Plus-size clothing

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Plus size clothing is a euphemistic term given to clothing proportioned specifically for people whose bodies are larger than the average person's.[citation needed] 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".[1] 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'."[1]

Also called Outsize in some countries such as Britain, this term has been losing favor. One example of this is the renaming of "Evans Outsize" to simply "Evans",[3] 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).[4]


Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for "Expectant Mothers and Newborn"'.[5] By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category 'For the Stout Women', which ranged between a 38-56 inch bustline.[5] Evans, a UK-based plus-size retailer, was founded in 1930.[6]

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.

Max Mara started Marina Rinaldi, one of the first high-end clothing lines, for plus-size women in 1980.[7]

The first plus-size fashion line to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was Cabiria, featured in the Fashion Law Institute fashion show in the tents at Lincoln Center on September 6, 2013.[8][9][10]

Consumer Reports[edit]

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.[citation needed]



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.[2]

Notable Australian brands for plus-size clothing include Maggie T, Autograph (formerly 1626) and Free People.

United Kingdom[edit]

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, Dea London 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 Anna Scholz has been creating clothes for the high end market since 1995.[11] Another notable online retailer which specialises in manufacturing and retailing plus size clothing is Love Fashion. Opened in 1985 and based in the Midlands, they are global suppliers of all plus size women's apparel [12]

Name Distribution channels Headquarters In UK Year Established Multi brand UK Size range Founder
Ann Harvey Mult channel Yes Unknown No 16 to 32 Unknown
Anna Scholz Online Yes 1996 No 18 to 26 Anna Scholz
BeigePlus High Street, Online Yes 1970 Yes 16 to 28 Leanda Walters
Charlotte Jackson Online No 2009 Yes 16 to 24 Unknown
Dea London Online Yes Unknown No 16 to 26 Jelena Fehmi
Dearcurves Online No 2011 No 14 to 26 Linda Idegwu
Debenhams Mult channel Yes 1778 Yes 16 to 26 William Clark
Elvi High Street, Online Yes 1940 No 14 to 26 Elin Vissor
Evans High Street, Online Yes 1930 No 14 to 32 Jack Green
Fenwicks Mult channel Yes 1882 Yes Unknown John James Fenwick
New Look Mult channel Yes 1969 Yes 18 to 28 Tom Singh

Specialist plus size brands (found in independent plus size shops) known to be active in the UK (2010) include: Hebbeding (the Netherlands), 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) and Carmakoma (Denmark).

In November 2013, the Debenhams department store chain indicated that it plans to add Size 16 plus-size mannequins in all 170 UK stores.[13]

Lane Bryant store Pittsfield Twp., MI

United States[edit]

Notable 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 J. C. Penney and Macy's also offer plus size apparel. Woman Within (Redcats USA), former Lane Bryant catalog. Torrid (Hot Topic) is a retailer geared toward plus-size young adults. International online retailers, such as Simply Be (N Brown) from the UK have started in the US. There are boutique stores that specialize in this market niche such as Plus Size Clothing and ship within the USA but Britain and worldwide as well.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Size Specific… What Sizes are Considered 'Plus Size'?". PLUS Model Magazine. 12/01/2007.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Women's Clothing Size Conversion". Robert Fogt. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Richard Best (2013-06-11). "From outsize to downsize... Evans to shut up shop". The West Briton. Retrieved 16 August 2014. While Evans, a store that started life all the way back in 1930 as Evans Outsize 
  4. ^ "Benelux Trademark". Benelux Office for Intellectual Property. Retrieved 22 Januaxxxxxgery 2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ a b "Lane Bryant Started by a Woman". The Miami Herald. 30 September 1962. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Agins, Teri (10 May 1996). "Queen sizes get a lift in the market". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Cabiria, curvy designer NYFW", "Vogue Italia", 2 September 2013. Retrieved on 24 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Bye, ultra-skinny models: Full-figured fashion show comes to New York", "Agence France-Presse", 6 September 2013. Retrieved on 24 October 2013.
  10. ^ Cabiria. Retrieved on 5 November 2013.
  11. ^ Murphy, Jane (2012-04-25). "Plus-size and fabulous!". MSN UK. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Unknown (2014-12-19). "Plus size womens clothing". Lovefashion. Retrieved 19 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "MSP claims fashion industry support for larger mannequins". BBC News. 2013-11-16. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 


  1. ^ As sizes vary from country to country, the reported starting point for plus sizes varies. For example, in the UK the starting point is size 12,[1] the equivalent sizes are 14W (USA),[2] 42 (France), 40 (Germany) and 16 (Australia)

External links[edit]