Elegance for All: We’re Taking on Plus Size!

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Elegance for All, by ModCloth

One of the longest standing pieces of feedback we’ve received throughout the years has come from our community of plus size shoppers about the lack of items available to them. We’ve always been dedicated to helping women of all shapes and sizes find designs that delight her and make her feel like the best version of herself. However, providing our plus size customers with the best possible product has proven especially difficult in an industry that’s often relegated any woman above a size 14 to dowdy styles and ill-fitting cuts.

The news today, though, is that we’re out to change that. Last week, we announced our pledge to revolutionize the plus size fashion industry. Learn more about how and why we’re doing it — and the amazing pop-up event, Elegance for All, we hosted to kick off the efforts and celebrate our community.

When we started digging into the data and the details about what it was our customer wanted – and how we could best bring it to her – what we found was pretty astonishing:

  • More U.S. women report wearing a size 16 dress than a size 2 and 0 combined.
  • â…“ of U.S. women wear a mix of what is considered standard and plus sizes.
  • 57% of U.S. women wear at least some clothing in sizes 16 and above.

ModCloth is a company centered around its community, and from the start, our plus size shoppers have craved the same great styles that come in ‘regular’ sizes.  So, why now – and not years ago?

“There are unique challenges in producing great clothes for plus size — and we weren’t going to go into plus for the sake of going into plus. We wanted to go into it wholeheartedly and do it right,” VP of Buying and Merchandising Lindsay told the crowd at our roundtable discussion last week, which was attended by prominent members of the blogging and media communities. “What we’re capable of today wasn’t available to us 18 months ago.”

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Plus Size Buyer, Samara, and Head Merchant, Lindsay, hi-five to congratulate the recent success ModCloth’s had in increasing our plus size offering on the site.

In 2012, our Plus Size Buyer, Samara set out to find partners within the design community who could help bring better merchandise to the site. What she found? Of the 1,500 approved vendors we worked with, only 35 were set up and willing to do plus sizes.

We have since grown our plus vendor base to 100 (and growing!), much to the success of developing our own team of in-house designers who are working closely with vendors to specifically tackle the challenges that come with producing great fitting product for plus size customers.

“A lot of vendors will encounter a challenge when trying to design for plus and stop there,” Technical Designer Goretti explained. “You want to feel flawless. You want to put it on, zip it up, and go out and not deal with too large arm holes or restricting fabric. When working with designers, I get to be your advocate to make sure what’s getting made ultimately is amazing — and not letting the limitations of fabric or patterns get in the way.”

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Amanda of In the Thick of It (front) discusses her personal experience finding plus size styles while Jess of The Militant Baker (right) and Jaimielee Velasquez of Hippopotamuslee (left) look on.

During our roundtable discussion, our team of experts dove into all the challenges and triumphs we’ve encountered in the past year as we’ve set out to grow our plus size business, from visiting customer’s homes to tour their closets and learn about what it is  they feel confident or insecure about to building an in-house design team dedicated to taking on the challenges that come with producing great-fitting plus clothing.

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

In addition, bloggers like Jess of The Militant Baker, Gabi Fresh, and Nadia Aboulhoun attended and talked to our team about the unique challenges they’ve faced when looking for items that express their unique style — from having to be extremely creative when it comes to styling or often rigging clothing to get it to fit their unique body shapes. “Plus size women have been rigging our clothing forever, because we have to,” said Jess of The Militant Baker.

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Anxious shoppers began showing up to the pop-up shop two hours before we opened the doors!

As the blogger and media portion of our event wrapped up and our team readied the space, a line began to form to attend our first-ever pop-up shop! The ModCloth team traveled from Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Los Angeles to give customers a hands-on experience, allowing them to shop product featured in a full range of sizes, from XS to 4x.

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Over four hundred people attendees gained a sneak peek at our fall collection, shopped some of our latest styles, mingled with fellow ModLovers, danced to our custom Rdio playlist, shared their ‘fearless fashion moments’, and crafted DIY lace earrings.

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Members of the ModCloth team get set to check out customers at Elegance for All Pop-Up Shop.

