As fashion plus size evolves into a recognized and (soon-to-be) respected segment in style, so do the quirks and nuances of style itself as it pertains to a plus extent.
Ten years ago, you saw that plus-size only belonged in one lump segment, leaving us fashionistas with very little or any options for shopping and discerning which pieces were of a “fashionable” standard. However, with the amalgamation (yes, I had to use this word) and many fashions within plus-size clothing, one could easily find oneself lost, frustrated, confused, irritated, or flustered when shopping for an ideal outfit or piece of clothing.
We no longer have “one type” of fashion option for the plus-size woman- we have many. However, to better understand and sort through the madness of them all, a budding fashionista must first understand what these newer segments are and learn the identifiers of these to shop smarter, not harder.
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No really… WHY?
See, as in the straight-sized market, you will find certain segments within a fashion that are grouped, and for the most part, you know what to expect when shopping from that retailer or a specific set of retailers. With the evolution of Plus Size Ready-to-Wear Fashion, the same now holds. For the sake of argument, we will group these segments for plus size fashion as straight-sized style does to help explain the price discrepancies and size differences to the integrity and quality of a retailer’s or designer’s garment. The fashion industry has five segments: haute couture, luxury, contemporary, fast fashion, and discount.
* Haute Couture: Synonymous with “high fashion,” haute couture is a derivative of the French term “high sewing.” In France, the label “haute couture” is a protected designation. Designers who attain this elusive and oft-coveted title produce custom-made clothing for the world’s most influential and wealthiest.
* Luxury: Pret-a-Porter or “Ready to Wear” is one step down from Haute Couture relative to price and exclusivity but still serves a discerning and well-to-do client.
* Contemporary: This fashion-forward segment presents mid-priced fashions both fashion-forward and quality-driven. Often, these designers interpret styles from the couture houses, making these fashions readily accessible.
* Fast Fashion: Quickly produced products cost-efficiently, delivering “high fashion-looking” garments at the lowest price possible. This relates to how items from the runway are manufactured predominantly overseas with an extremely efficient turnaround.
* Discount: Usually looked at as loss leaders, have quickly adapted to the fast-fashion concepts, leveraging their consumer’s buying power and reputation to fashion exclusive designer collections.
However, the division and classification of what to expect from these segments do not stop there. Please read further into each piece, sans Haute couture to understand which designers and brands fall into each classification and differentiate each.
Luxury Plus Size Designers
Yes! They do exist! Goods of a higher quality and a higher price point are the fashion leaders within plus size. Designers such as:
- Anna Scholz
- Cinzia Rocca
- Elena Miro
- Lafayette 148
- Marina Rinaldi
- Peggy Lutz
They are often carried in specialty boutiques, or specialty department stores such as Saks and Neiman Marcus command, at minimum, a $250 starting point. Expect the finest fabrics, usually imported from overseas, naturally a more conservative cut, except Anna Scholz and Elena Miro (the only plus-size designer to show during Milan Fashion Week continually), impeccably tailored, fully lined, natural fabrics, with exclusivity in feel and wear.
Contemporary Plus Size Designers
Mirroring the contemporary collections represented in Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Saks, trendy plus-size fashion offers fashion-forward plus-size woman options tailored to her curves at a moderate price point. These designers such as:
- Amanda Uprichard
- David Meister
- Igigi Jibri
- Melissa Masse
- Monif C.
They are often the thought leaders, innovators, and risk-takers within the plus-size fashion segments. They continually challenge the status quo or the norm in what fashion should be for the discerning plus-size woman. This segment’s prices usually range from the low $ 100s and can command up to $500 for more specialty pieces. Quality in these fabrics is only a sidestep lower than their luxury counterparts, introducing innovative blends in materials, specific silhouettes inspired by the designer’s artistic inspiration, and, like its luxury designers, more intricate detailing.