Before You Shop: Junior Plus Size vs. Woman’s Plus Size

I get these questions a lot:

What is the difference between Junior Plus and Plus Size clothing?

Why is sizing sooo off in plus size clothing?

Junior Plus Size vs Plus Size Fashion sizing

With the advent of many online boutiques, retailers, and brands that release fast fashion at prices and styles we love, there are questions, frustrations, and confusions about sizing… With Forever 21, now Wet Seal, H&M, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and various online fast fashion boutiques it is important to know BEFORE you shop, what to expect with their fit and to know the differences.

Junior Plus Size?

Yes. Initially created to bridge the gap of the younger plus size teen who was left without fashionable options, junior plus size fashion also caters to the everyday plus size woman.

Junior Plus Size at Wet Seal

Junior Plus Size at Wet Seal

OH?

Well, junior plus size is traditionally cut smaller through the hips and bust, however, because of the fast fashion element and the body conscious fit, many of us are drawn to these stores- only to be confused with the fit and sizing.

“WHYYY am I a size 3x in this store?”

 “OMG their sizes are sooo off”

“They need to fix their sizing”

A lot of times (NOT ALL) many of the fast fashion and junior plus size departments fit with a different size chart in comparison to traditional plus size fashion. Now this does NOT mean that all fashion forward items are cut in junior plus, just that there is a newer fit emerging that is causing a bit of confusion and frustration…

Let Me Break it DOWN even more…

ASOS Curve and Carmakoma

For starters, junior plus sizing is labeled like traditional plus sizes, like 1X, 2X, 3X. In numbered charts, sometimes you will see odd numbered sizes starting at 15 or 17. Because of the changes in fit and sizing, junior plus sizes tend to run one to two sizes smaller- sometimes even more! For example, a size 3x dress in women’s plus equals a size 24, BUT a 3x dress in junior plus may equal a size 20 or 22. See the confusion?

eBay notes, “A good rule of thumb used to be the trendier the style, the more likely it was sized in junior plus. However, as the plus-size market generally has become more contemporary and trend conscious, this guideline no longer works consistently.”

Now with more women in their 20s and 30s are buying junior plus clothing, it is important to note the difference of the two. As brands are taking note in this buying pattern, there are more retailers like ASOS CURVE, who offer those body conscious fits with the look and feel of a junior plus cut, BUT with traditional plus size sizing.

Comparing Size Charts

I took the size charts from Nordstrom in their plus size and junior plus size, so that you could see the difference in sizing details…

Junior Plus Size vs Plus size Woman's Chart

So what’s a girl to do?

Pay attention to the size charts, the fits on the models, and the type of store you are shopping. Reference size charts, measure yourself and know your measurements. This will help you navigate through it all… I promise!

So who are these Junior Plus Size Brands?

Think fast fashion. Uber on trend places that always have the latest trends at the lowest prices… There are a few, although I name them all, take this as a guideline as what you can expect from fit… if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments too!

  • Wet Seal
  • Fashion to Figure
  • Forever 21
  • H&M Plus
  • Macy’s Junior Plus
  • Nordstrom Junior Plus

It is key to note that a lot of these online plus size boutiques buy from wholesalers that produce junior plus sizes… please refer to their size chart for a better idea of fit…

I hope this helps a little bit? Let me know!

What else have you noticed from junior plus sizes? Have you been shocked about fit? Where else have you noticed a junior plus size cut? Leave a comment and let us talk about it!

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  • thirties girl

    Lane Bryant has a junior plus size line, too, called Loop 18. And Target’s plus size section has eliminated pretty much everything BUT junior plus. I forget what Target’s line is called, but it’s pretty much the entirety of their plus size section now.

    I don’t completely understand why plus size retailers that have junior plus lines make the junior plus sizes smaller than regular plus sizes. That’s never made sense to me. I’d assume their reasoning is that junior plus size bodies haven’t grown or are as “curvy” as ‘mature’ plus size bodies. But having worked in public education for the past 12 years with middle and high school kids, I can tell you that assumption is wrong. Junior plus bodies are just as ‘womanly’ as other plus size bodies 95% of the time. Making their clothes 2 sizes smaller doesn’t add up to me. It restricts people with regular plus size bodies from wearing them. That’s not fair to middle and high school kids who are sized out of junior plus sizes, or regular plus wearers who might want to wear something more trendy and youthful. (Which, personally, I don’t. I’m pretty angry at plus size retailers like Target who have eliminated a majority of their plus size styles in favor of cheaply made, trendy junior plus styles. Junior plus isn’t the *only* plus size market out there, but it seems like a lot of retailers are going in that direction.)

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      Ahhh you are referring to pure energy… but this line is not junior cut, just their brand of contemporary plus size… but I hear you!

