If you are not a plus-size person, you may not have ever used plus-size clothing. In fact, you may not even be familiar with the term. But if you are a larger than average or “plus-size” individual, the term must have become a part of your shopping vocabulary.
Plus-size clothing is clothing between the numerical sizes of 14W and upwards to size 26 (the W stands for women). Also identified as X sizes (1X, 2X, etc), which have numerical size equivalents (check the tag). You may also hear or see plus-size clothing generically referred to as “Women’s Sizes.” In many major retail stores there is a separate section for plus-size clothing.
While the average woman may wear a size 12 – we are not all average sized women. Some of us are smaller in stature and tend to shop in the petite or juniors section of our favorite department store. For those who are larger than average, plus-size clothing can be their only avenue for fashion.
For many years, women who wear plus-size clothing have had difficulties in finding their sizes in regular retail stores or at all. When able to find their size, younger women have found it even more difficult to find fashionable clothing in plus-sizes. Now, however, due to the growth in the plus-size clothing market, many countries are seeing an increase in specialty stores who carry lines specifically targeted to plus-size women.
One of the most recognizable stores in the United States is Lane Bryant, who offers a variety of styles including business, casual, and dress clothing for larger women. Lane Bryant practices another major feature of plus-size clothing shopping – the convenience of online shopping and mail order catalogs.
The specialty store Torrid specifically targets younger and more fashion conscious plus-size women. Similar to Lane Bryant in the types of clothing offered, Torrid is more concentrated with younger women and teens.
The Internet has opened up the plus-size clothing market for many consumers. Women are able to browse stores and brands that are far outside their geographical location. While shopping for clothing online does not allow for trying on the clothing before purchase, the ready availability of a broader numerical size range can be a big draw for plus-size women. Shoppers can view styles, comparison shop and be linked to similar stores. The Internet offers something your local mall will not in connection with plus-size clothing – lots of selection. Simply type in the keyword plus-size clothing into your search engine, and you will find hundreds of sites that will offer just the type of clothing you are looking for in your size.
With obesity rates on the increase, particularly in the United States, offering a plus-size clothing line can now be a major draw for retailers. Stores such as Wal-Mart have continually expanded their Women’s sections to offer a broader selection. As plus-size people become a larger part of the mainstream, plus-size clothing placement in the marketplace can only become more prominent.