Do You Have Fit Issues With Plus-Size Clothing?

Posted by baker miller

plus-size clothing fit

Have you ever wondered why much of the available plus-size clothing doesn’t fit well?

The grading process, discussed in our last blog post, is one reason that plus-size clothing has traditionally fit so poorly.

The issue is how many clothing companies create their range of sizes - they use a single fit model and a formula to grade up and down based on that person’s measurements.

For example, a women’s clothing brand will find a fit model it likes and creates its size 6 based on her measurements.

Then in grading, they will use software to mathematically scale the dimensions up or down for the other sizes.

For each increase in size, they might add 1-inch around certain areas to make bigger sizes (each company has its own rules for how its clothes change from size to size).

This kind of grading at larger sizes, in particular, could result in tops that are too small in the bust or certain details like lengths, pockets, and seams that are not in proportion.

This method can work well for sizes close to the fit model’s, but less so as the sizes move away. Human bodies generally don’t scale up in proportion with each increase in size. While there certainly is some variance between a size 2 and size 6, those two sizes are relatively close.

However, there are more significant differences between a size 6 and 16 as the curves of the body change. The body changes dramatically from size to size, especially in the plus-size range, and the grading rules used for straight sizes don’t necessarily apply.

Designers try to “grade up” from a size 6 to plus sizes is why many plus-size clothes fit so poorly. According to Mark-Evan Blackman, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, “When certain size ranges are chronically not fitting well,” he says, “it’s because they’re not being fit and are being mathematically graded up.”

Brands focused on plus-size clothes will typically hire a size 18 professional fit model for fittings and grade its other sizes based on her measurements. We at baker miller hired a size 18-20 fit model to fit test all of our dresses. We did several rounds of sampling, with our model trying our garments on each time and giving us detailed feedback before we felt that the fit and the fabric were perfect and ready for production.

We also had non-models, women of different sizes and shapes, try our dresses and give us more general fit comments. This gave us additional perspective on fit and understanding the changes we needed to make.

baker miller contemporary plus-size dresses

Shop chic and comfortable dresses from baker miller here

But other clothing brands that have traditionally focused on standard-sized clothing and now offering sizes above 16 may still be basing the measurements on that size 6 model.

Hopefully, as the plus-size market continues to grow, clothing brands considering or offering above size 16 will fit specific to a different body type. When it comes to plus-size, a size 6 fit model does not work for all sizes. You cannot grade your way into plus.

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