The Problems With Women's Plus Size Clothing

Over 60 percent of women in the United States wear over a size 14, which is considered the beginning of plus sizes or extended sizes. Although over half of the U.S. population of women are plus size, efforts to fix the issues in their fashion are minor if not obsolete. I myself have been a big girl since forever, so I speak from the heart on the issues of plus-sized fashion. From saggy bottoms, to gaping arm holes and too tight thigh portions in jeans, plus size fashion has a lot of issues.

I want to start first with where you can even find extended sizes. Although there are high-end stores that specifically sell trendy plus-size fashions, such as Torrid and Lane Bryant, there are very few mid- to lower- end stores that specialize in these clothing sizes. Kohl's and Forever 21, are two of the more affordable places to shop for plus-size clothing. When stores do not offer a plus-size section, they are not only discriminating against a certain body type but also saying that we are not wanted. I've read a lot of articles about the true cost of the plus size fashion industry and many of them reiterate the same ideas, one quote from a news broadcast on CNBC sums it up; 

"There is more production expertise and fit expertise that is required and they don't teach it in school. The whole industry learns one shape, and fits on one, much smaller, straighter shape," said Mariah Chase, the CEO of the online plus size boutique, Eloquii.

This restraint of ability also makes the items of clothing more expensive than that of women who are of “normal” body size. Myself and many other women, who do not fall into this “normal” body group, are enraged by the price difference in the same type of shirt; such that in a “normal” body size a plain white t-shirt could be about $5 since in a plus size it could cost upwards of $12. As if the price was not offensive enough, it is also rare to find a perfect fit in these clothing sizes.

Now I cannot even begin to count the times I've tried on a dress only to find it not even fall below my mid-thigh. There is a middle ground that should be covered since not all women are either super tall or really short. Additionally, this middle ground seems to be forgotten with the assumption that all curvy girls have huge breasts because many times necklines can be very revealing if you are not well-endowed in the chest area.

The variation in sizing between stores can also be a hassle and can easily turn a woman off from shopping in that store. For the past five years, I have pretty much stayed in the same size range; my shirts will be about an extra-large to a 1XL and my pants tend to be a size 20. In one store I can be sized as an extra-large in one shirt and in another store I could be a 2XL in the same cut shirt. I am aware a lot of it has to do with what material it is made of and how it is made, however, there should be a set definition of the sizing chart that clothing manufacturers are to follow. As a woman of a fuller figure, that of whom is also young, I would prefer there to be more color choices that were not monotone colors or bright busy patterns. There needs to be a middle ground between monotone and patterns that resemble my grandmother’s drapery.

However, I have faith in the plus-sized fashion industry that one day they will find a solution to the issues of the consumers and at least make it known that they see these said issues. So to the people designing our clothing, thank you.

Sources:

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/08/retails-plus-size-problem-designing-for-larger-sizes.html

http://www.bustle.com/articles/104773-7-plus-size-fashion-issues-that-still-need-to-be-addressed-because-inclusivity-doesnt-always-mean

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-isnt-plus-size-bigger-2012-12

http://fstoppers.com/opinion/project-harpoon-edits-images-plus-size-people-promote-thin-body-types-82156

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About The Author

Autumn is a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Forensic Science with a concentration in Biology and minors in Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry. She has an addiction to Starbucks and Panera Mac and Cheese and can usually be found with her nose in a book during her free time. She is also an active member of VCU's Rowdy Rams, I am that Girl, and the Forensic Science Student Club. In her free time, she loves to watch movies and hang out with her friends and family; including her beloved dog, Jake.