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Modcloth retires term “plus size,” shows how to be inclusive (and make money)

Fashion should be size-exclusive which is why slowly but surely more and more retailers are making the category of “Plus-size” a thing of the past


Fashion trends: One category fits all

I think what Modcloth recently did may be a potential template for other clothing retailers to consider. Just what did ModCloth do? The short version is they recently integrated their “Plus size” category into all their other clothing.  In other words, on the Modcloth website, there is no longer a stand-alone category for Plus Size. To quote the MC website, “…we could all agree that shopping categories should be defined by types of clothing, not types of bodies.” Bravo! Someone finally gets it!


Just another size

Ultimately ModCloth came up with the term “Extended Sizes” as an all-encompassing concept that could, in the future, also contain XXS, petite, tall, and other various sizing extensions beyond the standard range. It’s another step towards size-and-body-inclusivity.

Like I said, what ModCloth did possibly went unheralded, but I think it’s still just as timely now. In recent weeks we’ve seen Sports Illustrated welcome a variety of models into their Swimsuit Issue while at the other end of the spectrum, Forever 21 got hammered for using non-plus sized models to demo their plus size line.

Bad for business

In the bigger scheme of things the term “Plus Size” is an outdated retail concept.

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Case in point: Actress Melissa McCarthy, herself a woman of substance and also the head of her own line of clothing which runs in Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, HSN and Lane Bryant, has not held back regarding the ridiculousness of the plus size section saying in a recent interview, “Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus-size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, “You’re not really worthy.”

McCarthy said she also finds it very bad business, adding, “It doesn’t make a lot of sense numbers-wise. It’s like, if you open a restaurant and you say, “We’re primarily gonna serve people that don’t eat.”

Baby steps

Fashion, like art or music, should be accessible to everyone regardless of height, weight or the color of their eyes. Sometimes the greatest change occurs with the smallest of steps but the change is happening.


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Written By

Nearly three decades living and working all over the world as a radio and television broadcast journalist in the United States Air Force, Staff Writer, Gary Picariello is now retired from the military and is focused on his writing career.



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