Imagine for a moment you’re out shopping for clothes. Only, at every store you enter, the sizes you need just aren’t there. No matter where you go, it's a struggle to find something that fits. When you do find pieces in your size, they’re dated and touting mysterious price markups. Unfortunately, for the nearly 68% of American women who wear a size 14 or above, this experience is far from uncommon.
Did you know that only 7% of multibrand retailers offer sizes beyond a women’s 12? Many brands are hesitant to make the change, claiming extending into larger sizes is too costly and without sufficient benefit. But with the plus-size market valued at $9.8 billion in 2019 alone and data showing this consumer shops and spends even more than their straight-sized counterparts, brands clinging to traditional sizing stand to be left behind.
So what does the future of sizing look like? According to sources like Retail Dive, “The plus-size era is over before it even began,” and with that in mind, a new and more equitable phase of fashion is now on the rise. More and more consumers—plus-size or otherwise—are buying into the extended size movement. Unlike straight size collections, an extended size approach does not use a set size, say a four, to determine what a size two or even twenty-two will look like. Instead, designers use great care to develop sizes that adapt to fit a range of differently shaped bodies. This nuanced approach has many obvious benefits—body positivity, great design, to name a few. But one often overlooked upside of inclusive sizing is its role in sustainability.
There are so many people out there who want to participate in slow fashion but can’t. Why? Price. Accessibility. And—you guessed it—size. That’s why when slow brands offer extended sizes or other forms of inclusive sizing, it allows this underserved audience to see clothing options outside of popular fast fashion brands. While before, their only thought while shopping might have been, “Can I find my size?”, now they can consider other elements of conscious consumerism, such as ethical standards and material.
At Poplinen, we knew the overall sustainability of our brand wasn’t reliant just on where and how we sourced our fabrics. It was also about opening up the slow fashion space to those who had been historically shut out. Currently, we offer all our garments in sizes XS to 3X and hope to expand this spectrum as our business grows. Our inclusive sizing approach uses two fit models and two unique patterns for each style. We have a fit model for our size Small and a fit model for our size 2X. Using these two sizes gives us a broad enough range to make sure those fits, as well as all sizes in between, are accurate.
On top of our thoughtful design, we also choose to use models of a variety of body types. Because these models are essentially the face of Poplinen, we select womxn who are representative of our customers and can demonstrate the versatility of our pieces across different bodies. And to make sure more of our shoppers can have that “Oh yes!” moment when they get dressed in the morning, a size 3X will never cost more than a size XS. And that’s a promise.
Lastly, we've implemented machine learning software on each of our product pages that serves as a tool to suggest a size from the information you provide about yourself. Click on the button "Not Sure? Find My Size" and a window will pop up with a few prompts. This tool will assist you in finding the best fit with each of our styles based on learned data and our brand size charts.
Inclusive sizing is proving itself to be an essential element of sustainable fashion. Much like circular fashion or upcycling, it’s yet another way slow brands can innovate to make themselves both more efficient and less negatively impactful. At Poplinen, we’re proud to play a role in making slow fashion more accessible and offering a greater number of people the chance to wear clothes that feel great and do good.