Implementing Universal Size and Fit Options for Your Clothing Business
Size and Fit for All - Guest Post by Jamie Benjamin
It’s no secret that the fashion industry has an unhealthy relationship with skinny sizes, particularly when it comes to women. Despite the average consumer’s clothing size being much larger than what most fashion brands are producing, smaller sizes continue to dominate the market from every angle.
Fortunately, times are changing. Fashion brands are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of implementing universal sizes, and making themselves more inclusive towards differently-sized bodies.
But inclusivity is about so much more than the size options you can choose online or off the rack.
It’s about rethinking the way we approach size as a society and finding fresh ways to incorporate a wider range of clothing size options for everyone, regardless of weight, height, gender, or skin tone.
In this article, we’ll look through some innovative ways your clothing business can make itself more inclusive towards the full spectrum of body sizes. All without compromising on your brand’s unique style or identity.
Reconsidering Size Metrics
If you’re looking for simple ways to implement universal sizes in your clothing business, reassessing your size metrics is a fantastic place to start.
Many of us can relate to a time we tried on an item listed as a regular or large, only to discover it was way too tight and uncomfortable to fit that description.
This pattern of labeling clothes as larger than they are in reality is not only false advertising. It can also seriously warp customers’ perception of self-image.
Instead of copying the size metrics of popular brands (who are most often the culprits behind this trend), try to rethink the way you categorize sizes and see what can be done to make them more truthful and inclusive.
Creating Welcoming Retail Atmospheres
When it comes to the fashion industry, it’s not just clothing sizes that need adjustment.
Retail environments can be a nightmare for people with average or bigger bodies, which is why so many people prefer to shop online. But it’s not hard to make retail more welcoming for everyone.
One of the biggest gripes consumers have with retail stores in the fashion industry is the lack of items available in larger sizes. Even if a brand claims they accommodate all sizes, it’ll often only have stock in smaller ones, making it hard for those with different body sizes to shop comfortably.
There’s a simple and obvious solution to this: stock a wider variety of sizes.
Another way to make your retail environment more inclusive is to put your staff members through body positivity training. A good example is Athleta, a recent activewear range from Gap Inc that made body positivity training mandatory for all staff.
This kind of training could include things like learning more inclusive language to use with customers, restocking clothing rails to ensure a range of sizes are available, and monitoring social media accounts in order to promote a more diverse, accepting and inclusive brand identity.
Taking A More Sensitive Approach To Marketing
Marketing and advertising obviously play a huge role in how consumers relate to your brand. In order to connect with your audience, your brand needs to encourage a wide range of people to see themselves wearing your clothes, no matter what size bracket they fit into.
The choice of models you use to advocate your brand is a great place to begin. Instead of just opting for younger, thinner bodies, get all types of body shapes and colors to wear your brand openly. This will open your brand up to a wider market and encourage consumers to want to buy your products.
Choice of language is also important. For instance, when you use words like “slimming”, you are sending a message that being slim is the ultimate goal.
When developing copy, blog content, marketing campaigns, or even social media captions, consider the language you’re using to promote your clothes. Even when selling basic wardrobe items like T-shirts, encourage your consumers to celebrate the natural shape of their bodies and express themselves through using different textures, colors, and layers
Moving Away From The Term “Plus Size”
When you use the term “plus size” you indicate that there is a standard people with bigger bodies are not meeting. “Plus” what, exactly? Normalcy? Because big bodies are normal. All bodies are.
To put things into perspective, plus sizes began at size 16 in the 1980s. 40 years later in 2023, plus sizes begin at size 8. Over time, our collective perception of what is considered “normal” or “regular” for women’s bodies has literally shrunk by half. And that’s all down to toxic trends and societal norms.
Don’t alienate your consumers by using the term “plus size” to label everything over a size 2. We need to move on from this isolating, inaccurate term and into a more inclusive territory.
Inclusivity From The Ground Up
The best way to start shifting the narrative around size inclusivity in fashion is to start from the ground up. Instead of just featuring people of different body sizes in your marketing campaigns, take a look at your staff and see what can be done to make it more diverse and inclusive.
From clothing size to race to gender expression, it’s high time we saw more representation for a wider demographic of bodies.
Stylish In Every Size
Style is not a size and it’s not something that should ever get compromised in your brand.
Changing the way a global society thinks about body image is not something that happens overnight. It’s going to be a long process that requires constant effort from consumers and clothing brands alike.
But it’s also important to recognize how far we’ve come in the past few years. Trends are changing all the time. There’s been a great disruption in the narrative around one body size being more important than the other. Now, we can celebrate the new landscape we’re cultivating as a society that embraces everyone, regardless of how we look.
Millions of clothing brands have already started adding more inclusive sizes to their racks and adopting a healthier mentality about body size that is leaps and bounds from where we once were. Let’s keep it up.