Plus size fashion: No longer a fleeting dream or empty rack or shelf. The plus size community we knew ten, heck five years ago has grown by leaps and bounds! I mean, you cannot go a day reading the news, scouring through your news feed, or emails that plus size fashion is not there!
We have industry leaders, designers, and businesses taking note!
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We are now in a space of interesting change, conversation, and challenges to the status quo and while this is happening, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts, observations that are happening that have been percolating in my mind!
SO read with me for a second as I share with you, a few truths about plus size fashion…
Five Truths about Plus Size Fashion
1. The Fashion Industry is Paying Attention
They are watching. They are observing, and while a few are scared, don’t care about the plus size woman, or are just ignorant to this industry, they are paying attention.
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Mainstream magazines have added columns, more straight sized designers are delving into the plus scene, and others are recognizing that the plus size industry is a viable and growing segment of retail that boasts 17 billion dollars.
AND, while they are paying attention, I am going to keep serving up my thoughts (and yours), opinions, ideas, and solutions for them to play as well.
I mean hey, at the end of the day, it is all about the dollar. Right?
2. We Have FASHIONABLE OPTIONS
Not just black or more black, but myriad options here.
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Yes, we could do with more and more variety, but dammit, there are so many more plus size designers and retailers offering us the thing we have been demanding for years.
International brands are taking stake in the US market, both online and off and I am here for all of this.
both dresses from Ashley Stewart
Whether you are classic and chic or rock and roll and edgy, there are designers who are giving fashion to you!
With a little research and experimentation, there is something that speaks to you and your style!
3. We Are Not One STYLE Fits ALL
For the longest time, there was only two options in plus size clothing. Muumuus or black. We were only relegated to what was being fed and then social media was invented.
We pushed back and demanded and united with others who style inspired and mirrored ours.
Who the plus size shopper is has evolved and so have the options.
The plus size woman is no longer ONE woman. We are edgy, sophisticated, boho luxe, rock and roll, and conservative.
And on the flip side, to the plus size woman she is learning the varying ranges, segments, and styling options too! I even rocked a video about this.
As we are being exposed to the varying options, our perception of what is fashion is changing as well.
Just stay open and flexible to the trends! You will love it, I BET YOU! Which leads me to…
4. What RULES?
I remember when I first started blogging, there were tons of articles that tried to tell plus size women how to dress.
NOW, I wish someone would.
Seriously. I mean currently you have Linda Kelsey talking out the side of her neck about us living life in our curves, and was taken to task by a few bloggers.
Crop tops, bikinis, horizontal stripes, bold patterns- YES ma’am.
And as you show off in the #TCFStyle hashtag on Instagram, you are living life to it’s fullest and I am here for all of it!
And if you are toting the line, I challenge you to get out there and break a “rule” they tried to tell you that your curves couldn’t rock… DOUBLE DARE YOU.
Check out these ladies who are…
5. It’s All About that Dollar
I recently did an article on this. Because at the end of the day, as I said earlier, it is all about the dollar.
In order to produce more of what we want and need in our lives, the mighty dollar speaks!
You see, the plus size industry is a SEVENTEEN BILLION DOLLAR industry and brands are trying to figure out how to take a piece of it.
BUT in order to get their feet wet, they test it out, watch trends, and listen to what we are saying online.
What does this mean for you? If you like something, BUY IT.
If you love a designer, SUPPORT THEM. If you do not like something, SPEAK UP.
YOU matter and your voice DOES advocate for change! I PROMISE.
Do these truths ring for you?
Can you identify?
What would you add to these? I am so sure you have more to add, let’s talk about it!
Oh amazing! Great opinions. I love your page – I check it every day! Thanks for that Bye Bra you posted! And the Swimwear!! I combined those 2 by the way 🙂
I disagree; I have never been more frustrated about shopping in my life. I have been shopping on every one of my days off or a few months now and continue to find nothing. Here is what I do find: Forever 21 has a plus section now, but it is a tiny little corner with 10 or 12 options, none of the suited to me at all, while non-plus sizes have TWO FLOORS! Another option is Lane Bryant where the clothes are over-priced, poorly made, and wide-cut so that they feel blousey and matronly. Another option is the 50’s mod style, which is fine once in a while, but isn’t my thing and isn’t for every day. Finally, I find a lot of places that cater to ethnic women, but really don’t look right on me and aren’t my style. So those are my options: 10-12 outfits styled for juniors, over-priced matronly junk, 50’s style, or designs for women who are shaped nothing like me. This means the second-hand shops are full of the same things, so I can’t even find refuge there. I hate shopping, I hate clothing, and I am really starting to hate myself. I am sick of wearing the same 5 outfits in my closet, especially since they are all dresses which means I constantly have to wear shorts to prevent chaffing. I hate shapewear and don’t feel like I should have to wear it just to make my clothes fit or keep my thighs comfortable! I can’t find cute pants and tops for work anywhere, even the plus-sized pants I find are for women who have thin legs and small boobs. I have thick legs and big boobs! The fashion industry isn’t listening at all, I feel just as ignored and alienated as ever. I am a size 14 and, like everyone, I’m on a tight budget; it shouldn’t be this hard!
