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Fashion Talk: How Plus Size Brands & Retailers Can Improve in 2018

The plus size industry has come a long way, but is it enough? Today, we discuss ways plus size retailers can do more to serve the plus size community for 2018!

Twenty years ago (or even fifteen if we’re being honest) the sheer visibility and inclusion of plus size fashion and models into the mainstream was virtually unheard of. There are so many things to be proud of in terms of just how far we have come in the plus size fashion world, but as with anything, there is always room for improvement.

Thankfully, more and more brands and retailers are extending sizes, producing more modern designs and featuring plus size models of various body types—this is a step in the right direction, but it’s certainly not the end of the road.

But as plus size fashion draws the eye of mainstream media, it is important that as we grow into a 14 billion industry, that plus size brands and retailers understand what we are still pining for and what we need, and to help, we have a few places where these brands can start!

Here are a few ways that Plus Size Retailers & Brands Can Knock it out of the park for 2018

The Transformers Collection by Universal Standard- Organza Sash

The Transformers Collection by Universal Standard

Give Us Diversity in Model Representation with Sizes, Shapes, and Race

For every celebratory plus size swimwear collection or plus size lingerie line, there is a plus size retailer that only favors plus-size women who have an hourglass shape, while ignoring those with apple or triangle physiques, for example. Gwynnie Bee and Kiyonna do a great job of showcasing a variety of plus size women.

ALSO, instead of adding sizes below 14, they should add sizes above a 3X  to at least a 32 and feature more women of color to be the face of campaigns and clothing lines. Going to a 4X/5X should be the norm- not the exception. Contrary to popular belief, we do love to get dressed, and some of us do not let our size dictate our style… but we need options!

Don’t be scared! Add Style Variety, Take Risks

The Premme Fall 2017 Collection Lookbook by Gabifresh and Nicolette MasonIt seems like when a trend is hot, some retailers will ride it until the seams fall off. Many plus size retailers design and sell the same styles repeatedly, including popular styles like bodycon dresses, cold-shoulder tops, slashed denim or bodysuits. While we love a great staple, we do need variety in style, color, and print.

You want to affect your bottom line? Head into 2018 with an outlook that strives to provide plus size customers with fashion forward clothing that celebrates all facets of the plus size silhouette and avoid operating in the extreme, i.e. clothing that is overly sexy or overly dowdy.

Give us structure, shape, innovative silhouettes and have a little fun with it! Do no water the style down. Paired with fuller plus size models, we can see how these items will look o nus and will be inspired to buy.

Make Sure Mainstream PR Companies Know and Respect the Plus Size Media That Exists

Additionally, listen to and collaborate with more plus-size fashion bloggers, influencers, and media is a step in the right direction, as they often have their eyes to the pulse of what’s going on in the real world and know what we want—not what retailers think they need.

While it is nice for plus size fashion to be included in mainstream media, we default to the media that has built up the industry- the plus size media. The Curvy Fashionista happens to be one of the plus size media brands who has their finger on the pulse, but there are sooo many plus size blogs PR can engage and get to know. Not only with clothing, too!

Be Present in Local and National Plus-Size Events

The TCFStyle Expo

Hanky Panky at the TCFStyle Expo

Make your presence known in the New Year by getting out and supporting your local plus-size community. Attend local events, connect with influencers and bloggers within your area, while also supporting the bigger events on a national level. This is not only a great means of support, but it’s also an easy way to network if you are looking to collaborate with others.

You cannot assume that everyone knows your brand, where you are located, or if you even care about the community… Get out and say hi!

There is more plus size inclusion than ever before and if we as a plus size community want to keep it that way, we have to firmly, loudly and repeatedly demand what it is that we need more of… Right? Right.

Tell us ladies, what do you think plus-size retailers can do to make your shopping experience better? What are some of your favorite brands that always get it right?

Let us know in the comments!

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Written By

Fashion/Entertainment/Lifestyle Journalist based out of Atlanta. If it's HOT & FAB, I've got you covered! Contributing Writer/Editor of your fav mags & blogs!

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Amber

    January 4, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Great list! In addition to adding a variety of sizes, plus size retailers need to add a variety of inseams, especially for pants. I am 5’10” (with more legs than torso) and in recent years my sizes have fluctuated from 16-20 depending on the brand. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a pair of pants or a jumpsuit I love offered by a plus-size retailer only to find that the inseam listed is 3o” or 32″ (sometimes 33″ in a wide-legged style), or to not see the listed inseam and to inquire about the inseam with customer service only to be disappointed. It is already difficult as a tall, long-legged person to find pants and jumpsuits that are long enough since “straight-size” retailers offer limited options for tall women. It is even more difficult being tall, long-legged and plus-sized because the options become even more limited. Luckily, some retailers like JCPenney and NY&Co offer tall lengths in sizes above a 16 that I can fit, but those options are limited. I have also found limited success with ASOS Curve, Eloquii, and Torrid, but by and large, there are very few affordable options for the tall, plus-sized woman. Many of my tall, plus friends have given up on wearing pants altogether, but plus-sized women shouldn’t have to choose the lesser of two evils between being forced to wear ankle pants or only wearing dresses/skirts. So, I hope retailers catering to plus-sized women begin to expand their options to include tall lengths, either by offering more options that automatically include longer inseams or by providing the option to customize.

    • Judy

      January 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I too am tall, plus size. 5’10” size 16-20 pants . I need 32-33 inseam and can’t find. Should be affordable and well made.
      Along the same line my shoe size is 13 Narrow! Don’t have a wide foot and a good pair of shoes is hard to find.

  2. Wiggles

    January 4, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    I’d love to see more natural fibres and eco-friendly choices in plus ranges. Synthetic fibres are vile to wear, don’t last long and plastic fibres shed off into the ocean during laundry.

    Where stores have ranges that do go from smaller up to plus sizes, the bigger sizes are always out of stock so they frequently loose a sale because they didn’t order enough stock in. I don’t think they realise this.

    • Nancy

      January 5, 2018 at 6:15 pm

      @Wiggles, you should check out And Comfort (andcomfort.com) – it’s a new plus-size brand that makes their pieces ethically and in natural fabrics!

  3. Ashley

    January 5, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I hope that as we move forward that we will actually get more brick and mortar stores! I love my online sites but it would be so amazing for me to go in the store and shop. I want the full in store experience just like any other person. I so proud of how far we have come and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

  4. Sara

    January 8, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    More natural fibers, for sure! It’s almost impossible to find anything plus-size in silk, linen, cashmere, merino wool, etc., especially if you want something modern. Heck, it’s hard to find anything in woven types of cotton, for that matter! Down with flimsy, scratchy, non-breathing, polluting polyester, and down with it forever. There are so many other options out there.

    And, yeah, more options for petite/tall, in both pants and, critically, structured dresses. The waist is not going to hit everyone at the right place, and having the torso of a dress tailored is more expensive than adjusting the hem on a pair of pants.

    Different shapes of button-down shirts would also be great! The only company I know of that is currently doing this is , which has 3 or 4 different shirt shapes, but they only go up to a US 18.

  5. Kerry S McGinnis

    January 11, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    I would like to see more petite sizes beyond 2 or 3x. Also – stop padding or “lining” bras above 40. Empire waists! Design for flats – nobody wears heels THAT much. Casual clothes. Can the polyester and “chiffon” polyester. NO MORE studs, beads, etc. V-necks!.

  6. William Kinsey

    January 24, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Even though I know this will not happen overnight, I would like to see more consistent sizing between brands or a better sizing system.

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