While the term “plus-size” is relatively ubiquitous throughout the fashion industry, not everyone is totally on board with that labeling of women whose bodies don’t happen to fit the traditional runway mold. The term “plus” implies that women who wear those sizes are outside of the norm, or the traditional “regular” sized run of clothing that goes from zero to 12, when in fact, women who wear sizes larger than that are actually by far the norm. The average American woman, for example, in 2017 wears a size 16 or 18, meaning there’s absolutely nothing “plus” or atypical about that particular clothing range. And now Kmart had decided to honor that statistic in a new way, henceforth re-labeling all of their “plus-size” collections as “fabulously sized” instead.
Not only will the department store be reformatting the language it uses to refer to this type of all-inclusive sizing, they’ve also made sure all of the women’s apparel lines it carries feature a full run of sizes which will be featured in-store in sections specifically earmarked as “Fabulously Sized,” and they’ve also eliminated the plus-size labeling from swimwear and undergarments.
Kelly Cook, Kmart’s chief marketing officer told Women’s Wear Daily of the shift away from this controversial terminology, “When we reached out to our members on social media, they told us we needed to have a better assortment and that we should we call it something different. They absolutely love this whole mantra of ‘Fabulously Sized.’ We’re proud to provide this apparel, and we’re also proud about our price points.”
“This decision was also heavily influenced by the fact that there’s a solid trend on the market around diversity promotion and body positivity,” Cook added, noting that Kmart has seen, “a big body positive focus in the teen and Millennial markets.”
While the move away from the word “plus” is a welcome change in an industry known for othering women size 4 and up, as well as a shift in vernacular body positive activists like Ashley Graham have long been asking for, the euphemistic choice to dub this clothing “fabulously sized” seems equally odd as it still creates an unnecessary dichotomy that suggests a certain category of physiques are somehow more or less phenomenal than others. Not to mention, putting these clothes in specially designated sections does little to destigmatize shopping for those sizes. But regardless, any time fashion finds a way to respect the real bodies of their actual consumers, that seems like something worth celebrating.