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While most women’s clothing designer’s sizes top out at a size 12 and the average size for an American woman is a size 16 or larger, there is a need for a fashion reality check. The fashion designers are failing a large percentage of women. Is there hope for the plus size clothes shopper that wants something beautifully designed in their size?
Finding Your Fit
I have been in that uncomfortable position of not finding anything that fits my needs. I needed a robe to wear after swimming at a posh sports club. I am an older lady, I need something modest but stylish. It didn’t exist. All I could find in my size were in polyester fabric and the robes in cotton that were my size looked like a housecoat my grandmother would have worn: wallpaper-like prints and a zipper up the front. I know that the aggravation is real for all women of a certain size and to some extent, a certain age. This was not my first time being frustrated at not being able to find something that was stylish for a plus size.
I know that I am not the only one to feel the burn of embarrassment when I go shopping and can’t find something to fit. The question is, if the average American woman is plus size why do fashion designers ignore the plus size demographic?
Tim Gunn, fashion guru wrote in a Washington Post Article on the fashion industry’s failure to make clothes that fit American women.
“This is a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be re-conceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.”
While fashion designers continue to design for smaller sizes, entrepreneurs like my sisters and I have recognized that women of all sizes want to look their best. Our patterns are thoughtfully designed with larger sizes that are proportioned not just “sized up”. There is hope for the plus sized shopper thanks to some web innovation.
Online shopping stylists, Online Plus Size Resale and A Good Tailor
Stitch Fix eliminates the search for clothing by sending you clothing options and allows you to ‘try before you buy’. The $20 styling fee is credited to your first purchase. This has a couple of benefits. After answering some questions to determine your size and style their stylist sends you options based on your responses. The selections are sent to you. You try on the items in your own home, eliminating any public embarrassment over the lack of clothes in your size or not finding anything you like. It’s a time saver and you can return any items you don’t want within 3 days in a prepaid shipper. If you prefer a budget option, the online consignment website, Resell XL offers designer labels in women’s sizes. However, this site doesn’t allow returns. Lastly, but most importantly, find a good tailor. Often a good tailor can alter an outfit to make it fit you. Tailors can work wonders but, cannot work miracles. A tailor can make better alterations if the item is a little too big rather than two sizes too small. Never underestimate the value of a good tailor.
There are more choices in plus size clothing. In addition to Lane Bryant, Torrid and Elloquii have expanded the plus size clothing market. There is hope for the plus sized shopper! We believe that when you wear something that fits you and looks beautiful it makes you feel beautiful.
Our Easy 5 Steps to a Custom Kimono Robe is a synthesis of a good tailor and proportional design. If you’re a hard to fit size we can work with you on tailoring a kimono robe to fit you!
The Creative Graces from 3 Graces Design Studio recently visited the “Kimono Refashioned” exhibit at the Asian Museum in San Francisco. The exhibit inspired us to design a ‘streetwear’ kimono for a new product line. This tunic length kimono is short enough to wear over jeans or slacks.
Cassandra Carpenter is the pattern designer for 3 Graces Design Studio. When designing a new pattern, Cass uses her extensive costume library to look for elements she wants to incorporate into the design. This phase requires extensive research and sketching out of ideas. It may take several sketches to determine the best combination of design elements before deciding to make a ‘mock-up’ of the final sketch. Once this phase of the design is complete and the mock up is made changes to length, or sleeve cut will be made for a prototype pattern. In our next segment we will show photos of the prototypes and the design sketches. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to get the latest updates!