If you want to grow your online plus-size clothing business, you might as well take a page from some of the big name retailers in your industry.
Because, as you may know already, your store can offer the best discounts and trendiest products, but without essentials like a shopper-friendly store, a unique selling proposition and a strong marketing strategy, your audience won’t see and buy what you’re selling.
Today, we will look at 12 successful stores in the plus-size fashion niche and discuss their most impressive elements – tactics that distinguish them from the competition and contribute to their success.
So, if you want to learn how top plus-size clothing stores market their products, acquire customers and drive sales, stay put and keep reading because this post is for you.
Understanding Plus-Size Clothing
Before we talk about the leading plus-size fashion brands, let’s take a minute to understand the meaning of plus-size clothing.
What Is Plus-size Clothing Anyway?
Plus-size clothing refers to clothes designed to fit a woman with a larger-than-average body.
As the application of the term varies by brand and country, buyers are advised to know their measurements, learn their country’s sizing conventions, and cross-check a garment’s measurements (think bust, hip and waist) against theirs to prevent any mismatches.
What’s The Difference Between Straight Size, Extended Size & Plus-size?
In the fashion industry, women’s clothing is most commonly graded into three categories – straight, plus, and extended sizes. According to Dia & Co, straight sizes are sizes small (S) through large (L) for women, or sizes 4-14.
Extended sizes are enlarged sizes built from the base pattern of straight sizes, which are the most commonly used size mediums.
Designers take a straight size and adjust the measurements by a few inches to fit smaller or larger people. Examples of extended sizes are XXS (Extra Extra Small), XS (Extra Small), XXL (Extra Extra Large) and XL (Extra Large).
As extended sizes are based on straight sizes, they feature similar hip-to-waist ratios, even though they may not be fitting for large bodies. Plus sizes, on the other hand, account for a fuller waist, which is a more common feature in plus-size body types.
Plus sizes are mostly written in the form of 0X up to 10X or sizes 12 up to 52.
The Top 12 Online Plus-Size Clothing Shops
Now let’s go over 12 of the top plus-size clothing brands and their lessons.
Size Range: 10 to 30
First up, we have Torrid. Formerly owned by Hot Topic, Torrid is a fashion retailer that offers clothing, lingerie, accessories, and shoes for women and teenage girls in sizes 10 up to 30.
Torrid is a good example of a fashion brand that actively tries to connect with plus-size consumers through fashion-forward marketing.
In 2017, instead of using professional models, the brand featured real Torrid fans in its “TheseCurves” social media campaign. The retailer simply asked customers to share photos of themselves wearing Torrid products on social channels for a chance to star in the ads.
In another case, Torrid has previously collaborated with plus-size “Euphoria” star, Barbie Ferreira and other actors to release a series of ads titled “Torrid Stories” that highlight women’s bodies in intimate wear and promote self-confidence in a humorous and relatable manner.
These body-positivity campaigns are a crucial part of Torrid’s marketing, as they help illustrate how customers of all sizes can feel beautiful and fashionable in Torrid products.
2. Universal Standard
Size range: 00 to 40
Universal Standard is a global fashion retailer that sells women’s casual clothing, denim, workwear, lounge clothes and swimwear in sizes 00 to 40.
When discussing Universal Standard’s strategies, co-founder Alexandra Waldman emphasizes the need for fashion brands to tune into their audience’s unique troubles.
Because Universal Standard’s purpose was so personal to Waldman’s experience as a plus-size shopper, she was able to leverage her understanding/frustrations to create garments that solved her customer’s troubles.
For business owners who aren’t their company’s target audience, social media is an excellent place to learn about your ideal customers.
Start by finding online forums where your audience gathers and dig into the conversations that occur there. By doing so, your business can stay on rapidly-changing trends and consumer interests, as well as the common difficulties your customers deal with at any time.
3. Dia & Co
Size range: 00 up to 40
Dia & Co is a clothing and subscription service provider that wants to give plus-size women the opportunity to express their individuality.
From denim and dresses to sweaters, swimwear, tops, lounge clothing and more, customers can find a vast collection of outfits from both Dia & Co and over 200 supported brands.
One of Dia & Co’s core customer satisfaction tactics revolves around personalization.
