Plus Size Prominence

It often seems that retailers are afraid to message that they offer plus sizes, for fear of it diluting their overall brand and women’s offering. I think this attitude has changed over the past several years but still largely persists.

So, when I saw messages from Rent The Runway and Modcloth last week touting their plus size offering, I stopped and took note.

Rent The Runway sent a dedicated email announcing that they now carry plus size clothing. It also seems they put efforts into media outreach about this news, with coverage appearing in the Huffington Post, Fashionista, InStyle, NY Mag’s The Cut blog, and more.

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They introduced this offering with an email “RTR Plus – You asked, we listened” showing that this was at the request of customers and they are trying to understand their members needs.  When you click through the email, you are taken to a page with all of the plus size styles, and ability to filter sizes 14-22.

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I would imagine/hope that once people shop Plus, they cater their future experience to the sizes that they know of these members, making it more prominent and not so tucked away.

As for Modcloth, it was incredibly interesting to see that their print mailing included on women of all shapes and sizes as models.  I have rarely if ever seen a retailer incorporate plus and regular together in the same creative, but from everything I can recall Plus is generally treated as an entirely separate section of the site/marketing experience.

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On Modcloth’s site, they incorporated the same imagery from the catalog, and their size filters in the left-navigation go up to size 30, as well as a clickable link to navigate directly to the Plus size offering.

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In summary, I found it interesting that two retailers focused on young 20-something women included and focused on Plus in a prominent manner on their site and through their marketing. I compliment both retailers for doing so in a tasteful way that likely makes the Plus size audience feel good about shopping at a “normal” retailer while simultaneously not turning off their Missy size consumers. There’s definitely a delicate balance between proudly offering extended sizes and promoting a Plus size offering to the right audience without seeming irrelevant or a turn-off to smaller size customers. In my opinion, both RTR and Modcloth achieved this balance in a commendable way.

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