I completely feel you. I’m a 14 and nothing ever fits in the legs. I have to go up a waist size to get pants or shorts over my thighs. I’ve always had this problem though, even when I was an 8. It’s not just a plus size problem. I’m not sure designers design for real bodies. I used to shop in men’s, at least I could get somewhat better fit. I would have to take off the wristbands and cut off a few inches to make them not have a crotch down to my knees. Men’s clothing is getting super slim cut now though too. I think they need to figure out how to properly size up things, not just cut everything bigger.
My only suggestion is see if there’s a local seamstress that’s reasonable and understanding. Having custom made, even just one great item, can give such a boost to the ego.
Have you ever thought of Torrid? They have alot of styles in their store. They have some really cute clothes and some good sales. Macys has alot of items too.
I have been plus size all my life.
we now have more choices, but 3/4 of them are either for grandma, or street walkers. please make clothes for real people. better colors( Target) prints that font clash with themselves.
thank you. for providing a forum for our needs. Beth O.
Loved the article, Marie. Personally, I’ve definitely seen a change in the plus size market, especially in the last five years. There are more options and the pieces are not as bland as they once were.
It is a very exciting time because curvy women everywhere can finally have clothes that allow them to create and hone their personal styles, which was challenging, if not impossible, ten years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing more growth in the plus size industry in the future.
Dont forget that plus size women dont always have the boobs to match! Lol. I wear an 18 but I dont have giant boobies. An example would be if I find some sexy nighties. They will fit everywhere but my chest. I could fit both in one cup. Not fair 🙁 I have shirts that are the same way
I have been telling folks about this for ages! YESSS. It is an interesting feat and challenge. I think as we have more designers, retailers, we will see more diversification among them as well… LOL
Thanks so much for linking to my post! I have a lot more to say on this topic and a few more posts lined up! 🙂 Great article!
My pleasure madame!!! And thank you for stopping by!
I have had the opportunity to watch the industry grow, and it truly is exciting! Shopping is exciting now. I remember scouring the web and in stores trying to find one thing I liked. Now I cannot possibly buy everything that I love!!!!! But I will keep trying! Lol, I still love black though, and 85% of my wardrobe was black when I was a size 2!!!!! But I love having the options!!!!!!!!
YES boo, options FTW!!! 😀
This is great, specially for the US but there’s still a looong way to go here in Europe… I just have a question: the 17 billion is only in the United States? Do you have any idea of the worldwide figures?
I’d just like to add that, as some said before, it’s still a strugle to buy nice clothes without breaking the bank. I’d love to see something more acessible.
From what I understand, this is in the US… I would have to check to see what that number is… I am curious now too! Hrmmm…
This article is right on the point! This is so very true! I started to sell brand name apparel few years ago and after studying the market, I switches on selling only plus size clothes, all brand new at a fraction of retail prices. You have to follow the market and the above article is very true! http://www.payless4brands.com
This is good to know plus size fashion paying attention. Till now the term fashion only associates with zero size clothing . I hope now fashion houses understand the importance of reaching different segments which will also increase their profits.
My experience in my 59 years is that the plus size industry fit model was one body type.
All with large heavy arms and big thighs. I carry all of my weight in my belly, with thin legs
And arms. Shopping has always been a depressing experience.
I know this is an older article but some how I missed it on its first go ’round and just found it on Pinterest. Anyway, I wanted to comment because I know many read Marie’s articles long past their original post date.
The key here like Marie said is:
“What does this mean for you? If you like something, BUY IT. If you love a designer, SUPPORT THEM.”
Everyone loves a sale but when a designer or brand is new or a small independent designer they aren’t going to make it / continue to exist if you only buy their stuff when it is on sale.
Just yesterday I got a call from a company letting me know one of the styles I ordered for the fall wasn’t going to be done in plus size after all – there weren’t enough orders for it. If I had more buying power I could’ve saved the style but as a small independent retailer I couldn’t afford to risk buying so many pieces of one style now matter how much I loved it. 🙁
I’ve given up on stores. The only way to get affordable clothes that fit is to order online from suppliers like eShakti.com.
I think one of the things plus size designers forget is that along with our weight, we have large stomachs, fat backsides, wobbly arms and huge thighs. Hence anything clingy, short sleeved or hugging at the back looks ridiculous.
Also, plus size doesn’t stop at size 24!! There are many larger women who want to be well dressed.
I have struggled trying to find plus size women clothing. Whoever designs cloth for us has horrible fashion taste. I don’t want to wear dresses that look like a moo moo, or tops that look like maternity. I want to look like a nice dressed woman. The prints and the materials are just horrid. Macys had the plus size upstairs with the other size ladies, and then one day I couldn’t find the plus size department. I asked a sales clerk, and she said they moved the plus in the cellar, which is their lower level. I was upset to say the least. I wrote a letter, but never received an answer back, so I completely stopped shopping at Macys, and I have been shopping there forever. We need more people to design classy clothes for us like Marla Wynn on HSN. Sometimes they make plus size clothes trashy looking, like I should be standing on a corner somewhere. Thank you for listening.