I was reading in Women’s Wear Daily the other day that the Misses’ Market is getting a well-deserved makeover in terms of updated silhouettes, textures and prints. That is good to hear.
The misses market came about during the tried and true Eisenhower era when clothes were functional, predictable, matronly, a bit more on the dressier side, wearable, well-made and most important of all, safe and conservative. (I was not even born then, how about you?) In those, days, women did not want to stand out or look too good. (I would have been miserable.) The pieces in those days, were designed to camouflage middle aged figure flaws.
Today’s woman has a very modern mindset and busy lifestyle. They may not be able to fit into pieces they wore in their twenties, but they still want to have an updated, modern look. And, to reflect their beliefs and central to this change in the missy market, is comfort, fit, selection and versatility.
According to WWD, many missy retailers including Talbots, have even dropped the word “misses” from its stores, catalogs, and other corporate messaging.
Got me thinking, “Well what about the plus size market?” Where do we fit in? If the missy market is under-going an overhaul, won’t the plus size market under-go a transformation as well?
Some may argue, but I would consider the plus size market a cousin of the missy market. Many of the styles that are done in missy are done in plus. The misses’ market represents the largest chunk of the women’s apparel business. It is bigger than juniors, contemporary, or designer and historically has been the least exciting and the most challenging to define according to David Moin, writer of the March 31 WWD article. Examples of traditional missy labels include Tommy Hilfiger, Anne Klein, Ellen Tracy, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors.
There is some disagreement in the fashion world as to what constitutes misses – is it based on size, age, or lifestyle? However, there is agreement that this category has been the slowest to change until now.
It will be interesting to see what the misses market does in terms of a makeover? A different name? Different styles? Different fabrics?
So…what is next for plus, I wonder? Can we re-name the plus size market? I remember when plus size were depicted in half-sizes and the children’s and pre-teen plus markets were called Chubby. Eeuuw.
So, while we are transforming the missy, why don’t we throw some more attention to plus?
We need what the missy market is emphasizing: Layering, crafted looks, different fabrics, embellishments, active wear like our Neon Buddha contrast zip jacket, that is not just for being active, and career wear. And how about these pieces in updated silhouettes and prints that represent a more relaxed lifestyle? Check out this keyhole tunic from Silk Threads.
Essential for the plus size market–or any market–is really how a trend is depicted and then executed. Women want to buy it now and wear it now, and to have trends interpreted to fit their lifestyle, age and silhouette and to have pieces that can go at least two, if not, three seasons. Check out our Neon Buddha Yin Yang Pullover in Coral–great “twist” to a trend!
So, we will be waiting with great anticipation as to what is next for plus! Plus Size Designers..listen to our customers and respond…quickly! Then all of us will benefit!