Finally, people who aren’t reed thin, who live off a lettuce leaf for dinner and get body shamed for NOT being minus zero in size, have a spectrum of choices to fit every body, shape and personality. And, it’s high time, too!
Plus Size clothing now lives up to its definition: clothing proportioned and styled specifically for people whose bodies are larger than the average person’s, which for a long time now has been the fashion industry’s idea of what the average person should be.
To quote PLUS Model magazine; “In the fashion industry, plus size is identified as sizes 10-14, super-size as sizes 1X-6X and extended size as 7X and up.” The article goes on to say that, “Susan Barone […] shared, ‘Plus sizes are sizes 14W – 24W. Super sizes and extended sizes are used interchangeably for sizes 26W and above. Sometimes the size 26W is included in plus size’.”
Plus size clothing has been called outsize in Britain, a term that has been rapidly falling out of favour. A similar term for men’s plus-size clothing is big and tall. A fairly new (and alternative term) for Plus Size that’s gaining favour with the consumer and fashion editors, is curvy. Euphemistically speaking, curvy is seen as being less offensive to people who wear larger sized clothes. While curvy could appear as being less offensive, it appears to be associated with a younger style of dressing than Plus Size or larger size – when it’s used as a general term of reference.
The big or large-size US fashion revolution began in 1977–1998, after the Fashion Group of NYC released a study that foresaw the end of the Baby Boomer Junior Market, as the Boomers were coming of age. Big Beauties was the first model agency to work with hundreds of new Plus Size clothing lines and advertisers.
- For the next couple of decades, this plus-size category produced the largest per annum percentage increases in ready-to wear retailing
- The Marina Rinaldi line, started by Max Mara, was one of the first high-end clothing lines, for Plus Size women in 1980.
- Cabiria was the first Plus Size fashion line to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. It was also featured in the Fashion Law Institute fashion show, at Lincoln Center, on September 6, 2013
- At present, the Plus Size section doesn’t suffer from any restrictions, welcoming various types and styles of garments – showing an increasingly positive trend towards offering a flattering fit to the customers
- There are many companies offering great fit, along with variety of clothing which include sweaters, dresses, non-iron work-wear shirts, cardigans, bottoms and skirts
Traditionally, Plus Size patterns have been sized up from smaller construction patterns, but many retailers are now using statistical data which helps to modernize the fit and construction of their garments. Their data is:
- collected from their own measuring projects
- from specialized Body Scan Data collection projects
Bryant and Catherines, in the US, collaborated over a three-year period
to source data to help them modernize the companies’ garment
construction. In what was the most extensive female sizing study, in
more than 60 years in the U.S., 14,000 women were measured.
If you’re a size 14 or above, you will be considered a Plus Size by fashionista standards -and chances are you’ve had a lot of trouble finding pretty, smart and fashionable pieces to add to your wardrobe, at a decent price. A lot of stores just don’t make clothes for girls and women above a size 12 or 14, and should you find any, the clothes will unfortunately not be nearly as cute as the ones for smaller sizes. Luckily, there are a handful of stores that actually believe that style is style regardless of your size! So, which stores are at the top of the pile for Plus Size fashion? Let’s look at the ones we feel are amongst the best as far as price, product, sizes and styles are concerned.
The top stores for Plus Size fashion
Lane Bryant and Avenue
Both these brands are solely for Plus Size women, but their clothes address a much older crowd and items are usually a lot more expensive than one would expect. But, both stores are great in terms of quality especially with regard to the basics: tanks, leggings, and tights.
ROSS / TJ MAXX / MARSHALLS
There are a lot of people who avoid stores like Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls, quite often because they’re always super crowded and the stores seem to be a huge mess. But, there are actually quite a few hidden gems to be found within the chaos! If you have the time and patience, you might find a new favourite, at a bargain price.
This all-time favorite department store is a treasure house when it comes to plus-size fashion. Their prices can be a bit on the steep sides sometimes, but their sale section is generally filled with affordable pieces, especially the American Rag collection, so look out for it.
H&M is generally thought to be both stylish and affordable, and their Plus Size line, H&M+, also lives up to this reputation. Depending on your size, you could find one of the larger sizes in their regular line, but their exclusive Plus Size line is a better choice. Just remember, their online store locator does not specify whether a store carries H&M+ or not, so it’s a good idea to call ahead and verify this before making the trip.
As far as the basics are concerned, such as cardigans and jeans, Old Navy is an all-time favorite with customers of all ages. Their prices are affordable and their clothes are perfect for going to class, to office or for an internship – when the outfit is all dressed up with accessories!
The best Plus Size clothing online
Finding your way around the online shopping world can be frustrating and time consuming. .
To smooth your way around the cyber highway and keep your shopping options open, we have put together some of the best sites to offer a wide array of sizes. Between ASOS Curve (which offers on-trend pieces at reasonable prices) and Salon Z at Saks.com (which offers high-end designer items in larger sizes), the online Plus Size market is booming. Here are a few notable online stores for the Plus Size bargain hunter.
- ELOQUII. Offers genuinely trendy, well-made clothing at very affordable prices
- Monif C. Asymmetrical skirts, jumpsuits and coordinates puts Monif C. in a league of its own.
- Just My Size. Now part of the Hanes family, it offers clothing in addition to lingerie and swimwear.
- Torrid. One of the more popular shopping destinations for Plus Size apparel, this store offers trendy clothes at reasonable prices.
- City Chic. This Australian brand, available globally, boasts trendy options and designer collaborations.