Specifically, the company surveys shoppers to learn about their size and shape details, along with their style preferences and common clothing issues, so its styling experts can curate products that match participants’ body and tastes.
This effort to deliver only fitting products is critical in an industry where a garment’s fit is of top concern for consumers. It’s also important because it reduces the rate of returns and enhances the overall customer experience.
Size range: 00 up to 26
Anthropologie is a fashion retailer that sells boho-inspired clothing for men and women, including tops, t-shirts, jeans, activewear, lingerie, jumpsuits and more in sizes 16 to 22.
To widen its store’s reach, Anthrolopogie actively creates content across multiple social platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram and TikTok. And decides which platform to put the most resources into based on its goals and consumer interests.
This dynamic approach to social media marketing is important because as Anthropogogie’s chief marketing officer, Elizabeth Pries explains, “Digital marketing isn’t solely about finding the single perfect platform, but rather about defining each platform’s unique strengths and using it accordingly.
For example, while TikTok is a fantastic tool for discovering trends and trendy products, Instagram, on the other hand, is better for partnering with popular influencers and content to establish social proof and authenticity around your brand.
So before launching a social media campaign, try to get a clear picture of who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to achieve and how much the platform you choose matches the web activity of your target customers.
Size range: 14 to 28
Eloquii is an online fashion retailer that sells petite and plus-size women’s workwear, casual clothing, accessories, footwear, and bridal garments in sizes 14 to 28.
CEO Mariah Chase largely credits the company’s growth and profitability to their rapid customer feedback loop – something Andy Dunn, the former senior vice president of digital consumer brands at Walmart U.S E-commerce, once noted as a major Eloquii strength.
According to Chase, Within 24 to 48 hours of putting an item up in their stores, they can tell if it will be “good, average or a problem child.”
This highly efficient data-driven approach allows Eloquii to cut their losses on volatile or poorly performing products early on, effectively helping avoid risk and save costs on so-called “problem child” products.
Like Eloquii, consider integrating analytics tools into your web store to gather customer feedback and drive your brand’s decision-making. Doing so enables you to assess every product’s performance and make timely adjustments based on how your customers respond.
6. Girlfriend Collective
Size range: 00 up to 32
Founded by Quang and Ellie Dingh, Girlfriend Collective is a sustainable athleisure retailer that sells stylish and ethically-made shorts, sports bras, tops and more in sizes 00 to 32.
Girlfriend Collective has an interesting growth story. After launching in 2016, the couple incentivized Facebook users to share their site and review their product to friends/family in exchange for a pair of free (except shipping), sustainably-sourced, and ethically-made leggings.
The result was a massive increase in new customers and social media followers, as well as heightened brand recognition and a surge in online engagement – proving the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing, which is not only effective, but also completely free.
Founded in 1937, Madewell is an American apparel retailer that mainly sells women’s denim, and other clothing and accessories for men, women and kids.
Like many other brands on this list, Madewell’s digital marketing strategy revolves around social media and user-generated content.
As chief marketing officer Derek Yarbrough explains, the company tailors its campaigns to fit both its goals and the strengths of the given platform – much like Anthropologie does.
On TikTok, for example, Madewell focuses on creating quick and quirky videos like tutorials on how to style a fashion set or turn a pair of jeans into shorts.
While, on Instagram, it employs a more “sophisticated” approach, focusing on showcasing its on-trend garments to nearly 1.4 million followers in high-res, high-quality photos. However, the company repurposes TikTok shorts into Instagram reels.
Researching and understanding the differences and uses of these platforms is now more important than ever for your fashion brand. Doing so ensures you match each social media platform to your objectives and intended audience, and helps to significantly boost your store’s online presence.
8. Big Bud Press
Size range: 0 to 32
Big Bud Press is a Los Angeles-based clothing company that sells jumpsuits, tops, work pants, denim, boots, hats, bottoms and more in sizes 0 to 32.
From signature colors and style to inclusive storytelling, Big Bud Press excels in maintaining a consistent brand experience across its ads, website and social media profiles.
When you serve a competitive industry like fashion, this level of consistency is key to distinguishing your brand from other stores and, thus, making it easier for your audience to recognize you.
Moreover, when paired with a brand story that resonates with your audience, this enhanced visibility will further help in strengthening customer’s connection to your brand.
