Plus size clothing is a general term given to clothing proportioned specifically for people over a certain size, or proportion. The application of the term varies from country to country, and according to which industry the person is involved in.[nb 1]
According to PLUS Model magazine; "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". The article continues "Susan Barone [...] shared, 'Plus sizes are sizes 14W - 24W. Super sizes and extended sizes are used interchangeably for sizes 26W and above. Sometimes the size 26W is included in plus size'."
Also called Outsize in some countries such as Britain, this term has been losing favour. One example of this is the renaming of "Evans Outsize" to simply "Evans", as well as losing their advertising slogan "Evans - The Outsize Shop", which also featured on their clothing labels. 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. Evans, a UK-based plus-size retailer, was founded in 1930.
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: Swish, 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 UK-based companies. High-street stores such as Yours Clothing, Elvi, Evans, Dearcurves, Ann Harvey and BeigePlus sell only plus-sized garments, while 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, and WeBeBopInc are 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.
- "Size Specific… What Sizes are Considered 'Plus Size'?". PLUS Model Magazine. 12/01/2007.
- "Women's Clothing Size Conversion". onlineconversion.com. Robert Fogt. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
- Richard Best (2013-06-11). "From outsize to downsize... Evans to shut up shop". westbriton.co.uk. The West Briton. Retrieved 16 August 2014. "While Evans, a store that started life all the way back in 1930 as Evans Outsize"
- Diana. "Vintage 1950s Evans Outsize tricel atomic print wiggle dress and jacket suit ...". etsy.com. OuterLimitz. Retrieved 16 August 2014. "Vintage 50s Evos garment for Evans the Outsize Shop"
- "Benelux Trademark". Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
- "Lane Bryant Started by a Woman". The Miami Herald. 30 September 1962. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
- "Our History". evans.co.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- Agins, Teri (10 May 1996). "Queen sizes get a lift in the market". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Cabiria, curvy designer NYFW", "Vogue Italia", 2 September 2013. Retrieved on 24 October 2013.
- "Bye, ultra-skinny models: Full-figured fashion show comes to New York", "Agence France-Presse", 6 September 2013. Retrieved on 24 October 2013.
- Cabiria. Retrieved on 5 November 2013.
- Murphy, Jane (2012-04-25). "Plus-size and fabulous!". MSN UK. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- "MSP claims fashion industry support for larger mannequins". BBC News. 2013-11-16. Retrieved 17 November 2013.