A Customer Tells Us What She’s Looking For When She Buys Plus-Sized Clothing

She read our post about Melissa McCarthy's new fashion line Pearl and decided to share a few thoughts.

melissa mccarthy tweetBack in June, we wrote about Melissa McCarthy’s new plus-sized fashion line Pearlinspired by her personal search for a gown to wear to the Oscars. More recently, a reader, Patti from Ohio, read the story and decided to get in touch.

“I peruse many plus-size women’s lines and while there are many nice clothes available, there’s almost always something that leads me to believe a plus-size woman did NOT design certain items,” she told us. “SOOO many times I’ve found the most adorable item, but it’ll have design flaws: areas of the larger woman’s body that need to be camouflaged or downplayed, and areas that can be enhanced or better-displayed.”

Patti went on to tell us that she frequently has to do her own alterations to give the clothing the fit she’s looking for.

“I can take ANY mediocre outfit and make adjustments that will make other women want to wear it. Unfortunately not ALL times though because the fabric will be wrong to begin with,” she continued. Love it.

So we asked Patti to share a little more insight about what she thinks the market is looking for.

Please note: Patti says she doesn’t sell the clothes she’s “been tinkering with.” Her efforts are solely for personal use so she can look as fly as can be. She’s a customer with an eye for tailoring who’s taken such an interest that she’s picking up tricks as she develops her work.

“Things like ‘this shirt/blouse is too short (for a larger woman’s body), so let me add a 2-inch lace trim’ and ta-da! Or ‘This is long enough but too blousy. It looks like I have no figure.’ So I create a dart/cinch in the back to show off my waist,” Patti writes. “I always look at clothes and think ‘That’s cute, but it would be SOO much cuter (and FLATTERING) if they would have just done THIS!’ The larger woman understands what needs to be camouflaged: belly, butt, large upper arms, etc.”

On a basic level, the plus-size customer is looking for the same thing all customers are – items  that look great, highlight what’s hot and downplay what we’re not so thrilled about. Gaining insight about this aspect of clothing design specific to this woman is what’s going help a brand excel.

Patti recommended two shops in particular, Woman Within and Roamans.
“Their prices are reasonable (for the most part) and their selections are pretty diverse,” she says. “But I’ve had to return as many things as I’ve bought, just because of those small details that can make or break a piece of clothing for the larger gal…”
She ends by saying that she’s “excited (for many reasons)” about McCarthy’s line of clothing. Clearly, Patti senses that Pearl will offer something of value missing in the marketplace. Thanks to Patti for sharing.