The Truth About Plus Size

Posted by Elizabeth Williams on

This past year an instagram follower left me a comment that really sank in. She said "I stopped by your booth at Renegade and loved your coats, but I wish your sizing wasn't so exclusive!" I'd be lying if I said the comment didn't make my heart ache. I had never intentionally set out to exclude anyone through my sizing, but I certainly wasn't including everyone either, bottom line is...she had made a good point and I felt horrible.
The truth is, in my first year in business, I carried equal amounts of all sizes from XS-XL. At the end of the year I noticed that I was left with almost all of the XL sizes. I chalked it up as a learning lesson and focused on creating more of the sizes that were selling in order to grow my small business. However, I was ignoring the real problem...the larger sizes were not fitting correctly. During the past 4 years I've had a lot of interest in larger sizes, not only in XL but beyond. However, I usually don't have them on hand because the fit is just not right.
I've been afraid of addressing this issue for a myriad of reasons, the top two reasons always being those common ones we all know (time and money.) Expanding into more size offerings (for starters) means carrying more inventory and investing in more dollars into pattern development and fit.
However with a new year comes new resolutions and I'm placing this one at the top of my to-do list. Although I don't have an increase in "time and money." I do have something more valuable: motivation and know-how.
I spent nearly 10 years of my career working in the theater where I created costumes for women of all shapes and sizes including opera singers, dancers, children... you name it. Bodies come in all sizes, I have seen them all and I have fit them all... I can handle the technical work. I know I can make women look beautiful in their clothes no matter their size. For me, the "know-how" part is easy.
What's more is now I'm motivated. As a person who just had a baby in the past year I'm very familiar with how the body can change. With that change I'm also more acutely aware of how important it is to feel confident at every size and stage of your life. Size inclusion is about giving every woman confidence. I know clothes are intrinsically tied to how we look and feel, and I want everyone to feel amazing!
So here is my resolution in 2020, I'm embarking on a journey to make Coat Check more size inclusive. I'm hoping to expand the line to a size 3X. I know that I will never be able to cater to every body out there, but I know I can do better. It will take time, but this project deserves time.
My first piece of business is to reach out to you for help. I need feedback from real women who wear anything between a "L-3X." I'd love to know more about your struggles, your measurements, and find out what's on your wish list. If you are local, I'd even like to invite you to a fitting party at some point so I can get your feedback directly.
6/30/20 Update! Wow so much has happened in the past few months. I must admit that when the news of the COVID19 virus and our mandated quarantine first started to sink in, I became very discouraged. I started to accept that my new year's resolution would not be accomplished in 2020. Without access to a variety of bodies to fit (up close and personal) it is very difficult to make clothes in a variety of sizes! Fortunately, I am happy to announce that I am back on track! I have been working (via snail mail) with a very good friend and pattern-maker who has a plus size dress form and regularly scheduled fittings with a plus size model. As of today she has been working on the Car Coat and Southport Overcoat since I have had the most requests for these items. I hope you all continue to follow me on my journey toward making this brand more inclusive. IT WILL TAKE TIME so your patience and support is appreciated!!
11/8/20 - Update! I am so happy to announce that I now have 2 styles available online in sizes XS-3X and am working to expand the sizes for the other pieces as well. Please feel free at any point to drop me a line (no matter what size you are!) and let me know what's missing in your life in terms of timeless outerwear.
10/18/2021 - Update! I am thrilled that I was able to add 2 more size inclusive styles to the line this year. Many people have reached out asking why the "new releases" are not yet available in plus size. Good Question! - My "new" workflow begins with the development of a style in XS-XL. Doing this allows "me" (size Medium) to test the coats and jackets while they are still in their early stages. Once approved, it takes me on average 6 months to fit on a new model. Unlike other brands, I like to fit for each "size block" with a new model. For sizes 1X-3X, I work with a 1X model and for sizes XS(P) - XL(P) I work with a size medium model that is 5'1". Doing this allows me to get real time feedback on a real human rather than allowing on computerized size ranges that unfortunately do not provide the most accurate results. I hope you continue to stay with me on this journey.

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment