Retailers are recognizing that the plus-size shopper is interested in fashion, too.
J.C. Penney is launching Boutique+, a plus-size brand that its in-house designers have been working on since last year.
Project Runway’s Ashley Nell Tipton, 24, the first plus-size
designer to win the reality TV competition, is creating two Boutique+
collections for fall and holiday.
Teens are fueling the category estimated to be about a $20 billion-a-year business.
"There are millions of incredibly stylish full-figured women who are
seeking comfortable, well-fit clothes that offer style,” said Siiri
Dougherty, senior vice president over women’s apparel. "J.C. Penney is
committed to winning her loyalty by designing an entirely new modern
Penney is positioning the brand for the younger millennial shopper.
Boutique+ will be priced from $12.99 for blouses and skirts to $39.99
for a jacket.
The merchandise will be in about 500 Penney stores and online May 1.
Also, while most Penney stores already have a women’s plus-size
department, about 200 stores are getting branded "The Boutique”
The number of teens buying plus-size clothing has nearly doubled
since 2012, according to market research firm NPD Group. Teens who say
they buy plus-size clothing has grown to 34 percent from 19 percent in
2012. Plus size is generally considered 16 and above.
Teens told NPD that they think brands are designing plus-size
clothing as an afterthought. Instead, plus-size clothing should be
offered in the same styles available for their friends who wear smaller
sizes, the research firm said.
More and more retailers are incorporating a mix of plus-size models in their advertising.
Target launched its own private brand for plus-size women in February
2015 called Ava & Viv. H&M started offering plus sizes in 2011.
Lane Bryant, the longtime specialty chain in the plus category, has
been spicing up its brand with designer collections from Melissa
McCarthy, Isabel Toledo and Sophie Theallet. Last spring, Dallas native
Lila Rose designed a collection for Lane Bryant.
"Teens are reinvigorating the plus-size market,” said Marshal Cohen,
chief industry analyst at NPD. He said retailers will probably "turn up
the volume” on plus-size merchandise, a market that’s important but is
Penney has always been a destination for special sizes, including
children’s, petites and plus sizes for women. It has plus-size juniors
departments in 400 stores. Penney also is adding more fashion to its
women’s plus-size business through brands such as Liz Claiborne and