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StylenotSize: Same Clothes, Different Body Types

Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos

Beauty is not a question of size, and neither is fashion. That's the message that Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos convey with their TikTok and Instagram videos under their viral hashtag: #stylenotsize.

For the past few months, Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos, sizes 44 and 34 respectively, have been taking pictures together in similar outfits. Proudly modeling identical looks for each of their social media posts, they've been shaking up popular misconceptions by demonstrating that the same look can suit women with totally different body types. Sporting their prettiest smiles, the two friends are defying outdated ideas and playing on beauty stereotypes in a clever game of copycat.

The project began in 2019, when Denise Mercedes posted a photo on Instagram of herself and her friend Maria Castellanos in bathing suits, illustrating the beauty of both bodies, regardless of their different sizes. It was an immediate hit, garnering glowing comments and likes, and the pals decided to continue the experiment and even bring it to TikTok. Each video features them in different outfits and showing followers their latest finds: vintage party dresses, jean and t-shirt combos, little bikinis, anything goes. The message is strong, simple, and it works. Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos have become new icons of the body-positive movement, and their videos are quickly gaining millions of views under a new rallying hashtag: #stylenotsize.

As social networks provide a platform for self-expression and people start to speak out against rigid beauty standards, the #stylenotsize movement seems to reinforce the change afoot in today's society. Long gone are the 80s ideals that sought to impose a singular image of the perfect woman with super models, as are the 90s and iconic waif Kate Moss. The 2000s brought with them changes in popular mindsets and, above all, a change in gaze. Little by little, society's body image diversified, different skin colors were finally featured and concepts of gender expanded ushering an age of identity and individuality. As seen in Alessandro Michele's work for Gucci, fashion today celebrates what's outside the norm, in all its difference. Originality and singularity are high currency in the quest for perfection. Style not size, indeed!

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