      And while this may be true in your school, on the average, this micro niche helps those teens who do not want to be dressed too grown, but with a playful twist like their counterparts… BUT what has happened is that the plus community has caught onto the junior plus and hence why these explanations have to be made… you know :)

      • nicthommi

        But isn’t she referring to the FIT and not the styling?
        B/c she is right, a plus sized teen is going to have the same sized parts as her adult counterparts,and I can say as a point of reference that one of my younger cousins is a good example of why cutting the clothes smaller is not a good idea, b/c most of her stuff is ill-fitting precisely b/c they somehow think a heavy teenager has different parts than a heavy woman.
        I mean, plus sized or regular, my busty friends had really large breasts by age 16 or so, and ditto with the ones who had a large bottom. And if you have a big belly, same deal.
        So no, a 16 year old doesn’t want the crap thrown at adult plus women (I mean, let’s be honest, they throw a lot of crap at us that NO ONE with eyes should want). But the point is to be stylish in clothes that actually fit you well, and not just ones that fit a little better than cramming yourself into a size 16, 18, or 20 Misses, isn’t it?

        • thirties girl

          Exactly. I know most 16 year olds don’t want to wear clothes that adults wear. They want to wear trendy stuff, and I’m all for junior plus sizes. What I don’t like is the fact that with their smaller sizing, it doesn’t fit a lot of plus size teens, or any other folks who might want to wear more youthful, trendy clothing.

          In addition, I’ve seen so many more trendy, youth-oriented plus size lines starting up recently, it gets a bit frustrating to see some of the less trend- and youth-oriented plus sizes disappearing (Target), offered only online (Old Navy), or having a much smaller selection (H&M, and others) than their straight sizes.

          • nicthommi

            It’s like if they are going to do that then they need to extend the sizes or something b/c yeah, had the experience of a plus sized 3x being really, really small, so it’s not fitting a lot of plus-sized teenagers.
            I’d say that while style wise, the choices are limited, Torrid gets it right. Their styles are something that appeals to a certain segment of younger girls yet they run “true to size”…if only there was a preppy girl’s version of Torrid. Girls who want to wear J.Crew or Banana Republic (which would have been my go to in high school if it fit) are still SOL.

      • thirties girl

        Pure Energy, that’s it.

  • Carmelda F

    Great topic and good information, it was definitely needed.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      My pleasure! :)

  • Susan

    Actually a normal plus size is a 26-28. It infuriates me when I come across a store that makes it down to a 24.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      I am not sure I follow your comment? Can you elaborate?

    • nicthommi

      I think she’s referring to the fact that if you go to Bloomingdales’, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Nieman Marcus, or Saks, there isn’t anything bigger than a 24.

      Are you talking about the fact that most department stores STOP at a size 24?

      Yeah, I can see how that would be annoying. But it is a situation where you might find that some of the 24s do in fact fit you. Remember, vanity sizing is a thing for misses so I assume it is a thing for plus as well. The 24 in some upper end brands MIGHT fit a 26 or 28 b/c I still remember two co-workers who were the same size but one shopped at Sears and the other only at Saks, etc and so their clothing labels indicated VERY different sizes.

      But I do realize that for many, higher end department store plus clothings remains out of reach b/c the sizes end at 24 (and sometimes 22).

      • Nelli B

        She right vanity sizing is real at Macy’s they have at least 2 lines I wear and I’m a size 26/28 in most lines but they have NYDJ and they have Style&Co. I wear 24 in both of those lines. I haven’t had time to explore in awhile because I live in the Bahamas but I’ve had so much crap with Lane Bryant jeans that I started spending more money for better quality.

  • Felicia

    I went to Macy’s here in San Francisco and I noticed that some lines have a size 0X and would to an discussion about that . Thanks

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      chances are this was a junior plus line… I have seen this before and this is to bridge the gap of 12 into a 1x and plus :)

  • http://goingloopy.wordpress.com/ goingloopy

    I think the problem goes beyond Jr. Plus vs. Regular Plus. NONE of the plus-size lines are the same, sizing-wise…and most of them don’t even follow their own size charts and don’t offer free returns even though it’s not your fault the shit didn’t fit (Igigi is terrible about this, at least with the things I’ve tried). Also, there’s a huge issue with pattern sizing in the lines that do offer the broadest range of sizes. For example, I recently purchased a pair of jeans from J.Jill. The pockets on the online photos appeared to be large…which I like in jeans pockets. However, when I received my size 28 pants, the pockets appeared to be much smaller in proportion to the butt (they are not alone in their “size 26 jeans, size 2 pockets” problem, either). Also, I’ve had the problem of things getting LONGER as the sizes go up…a dress that’s knee length in a 2x is mid-calf in a 4x. Finally, there’s the problem of details like a bustline with long strips of fabric that can be wrapped multiple ways. Again, the model in the 14/16 had the ties wrapped around twice; on the 26/28 dress, they barely tied around the back. Also, the center piece to which they were attached was too narrow…it’s like they added the material at the sides and didn’t actually fix the proportions as the pattern went up. I was not pleased, especially since I had to pay $15 to ship the dress back and it took them like a month to refund my money. Grrrr.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      HHHrrrmmm thank you for sharing the insight… and feedback. This is the first time I have heard someone have issues with the sizing at Igigi…. is this who you are referring to with the dress?

