Clever Marketing for Plus-Size Clothing

The plus-size market usually refers to women’s sizes 14 and up. The plus-sized women’s clothing market in the U.S. reached $18 billion in 2014, up about 5%. Over the years, as more and more Americans have approached the overweight category, manufacturers have adjusted the way they describe their sizes in order to make them sound smaller. The trend is called “vanity sizing.” 

For retailers, part of the challenge lies in finding the best way to effectively target these consumers. Factors that retailers must consider include product placement in stores and store layout. Having clearly marked sections devoted exclusively to plus-sized garments, rather than combining these garments on racks with non-plus-sizes, may be a good strategy, along with larger fitting rooms with flattering lighting and fixtures.

For manufacturers, challenges exist both in terms of labor and material costs. There are also design issues. Many plus-size consumers, especially women, do not want to sacrifice style for proper fit, and they enjoy wearing youthful, chic clothing instead of the tent-like tops and pants that have been their traditional choices. 

Charming Shoppes, Inc., which owns plus-size women’s clothing stores Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Sonsi and Catherines, is betting on an online system called Fashion Genius. Shoppers fill out an online survey as to their body shape, clothing and style preferences. Fashion Genius assigns a profile (such as “Fearlessly Confident”) and suggests clothing matches. Women are able to build personalized outfits based on their Fashion Genius fit and style profile, share their outfit creations across their preferred social media, and vote for their favorite customer-created looks.

For more industry data, statistics and pricing plans online access to our Apparel & Textiles industry information, see

Apparel industry almanac 2015

If you prefer printed book or eBook versions of our data, our latest publication is:

Plunkett's Apparel & Textiles Industry Almanac, 2015 Edition

483 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-62831-360-4
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62831-693-3
Publication Date: June 2015