What Are the Different Types of plus Size Apparel?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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Different types of plus size apparel include apparel for each gender, special sizing within plus size apparel ranges, as well as plus size footwear. Plus size clothing is available for both men and women though different descriptors may be used depending on both the retailer offering the clothing, the manufacturer's preferences and the area in which the apparel is sold. Special sizes exist to address the needs of those who need plus sizes who are taller or shorter than average, or for individuals who are very large. In some cases, individuals who wear plus size clothing have special footwear needs which can be addressed through wide width shoes and boots.

Retailers and clothing manufacturers will sometimes use different language to describe their plus size lines. For example, some lines of women's clothing may offer “women's sizing” in which the proportions of plus size apparel differ from standard clothing lines not only in size but in fit. Men's plus size apparel may be sold under the moniker of “big and tall” men's sizing.

Some lines offer both petite and tall sizes in their plus size apparel ranges. The special sizing allows women who are under 5'4" (162.5 cm) or taller than 5'7" (170.1 cm) in height to select clothing that fits them. Similar sizing options may also be available for men. In some cases, these special sizes may be more readily available online or in catalogs as opposed to retail stores.


In cases where an individual is very large, they may find that, as it is with clothing for tall or short people, it is easier to find clothing in extra large sizes online or through a catalog. Some shops might carry some of these sizes, however, so it can pay to call ahead and ask if a particular size is in stock. Still, a brick and mortar store may not offer the same range of styles as is available online.

For individuals with large or wide feet and calves, plus size footwear can be a huge help. Typically, the footwear sold in plus size stores comes in wide widths. Plus size boots may also be wider in the calf or ankle in order to accommodate larger legs. Not all individuals who wear plus size apparel necessarily need specialized footwear, so it is a good idea for these people to try on footwear offered in shops before making a purchase as the shoes may simply be too wide for their feet.


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Post 3

@Fa5t3r - I find the same problem with larger shoe sizes. It seems like, even if the store carries larger sizes they are almost always sold out.

To me, that's ridiculous. Obviously it shows there is a demand for larger sizes, so why not cater to that demand?

Post 2

@clintflint - I read a blog post the other day which pointed out that people put way too much stock in arbitrary sizes. I even find the idea of plus size apparel kind of insulting. There is no real average size, everyone is different.

The blog post talked about how the author had never realized how good she could look in "skinny" jeans and how she had always tried to squeeze into a small size, because she hated thinking of herself as a 16 or whatever the size was. It was only once she decided she was going to ignore the number and just use whatever looked good without assigning a moral value to it, that she realized that she could

completely rock skinny jeans when they fit her properly.

The other big problem is that there are very few trendy plus size apparel options available. It particularly annoys me because I want to give people my money. If they would only provide me with decent clothes, they could have it, but hardly anyone is doing it.

Post 1

I find it really annoying that the apparel industry has no plus size or even average size standards when it comes to labeling their clothes. The stores can basically label their clothes whatever they want, and it's up to the consumer to figure out what the sizes mean.

So a person can be an extra large in one store and a medium in another. And often they do it on purpose, making their medium size bigger than other places so that people will feel flattered and want to buy from that store.

It makes it extremely difficult to buy clothes from online retailers and confusing and depressing even when you can try things on.

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