Fibre2Fashion takes a look at the rising acceptance and demand for plus size innerwear
Obesity is an ongoing issue in many countries and not likely to change any time soon. In the United States alone, more than 70 per cent of men and women are considered obese or overweight. Many industries now have to cater to heavier people by making bigger ambulance trolleys, larger hospital beds, sturdier chairs and a variety of other equipment, both medical and non-medical. In some countries you pay more and get a more spacious seats in a train.
This trend is unlikely to change dramatically, especially now as many women are rallying behind plus size models and plus size brands. They may be curvaceous and a few pounds over normal weight, but they are embracing their curves and fashion has had to change because of that. Many plus size models are no bigger than the average woman.
Plus size, fits, brick-and-mortar
Finding fashionable clothing that will fit any size has long been the bugbear of women. Finding plus size clothing that fit well and looked great was nearly impossible earlier. That trend is slowly changing but many large fashion chains still consider plus size women an inconvenience. Modern department stores and specialty clothing stores say they need too much more space to sell clothes in all sizes as they consider it a high risk item. Another argument is that they don't really know what buyers want. Plus, the larger size clothing costs them more, bringing down their profit margin.
If they do stock plus size clothing, it is often poorly displayed in a poorly lit area of the women's department. Many larger women just do not go clothes shopping because they have nothing to buy.
Although some designer brands do sell plus size clothing, they are not advertised well or even displayed on their websites. It is the savvy shopper who is seeking out fashion and letting everyone know about it.
While women are seen to be embracing their size, whether it is a size 10 or a 26, many stores are still only stocking smaller sizes to 16 or 18 and will probably not change too much in the future. However, it is the online shopping market that has taken to plus size clothing.
Reports show the number of online buyers of plus size clothing has increased, with around 45 per cent of plus size clothes being bought online. This has led to some UK stores selling plus size clothing online exclusively to capture their share of the market. There is now a larger range available than ever before and this is helping to push the plus size trend into other stores and online shops.
There are a lot of smaller independent brands in plus size clothing looking to make their presence felt in the market. This niche market is being highlighted by the number of start-ups appearing online. Even bespoke plus sizes are becoming available.
While retailers have been slow to catch on to the plus size fashion trend as compared to online sellers, the trend is changing albeit very slowly. Plus size models have also been helping the cause by attracting enough 'likes' across social media. They are seen on magazine covers and at fashion shoots and women love that they can be curvy, sexy and fashionable.
Plus size lingerie is one niche of the market that has grown in leaps and bounds. Every woman wants to feel sexy in lovely lingerie and now any woman can find attractive innerwear in any size.
Social media is one way that women have influenced the fashion trend. Instagram followers of plus size models have demanded they be able to buy fashionable clothing in any size and this has led to an increase in plus size clothing sales.
The trend for plus size clothing has also increased with a larger range of good quality stylish clothing available in sizes often into the size 30 . This is a good start, but there still needs to be a push from women to ensure that they can all be seen in the latest fashion regardless of what size they are.