The Buyer’s Guide to the Plus Size Fashion Market
It’s 2018. The world is finally turning its back on high-fashion fads from decades gone by, jutting hip bones and thigh gaps. Research from The NPD Group shows that the plus size apparel market generated $17.5 billion in sales between May 2013 and April 2014, up 5% from the prior year. Real women’s real bodies are being celebrated — and we can’t be more excited.
You know that plus size women have just as much of a style range, wants and needs. But because plus size fashion wasn’t on the runways and in the magazines for so long, knowing which brands to buy for your store can be tricky and intimidating.
Here are 5 truths you need to know about purchasing and displaying plus-size clothing.
1. Invest in curvy mannequins
Just as you would for your size 5 denim and size small tank tops, show your plus size stock on your in-store displays. And don’t just put them in your plus section. Sprinkle them through out your store and in the front window to entice your fabulous, full-bodied demographic. The average shopper enjoys seeing how the clothes look on a real body instead of on a hanger, and envisioning waering an outfit on their own curves will make them much more likely to find a piece and take it to the register.
2. Go straight for the trends
According to the LA Times, plus size women run for the trendier styles and they sell very well. With the resurgence of women being proud of their healthy bodies, ladies who fall into the plus category are making fashion statements and heads turn. The way to a fashion-forward woman’s heart is offering a wide range of in-right-now pieces, showing how to pair them with always-in basics, and visually merchandising them well. Need a trend refresh? Check out our blog post on the hottest trends of spring 2018 and beyond.
3. Don’t forget about the basics
Your repeat customers are going to return when they spill red wine on their go-to white tee and come back for a visit after realizing a brand of denim you carry fits them like a glove. The same goes for your plus size market! Carry essentials you know they’ll love to incorporate into their closet — especially if they’re going for a capsule wardrobe approach — think tees in many colors and necklines, denim in a variety of washes and versatile accessories.
4. Don’t forget to buy for your other demographics
If you carry juniors styles too, don’t forget about your younger audience! The NPD Group also taught us that American teens are purchasing less from the juniors section (down from 81% in 2012 to 73% in 2015), and much more in the plus realm. Teenagers have different body types too, and are looking to keep up with the trends as well as stock up on basics they’ll reach for again and again. So when you’re shopping with your favorite clothing wholesale store, be sure to grab pieces that your younger audience will go gaga for.
5. Show women other women who look like them
If you use photography displays with live models, use plus size women. If a shopper comes into your store and the walls are plastered with lifestyle photography of size 0 models in bikinis on boats, they’re not going to think your inventory is for them — and they’re going to show themselves to the door. Instead, use a variety of models in your photography (whether it’s stock images, shot in house or bought from a third party) and remember to always keep your marketing imagery on-brand.
Do you carry plus size clothing in your store? If so, what styles sell well? Let us know in the comments below!