When you google the term ‘inbetweenie’ and click on images you’ll find yourself bombarded with pictures of inbetweenie belly buttons – which I recently found out is a belly button that has both the characters of an innie (a belly button which goes in) and an outie (you get the picture), a sort of hybrid if you like. The Hollywood A-lister Anna Farris even sports one. So why is this relevant I hear you ask. The term ‘inbetweenie’ doesn’t just refer to mutant hybrid belly buttons but also a new kind of model on the rise. An ‘inbetweenie’ model is someone who is neither considered straight size (typically a UK size 4-8) nor plus size (typically a UK size 16 and above). For a long time now the fashion industry has seemingly only been aware of the existence of exclusively straight and plus size models. Anything in between these sizes (a UK size 10, 12 and 14) has been viewed as a sort of no man’s land. This would lead any human being with an ounce of common sense to believe that as inbetweenie sizes aren’t shown in the media they simply don’t exist. Let me be the one to assure you that this ludicrous, albeit logical, theory is not true.
n 2014 Calvin Klein made history by launching a campaign featuring Myla Dalbesio, a model who is approximately a UK size 14. Speaking to the Today show in America, Dalbesio described herself as an “inbetweenie”. She said, “We’re not skinny enough to be straight-size, like these [US] size zero and size two girls, and we’re not big enough to be plus-size.” Calvin Klein’s effort to showcase a model of a more normal and relatable size came as a result of the public’s increasingly loud calls to see more “normal” women in advertising. A 2012 study by Cambridge University revealed that women are more likely to buy clothes worn by models closer to their age, size and race. Calvin Klein, a brand well known for its luxury and sexual allure, gave Dalbesio’s figure and the concept of normalising body image in the media the publicity that the movement needed to gain momentum. However, despite Dalbesio’s picture being featured alongside straight-size models in the campaign and the brand not labelling her as any different, many took to social media to express their shock and disbelief at Dalbesio’s size. They were surprised that the luxury fashion brand, known for featuring models such as Kate Moss, who was largely responsible for popularising the ‘heroin chic’ look, used a model who didn’t conform to the usual constrictive straight-size that the brand has become known for. Critics therefore labelled her as plus-size. Many also chimed in with their disappointment that Dalbesio be labelled plus sizeas she was only a UK size 14 (with the average British woman thought to fall between a size 14 and 16) and thus the damaging message that labelling an average sized women plus-size gives.