      Ahhh it does sound like fit issues and I hear you on the longer bit…

      Let me know who it was in regards to this, I am quite curious!

      • http://goingloopy.wordpress.com/ goingloopy

        Yes, it was Igigi. The dress was called the Ninelle dress, but they have a similar version now called the Tiffany, I think? But I’ve tried several of their items through Gwynnie Bee lately, and the sizing is just crazy off. Some things fit VERY true to the chart (Lily Dress, wrap tops, Sapphira dress) and others (Riley Dress and the same style in different print; Brielle dress, the new dress with the lace sleeves, the polka dot shirt, any of the dresses with an empire waist, basically) ran small (especially through the shoulders) and too short in the bust. They were nice when I emailed them, but basically, I can’t afford to pay $15-20 to try on a dress. I’ve had better luck with Kiyonna, although they are the ones who sometimes make the bigger sizes longer in their skirts. Plus, they have free returns, and their sizing is way more consistent. Sadly, they don’t have as many cute patterned things.

        I have found some cute dresses on clearance at Target (online, mostly), and they don’t give you any crap about taking them back either. You can just return to the store and they credit your card right there.

        SWAK Designs is also way inconsistent with the sizing. And those convertible dresses are cheaply made (all the edges are unfinished), and seem too small for what size they’re marked. I looked at the tutorials, but mine won’t wrap that many times. But I do like most of what I’ve bought from them.

    • nicthommi

      Yeah, Igigi stuff usually has room for you AND a friend and their return policy is not very forgiving.

  • nicthommi

    Hahahaha…Forever 21 is really inconsistent with their “junior” sizing. So I have items that fit me well (b/c I do like the tighter fit around the ribcage, which is the narrowest part of my body), but some of it is laughable.
    I bought a dress that I had to send to my 6’1, size 16 or so cousin b/c it was a 3x, but only, not so much. B/c seriously a stretchy dress in 20 or 22 is not beyond the realm of possibility for me, but this fit my torso but no way was it going over my butt or hips…hahahahaha. I mean, I think if that dress could talk it would have said “bish please”…

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      !!!! LOLOL and ohhh noo!!!

  • Hasmeen

    I am a 4x in Fashion to Figure, wait a minute they only go up to a 3x. I love this store, funky colors, young, but not too young. I just wish they were a little forgiving to a chick who is a 18/20 not a 12/14/16.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      OMG, i know, I just bought two dresses from here and mannnnn…

  • Elka’s Hott!!!

    Alloy also has a Junior Plus fashion range!

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      I always forget about them!!! Will update!

  • Jalisa Nykol

    This really did help me Im from dallas Im telling you theres not that many plus size stores here I get so frustrated. The only plus size stores in dallas that’s in the mall is Torrid and Lane Bryant I really need to know my measurments because everytime I go into store to try something on it wont even go pass my thighs especially jeans. Im a size 22/24 its really hard to find stores that have jeans that actually fit and cute. I know im more wide so maybe Im not In junior plus its just so confusing but you helped me out a lot.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      This makes me happy to hear that you found some tips from this! :) Thank you!!!

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  • http://the-travel-guru.com/ Roni Faida

    I stopped worrying about sizes years ago. I was wearing a size 6 Gap jean and got a hole in a not so great place. I happened to be walking right by the store (seriously, my pants couldn’t have torn at a better time) so I went in and told the salesgirl I wanted the same jeans I had on. She brought me a 6 and they wouldn’t fit over my thighs, yet the jeans I tore and walked into the store with that I bought from The Gap were a size 6. I had to end up buying a size 10. So, there is no way I give any credibility to sizing, I just buy what fits and what looks good.

    • http://thecurvyfashionista.mariedenee.com Marie Denee

      Truth… I even did a few posts on this!!!

  • Katie Powers

    THANK GOD FOR JUNIOR PLUS DENIM! i am typically a size 18/20 in standard plus but have worn everything from an XL to a 3X in junior plus. i am 6ft and sort of “column” shaped, without much curve in the hip or booty but a wider waist and more lean muscular legs. (my waist is probably a size 22 while legs/hips/booty are closer to a 16/18) it is really challenging to find pants that fit but i have had a lot of luck with junior plus denim, in particular skinny jeans, because they tend to be a more straight cut (no bagging in the hips or booty) with enough stretch for my waist.

  • Syrita Jackson

    Really appreciated this article. Had my own Forever 21 epiphany when I tried on both an XL shirt and then the EXACT same shirt in a 1X. Seriously? In my mind they should have been the exact same shirt, but they fit quite differently. Glad I tried them both….Any idea which was the plus? I’m assuming it was the 1X but what in the world…Does 1X no longer mean XL? So confusing!

    • Amber

      I was shopping for swimsuits with my mom when I was 13 (11 years ago) and I found an XL top. She told me to get a 1X instead. I was confused. I found one. I tried them both on and sure enough the 1X was bigger. I don’t get how it works, but yeah XL and 1X are completely different sizes.