Fashion Brands Expanding With More Plus-Size Options

By Sara Bauknecht
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Everybody needs clothes, but clothes aren’t always designed to flatter every body.

In the United States alone, more than half of women identify as plus-sized, which typically means they wear a size 14 or larger.

Yet their spending traditionally has accounted for less than a quarter of women’s clothing purchases, largely due to apparel options that are deemed poor in fit and quality or unimaginative in their style sense.

Now designers are elevating their creations for ladies with curves, and it’s showing.

According to a recent NPD Group report, the plus-sized women’s clothing category has grown 5 percent from last year.

It generated $17.5 billion in the 12 months that ended in April, up from $16.7 billion in sales during the same period the previous year.

“There’s just opportunity across apparel, even intimates as well, to capitalize on that,” says Nicole Haase, senior director of merchandising at Pittsburgh-grown e-retailer ModCloth.

July marked one year since the business expanded its plus offerings. In that time, plus sales have doubled and are the company’s fastest-growing segment.

Rather than just introducing a plus clothing collection, ModCloth chose to work with vendors to offer “extended sizes” for pieces also carried in straight sizes.

So a dress that comes in a size 2 or 4, for instance, would also be available in a size 22 or 24. This approach provides for a more inclusive shopping experience for consumers, Haase says, instead of making women with curves choose from their own group of clothing styles.

Encouraged by its initial success, ModCloth has teamed with New York-based style blogger and Marie Claire contributing fashion editor Nicolette Mason on a collection of dresses, tops and bottoms in sizes XS through 4X that will be available at www.modcloth.com in October.

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