Every time we come back to Denise Mercedes, her following seems to have grown by hundreds of thousands of people. And it's largely due to her TikTok challenge.

The premise of the series is as follows: the plus-size Dominican model and Maria Castellanos, two friends with different bodies, try on the same outfits. And the results are awesome.

Denise and Maria have not only proved that your size doesn't have to dictate your wardrobe, but have also started a movement called #StyleNotSize, which has inspired other friends with different sizes to come up with and share their matching looks online, redefying what the fashion industry and society believe to look good on whom.

For more of Denise and Maria's combo looks, check out Bored Panda's earlier articles on 'Style Not Size' here and here.

Denise: DeniseMercedes.com | TikTok | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Maria: Instagram | TikTok | YouTube

#1

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sizzle like a sausage
Community Member
4 months ago

They're both so beautiful! I love those dresses.

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In an earlier Bored Panda interview, Denise, who has become an empowering influencer, said the project started back in early 2019 when she and Maria would pose for photos wearing the same bikini.

It did so well and people loved it so much, the two of them simply continued doing it here and there. Meanwhile, their follower count started growing, and when the pair shared their very first video on TikTok, it quickly got over 1.5 million views. "Once TikTok had become popular, we decided to do a fun video and that’s when it went viral," the style influencer said.

They then realized it was time to come up with a hashtag of some sort and start an actual body-positive movement since so many women found their videos so inspiring. They let their Instagram followers vote between #ThroughThickAndThin and #StyleNotSize, and the second option won.

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Tiredpossum
Community Member
4 months ago

for some reason this gives we "strong independent woman" vibes.

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Denise said that their key message is "to dress however you please and to love your body." She also added that it’s time “to stop comparing yourself to others.” Feeling confident in your own skin is what makes everyone shine from within.

She explained that “the fact that we can inspire so many women to feel confident and be themselves makes us want to continue this movement.” The pair is over the moon to receive so many positive vibes from people on social media.

#3

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Tiredpossum
Community Member
4 months ago

Oooh they look so cute!!

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Aayse
Community Member
4 months ago

they look amazing !!

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"I see girls commenting (on social media), 'I wish I looked like you,'" Mercedes told TODAY about the mindset they're trying to reverse. "Everyone is on social media 24/7 right now, and it can brainwash you into feeling bad about your body."

Castellanos added: "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."

#5

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Sathe Wesker
Community Member
4 months ago

Both naturally beautiful.

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#6

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Ezra Matson
Community Member
4 months ago

So CUTE!!!!

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Mercedes said she has girls telling her she's helping them to feel more confident. "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."

Castellanos hopes the success of their movement can one day change how existing fashion companies determine their size selections.

"It's been tricky to find brands that sell sizes zero to 20," she said. "We hope they can see there are a lot of different shapes and sizes and provide them clothing, as well."

#7

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Max
Community Member
4 months ago

Give one of them a spiked baseball bat and there's a Japanese 70s girl delinquent look

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#8

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Ezra Matson
Community Member
4 months ago

Love it ladies! you both look amazing! keep it up!!!!

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#9

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ComfyPanda
Community Member
4 months ago

The dress is gorgeous on both of them!!!

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The two friends are dreaming about starting a clothing collection that isn't organized around size, unlike stores like H&M and Forever 21, which have separate sections for plus-size items, Mercedes said.

Of course, they want to continue to spread body positivity as well, especially for the younger generation.

"I would love to see women just be themselves," Castellanos said. "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."

#10

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Kathakdancer
Community Member
4 months ago

Wow!! I love the outfits!! You look amazing!

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#11

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Ezra Matson
Community Member
4 months ago

that's a nice work-out outfit

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#12

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Andrew Gibb
Community Member
4 months ago

do a handstand- instant camouflage

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In July, Ascena Retail, which owns leading US plus-size clothing retailer Lane Bryant (sizes 12-28), filed for bankruptcy, with over 150 Lane Bryant stores scheduled to close. Lane Bryant, along with Ascena's other brands, is now being sold to Premium Apparel, an affiliate of Sycamore Partners. Taking a broader look across the fashion market, in an era of retrenchment and cost-cutting, some think the higher manufacturing costs of plus-size apparel are likely to set back investment for the future. But researchers say that represents a missed opportunity.

#13

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Little Dino
Community Member
4 months ago

cute pjs!

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#14

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Swanky Coconut
Community Member
4 months ago

Stunning choices of clothing! I love that these women are so confident in their bodies!

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#15

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Pansexual Panda Pug
Community Member
4 months ago

Oh, screw you, Brenda. They both look awesome!

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Plus-size in the US alone is growing at nearly twice the rate of the overall apparel market. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global plus-size clothing market garnered $480.99 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to reach $696.71 billion by 2027.

#16

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Ezra Matson
Community Member
4 months ago

SLEEPOVER TIME!!!!

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#17

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Yili Lai
Community Member
4 months ago

I think the lesson here is models look good in every size...

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#18

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OpalTheRainwing
Community Member
4 months ago

U rock it!

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Around 70 percent of women in the US wear a size 14 (EU 44, UK 18) or larger. In the UK, the average woman’s clothes size is 18, while EU countries follow a similar pattern. But less than 20 percent of apparel is made in those sizes. Plus-sized consumers have faced limited design options as well as inferior quality.

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sizzle like a sausage
Community Member
4 months ago

Absolutely stunning!

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#20

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SirPatTheCat
Community Member
4 months ago

Looks like the poor things can't even move in those skirts though!

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#21

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Nevada De Avibus
Community Member
4 months ago

I love the boots :>

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There is, however, a silver lining: leading retailers and brands, such as Walmart, Marks & Spencer, and giants like Nike, Puma, and Adidas, have all developed plus-sized lines. And in the US, Universal Standard, founded in 2015, has taken size inclusivity to a new level, selling clothes up to size 40.

#22

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Kathryn Baylis
Community Member
4 months ago (edited)

The bustier on the right doesn’t look like it has as much support as the one on the right—-I don’t see defined cups like there are on the right—-which is doing the shapelier girl on the left a real disservice. More support from the garment—-absolutely essential if you have any real curves—-would make her look totally fabulous.

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#23

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Ghost
Community Member
4 months ago

they both look so amazing omg

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#24

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JustABoredPanda
Community Member
4 months ago

Love this one

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#25

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Brandi VanSteenwyk
Community Member
4 months ago

I still wish they would both smile... The model on the left appears smiley and happy while the right model appears uncertain. Meanwhile... They both rock the jammies. I want some!!

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#26

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Tiredpossum
Community Member
4 months ago

they both look cute. It just shows that beauty has no size!

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#27

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Karin Gibson
Community Member
4 months ago

The larger girl actually looks the best in this outfit.

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#28

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Tara Brooks
Community Member
4 months ago

I have this and I love it

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#29

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Kathakdancer
Community Member
4 months ago

OMG i didn’t realize there was a jacket and I was wondering where their arms were

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#30

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Lainy Epps
Community Member
4 months ago

love

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sunflower_013
Community Member
4 months ago

Is it bad that I’m super jealous of the curvy girl’s hips

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#32

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Ezra Matson
Community Member
4 months ago

natural beauty

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#33

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Lainy Epps
Community Member
4 months ago

the one on the right looks starteled or is it just me?

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#34

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Jelly the Bean
Community Member
4 months ago

Beautiful!

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#35

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Glynna Bowood
Community Member
4 months ago

The tops remind me of that crazy ugly Target dress. It would be hilarious if they posed in one of those!!

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#36

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Kylie Bloomfield
Community Member
4 months ago

You both look great

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