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A brief history of Plus Size clothing

January 28, 2020 2 min read

Plus Size Clothing Advertisement in the 1920's

It may seem like the term plus size clothing has been around forever but that is not the case. The term first started being used in the 1920's in America. A company by the name of Lane Bryant widely popularized the term in their department store by advertising "Misses Plus Sizes" clothing which was strictly women's clothing offered in larger sizes marketed towards expecting mothers.
It was not to long after, that the company started promoting these larger articles of women's clothing as simply "plus sizes". By the 1930's plus size clothing for women had transcended Lane Bryant and started to be picked up by a variety of other department stores.
Originally these stores planned on just marketing toward pregnant women with their selection of "plus size" coats and dresses. The marketing was rather generic though and lacked the connection it needed for it’s target audience. That was until 1953 when a company by the name of Korell advertised in a local print ad clothing for "plus size women".
The major plus size fashion revolution occurred from 1977 – 1998 in the United States. The younger baby boomer generation were coming of age and for those two decades the plus size industry would prosper with exponential growth. Many fashion brands would take the forefront at this time including high end plus size clothing brands like Marina Rinaldi which were started in the 1980’s.
Fast forward to the 2000’s and plus size clothing is now bigger then ever. All the big brands have hopped on board catering to the bigger, curvy, natural figures of the typical North American women. Brands like Lane Bryant are still thriving till this day.
Although the market has been growing exponentially since the early 2000's the fashion in plus size fashion was still being ignored. A lot of the women's plus size clothing were in the form of shapeless kaftans like that of a bed sheet. That has all been coming to an end though.
The body-positive movement has been full force over the last decade and thanks to influencers and models like Ashley Graham plus size clothing has finally began to take shape (pun intended).
Still, brands have been all over the map with their strategy to market their plus size fashion. Some big brands have gone with a boutique feel, while other brands have dropped the term "plus size" altogether. Many plus size women prefer to do their shopping online but plus size department stores have been picking up momentum over the years with many big companies expanding their department stores across North America. Pioneers paved the way for Canadian companies like Precise Plus Sizeand many other smaller brands expanding into Canada and other eastern countries.
One thing that is for sure is that women who are a size 14 and above have a plethora of choices to choose from compared to the 1920's but there is still lots of work to be done.

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