Effecting change in the fashion industry is a sluggish affair, but things are moving in a positive direction. For starters, more brands have shifted away from only offering straight sizes and are becoming more inclusive to customers of all proportions. And here’s the thing: Offering extended sizes isn’t just the socially responsible thing to do — it also makes sense.
The average size of an American woman is now between a 16 to 18, so there is an obvious need for clothing in sizes above the generally acceptable size 12. According to Statista, the women’s plus size market accounted for over 20 billion in sales in 2016, which was a 17.4 billion increase from just three years before. In 2018, sales hit 22.75 billion, and it’s predicted that the plus size retail market will bring in 46.6 billion in 2021.
The writing is on the wall. When women have more options available to them, they’ll buy. Retailers are catching on, and to the delight of all, the market is currently experiencing a major boom in extended sizing availability across the board. Below are six brands that have recently broadened their own selections to cater to those who don’t fall into straight sizing.
The most anticipated plus-size launch of the year arguably comes from Anthropologie, which officially debuted in March 2019. The new collection, dubbed “A+nthropologie,” consists of over 150 pieces in sizes 16W through 26W that blend seamlessly into the retailer’s whimsical, bohemian aesthetic. It features a large assortment of in-house designs, as well as numerous pieces from favorite labels such as Pilcro and Maeve.
Reformation is considered a leader among retailers in its devotion to sustainability practices, and as of 2018 they officially opened up their doors to include sizes 0 through 22 and XS through 3XL. In the press release that announced the new extended sizes, they wrote, “sorry it took us so long,” but it seems as though the apology was accepted. True to the brand’s aesthetic, the line consists of feminine basics with a cool girl edge.
Just a few months after Reformation debuted its extended size collection in March 2018, J. Crew followed suit in a collaboration with Universal Standard. The ~40-piece capsule collection consisted of classic silhouettes — think cardigans, maxi dresses, jumpsuits, and tunics — in sizes XXS through 5X. Since then, J. Crew has released additional pieces within the Universal Standard collection, including outerwear and sheath dresses.
Loft is another retailer that firmly threw themselves into the extended sizing pool. In the spring of last year, they officially introduced sizes 16 through 26 as part of Loft Plus, paying particular attention to style-focused shoppers who wanted something more than just the basics. The line is fresh, classic, and feminine, providing everything from fluttery rompers and tie-waist shorts to wrap dresses.
As of August 2018, Madewell made a concerted effort to expand their current clothing selection by offering extended sizes on nearly half of their existing curation. Now shoppers can find denim and pants in sizes 23 through 37 (000 through 24) and tops and dresses in sizes XXS through 3X. The pieces have the same American vibe that Madewell is known for — chic, modern, and casual with zero sense of over-design.
Kohls has done a pretty good job of catering to men and women of all sizes over the years, but they’ve taken the plus size market one step further with their spring 2019 launch of EVRI, a private-label plus-size brand that caters specifically to sizes 0X through 4X in tops and 14W through 30W in bottoms. The line consists of modern wardrobe must-haves, including chic blazers, skinny jeans, and a moto jacket.