Plus size clothing is a general term given to clothing proportioned specifically for people around size 12 and up in U.S. "In the fashion industry, plus size is identified as sizes 12-24, super size as sizes 4X-6X and extended size as 7X and up." Also called Outsize in some countries (predominantly British), this term has been losing favour since the 1990s. A related term for men's plus-size clothing is big and tall (a phrase also used as a trademark in some countries).
Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for "Expectant Mothers and Newborn"'. By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category 'For the Stout Women', which ranged between a 38-56 inch bustline.
The large-size fashion revolution of 1977-1998 in the US began after the Fashion Group of NYC released a study predicting the demise of the Baby Boomer Junior Market, as the Boomers were coming of age. Mary Duffy's Big Beauties was the first model agency to work with hundreds of new plus-size clothing lines and advertisers. For two decades, this plus-size category produced the largest per annum percentage increases in ready-to wear retailing.
Plus size clothing patterns have traditionally been graded up from a smaller construction pattern, however many retailers are using statistical data collected from their own measuring projects, and from specialized Body Scan Data collection projects to modernize the fit and construction of their garments. U.S. companies Lane Bryant and Catherines teamed up over a three-year period to source data to modernize the companies' garment construction. 14,000 women were measured in what was the most extensive female sizing study in the U.S. in over 60 years.
The Australian plus size clothing market has been growing since at least 1994, with major department stores such as David Jones, Myer, and Target producing their own brand ranges, and an increase in the number of individual boutiques and national chain store outlets across the country. Sizing in Australia is not synchronous with the US; plus size garments are considered to be size 16 and upward which is the equivalent of a US size 12.
Major Australian brands for plus-size clothing include: Smooth, Crossroads, City Chic (also known as Big Advantage and Big City Chic), My Size, Maggie T, Nouvelle Woman, Autograph (formerly 1626), Work Rest And Play Plus Sized Clothing, Sara, Embody Denim, TS Taking Shape, Basque Woman, BeMe for Rockmans, Free People and Curvysea.
In the UK there are over sixty brands for plus-size women's clothing. However, only a small number of these brands are manufactured or owned by U.K.-based companies. High-street stores such as Yours Clothing, Elvi, Evans Dearcurves, Ann Harvey and BeigePlus sell only plus-sized garments and many other brands and department stores carry extended sizes in their shelves, such as Debenhams, Fenwicks and New Look. More recently, stores specifically supplying plus-size sportswear, fitness wear and bras have sprung to life such as State of Mind, Charlotte Jackson, Eve Activewear and We Fit In. Notable online sites also include ASOS. Designer Anna Scholz has been creating clothes for the high end market since 1995.
Specialist plus size brands (found in independent plus size shops) known to be active in the UK (2010) include: Hebbeding (Holland), Dearcurves(UK)Escaladya (Germany), Martine Samoun (Belgium), Marina Rinaldi (Italy), Persona (Italy), Elena Grunert (Germany), Elena Miro (Italy), Verpass (Germany), Chalou (Germany), Kirsten Krog (Denmark), Wille (Germany), Jomhoy (Spain), Yoek (Netherlands), Be The Queen (France), Alain Weiz (France), Tummy Tuck Not Your Daughters Jeans NYDJ (USA), Anathea by Didier Parakian (France), Fred Sabatier (France), Tia (Denmark), Rofa (Germany), Jorli (Denmark), NP (Finland), OpenEnd (Germany), A Big Attitude (USA), Terry Precision Cycling (USA).
In November 2013, the Debenhams department store chain indicated that it plans to add Size 16 plus-size mannequins in all 170 UK stores.
The specialty plus size clothing retail market include Lane Bryant (Charming Shoppes) and Avenue (Avenue Stores, LLC). Walmart also offers a limited but inexpensive plus size apparel line. The department stores JC Penney and Macy´s also offer plus size apparel. Woman Within (Redcats USA), former Lane Bryant catalog, is one of the leading online and catalog brands geared toward the mature plus size market. Torrid (Hot Topic) is a retailer geared toward plus-size young adults. OneStopPlus.com (Redcats USA) is an online shopping mall that aggregates almost all US and International plus size brands using one checkout. International online retailers, such as Simply Be (N Brown) from the UK and City Chic (Specialty Fashion Group) from Australia, have also during recent years established themselves on the US market.
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