Elegance for All by ModCloth

We asked shoppers to share their favorite fearless fashion moments with us – the answers were inspiring and smile-worthy!

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

Elegance for All via ModCloth

Elegance for All via ModCloth

Elegance for All, by ModCloth

To see more of the fabulous fashions seen at Elegance for All, check out the Style Gallery collection, and discover all the amazing plus size styles available for sale on the site.

Elegance for All team, by ModCloth
The ModCloth team, after a long day of set-up, taking a well-deserved photo break.

We’re definitely just starting down this road to make plus size fashions a core part of our business – and always seeking your feedback. As we see it, ModCloth is a constant conversation that we want you to be a part of.

So tell us, what challenges do you face when shopping for plus size? And where would you like to see our next pop-up shop appear?

sarah

About Sarah

Who would have thought the little girl in the oversized Goofy T-shirt would grow up to work in fashion? Definitely not young Sarah; she was too busy singing her heart out to Whitney Houston. Today, her eclectic fashion tastes lean toward purses large enough to stash her latest read, way too high of a heel, and the occasional vintage baseball tee.

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29 Responses to Elegance for All: We’re Taking on Plus Size!

  1. Tracey 06/18/2013 at 7:27 pm #

    I have so much respect for you guys! this is so considerate!!
    T.Size Small

  2. rachaeles 06/18/2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on & press seams open and commented:
    I really like modcloth, I have purchased a few things through their website, and drooled over their styling, but the things I adored were never in my size range. Looks like that’s all about to change!

  3. Libertad 06/19/2013 at 12:54 am #

    I think this is more than great!! I’ve always had lots of problems with my bust (I’m not a plus size but I have to wear it ’cause of that) and I’ve feel over the years that, for society, being a plus size means wear horrible clothes… AND NO, THAT’S NOT TRUE!! there are really amazing plus size girls, beautiful, lovely and with lots of style.
    Seriously, I’m so happy with this; it’s one of the best decisions you’ve ever made for sure… CONGRATULATIONS! *claps*

  4. Brit (ModCloth) 06/19/2013 at 5:34 am #

    Awesome post and an amazing experience!!

  5. Jackie Staten-Hazen 06/19/2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Love the ideas and support of plus size women. I found modcloth doing some research for an outfit for a photo shoot for my engagement pictures. Our theme is Old Hollywood Glam and we dressed in vintage from the 1940′s and wow the pics are great. Thanks to Modcloth I found my skirt which makes the outfit. Feedback from those following our wedding is awesome. As I stated I am a plus size 18 – 20 depending and I typically do not like shopping as I have to take clothes and make them my own because the industry rarely makes clothes that are flattering. Most clothes and many styles always make big girls look sloppy and are unflattering. Over the years I’ve just made purchases that I can alter and add to so they are flattering to my body/shape. I love Modcloth and all that you are doing… keep up the good work. If you are interested in our photos – please let me know and I will share.

  6. Anna 06/20/2013 at 12:07 pm #

    Please do a pop-up shop in Pittsburgh!! Think of all the alliteration that could occur (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Plus, come on!).

  7. Lorie 06/20/2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Hooray for ModCloth! Don’t forget us tall girls (Tall as in 6 glorious feet tall). We can’t ever find clothes that fit. :-)

  8. Rachael 06/20/2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Awesome job guys! I’m also in love with the visible Ink! Yeays all around! <3

  9. Jillers 06/20/2013 at 2:12 pm #

    What an amazing experience, you rock!

  10. stacyla 06/20/2013 at 5:27 pm #

    Reblogged this on Leave all this to yesterday. and commented:
    And since this is a blog about my journey to health, I’m going to reblog this. Being bigger isn’t necessarily unhealthy (nor is being smaller necessarily healthy). I really like ModCloth and over the past few months it seems they’ve had a huge influx of items with a more diverse size range.

