To say that shopping for clothes as a curvy/heavy/fat/fluffy woman is not always a positive experience is an understatement.
Few stores offer a wide range of sizes, and those that do often move larger sizes to the back of the store, pair them with maternity clothes, stash them away in dark corners, or only sell them online.
Growing up, I often found myself admiring purses and jewelry, not wanting to drag my friends to the part of the store that time forgot just to look for shirts that fit my body.
I’m not alone. Women’s bodies come in all sizes and shapes, and we all want to look our best and feel respected, especially by the companies that make the clothes we wear every single day.
ModCloth has long been a popular shopping choice for larger women, offering a wide range of sizes in trendy and fashionable options that mainstream retailers just didn’t provide.
And now the retail site is taking its dedication to their plus-size consumer base one step further with a truly monumental push for inclusivity.
Yesterday, ModCloth announced that they’re “retiring” the separate “plus-size” categorization for clothing.
They’ll continue to carry a wide range of sizes but are striking the term “plus-size” from their site.
“The shopping experience should be defined by types of clothing, and not by types of bodies,” ModCloth Founder and CEO Susan Gregg Koger told Upworthy.
“If we’re designing the same product for our customer regardless of her size, why are we giving her this kind of segmented and different shopping experience?” Koger told Upworthy.
Kroger points to the ways the body-positive and fat-acceptance movements have worked hard to destigmatize and reclaim the term “plus-size,” and how wonderful that is. In a way, this is their hard work paying off.
The change made perfect sense for the retro, vintage, indie retailer.
When ModCloth’s namesake line debuted in August, the company released every single item in an expanded range of sizes, from XS to 4X. The clothes were featured at their
Fit Shop in San Francisco, and something amazing happened: Friends and family members of all different sizes were shopping together and trying on the same looks.
ModCloth decided to bring this experience to their site so the rest of their customers could take advantage of it.
It also makes business sense, since size 16 and above was ModCloth’s
fastest-growing category in 2014, and women who buy size 16 and above placed 20% more orders on the site.
Instead of “plus,” ModCloth is using the label “extended sizes.”
But the extended sizes don’t end at larger clothes. ModCloth hopes to offer a wider range of sizes in the future, including tall and petite options. The “extended sizes” marker will help shoppers find the fit they’re looking for.
Photo by ModCloth, used with permission.
So far, reactions to the announcement have been mostly positive.
Many customers were pleased with the news and applauded the company for stepping up.
However, not everyone is cheering. Koger acknowledged the personal nature of this change and hopes to address
some of the concerns voiced by ModCloth customers.
The plus-size label “is an issue that a lot of people have a lot of opinions about, so we’re excited to talk about it and be a part of it,” she told Upworthy.
But ModCloth hopes retiring “plus” sends a ripple of change across the fashion industry.
While ModCloth is just one retailer, they’re not alone. In August, actress Melissa McCarthy made headlines when she debuted her clothing line and announced she’s
pushing retailers to ditch their plus-size departments in favor of a more inclusive shopping experience.
For now, ModCloth is hard at work on their ambitious goal, perfectly
articulated on the company blog:
“We want to create the most inclusive, confidence-boosting shopping experience for everyone and every body.”
Get to it, ModCloth. I don’t need any more jewelry.