What Is the Current State of the Plus-Size Industry?


Though a majority of American women wear clothes that are size 14 or larger, many brands stop their lines at size 12. Until recently, plus-size clothing didn’t have much space in the limelight, and was often relegated to the back corner of a traditional department store. Even worse was that some specialty plus-size shops only carried items that, frankly, you’d never be caught wearing at all.

Let’s not even start on the style options or lack thereof. Dowdy “mom clothes,” dresses that looked like curtains and companies committed a myriad of other fashion crimes in the name of plus-size “fashion.”

New Wave of Fashion Lines

Thankfully, due in large part to body positivity movements and a wide cultural acceptance of an inclusive definition of beauty, plus-size fashion is hitting its stride. This movement is here to stay.

Lane Bryant is notably ahead of the trend. The company teamed up with designer Christian Siriano for fashion-forward choices available in store and on the runway. New company leadership shows promise by turning the ship of ho-hum, plus-size non-fashion into a more hip brand that serves a more varied and younger clientele.

Other designers followed Lane Bryant’s lead. Target and ModCloth are pioneers in fast fashion options for the mainstream audience. Cute dresses, girly lingerie, and yes, even flattering swimsuits, emerged from these retailers online and in store.

More Trends

Plus-size fashion is also moving out of its corner as more clothing lines carry a wider range of sizes to cater to women of all shapes. It’s always been difficult to accommodate women from 00
to 16, and beyond, with a single style. That’s because there are so many variations in body types that a range of sizes must cover. Previously, fashion designers have been fairly unskilled in catering fashions to such a broad audience.

Body positivity and an ear toward what plus-size women actually want to wear changed the way that a committed group of plus-size designers approach clothing design. Gone are the cute, trendy outfits for the single body figure that can fit into them. This change is welcome and such a long time coming.

Throughout 2017, keep an eye out for more plus-size options as retailers scoop up designers willing to design for all women. Some designers even cater to just plus-size women.