  11. Prema 06/20/2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Truly love and admire what ModCloth has done from it’s start to what it has become today. My only comment is… why do so many of the plus size dresses need to be so short? There is nothing flattering about having an extremely short skirt on a plus size body. All bodies are beautiful. Health is beautiful. We must strive to find the balance of promoting healthy living and fine fashions for all. If we only focus on dressing the plus size market is it really to give fashion to all or is it just a lucrative untapped market? Do you want to introduce tons of plus size fashion and not address the health issues of being plus size and the epidemic of obesity? Maybe that is not your role you are only here to server the plus size girl and her lack of choices in fashion. Maybe it need not be addressed directly in your fashion but the back drop to the collection should not only be a celebration with short hemlines as if it is flattering which in almost all cases it is not, but perhaps it could be a more mindful approach to the fashion. It seems to be turning a blind eye to the full consequences of plus size. Which is same blind eye fast food chains turn to what they offer and it’s full consequences. Sorry for the downer. Just something to think about. ModCloth doesn’t want to become another company that only focuses on the dollar.

    • Proud to be me 06/27/2013 at 2:34 pm #

      You state “All bodies are beautiful. Health is beautiful.” and then launch almost immediately into dissing plus size women by stating that we are, by definition, unhealthy. This is not a true statement. It is entirely possible, and often, likely, to be plus sized and very healthy, and thinner is not necessarily healthier. Often it is not. When I was in kidney failure, I weighed 125 pounds. I was “normal” weight, and I was literally dying. I very nearly did die before I got onto dialysis. Now that I have a kidney transplant, I am on steroids every single day to keep it from rejecting, and with steroids comes weight and, especially, out of proportion waistline expansion. I’m a lot healthier at a plus size with a kidney transplant than I ever was at a “normal” weight, looking gaunt, with my hair turned into straw, dying of kidney failure. I’ll take plus sized and healthy, thank you, and tell you to take your shaming attitude someplace else.

    • Victoria 07/03/2013 at 12:18 am #

      ” If we only focus on dressing the plus size market is it really to give fashion to all or is it just a lucrative untapped market.”
      Wow. What a loaded sentence there. SO many things.
      Funny, there is never a question about the focus of fashion when it comes to any other size. Only when the subject of plus size sizing comes up. There is no other segment that that is deleted and dismissed by designers than the plus size. There is no other segment that has to continually ask to be considered by designers.
      You are either wondering (to be polite) or maybe accusing (how it comes across) the intentions of modcloth concerning their declaration of dedication the plus size? Are they going to use the plus size as a trojan horse to the jackpot yet unclaimed?
      This is how much, designers do not want to touch the plus size. They won’t even do it for money. There is a LOT of money to be made creating and manufacturing plus size clothing. LOTS of it. There are a LOT of plus size people. Especially women. They buy clothing just like regular size people. Their money is just as good as the rest. It’s a huge market starving for fashion. They will pay. They are made to pay. On average, the plus size person pays for example, at least $10.00 more for their jeans. It does not cost that much more per jean in fabric and manufacturing. Even though they could first, reap from the size of the segment (you know, population…) they can pull even more in charging the extra. And they STILL won’t design for the plus size.

      “Maybe it need not be addressed directly in your fashion but the back drop to the collection should not only be a celebration with short hemlines as if it is flattering which in almost all cases it is not, but perhaps it could be a more mindful approach to the fashion.”
      Didn’t you read at the top of this page?
      “In 2012, our Plus Size Buyer, Samara set out to find partners within the design community who could help bring better merchandise to the site. What she found? Of the 1,500 approved vendors we worked with, only 35 were set up and willing to do plus sizes.”
      Eeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww. Design for “them”?
      Jeez, why design for plus size people. If they want to wear fashion, then they can just loose enough weight to get into them. If they can’t, then they deserve what little there is to choose from .If they don’t care what they look like (or they wouldn’t be that big, would they…) then why should they get to wear fashion?
      Plus size aren’t the only ones starving for fashion though. There are all those females who literally starve themselves to fit into the worshiped sizes designers design for.
      How about a “mindful” suggestion there. Every designer and store producing anything under size 5 to might want to have a back drop addressing eating and image disorders.

