What is Plus Size Clothing? The Stitch Fix Approach


Picture this—you’re strolling through a museum and a striking Renaissance painting of a plus-size woman catches your eye. Masters of such works had everyone crushing on the beauty of the curvy female form. In the 21st century, we’re experiencing another rebirth—embracing individual beauty of all shapes—and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Stitch Fix answered the call by launching plus-size clothing with a mix of exclusive styles and established brands. Our goal? To reach more clients in service of helping them find looks they love. 

What exactly is “plus-size,” you ask? We have you covered in that department. Settle in as we break down the basics of plus-size apparel. Stitch Fix finds your best fit and style by taking on the plus world in a new way.

Stitch Fix model wearing red henley top with jeans and leopard-print flats standing in front of window, plant and picture.

What is considered plus-size?

Did you know the average woman is a size 16-18? Plus-size clothing plays a major role in retail today and brings often-ignored sizes into the fashion fold. In the 1920s, Lane Bryant advertised the first plus-size clothing called “slenderizing” clothes. Plus-size offerings have evolved over the past 100 years. Trend and style are now at the forefront instead of a pure focus on functionality. It-girls, such as supermodel Ashley Graham, influencer Tess Holliday and superstar Lizzo, are championing inclusivity, and we’re here for it. Keep reading to dive into more details about what makes plus-size clothing unique.

What is the difference between plus-size clothing and straight-size clothing?

Many women don’t actually know their correct clothing size, and moving from straight sizes to plus sizes has no concrete roadmap. An XXL in straight sizes doesn’t equate to a 1X or a 2X, and even when you opt for plus sizes, no brand is the same. How many times have you asked yourself this question—What size am I? Plus-size clothing is generally considered a women’s size 18 and beyond. “Missy” or “straight” sizes range from 00–16/18, XXS–XXL whereas plus sizes range from 12W–28W, 0X–4X and greater. 

You might think plus sizes are just extended straight sizes, but guess again. Plus-size clothing is cut differently to flatter your figure and created specifically for the plus-size body. The bones and muscles of women are essentially the same, but our overall shape can change as we grow. As shoulders round out and fill in, the torso may extend in the front. Hips and thighs may also get fuller. For this reason, plus sizes are cut from an entirely different standard pattern than straight sizes. Are you as fascinated as us?

How are plus-size clothing patterns cut?

Let’s take a minute to explore patternmaking and standard patterns. A standard garment pattern creates one particular size. Other sizes are then cut by moving up or down based on specific measurements. This movement from one size to another is called grading the pattern. Plus-size clothing is cut with your curves and shaping in mind. Patterns add fullness in the bust, upper arm and torso. This is why a straight XXL is not the same fit as a 2X in plus size. While sizes by brand can vary slightly, these considerations are often the principle upon which most plus-size clothing is created.

Stitch Fix model wearing plus-size clothing featuring orange cowl neck sweater, abstract printed midi skirt with taupe boots.

Plus-Size Clothing at Stitch Fix 

At Stitch Fix, our plus-size clothing is all about form-flattering looks that highlight your curves. We look at shape and body measurements to continually adjust and improve our pattern shaping to deliver the right fit. What sets us apart? We listen. We learn. Most importantly, we take your feedback seriously, using technical expertise, data and real-time responses from our clients. This feedback builds the products we create. We ensure inclusivity by perfecting fit across all of our sizes. That’s right, we have done our homework so you can flaunt your best features in style.

When launching our plus business in 2017, we carried over 90 brands and have now surpassed 130 brands. But we aren’t stopping there. We are actively growing our plus-size clothing range in service of our clients. Our styles run from 14W–24W and 1X–3X to help you emphasize your best assets.

Feeling confident and stylish in the same on-trend pieces as your straight-sized friends is a reality at Stitch Fix. We aim for inclusivity—all sizes, all styles. Our goal is to have our clients’ favorite pieces accessible across all sizes, from 00–24W. You can look and feel your best with seasonal must-haves tailored just for you. Our plus-size clothing is designed to empower all women regardless of size to appreciate their beauty and truly celebrate themselves. 

Stitch Fix model wearing plus-size clothing featuring black floral wrap blouse with tie-sleeve details and blue jeans.

Plus-Size Clothing: Quality and Fit with Stitch Fix

Let’s get technical! Stitch Fix is all about quality and comfort. Did you know that we have a specialty team dedicated to this work? Our technical design team leverages their plus-fit expertise to innovate creative solutions for our clients. With the right shaping, we found the science behind perfecting fit while complementing your silhouette. At Stitch Fix, we use plus dress forms, as well as live models. Our plus-size clothing is designed and tailored around movement.

Stitch Fix uses real people to test fit across sizes and client feedback influences the way we grade our plus-size clothing. Using live models helps us fine-tune the design aesthetic and ensures the garment has movement and ease for all-day comfort. We develop our garments by focusing on where the body shifts and expands as it moves without distortion. Simply grading up from straight sizes warps garments and doesn’t allow for a true plus-size fit. Armholes become misshapen, shoulders can be too wide, the bust can feel too tight and sleeves can be too long. Starting with a new plus-standard pattern creates a better fit. At Stitch Fix, we are shaping a body versus looking at it as a mathematical equation.

Stitch Fix Plus-Size Clothing Brand Focus

As many retailers downtrend their plus-size clothing assortment, we are dedicated to improving and highlighting plus sizing more than ever before. We use a separate body standard with our Stitch Fix exclusive brands. These brands, only available at Stitch Fix, take into account body shape and proportions. Stitch Fix makes 50% of our plus-size brands with this fit focus in mind. Market & Spruce and 41 Hawthorn are two of our client favorites. Could they be yours, too? 

