For centuries, there have been forces that dictate both men’s and women’s appearances—clothing reflected the time period and societal influences. These forces continue to shape how society views women, femininity and overall attractiveness. In the last century, there has been a gradual shift towards the shrinking waistlines of women and its relation to beauty. Celebrity culture and the intensity of the media continue to endorse these ideals to impossible lengths. Women, especially younger girls, are exposed to these unattainable norms, which have a direct correlation to lower self-esteem, eating disorders, bullying and even suicide.
However, in the past decade, there has been resurgence in the exploration of beauty and a transformation in the acceptance of individual difference. Women of all sizes are being told to feel comfortable in their own skin. This transition into a new age is reflected in the fashion industry.
In the past, women of larger sizes were forced to shop at a small number of retailers. These retailers focused on the selling of plus-size garments and often sacrificed style for size. Shopping became more of a chore than a pleasure. Fortunately, within the few years, many popular retailers have adopted plus-sized clothing into their merchandise assortment. Brands such as Forever 21, American Eagle and H&M have embraced this new market and provided curvier women with fashionable choices at great prices.
Retailers are benefiting from a newly formed market—there is room for expansion and creativity with target customers and merchandise. Terms ‘plus-size’ and ‘plus-size dress’ are showing record peaks in Google search results, indicating customers are searching for new and easy ways to shop for this merchandise.
As customer demand continues to grow, there is no doubt that the plus-size category will continue to increase right along with it. In an industry that is constantly changing, it is important to stay ahead of the curve, pun intended!