      “short hemlines as if it is flattering which in almost all cases it is not”
      What about, for the most part, leaving the “judgement” of what is flattering or not, what should be worn or not and how, to those choosing for themselves. Especially for plus sizes.
      Plus sizes have an entire industry telling them that how they look is not acceptable.
      We do not like how you look. We do not want to look at you. You should not be showing what we do not want to see.
      I don’t like to look at spinal column bones in peaks and valleys or shoulder blades slicing out of backless tops of very thin women but I don’t expect them to throw on a sweat shirt because I find it un-flattering.”
      I don’t think designing and offering plus size fashion, is going to malign health or encourage unhealth. There are many many many factors that instigate and/or are involved with someone growing into plus sizes. Merely bringing fashion options to plus sizing, is not one.

      • Stephanie 08/08/2013 at 2:27 am #

        “On average, the plus size person pays for example, at least $10.00 more for their jeans. It does not cost that much more per jean in fabric and manufacturing.”

        Practically every comment section on every blog post contains a statement like this belly-aching how plus size clothing costs more which is one of the reasons designers stay away.

        It DOES cost more A LOT more. For many designers fabric account for at least 30% of the garments cost so if you’re using good fabric it adds up.

        That’s why there is so much polyester garbage out there. When it comes down to it a lot of plus size women DO NOT want to spend the $ necessary. Why do you think Saks stopped selling plus sizes in stores? Believe me if it were flying out the door they wouldn’t have stopped. They aren’t embarrassed to have plus size women in their stores.

        I should stop reading articles about plus size clothing because 9 times out of 10 the comments make me embarrassed to be plus sized.

    • Yolanda Mah 07/09/2013 at 10:24 am #

      WOW! You sure are a negative Nellie. As a plus size woman, I know about health, and I am in perfect health ask my doctor. This isn’t about health, it’s about finding clothes that fit. I am not trying to get a lecture. I’ve heard it all before. Stop preaching this isn’t the time nor is it the place for this comment. We are trying to enjoy and commend a truly great company for listening to a plus sized woman’s needs, not get lectured about health.

  12. Bina 06/23/2013 at 6:15 am #

    Hey y’all. I’m a 51 year old woman who is not ready to give up style for size or age. Thanks for expanding your line. Super options for gals like me.

  13. Heather Corrigan Emanuele 06/24/2013 at 10:42 am #

    I attended the pop-up and it was fabulous! I am so glad ModCloth is getting more involved in fixing plus size fashion! Hope to attend a NYC pop-up again!!

  14. pjna3 06/25/2013 at 10:20 pm #

    Women come to Modcloth to buy clothes, not to be scolded for wearing plus sizes. Besides, who says a plus-sized woman is unhealthy or less healthy than a slimmer woman? Should every shop that carries sizes 0-4 be required to lecture their customers on the dangers of anorexia? It’s the same logic!

    And as for short skirts not being flattering on plus sizes? More prejudiced thinking. Some of us have great legs!

  15. Kitaku 06/26/2013 at 1:51 am #

    Plus sized woman are always very much concern about their right fashion. I guess ModCloth coming alive outside will fulfil many of their appetite.
    it is truly a giant step to plus size industry and hope it will rock like nothing else. Hope to get new designs soon,
    Best of luck

  16. Crystal 07/04/2013 at 4:44 pm #

    I’m so proud of you guys for taking on the plus sized industry. Us Plus Sized ladies now have an AMAZING set of fashionable clothing options thanks to you! I wish you much luck and success…though, considering how few options we have, that looks to be inevitable for you!

  17. r4gni 07/11/2013 at 10:42 am #

    Hey, thanks in advance for furthering your efforts in affordabe and chique clothes for us plus-size femmes.

    Jackets! Vests! Blazers! Warm outerwear! Those are really hard to find in plus sizes. Your collection is already pretty great when it comes to dresses and tops. But please consider to offer more chique outer and business-ready wear. Those are really hard to find, and since it is difficult for us plus-size ladies to aquire those, we lose more points in interviews, meetings and everyday work, making it harder to compete and get respect.

    Which we should totally get however we choose to present, but the world being as it is, this lack in presentable chique jackets and pants gives us even more disadvantages adding to fat shaming.

