The term plus size is often hit by negative backlash, with many members of the community not wanting to define themselves in terms of their size. Meanwhile many others think of the term in a positive light, making it easier to find clothes that fit and at the same time creating a community of support. Brands like Navabi and Evans are focused entirely on plus size fashion, and recent research has found some surprising reactions by their customers to these terms and how plus size women are represented in the industry.
How do women feel about the term “plus size”?
According to a survey by plus size fashion retailer navabi.co.uk, ⅓ of women felt that the term ‘plus size’ means bigger than average (even though size 16, the typical starting point for plus sizes, is now the UK national average size.
What was pleasantly surprising is that none of those women surveyed felt that the term plus size was discriminatory or negative, and only 4% associated it with being overweight.
A more body positive image
The stand out statistic from this survey was that a large majority of the women asked (71%) said that they were confident or accepting of their shape and appearance. YES! We love this as it effectively knocks back the stereotype that all plus size women are desperate to lose weight.
Poor representation in the media
While the women surveyed were quite positive about themselves, a majority were less than positive about the representation of women in the media and fashion industries. Three quarters said that there were not enough plus size fashion choices available to them, and many cited selection as the most important factor they considered when shopping at navabi.
While the fashion industry was slammed for not catering for plus size shoppers on the high street, it was the media that received the harshest criticism, with 95% saying that it does not fairly represent plus size women. With 42% of women feeling that better representation would make them feel more confident, navabi buying director Cheryl Coucher feels that this is something that brands should consider.
“Plus size women want and deserve the same fashion choices that other women enjoy. That’s why we have built the world’s biggest selection of plus size styles and brands. But many brands that we would love to stock and our customers would love to buy still do not produce plus sizes, we hope this survey will encourage a rethink.”
Fashion that doesn’t fit
So we know that plus size women are not really well catered for, especially when it comes to high street shopping. But even when they can find store that stock larger sizes, those size are frustratingly inconsistent. Research carried out on behalf of Evans has revealed some shocking statistics when it comes to finding the perfect pair of plus size jeans:
- One in five British women still haven’t found their perfect pair of jeans
- The average British woman will purchase around two pairs of jeans each year, but throws away the same amount because they don’t fit
- One in five British women have got stuck in clothes they were trying on in store
- More than one in ten have fallen over while trying clothes on in a changing room
- And with nearly one in ten British women having to try on more than five pairs of jeans before they buy; and 48% of these women being left frustrated by the fitting room drama
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