In June 2019, friends and collaborators Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos snapped a picture of themselves standing side by side, each wearing a differently sized version of the same swimsuit from Aerie.
Mercedes posted the image to Instagram with the caption, “2 different body types, same bikini! She’s wearing a small and I’m wearing an xl yet aren’t we both beautiful?!!”
The post racked up thousands of likes and clearly resonated with many people, so the two friends decided to make a series of similar photos in which they show that anyone can seriously rock a great outfit — no matter what size they wear.
Here’s the swimsuit photo on Instagram that started it all:
In August, they followed up with another beachy pic, this one featuring the ladies wearing leopard-print bikinis from Amazon.
Mercedes wrote in the caption that “we both are perfect in our own way.”
This post earned even more likes, along with plenty of fire emojis and other messages of support in the comments.
The women didn’t stop at swimwear. They found all sorts of outfits in two different sizes — size 14 for Mercedes and size 2 for Castellanos — and modeled them together. They’ve rocked everything from sexy, slinky dresses to bandeau tops with ripped jeans — as long as the outfit looks fabulous on both of their bodies, they’ll take some snaps and share the images on social media.
Check out how gorgeous both women look in this form-fitting, ice-blue number in a photo posted to Mercedes’ Instagram page:
In January 2020, the pair took their body-positive messaging to TikTok with their first video on that platform, and it garnered more than 1.5 million views.
“We got so much positive feedback that we knew we needed to continue doing it,” Mercedes told Insider. “The whole purpose of the series is to portray two different body types wearing clothes that we both look great in.”
They began using the hashtag #StyleNotSize in their posts, and they’ve been careful to choose clothes from brands that carry extended sizing, like ASOS and American Eagle.
This adorable video from Castellanos’ Instagram page shows the two women modeling a variety of flattering outfits from ASOS:
The ladies told Insider that they would love to collaborate with more creators to make even more great fashion available to people of all sizes and shapes.
“We want to break the rules and open the eyes of the fashion industry by letting them know they should carry all sizes,” Castellanos said. “The internet is the biggest bully, so we are just trying to show that you can be yourself and have fun with it.”
They are clearly having fun with it in this Instagram video (originally posted on TikTok), which features dance flourishes and some bold lipstick.
Of course, as with anything on the internet, there are some nasty commenters who criticize the friends’ #StyleNotSize posts. These trollish folks use their limited, precious time on Earth trying to shame both women’s bodies in their comments.
“People still don’t understand,” Mercedes added. “We try our best, but there are always going to be negative comments and people who just don’t like what we do.”
It hasn’t deterred the two friends from continuing to send the message that beauty and style are never limited to one’s body size.