Two best friends are trying to change the notions of size and beauty in a wonderfully unique manner. Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos are using social media to make people aware of how size doesn’t matter. The girls who work together were just hanging out one day when the idea of a “Style, Not Size” series struck them. Denise and Maria have two very different body types, and decided to dress up in the exact same styles of clothing for their followers online. “2 different body types, same style. You can dress cute regardless of whatever shape or size you are,” Mercedes wrote, posting their video on tik tok.
However, the girls did not think their idea would resonate with many and gain a lot of attention. Speaking to Today Style, Mercedes said, “We were playing around, we did it mainly for fun. We didn’t think it was going to get this much recognition.”
With positive responses online and offline, the girls began to shoot videos with the exact same outfits. While Castellanos ordered a size two, Mercedes got a size 14. While a lot of ads for big brands show women in size zero clothing, girls who do not fit that size often feel discouraged because they either feel like they need to lose weight or simply don’t know how the clothes will look on their bodies. And that’s where these two best friends come in.
Almost everyone of their followers, young women and girls mostly, will be able to relate to them, and not just because of their amazing style but also for the confidence with which they pull it off.
The video of Mercedes and Maria donning matching crop tops with jeans and a Zara T-shirt dress gained around 35 million views. By then, their idea had already started making a global impact. The message of “size need not have to dictate style choices” was embraced by people in and around the world.
Many took to social media to share matching outfits with their pals under the hashtag “StyleNotSize.” Colour, cuts, and patterns were no longer a criteria. In fact, the movement broke the myths relating to who can wear what.
Meanwhile, Mercedes stated there are many who still comment on her pictures saying, “I wish I looked like you.” Alluding to this mindset, Mercedes stated it was important for people to embrace their bodies and not fall under the pressures of social media. “Everyone is on social media 24/7 right now, and it can brainwash you into feeling bad about your body,” said the influencer.
“For us, it was trying to get rid of negativity… Everything on social media is, ‘This is how you’re supposed to look.’… We’re giving you a hand and telling you to be yourself,” said Castellanos. The duo is incredibly proud of the work they are doing. More than the views, it is the impact of their videos that keep them going. “I have girls telling me I’m helping them feel more confident,” said Mercedes. “I wish when I was younger that I had someone to look up to. Back when I was 16 in 2008, it was always just a struggle to be skinny. I’m glad things are changing now,” she continued.
Moreover, they hope that their movement will motivate fashion companies to re-examine their size selections. “It’s been tricky to find brands that sell sizes zero to 20. We hope they can see there are a lot of different shapes and sizes and provide them clothing, as well,” said Castellanos.
With constant experiments and sourcing from different retailers, the duo has a good knowledge of dressing different body types. They say solid colors work better than patterns and even found that American Eagle’ jeans fit both of them well.
While there are so many takeaways from their series, both of them say the importance of feeling comfortable in your clothing is the most valuable. “I would love to see women just be themselves. I want them to be like ‘Oh my God, I wore this crop top, and I look good.’ I want to feel like nobody cares anymore,” said Castellanos. The two friends hope to start a clothing collection in the future that isn’t organized around size. Besides, they want to continue spreading body positivity.