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Dear Retailers, Time to Stop Ignoring Plus Size Women

by Becky

Of the 25 main retailers, 21 of them offer options for plus size women on their online store. Department stores such as JC Penney’s, Kohl’s, and Macy’s offer a large number of plus size clothing options. Nordstrom, however, does not offer half as many options. While the number of options shrinks dramatically when it comes to physical storefronts, there are still some options. This is as opposed to retailers like Nike, who only have 5 online options for plus size women and Under Armour who have nothing at all.
plus size retailers

image source: twitter @BridgeModels

An article published by Bloomberg’s Gadfly notes that as of 2016 the plus size clothing market is worth a massive $20.4 billion and growing. This is up by more than 17 percent from 2013, where these sales totaled around $17.4 billion. In fact, sales of plus size clothing have far surpassed the sales of general women’s clothing. This is because the average women today is said to be between size 16 to 18, according to research done by Washington State University’s Deborah Christel. The retailers ignored most of Americans!

plus size retailer

image source: bloomberg.com

Part of the reason is the cost it takes to create plus size clothing as it takes more fabric to create these items and more design time to ensure the patterns are right. But the clothing items, in general, have to be adjusted in certain ways for them to be able to fit plus size women’s curves and look flattering, rather than boxy or poorly made. It also does not help that clothing factories are not set up to handle plus size clothing as rapidly, which creates additional costs for companies.

While larger department stores are not offering a large selection, there has been an increase in stores and online services catering specifically to plus size women. One of the most well-known ones in Layne Bryant, who offer everything from beautiful dresses to work out clothing. Gwynnie Bee is a subscription-based plus size clothing website that has garnered a lot of love for the growing selection of styles, colors, and patterns that they carry.

Now, J.C. Penney’s is launching a new line called Boutique+, which is a collaborative project with Project Runway designer Ashley Nell Tipton. The new line, which is made purely with plus size women in mind, is set to launch May 1st in 500 of their stores.

While there is still a serious lack of plus size clothing options in mainstream stores, it seems that some companies such as J.C Penney’s are willing to start taking on the challenge. It may be a slow start, but hopefully, that means more stores will follow. What is your take on the plus size clothing problem? Let your voices be heard by these major retailers using #dearretailers!

See Also:

Dear Marketers, Please Stop Making Fun of Plus-size People

7 Reasons Why Plus Size Women Don’t Deserve to Be Loved