We are elevating our partnerships with new and noteworthy brands to be size-inclusive. Our collaboration with our vendors ensures that we’re delivering the best fit for every size without sacrificing quality. We work with brands that are adding plus sizes for the first time—helping to grow the market. We also carry established plus-size brands, such as Slink Jeans and City Chic, who are just as passionate about size-inclusivity as we are. Discover serious new styles in your next Fix that catch your eye to add a rocking new look. 

Plus-Size Clothing: Ready for Anything 

Finding stylish, flattering pieces for every occasion is an easy task when you know which cuts and silhouettes to look for. At Stitch Fix, we stand behind size-inclusivity for all categories and we proudly offer a variety of options for every style, shape and budget. Our plus-size clothing is designed to take you from the office to the gym, and everywhere in between. Read on for some of our wardrobe essentials to stock in your closet.

Sporty Activewear and Leisurely Loungewear

Jump on the latest and greatest activewear trends to amp up your fashion game. Our trendy plus-size activewear pieces help you work out in style. From matching sets and neutrals to vibrant colors and conversational prints, we’ve got something for everyone. Show off your waistline by styling biker shorts or printed leggings with cropped tops to embrace the trend that’s on fire this season. With comfort, function and performance in mind, we carry compression fabrics with sturdy seams for durability. Four-way stretch accommodates extra movement while taking a spin on your Peloton or holding steady at a barre class. Keep an eye out for fitness fabrics with anti-odor, moisture-wicking, quick-drying and SPF capabilities when working up a sweat. 

Embracing chill nights at home? Get the popcorn ready and elevate your loungewear look with a range of soft essentials. When cuddling on the sofa for movie nights, wear plus-size joggers and a silky cami. Feeling adventurous? Spice up your look with a bright jumpsuit or stick to a casually chic neutral as an all-in-one outfit. During the warmer months, try matching tie-dye sets for a fashion-forward flair. We specifically design our active gear and loungewear options with your proportions in mind. Are you ready to sport these plus-size clothing style trends? 

Easy Everyday and Weekend Casual

The idea of relaxed, everyday wear can vary greatly, spanning from a weekend uniform of jeans and T-shirts to knit dresses. No matter your style, we have plus-size clothing that is laid-back and put-together—even for a quick trip to the grocery store. 

There’s nothing better than having a pair of well-fitting jeans in your closet. Who’s with us? Regardless of popular debate, a skinny jean is a timeless classic and fabulous plus-size jean option. Styling them with a looser, billowy blouse on top (bonus points for a puff sleeve) adds shape to your weekday wardrobe. Ready to branch out? Try a bootcut or flare silhouette for an on-trend denim update. Sticking to slim-fitting tops or a trending bodysuit creates a balanced look. 

Summertime calls for swapping your denim for seasonal capris or cuffed shorts. Experiment with color and shorter inseams for a step outside your comfort zone. White pants (yes, even after Labor Day) pair easily with tops of all colors and prints. Casual weekends beg for dresses and jumpsuits that are instant outfits. Rocking a maxi dress in a wrap or belted style creates a defined waist that is sure to fit and flatter. Don’t let this plus-size clothing trend pass you by, especially if it will take the stress out of getting dressed.  

Polished and Professional Plus-Size Clothing

Break the rules. Workwear doesn’t have to be boring. From the boardroom to the classroom, a great-fitting outfit is key to feeling confident at the workplace. Stitch Fix has a variety of plus-size clothing options to strike the perfect balance between classic and on-trend separates. 

A knee-length silhouette for skirts and dresses is a universally flattering hemline. Fun fact: it elongates your best assets and balances the body proportions. If pants are more your style, a polished pair of classic black trousers is a versatile staple for your workwear rotation. Make power moves in bootcut or straight-leg pants that are easy to mix and match with all of your tops. 

When it comes to layers, you can’t go wrong with a tailored blazer for your nine-to-five. Opt for a style with stretch in the fabric for limitless movement and comfort throughout the day. The same applies to blouses and button-downs. At Stitch Fix, what sets our plus-size clothing apart is our attention to design details that create shape, like darts and ruching. 

Embellish and Elevate your Accessories

Accessories add personality to your outfit and express your unique personal style. From statement earrings to carryall bags, Stitch Fix offers the perfect finishing touch to your plus-size clothing. Look for beaded bracelets that have stretch and layered pendant necklaces with adjustable lengths for a customized fit. A leather tote keeps you organized for the office while a backpack is a great way to stay hands-free.

As the old saying goes, shoes can really make or break your outfit. Chic, square-toe heels have you stepping out in style while lace-up sneakers keep you light on your feet. A neutral ankle bootie is a year-round staple and easily transitions from jeans to summer dresses. Try a pair with ruffle trim or exposed zippers to add interest. Wide-fit shoes provide extra comfort for all-day adventures. For us, it’s all about the small details that pay off big when it comes to topping off your look.

Our stylists are trained experts in plus and ready to serve your style needs. Even better, our clothing is designed with our plus clientele in mind—from fit considerations to technical advancements—we’ve got you covered. Take your style quiz and when filling out a profile, give all the details. Order your first Fix and receive five items that you can try on comfortably at home. Shipping and returns are always free. Now that you’ve got the scoop, are you ready to schedule a plus-size clothing Fix?

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