Size Inclusive Where? Brands Continue to Miss The Mark in Expanding Sizes
ALL BODIES. EVERY BODY. EVERY WOMAN. SIZE INCLUSIVE.
Many retailers and brands lately have been using these words when describing their mission statement in order to gain more customers. Body positivity and size inclusivity have become trendy terms and along the way, both terms have lost their true definition.
The word ALL means ALL, right? Then why do brands stop their sizes at a 24? Some brands stop at a size 20! With the average American woman now between a size 16 and 18, brands must do better to cater to ALL women.
Size inclusivity shouldn’t be viewed as a trend because trends are temporary. With average sizes slowly increasing over time and the plus size clothing industry being a $21-billion dollar business, it’s obvious that this is no trend.
So let’s talk more about the term “size inclusive” and how it has been loosely used to the detriment of many plus size women.
Nordstrom has been called the most size-inclusive retailer out there by many brands and designers. The mega luxury retailer launched the new Halogen x Atlantic-Pacific collection yesterday and it was met with major disappointment because it was promoted to be size inclusive, yet not all the styles were available in plus sizes.
The collaborative effort between the retailer’s in-house brand Halogen and blogger Blair Eadie had many excited. The blogger’s east-meets-west feminine and fun aesthetic is one that so many women love and want to emulate.
Blogger and influencer Sandra Negron of the blog La Pecosa Preciosa was one of those influencers waiting on the launch so she could scoop up some styles. The screenshot below says that every piece will be available in sizes 00 to 24.
But as she scrolled down the category, Negron noticed that not every style was available in plus sizes. In fact, the more stylish pieces were only available in up to XXL, which translates to a size 18.
Negron then noticed that the landing page copy had been changed to say “select styles in 00 – 24” instead of “every style in 00 – 24”. Nordstrom may have thought no one would notice but…
It certainly doesn’t help that major media outlets such as People Magazine, AOL.com and Popsugar are calling the collection “size inclusive” and “accessible to everyone“.
This was definitely a missed opportunity on Nordstrom’s part. It would have been a major thing to have all styles in 00 to 24 or even a size 28! As mentioned before, the plus size apparel industry is a very profitable one and Nordstrom missed the mark on gaining a new set of customers AND getting those sales. You can check out more of Negron’s experience via her Instagram stories here.
Another key fashion item that all women have fit challenges with is denim. And some celebrities are trying to change that with their own denim lines.
“People get anxiety — they get upset [when trying on jeans]. And also to not try to cover up women’s bodies of any size. People all have flaws and all have assets and the clothes are designed to show someone’s body, and that women should be proud of their bodies. [The jeans are] for every body, and women are embracing that, they’re feeling it, they want to be part of it.”
That’s Bethany Frankel, discussing her new Skinnygirl Denimline and why she created it. Many plus size women would agree with her sentiments including myself.
However, her line only goes up to size 24W. So she is in fact NOT dressing all women and every body out there. As a size 26/28 in jeans, I personally can’t wear anything from her brand. And I would love to because I have heard some amazing things about her denim.
She gets kudos for using plus size models in her imagery and having a virtual dressing room so you can gauge the fit before buying. She also offers high rise styles and her sizing is a W (not XL), which means it’s cut for a woman’s body and isn’t junior plus.
“My vision for Savage X has always been inclusivity, has always been having women feel confident and expressing themselves through a little lace, a little corsetry, a little T-Shirt Bra.”
When Rihanna launched her Savage x Fenty Lingerie brand, which included plus sizes, women were excited. Part of her mission statement above resonated with so many women and she stressed how important inclusivity is to her. The tagline “Intimates that celebrate all shapes and shades” had the attention of many.
However, there were a few things very noticeable about the new line that gave some women pause.
First, all shapes? Not when the sizes end at a 3X and 44DD. This not only ignores women over a size 3X but also those women needing larger cup sizes.
Second, many of the straight size styles are not offered in plus sizes, which is not inclusive. Typically when a brand declares it’s size inclusive, it’s most likely offering all styles in sizes 0 to whatever plus size its size range ends at.
In terms of fit, when the reviews were out, the consensus for quite a few women was that the sizing ran small and not true to size.
On a positive note, Rihanna gets major kudos for showing diversity in her marketing ads and promos, not just in size, but in race and ethnicity as well. The brand’s Instagram feed, with 1 million followers, is full of women in many different shapes, sizes and colors. It’s truly a celebration of women and confidence. Many of us just want to see more.
“It’s about women of individuality and diversity, but also about being comfortable in yourself. That’s what we’re trying to promote. It’s not about fitting into a size two and that’s what makes you beautiful. I just want people to be healthy and love who they are and be in control of your life. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a size six.”
She speaks in a very body positive tone but if you look closely at the above quote, some things stand out. She mentions promoting being comfortable in yourself, being healthy and in control of your life but closes that statement reinforcing that you don’t have to be a size six to be in that space.
Fashion and health should never be mentioned in the same sentence. Regardless of someone’s health at ANY size (thin people get sick too), everyone deserves to wear clothing.
She describes her brand as “denim, bodysuits and activewear in a full & inclusive size range” but that’s not accurate. The sizing is not consistent across the board. Activewear runs up to a 4XL (size 26) but bodysuits are only available up to 2XL, sweatshirts and bottoms stop at a 3XL and jeans run up to size 24W.
