Hilary MacMillan’s Size-Inclusive Clothes Are Also Magic to Wear

Hilary MacMillan has never wanted to blend in. The Toronto-based designer’s eponymous fashion line embodies boldness: bright colours, wild patterns, bright-pink Barbie collabs. This year, she celebrates a decade in business. She’s been busy of late, opening her first stand-up pop-up store, and launching homewares and swimwear. MacMillan has been an advocate for more compassionate clothing as well. All her pieces are vegan, meaning MacMillan doesn’t use skins, furs, feathers, wools, silks, or any animal byproducts in her designs. She also ensures her line is size-inclusive.

“If you’re living in a larger body, the simple task of getting clothing can be a struggle: It’s not only very frustrating but sometimes impossible,” she says. “Making clothing harder to get if you are not what is seen as typical is ridiculous to me. Clothing is supposed to be joyful—it’s supposed to be a way to show your personality. We simply want to give more people more options, and that’s why we do it.”

Looking to feel a little bolder, a little brighter? Here, MacMillan shares six lessons in how to boost your own self-confidence to new highs.

Don’t hold onto things that make you feel bad about yourself

“Fashion is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to make you feel good about yourself. If something doesn’t fit, or you’re a different size than you thought, who cares? Don’t let it have a hold over you. Donate the pieces that don’t work. Cut out the tags if they make you feel bad. Buy things that make you feel good. Have fun with the way you dress.”

hilary macmillan canadian designerhilary macmillan canadian designer
Hilary MacMillan in her Toronto atelier. Photo: Jenna Marie Wakani

Surround yourself with people that lift you up, not drag you down

“This is the most important thing. Those you choose to surround yourself with have a direct impact on who you are as a person. Don’t be afraid to cut people out of your life that aren’t good for you. Yes, you might have known them since elementary school but if that person’s dragging you down, drop them. As you get older, you realize you need to keep people close to you that make you smile and feel good about yourself, and support you.”

Celebrate differences—be proud of being weird

“The greatest people are the weird ones, and I mean that in the best way possible. Our differences are what make us great, so don’t be afraid to show that fun, kooky side of yourself. So often we worry about how we come off when we should be focusing on having fun and enjoying life more.”

Don’t concern yourself with what other people think 

“This is a hard one. We all have anxiety; we all second-guess how we come off when we meet someone new or in a social interaction. I always remind myself when those thoughts creep in that if I’m not thinking about them, they probably aren’t thinking about me. So try not to overanalyze.”

Actively experience things that matter to you

“Have a charity you’re really passionate about? A cause you’re interested in? Go volunteer. Go visit the place you care about. Be present. So often life gets in the way but try and go out into the world and take part in the things you believe in. Go join an organization, be on a board, be actively involved and bring your people to experience these things you’re passionate about with you, and be open-minded to learn about their causes, too.” 

Wear colour! 

“Sporting colour brightens your mood. Try it. It’s dopamine dressing: It really does boost your mood.”

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