The “Regular Line” of Women’s Clothing vs. The “Plus Size Line” of Women’s Clothing
Song that inspired the title: Deep in the Meadow – Jennifer Lawrence (from the Hunger Games)
I thought these photos of the meadow were appropriate as I want to dip my toe in the weeds of sizing issues. When it comes to buying plus size clothing, there are some rules of thumb; however, those are sometimes rules you make up for yourself.
For me, the sizing standard is Lane Bryant. They are my go to size chart for what fits and what doesn’t. But even that isn’t 100% accurate as some of their clothes run a little big and their designer lines run small.
Rules are completely out when it comes to going to stores like Charlotte Russe, Maurice’s and Forever 21. It’s inevitable that I have to size up. I’m not sure why the “junior” clothes run smaller, but they do. This doesn’t do anything to boost a young girl’s ego.
In regular stores like Belk, Dillard’s, etc. there are usually two lines. For my purposes, I’ll call them, the regular line and the plus line. In the regular line, you can find XL in the clothing that’s usually in the clothing you wish they’d carry for everyone. It is my experience that the XL in these clothes are NOT the same as the 1X in plus clothing. There are times when you might be able to get away with an XL in the regular line if the clothing is forgiving enough, but otherwise, I’d say that an XL is usually around a size US 14. So in any given department store, the regular line carries up to about a US14 and then the plus line usually takes over at size at US 14 or 16.
Old Navy is no exception. They carry a plus size line, but from item to item sizes can change. There’s something a bit interesting about Old Navy and it’s different from any other store I shop. Old Navy carries up to size 20 in their regular line and they carry size 16 – 30 in their plus line. While Old Navy doesn’t carry everything they make in plus size, they are ahead of the trend in expanding their regular line, which makes me happy because I can now wear clothes in their regular line. There are, of course, some exceptions as not all items in the regular line go all the way to US 20.
Each store seems to have its own sizing when it comes to plus size clothing. The best rule of thumb is to try on clothing if you’re in a brick-and-mortar. Don’t be shy about it either because ultimately the dollars going for clothing are coming out of your wallet. If it’s an online store, watch the measurements and don’t be afraid to size up or down to suit the measurements.
Until there is an industry standard when sizing plus size clothing, use sizes on the label as guides not the end-all-be-all.