outdoor clothing that is comfortable, which is exactly what Literally Outside works to achieve.
Unfortunately, women's hope for that expectation has yet to become an everyday reality. Jessica Tackett describes her struggles to find clothing that fits her plus-size body type in the article "It's Time for Outdoor Brands to Make Clothing for All Women" and the negative message this sends to women who have similar body types as herself.
A hiking and backpacking guide in New York State for the past six years, Tackett is now also co-owner of Destination Backcountry. As she explains in her story, she, as well as many other females, in particular those of plus sizes, have numerous concerns and struggles with outdoor clothing brands. In her article, Tackett discusses the lack of plus-size clothing that many outdoor apparel companies fail to provide for women. Because of this, she notes when women struggle to find outdoor clothing that fits them, it can communicate to women and instill a belief that they do not belong or want to be in the outdoors. Tackett further explains the danger of this, stating that historically, advertisements for women in the outdoors have traditionally shown skinny petite women free of mud and dirt, typically sitting in a lawn chair. She nonetheless highlights the fact that society and some brands have made progress with marketing now showing women taking on the big treks and climbs that men were traditionally depicted doing. However, she points out the danger of leaving out plus-size women in these advertisements, as well as the lack of clothing for them to participate in these adventurous activities that so many enjoy. The author recalls many occasions where women realized that no outdoor skill is unachievable, but when it comes to clothing, outdoor clothing brands still influence plus-size women to believe that only one type of woman can do such activities outdoors. In spite of this, she emphasizes that women do, regardless of their body type.
Tackett concludes the article by saying that companies can start being more inclusive by creating better-fitting clothing for plus-size women. The author takes it one step further and encourages outdoor apparel companies to embrace women of all ages, races, sizes, and abilities doing adventurous activities that women love to do. This includes hiking, canoeing, forest bathing, climbing, and more. She notes, that many in the outdoor apparel industry are striving to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion, but have not fully fulfilled that expectation until women of all body shapes are represented. To summarize, she wants companies to realize that there is a need for more clothing that makes women feel welcome in the outdoors, so they no longer see the outdoors as unsuitable for them.Women and people of plus sizes are encouraged to feel welcome and included in the beautiful outdoors through Literally Outside. Jessica Tackket deserves praise for highlighting this issue and sharing her viewpoint. In our efforts to break down all the barriers mentioned, Literally Outside found this article to be relevant to our mission and specifically in our drive to be Literally Accessible, creating clothing that is comfortable & inviting for all. We hope you enjoy reading more in-depth about her story because stories like these are what motivate Literally Outside every day!