Our Relationship with the Plus Size Blogger Goes Way Back
We first noticed Edmonton-based blogger Marielle TerHart, also known as @marielle.elizabeth, more than five years ago when we spotted her in one of our nightshirts. Known for her outspoken opinions and writing on plus size fashion for the likes of Vogue.com and The Cut, Marielle also has a Patreon, which she uses to keep her fans and followers up to date on the industry. As we’ve aimed to make The Sleep Shirt more and more size-inclusive over the years, Marielle has always been a key name on our radar, so we were thrilled when she agreed to fill us in on how brands can succeed in the plus size space, talk about what’s working in the industry, and, of course, what’s not.
The Sleep Shirt: You first bought one of our pieces back in 2016 – it was a blue and yellow striped nightshirt. How did you first discover the brand back then?
Marielle Elizabeth: “I think my first touch point for the brand was in person at Much & Little in Vancouver. It was before you had extended your sizing and I remember touching the crisp linen shirts, trying them on and finding that they just didn't quite fit.”
“When you first expanded your sizing, I was delighted and had been hoping and waiting. I purchased my first Sleep Shirt during your Boxing Day sale and was so, so, so happy when it arrived. I do still own it, but now it's a work shirt, because of how well-worn and loved it is. The elbows have worn through and there are definitely coffee stains on it I can't get out, but I haven't been able to bring myself to part with it. Not just yet.”
TSS: What would you say sets The Sleep Shirt apart from its competitors?
Marielle: “The Sleep Shirt fits a niche [that] I don't see a lot of other brands pursuing: higher end luxury sleepwear. I love the timeless aesthetic of the silhouettes and the wonderfully descriptive types of linen you offer. As a person who works almost entirely from home it’s nice to have pajamas you want to stay in all day, and that feel as well chosen as the other pieces in my day to day wardrobe.”
TSS: You’ve written about plus-size sustainable fashion for Vogue.com. Do you still feel positive about size inclusivity and fashion?
Marielle: “Yes, I really do. I notice how far size inclusion has come every time I get dressed because I no longer notice gaps in my wardrobe. I have garments for parties, garments for work, garments for casual errands and working out – I feel at home in my closet in a way I didn’t for years. I feel like brands are no longer asking fat people to all dress the same, and that there is the possibility of dressing more in a specific aesthetic.”
“That said, I think 4X is a cliff in fashion inclusion, and finding clothing above that size range is still extremely difficult. I think we can both celebrate how far we’ve come while holding space and energy to push for those still being excluded, especially those in the largest / most marginalized fat bodies.”
TSS: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see from brands that try and do PLUS?
Marielle: “Not showcasing the plus size pieces on actual plus size people! Representation is so important, and with how different plus sizing is from brand to brand, unless I see plus size pieces modelled on a plus size person, I'm not going to confidently buy it.”
TSS: Is there anything you’d love to see The Sleep Shirt do (or change) with its PLUS or X PLUS range?
Marielle: “I do hope you keep expanding your size range. Every year, within your existing size ranges I am delighted to see more fabric and shapes – I'm thrilled about the shorts / top combo and bolder prints like the leopard this season, but I also hope there is an XXPLUS one day too.”
TSS: Which nightie did you choose from the SS22 collection, and why?
Marielle: “I chose the sleeveless nightie in Soft Sky Stripe for a number of reasons – firstly, this is a silhouette I didn't already own and have been waiting for it to be released in the X PLUS sizing. I wanted the extra bust and hip room of the X PLUS and am glad I waited because the fit is perfect for me. For the fabric I was drawn to the soft blue design, it felt almost ‘90s, like something I could imagine my mom wearing when I was younger – a stripe but more modern – and I really like lighter weight cotton in the Summer.”
TSS: How (and where) do you imagine you'll be wearing this piece?
Marielle: “Standing in my kitchen, drinking coffee, in the Summer morning light. I can't wait to pull it on after a shower in the evening and sit on our balcony with a glass of wine and a book, getting a cardigan when I need a bit more warmth. Wearing it with sneakers to run to the corner store to grab milk and maybe ice cream when I can’t be bothered to get dressed. When I want comfort and to feel at ease, while still looking put together.”