In an interview Kardashian did with Who What Wear in August, her leggings were promoted as being offered up to size 6X.
When we clicked the Shop button to the item which took us to Good American’s website, we saw the sizing set-up and the item is definitely not available in a true 6X.
The size 6 translates to a 3XL and the 7 to a 4XL. So while Kardashian is trying to create a size inclusive brand, her sizing may confuse potential customers wanting to try the brand.
“I think it’s the stigma around plus size that needs to be abolished, not the definition itself. I think people will always need to know what size range is available no matter what you call it. Hopefully, the stigma around larger bodies in the fashion industry at large is changing. That’s what really needs to be exploded and expanded upon.”
Becca McCharen-Tran is the designer behind Chromat, a swimwear and lingerie brand that is all about celebrating being different and fearless. McCharen-Tran’s background in architecture has had a major impact on her designs, which are all about technical fabrics, 3D prints, and structural wares that give off a futuristic vibe.
As you can see above in her quote from an interview she did with Glamour earlier this year, McCharen-Tran is very plus positive. It’s evident in everything she does. She speaks on panels, makes her voice heard at schools regarding the use of plus size mannequins and is not afraid to continue to speak up on behalf of all women who should have fashion accessible to them in their size.
Since 2016, Chromat is THE show to attend during New York Fashion Week because McCharen-Tran is not afraid to cast a diverse set of models including plus size models such as Hunter McGrady and Denise Bidot, as well as models over 40 such as Emme Aronson.
The collection is dubbed “size inclusive” so I personally have high hopes that McCharen-Tran will consider expanding to a 4X and 5X to test those sizes.
“Why are we not thinking in equal terms as much? It’s not the shape or the size of humanity you come in it’s the work you are doing. Men and women in their roles, African American, white everything in between, to skinny to curvy. People should be looked at as people, now more than ever.”
Designer Rachel Roy launched her Curvy line over two years ago and it has become a popular brand with plus size fashionistas. In an interview she did with USA Today at launch, she spoke candidly about not judging customers by their size and shape.
There were rumblings at Curvy Con last year that a 4X would be added to the size range but it has not happened yet.
Roy has always been a feminist and one to be vocal about fashion equality. However, her line stops at a 3X and 24W, which is not the definition of fashion equality. We’d love to see her add sizes 4X and 26/28 soon and see how it sells.
“You’re never going to go wrong with representing the truth of women. It’s just always going to be a positive experience, uplifting for everybody. There’s nothing to be afraid of. I’ve learned there’s nothing wrong about representing the whole of women — size, race, age, religion, all of it.”
Huffine not only talks the talk but walks the walk. Her activewear brand Day Won offers sizes 0 to 32 and her sizing is generous (speaking from experience). Her quote speaks volumes because it’s believed that many brands are afraid to invest in bigger sizes and show larger models, not just from a business standpoint but a marketing one.
Here’s some key moves that brands have to be willing to make in order to see that there is a customer that’s being overlooked and will buy, if her size is offered.
#1: Get the fit right.
Brands and retailers should reevaluate their size charts to ensure that their measurements per size is as accurate as it can be. Hire fit models of more than one size, especially one that can fit the larger end of the size spectrum (sizes 24 and above). Trust me, they exist.
With brands having different measurements per size, sizing is very inconsistent across the board and makes it hard for plus size women in particular to shop easily. For example, as before mentioned. Good American’s new activewear line is promoted as being available up to a size 6X, yet the size 6 translates to a size 22/24.
A 6X is not a size 22/24. Not only are you confusing a woman that size into thinking she is a 6X but you are also engaging in false advertisement to the woman who is actually a size 6X and setting herself up for disappointment when she buys an item in her size and it doesn’t fit.
#2: Test the waters.
If a company is hesitant to expand sizing because they feel it won’t sell, why not test it with adding a 4X and 26/28 first? Market it, spread the word and use influencers that size to promote the new addition. You can’t say something doesn’t work if you haven’t tested it.
Marketing is key in this instance. Fashion is personal and that size 24+ woman doesn’t have faith in the fashion industry since she has been excluded and passed over for a very long time. If a company talks to her and lets her know she is valued, she will become a customer. Don’t talk AT her, talk TO her.
And it just doesn’t fall solely on brands either. We have a voice as well and if we want to see more diversity and size expansions, we have to make sure our voices are heard. Designer Rachel Roy said in that same interview she did with USA Today in 2016:
“Voice your opinion. I know it feels not heard, but I know for a fact having worked in the fashion [industry], editors read your blogs. They read your Instagram comments. They read your tweets. Your letters to the editors. Designers are reading your comments and they very, very much matter.”
Let’s educate brands instead of just complaining to them. Let’s tell them what we want in a constructive manner. Let’s open that line of dialogue via social media, email and even reviews on websites.
There’s 67% of us out there so let’s be advocates for each other and push for true size inclusivity so we can see more bodies like this:
What do you think of the term “size inclusive” and the lack of clothing available for plus sizes above a 24 and straight size options in plus? Follow us on social media @plusmodelmag and let’s chat!