Sizing Challenges With Plus Size Clothing

The lack of adequate attention being paid by many brands and designers to the particular needs and fit concerns of plus-size women has long been a problem in the fashion and design industry business with regard to plus-size clothing. To meet the needs of this market, plus-size designers must, however, be aware of how to effectively develop and produce plus-size garments as the market for such clothing continues to expand.

An underserved market

Despite the fact that 7 out of every 10 American women wear a size 14 or larger, only 2% of the total clothing market is made up of plus-size clothing. This market difference offers brands and designers a massive opportunity to broaden their target market and satisfy the needs of plus-size women. Many brands stay away from larger sizes because they fear not providing a good product to the plus-size customer. This should not be a reason to stay away from the plus-size market.

Designing for a Plus-Size Customer

Plus-size customers face several fit issues when it comes to ready-to-wear women’s clothing. Some of the most common fit issues include:

Poor Fit in the Bust

Many plus-size customers have larger busts, which can make finding dresses that fit well in the bust area challenging. This can result in dresses that are either too tight or too loose in the bust, leading to discomfort and an unflattering fit. Another issue here is bust coverage, plus-size grading often covers the width but not enough height leaving many garments with very low necklines.

Tightness in the Arms

Plus-size customers may also struggle with tightness in the arms when it comes to dresses with sleeves. This can result in discomfort and a limited range of motion. This is another area that can be a challenge for pattern-making and grading professionals but it is by no means impossible for the right professional. If your grading is done well then this should not be an issue for your customers.

Poor Fit in the Hips and Thighs

Another common fit issue faced by plus-size customers is a poor fit in the hips and thighs. This can result in dresses and pants that are too tight or too loose in these areas, leading to garments that are not only uncomfortable but also extremely unflattering. Again, the right professional can help your brand get these details where you need them to be.

Tips for Improving the Fit of Plus Size Dresses

Now that we’ve explored some of the common fit issues faced by plus-size customers, let’s take a look at some tips for improving the fit of plus-size dresses:

Use Diverse Fit Models

One of the most important things that brands can do to improve the fit of their plus-size dresses is to use diverse fit models. This includes fit models of different sizes, shapes, and proportions. By using diverse fit models, brands can ensure that their clothing fits well on a range of body types.

If you choose not to use diverse fit models make sure that it is well-understood what body shape your brand is intended for so that your customer knows what to expect from you. There is nothing wrong with having a specific target market that you cater to so long as your branding is clear and concise in its message and your consumer knows who they are. They will appreciate you for this and will come to you knowing who they are.

Incorporate Stretch Fabrics

Incorporating stretch fabrics into plus-size dresses can help improve the fit in areas such as the bust, arms, hips, and thighs. Stretch fabrics allow for greater flexibility and movement, leading to a more comfortable and flattering fit.

Again, this is something you may choose not to do if your brand does not lean toward these fabrics. Just make sure that this is well stated in your size charts so that your target customer knows who they are and can come to you knowing that you have something that will fit them well.

Offer Extended Sizing

Offering extended sizing can also help improve the fit of plus-size dresses. This includes offering a wider range of sizes, as well as offering petite and tall options for certain styles.

If you have the ability to offer a wider range of options such as tall and petite or, curvy and straight, etc. within each size then kudos to you. If you do not then that is perfectly fine. Clarity of communication in product descriptions and sizing charts will be the key to success. Having photos and even videos of your larger sizes modeled so that your customer can see what body shape you cater to will be extremely helpful in bringing you the right target customers.

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