9. City Chic
Size range: 12 to 24
Founded in 1992, City Chic is an Australian fashion retailer that sells women’s and men’s clothing, footwear and accessories.
Over the years, the company has actively worked with influencers and content creators to generate engagement and reach out to its audience.
One particularly successful example was its 2017 partnership with British supermodel and body activist Ashley Graham. Together, City Chic and Graham also released a lingerie product line and a series of Instagram posts, showcasing the model wearing various City Chic outfits.
They then accompanied the posts with captions that explained the importance of self-love and confidence, keeping consistent with both City Chic’s and Ashley’s brand values.
Like City Chic, you may choose to work with influencers in your industry to establish a connection between your products and their intended users. This is because influencer marketing can be a great way to advertise your products to a wide net of potential customers without overspending.
10. Lane Bryant
Size range: 10 to 40
Lane Bryant is a women-led clothing retail company that sells sleepwear, tops, bottoms, activewear, dresses, and shoes in sizes 10 up to 40.
To widen its brand presence, Lane Bryant bases most of its marketing around challenging conventional size standards in the fashion space.
One well-known effort was its #ImNoAngel effort in 2015, which contrasted the unrealistic beauty standards promoted by Victoria’s Secret and its “Angels.”
After launching the campaign, the retailer simply asked fans and social followers to upload pictures of themselves with the #ImNoAngel hashtag to remind plus-sized women of their beauty.
The hashtag was able to reach a wide audience, go viral, and earn thousands of social media followers for Lane Bryant.
Just like Lane Bryant, aligning your brand’s messaging with the theme of diversity and body positivity can have a positive impact on your customer acquisition efforts, leading to increased brand loyalty and a deeper emotional connection with your products.
11. ASOS Curve
Size range: 1 to 22
ASOS Curve is a part of the main ASOS retail brand that offers affordable and stylish clothing for women in sizes 1 to 22.
To keep engagement high, ASOS effectively uses X (formerly Twitter) for marketing. Along with links to store items, the company account tweets about new discounts and shares outfit ideas with styling recommendations for users to draw inspiration.
Apart from Twitter, however, ASOS uses Facebook to let customers browse their stores without leaving the Facebook app, effectively offering value in the form of added convenience.
And, since people can choose to share purchases with Facebook friends, ASOS’s Facebook integration not only allows customers to purchase without visiting the store, but it also generates extra traction and visibility.
12. Loud Bodies
Founded by Patricia Luiza Blaj, Loud Bodies is a Romanian clothing company that wants to prove style has no size limits and make sustainable clothing available to everyone, everywhere.
The retailer offers a range of women’s clothing in sizes 0 through 10XL, from bridal wear to blazers, formal attire, dresses, tops, skirts, jumpsuits, shirts, and even face masks.
To improve her store’s rate of completed orders (or checkout completion rate) Patricia offers free clothing customization, whereby shoppers who find themselves between sizes or not among Loud Bodies sizing range can have items they want tailored to their body dimensions.
As you might assume, this reduces the barrier to buying that a sizing mismatch would otherwise put up and contributes to a smoother and more enjoyable shopping experience for customers.
If, like Patricia, you want to or already run a small-scale fashion company, you can implement similar inclusive sizing options and offer personalized customization to ultimately attract more shoppers and enhance their shopping experience.
What Do Successful Plus-Size Clothing Brands Have In Common?
- Extensive sizing ranges; The most popular plus-size fashion brands offer clothes in a wide range of sizes for various body types, enabling customers to find well-fitting clothing regardless of their shape or size.
- High-quality product photography; Top plus-size clothing stores feature clear and detailed product images that display their pieces from multiple angles. Such high-quality product images are essential in e-commerce to help your customers make informed purchases.
- Detailed product descriptions; Detailed product descriptions play an important role in preventing returns. Such descriptions go beyond basic information – providing specific details about each item’s fabric, measurements, and country sizing range.
Consumers even appreciate when retailers include garment measurements (bust, hip, waist etc.) because it enables them to confidently make informed purchases.
- Clear return policies; As a fashion brand serving consumers who commonly experience sizing difficulties, having a clear and customer-friendly returns/exchange policy can help build trust in your brand. Furthermore, it encourages hesitant shoppers to go through with purchases.
