Inquiring minds would like to know, “What exactly is plus size?” Perhaps one of the most confusing things about plus size is where it begins. What size is the entry point in defining plus size?
Depending on where you shop, plus size may start at size 12, 14 or 16. According to fashion industry standards, plus size are sizes 12-24 — making 12 the size where plus size begins. As you can imagine, what fashion industry, respective stores and women around the globe say is the entry point for plus size may differ considerably.
You’ll typically see a ‘W’ or an ‘X’ before or after the size on plus size clothing. The ‘W’ means women’s size. You’ll see it after a size, such as 12W, or before an S, M, L or XL — such as WS. The ‘X’ means extra. You may see it as something like 3X versus size 3 for juniors.
Some stores carry plus sizes from 12W-44W. This also depends on where you shop. For example, Ashley Stewart only goes up to size 26. Igigi goes up to size 32. Shabby Apple’s plus sizes include 14/16, L and XL. They also use women’s sizes in WS and WM, which are more generous in bust, waist and hip measurements than XL.
There are two other categories beyond plus size. Super sizes are 4X-6X. Extended sizes are 7X and up.
Plus size includes sizes:
- 12-44 or 12W-44W
- L, XL, XXL, etc.
- 1X-3X (there are also super and extended sizes)
- WS, WM, WL, WXL (women’s sizes in small, medium, large and extra large)
Plus Size Shopping
The following stores either have a plus size department or exclusively carry plus size fashion. Of course there are more than the few listed below — online and in town. Explore your options with respect to style, budget and needs.