The fashion industry plays a significant role in shaping societal standards of beauty and body image. When it comes to the average size of the American woman, a closer look reveals a disconnect between the diverse body types and the limited size ranges offered by many American clothing and retail stores. American women, on average, don't fit the narrow mold often portrayed in mainstream media. The reason I am focusing on American women is because of wide-outrage, and readily available data for this demographic but we know the truth is this disparity spans many countries, genders, and demographics.
68% of American women are size 14 and above, while only 8% of brands today offer plus-size options. WTF. This is unacceptable.
Statistics indicate that the average size of women in the U.S. is around a size 16 to 18 with majority being larger than this size. However, the fashion industry has been slow to adapt, with many stores primarily catering to smaller sizes. For women falling within the average size range (size 14 and above), the shopping experience can be frustrating and disappointing. Limited options often lead to compromised style choices, as many trendy and fashionable pieces are not available in sizes for the majority of American women. The size disparity in American clothing stores raises questions about inclusivity and body positivity. It's not just about making larger sizes available but also about celebrating and embracing diverse body shapes.
The fashion industry has a powerful role to play in fostering a positive body image by ensuring that women of all sizes feel represented. I recently wrote about this and Body Positive-Washing in an article here.
At TOWEL although we do not make clothing yet, it is something I see as a long term goal. I see our current selection of towels as a foundation for something larger. TOWEL is an entry point for breaking stigmas in a market that hasn’t changed in years. I chose this product because of its “essential” and “everyday” nature of use. I believe we are making a splash in the towel market and with this momentum there is power to increase inclusivity across many categories.
A small number of clothing brands and designers are starting to acknowledge the need for inclusivity, offering extended size ranges and featuring a diverse range of models in their campaigns.
However, there is still a long way to go before the majority of American women can walk into any store and find clothing that not only fits but also makes them feel confident and beautiful.
In conclusion, addressing the challenges faced by the American woman in finding suitable clothing requires a collective effort from the fashion industry. Embracing diversity, promoting inclusivity, and redefining beauty standards can contribute to a more positive and empowering shopping experience for women and people of all sizes.