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Plus Size Clothing

For decades, retailers have treated women who wear plus sizes as an entirely different species of shopper. There was even a special set of rules for selling to them: Avoid bright colors. Never do horizontal stripes.

According to Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for research firm NPD Group, “It made sense way back when, when those rules may have been applicable, to [have] a separate line or a separate department or a separate store for the plus-size consumer. Today, that’s not true anymore.”

Yet despite the push to move plus size into the mainstream, the market remains under-served. While an estimated 67% of American women are size 14 or larger, NPD reports that in 2015 sales of plus-sized clothing accounted for just 17% of the U.S. women’s apparel market overall.

According to plus size supermodel, Liis Windischmann, "Beauty is situated in different sizes. We need to quit defining girls by size and accept that beauty comes in all sorts".

It seems, at times, that the fashion industry really believes all women are the size of those skinny models on the runways. But almost half the women in this country are size 12 or larger, and finally the clothing industry is taking note.

"Retailers are now saying they have to find ways to grow," said fashion reporter Teri Agins. "And this is an irresistible market for them to tap into."