- Inclusive marketing; Successful plus-size retailers feature diverse models of different sizes, ages, and backgrounds in their store and marketing materials.
This display reflects their dedication to inclusivity and helps customers envision how the clothes will look on different body types.
- Quality Garments; In plus-size fashion, the fit and quality of garments is crucial. Your store’s clothing should be designed to flatter plus-size figures and made with quality materials. By doing so, you can boost customer confidence and encourage repeat purchases.
Plus-Size Clothing Fulfillment Challenges and Solutions
For large and small clothing brands of all styles, not having an inventory management system in place can bear financial and operational disadvantages.
One is overstocking. Without an auditing system for regularly updating stock data, it becomes easy to lose count of your merchandise, leading you to over-replenish goods, waste space and ultimately pay more storage costs.
Another inventory challenge is limited stock visibility. When you have a large warehouse, locating all the items you keep can be daunting. This results in slow order picking and packing of orders, leaving your business unable to satisfy customer orders the right way.
Making plus-size clothing tends to be difficult.
One reason is that mass manufacturing does not cater to the range of body sizes that exist. As we explained, most garment makers simply scale measurements up and down from standard-size mannequins or create garments to fit the non-representing hourglass figure aesthetic.
But, while this method may work for consumers who fit similarly to straight sizes, it’s flawed because human shapes are more complicated than that. From pears to inverted triangles, apples, and more, various body types don’t fit within traditional sizing standards.
In addition, sizing discrepancies between clothing brands, countries, and demographics make it difficult for customers to find accurate sizing.
To tackle these issues, your online store can feature detailed model and product descriptions, include comprehensive product reviews, and use perspective photography to assist customers in choosing the right size.
Quality control simply refers to your company’s method of testing and measuring the quality of stock to ensure they satisfy your standards of construction, design, and functionality.
The entire process is important to avoid wasting time and money on buying and discarding substandard garments and to improve customer satisfaction by consistently delivering quality clothes.
However, overseeing quality control can be laborious and time-consuming. This is because you need experienced warehouse staff to manually inspect every single product, one by one, until they can confirm the absence of defects and design deviations.
But worry not. As a professional sourcing and warehousing agent, we can take the grueling tasks of receiving stock and inspecting them for quality off your hands. Simply reach out to us for more information about quality inspection service.
Building Your Plus-Size Clothing Brand with Globallyfulfill
Should you build your plus-size clothing brand with us? Let’s see three reasons why;
Expertise in Plus-Size Clothing: Our agents at Globallyfulfill are experts in sourcing, inspecting and handling clothing products for your clothing store.
Thanks to our understanding of the unique requirements of plus-size garments, we will help you ensure all your brand’s offerings meet the correct standards and achieve the best fit.
Seamless Order Fulfillment: With our one-stop order fulfillment service, you can depend on us to efficiently manage your inventory, packaging, and shipping needs.
Our end-to-end solution ensures that your customers receive their plus-size clothing on time, leading to higher satisfaction and more business.
Brand Customization: We also understand the importance of brand image and visibility. Without a Unique Selling Point, consumers have no compelling reason to shop with you.
Using our brand customization services, we can work together to make your plus-size apparel business brand stand out from the competition, thereby enhancing your company’s reputation and competitiveness in the market.
Contact our professionals today to learn more about building your clothing business with our one-stop order fulfillment services.
Final Thoughts On Building Your Online Plus-Size Clothing Shop
In the plus-size fashion industry, taking inspiration from a range of successful stores can help ease your brand’s path forward.
From developing (and showcasing) a unique brand mission, to offering extra sizing services (think surveys and customization), building a sound social media strategy, driving decisions with data and collaborating with influencers, there are many different tactics you can experiment with and tweak as you set out to grow your fashion brand.
Additionally, also remember the importance of embracing body-diversity in your designs and marketing materials as it can resonate deeply with your target market and foster lasting loyalty.
And don’t forget, as you face inventory management, sizing and quality control challenges along the journey, know you’re not alone.
With the support of experts like Globallyfulfill, you can streamline your operations, maintain quality, and enhance customer satisfaction, leaving you with more time and energy to focus on what truly matters – building a fashion brand that celebrates and empowers everyone.