What Is Considered Plus Size?

what is considered plus size

When shopping for women’s clothing, many women are left to wonder what size they are. Even more confusing is what women’s clothing department to shop in. 

Are you petite, tall, mid-sized, or plus-sized? The most difficult of all sizes is plus-size

The difficulty comes into play because not everyone defines plus-size by the same metrics. 

Some designers designate size 12 as plus-size, while others designate sizes 18 and over as plus-size. To help you know what is considered plus-size, we’ve outlined the following.

Plus Size Defined

Plus-Size Defined

The average size of women has changed over the years. Decades ago, anyone who wore size 12 jeans was considered plus-sized. 

Over the years, the average size of women worldwide has grown, so the definition has changed. 

The fashion industry has taken notice, and now almost every major brand has its own plus-sized definition. But, not all companies categorize plus-size the same. 

To be as inclusive as possible, most people in the fashion industry will categorize plus-sizes as sizes above the average. 

To better understand whether you should shop in the straight sizing departments or plus-size departments. It’s important to realize how sizing works.

Straight Sizing vs. Plus-Size Sizing

Straight sizing is created based on a sample size. To fit other sizes, the sample size is graded up or down. 

For instance, if the sample size is medium, it could be converted to a large by adding additional fabric overall to fit larger. 

If an inch is added to a medium to create a large, it would be subtracted to make a small.

Plus-sizing is different because plus-sized women are curvier, which means simply adding or subtracting an inch overall doesn’t mean it will fit. 

Instead, plus-size clothes add the needed fabric in specific areas. For instance, a 2XL shirt might have three inches added to the torso of a shirt to size it up and provide better stomach coverage. 

However, adding three inches to the sleeves would probably make the sleeves too long. 

So, with plus-size clothing, extra fabric is only added where it is needed. 

To understand this better, here is a list of where the material is usually added to a plus-size garment to accommodate curvy women.

  • Neckline
  • Armholes
  • Waist
  • Buttock area
  • Torso
  • Stomach
  • Sleeves

In straight sizing, a 2XL would not fit the same as a 2XL plus-sized shirt. 

With a 2XL straight-sized shirt, a 2XL plus-sized woman may find the armholes too big, the length too short, or the neck too big. 

This discrepancy is created because straight sizing adds overall fabric and plus-size clothes only add fabric where it is needed. 

Another big difference between straight sizing and plus sizing is that plus sizing doesn’t get longer as it gets bigger, which makes sense since women don’t get taller when they get heavier.

Understanding the Overlap between Straight Sizing and Plus Sizing

Another hurdle for women to overcome when shopping for clothing is to understand the overlap in size. 

Sometimes this sizing category is called “mid-size,” which means women in these sizes, usually 12 to 14, can shop in both the straight sizing department and plus-size departments. 

Most fashion companies designate sizes 0 to 12 as straight sizing and size 14 and up as plus-sized. But other companies will offer sizes from 0X to 5X. 

When you see a label designated with a “W,” it means it was modeled on a plus-size sample, which means curves were taken into account when creating the sizing. 

If a woman can wear both straight and plus-size clothing and they are curvy, they will likely find the plus-size option fits better sized in torso length, armholes, neckline, and sleeve length. 

It’s also essential to understand the three systems used for plus-size clothing. The three systems are:

  1. Misses
  2. Women’s
  3. X-Sizes

Misses sizes are sized with numbers such as 14, 16, 18. 

These sizes are often used for youthful looks. Most misses lines start with plus-size clothing at 14. 

Women’s sizes, labeled with a “W,” mean the clothing is cut with a loose, relaxed fit, and it’s usually the preferred size for curvy women. 

X sizing is the newest system in the plus-size market and is more–encompassing than others. 

This system doesn’t require clothing to have a tailored fit, and it’s commonly used for leggings, oversized sweaters, and dresses.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment with Plus-Size Clothing.

If you’ve stayed away from the plus-size clothing department because you didn’t think it was for you, it’s time to experiment. 

Especially if you’ve been disappointed with the way, the clothing in a straight size department fits you. 

Instead of sizing up in the straight department and settling for clothes that are too big or too small for you, you can experiment in the plus-size section. 

It may be that you need clothing that is made for curvier bodies. 

Whether you have back rolls, a round belly, thick thighs, or flabby arms, you can get clothes that are in style and fit you well; you just have to know where to look.

Drop the Stigma and Look Cute While Doing It

For years, there has been a stigma around plus-sized women

However, 2/3 of women worldwide are categorized as plus-sized according to plus-size definitions

Embrace the plus-size definition and get in where you fit in. Doing so will amaze you in how much better clothing fits. And we all know, when you look good, you feel good.

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