    Thanks for considering this!

    • Victoria 07/20/2013 at 6:35 am #

      I am amazed that SO many people (including Designers) feel that plus size women lack a true fashion sense.
      SO many assumptions about plus size women.
      Note: Can’t we just change this title by the way? What about just “Real Women” or something….do we call sizes 00 – 02 Skullies or Skeleotoids? Do we call their clothing lines Bone Wear?
      Anyway… It’s largely assumed, insinuated, and/or often suggested that Plus size women lack recognition of design, lines, form, fashion, style, classics, tailoring, fabric knowledge…on and on.
      But Oh, we DO! I am heavy now. Previous evolutionary years of my life here were ferried about in some pretty nice configurations. I loved all of those things then. I was unique and creative and was always recognized clothing compositions and got asked to help quite a few other friends male and female too.
      I’m 54 now. I have definitely “fleshed out”. My “load” is definitely wider. It’s a little harder for someone in back of me to see around me. But for God’s sake, I still fit in the lane and I still move. I still have my passion for true fashion and design (not so much trend or items of the moment.
      I have seen, and known many larger women who, are amazing with fashion and design and clothing.
      I think that those who don’t think a larger person can be or is just as passionate about these things, is thinking with their eyes. They don’t see very many larger women dressing as “fashionably” and so assume they don’t know how or don’t care.
      It doesn’t occur to many that larger women do not have the same options, choices, opportunities, collections, etc. available to them. Unless they can seamstress for themselves. I think if you even-ed up the field and larger women had the same available to work with, there would be quite a few Designers, and lots of others in their wake catching waves and waves of awe of the creativity and pure style they might witness and awash in inspiration.
      We can be and have had to be far more creative with far less for a long time. We’re good. It sure seems like we all finally just bursting at the seams to break free and demand, and claim, our fair share of design.
      Yes, I go through a lot of periods just lost in that fluctuation of “Nothing looks good because I am too large….I just can’t find anything to work with…I don’t even want to get dressed…I don’t even want to go…” and other places like that.
      On the other hand, I notice that when I have some options, and can acquire some things, when things they make for regular sizes also have some sizes for me, that when I put something together, and I love it, I feel great in it, it feels like me, expressing me, I don’t feel like I don’t look good because I am too large. I am the same size. I just had some choices, and got to put together something that is ME. Not just wearing what was available for me.
      There are probably SO MANY times, that we just think we don’t look good because, we are our size, when it is the other way around.
      As in the movie Sabrinia, when she says something to Linus like “More isn’t always better, sometimes more, is just more”.
      Sure.
      But having such limited options, you don’t so much choose what to wear, wear what’s available. The clothing industry for so long has thrown the same little bag lunches out to larger sizes while providing buffets for regular sizes and banquets, feasts and courses to the heavens for those under a 6.
      I am not unhealthy. I am not afraid to eat when I want to and dessert is as welcome in my vocabulary as any other word. I am full of life and quite alive in my life. I can do a million things with a paper bag. But my appetite for fashion and design is immense and runs deep. I don’t want the bag lunch. I want the feast and all the trimmings (accessories, shoes, whatnot, eh?).
      I sincerely bless and thank Modcloth for their endeavor and this journey. I love hearing from others like those of you writing in.
      I can just feel everyone’s spirit and expression when they write. We are bursting out of that little bag. I can’t wait to see everything and everyone and what happens with it all!

      • Victoria 07/20/2013 at 6:38 am #

        OIY!!!!!
        Where I wrote:
        It’s largely assumed, insinuated, and/or often suggested that Plus size women lack recognition of design, lines, form, fashion, style, classics, tailoring, fabric knowledge…on and on.
        But Oh, we DO!
        I didn’t mean But we DO as in, I agree that we don’t recognize. I meant that Oh yes we DO! as in, you bettcha we recognize these things!

  18. Alexandra 08/16/2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Baltimore area!!!

  19. Sana Smith 09/06/2013 at 3:47 pm #

    That’s why there is so much polyester garbage out there. When it comes down to it a lot of plus size women DO NOT want to spend the $ necessary. W

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