Clothing the Plus-Size Woman – A Call For More Choices

November 21, 2023 By Isabelle Sophie Martinet

Clothing the plus-size woman has never been an easy task, and it is not in any way the fault of the curvy woman herself. There are a number of factors out there that make clothing the plus-size woman a bit more challenging than it should be. It all boils down to two things – one being the rigidity of the fashion industry and the other being the question of economics.

The fact is that the fashion industry has never really been kind to the more endowed segment of the female population since time immemorial. Ever since Christian Dior launched his New Look for his Flower Women right after the Second World War, and even long before that, the ideal woman in the minds of fashion designers has always been one who is tall, has a wasp waist, a high bosom and slim hips.

Seriously, though, what real woman looks exactly like that? A real woman has fuller breasts, a thicker waist, a pocket of flesh on her abdomen, and much rounder hips and thighs. Haute couture’s ideal woman does not exist; she only represents less than 10% of the total female population. The sad thing about it is that real women are killing themselves to fit this unrealistic ideal.

Thwarting Supply and Demand

The refusal of the fashion industry to remove its blinders and to look at what is there outside their limited worlds is so ridiculous. The reason for this is that many designers are actually afraid that their creations would be labeled as clothes that the plus-size woman wears. But is that really so bad?

There actually was hope for the fashion industry in the early and mid-2000s, years which saw the emergence of plus lines by well-known designer brands. Designers like Ralph Lauren and Tadashi Shoji have shown that plus-size women also have the right to look stylish and glamorous.

But that is somewhat short-lived. When the global recession hit a couple of years ago, the plus-size lines were the ones that designers and retailers first pushed out of their businesses. Department stores like Macy’s in the United States and Selfridges in the United Kingdom removed clothing that the plus-size woman can wear off their racks and shelves. Clothing firms like Ellen Tracy dropped their plus-size clothes as well.

It does not make sense, does it? The law of supply and demand tells us that when more than half of the female population is likely to buy plus-size clothing, then what suppliers should do is to cater to that demand. Why is it that the reverse is the one that is happening?

The Need for Alternatives

The market for plus-size clothing is there. The need is unmistakable and it cannot be denied. Thankfully, there are designers out there who are answering the call for clothing that the plus-size woman can actually enjoy wearing. Clothing companies like Igigi, Monif C. and Marina Rinaldi have given plus-size women options they can confidently go for if they want class and style in their clothes.

This, however, is far from enough. The fashion industry needs to stop reaching for its unreachable ideal and to wake up to hard reality. Clothing for the plus-size woman is what is in demand these days. Real women can no longer afford to be ignored.