What is Considered Plus Size in the Fashion Industry?

Plus Size Model

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the concept of plus size. What is it? Old Navy, a famous family retailer, is being put on the hot seat right now for selling plus size clothing at higher prices than smaller sizes, and some designer lines stopped offering their own version of plus size clothes following the collapse of the economy. But what, exactly, constitutes plus size? Models on runways and in designer campaigns are sometimes considered plus size models despite the fact that they wear a size 6, and surely this is not plus size, is it?

According to NY Magazine, the standard size of a plus size fashion model is 12. However, that was as of 2007. In the years since then, the average size of a plus size model in the fashion industry has been shrinking rapidly. First it began with models being cast as a size 10 and now it’s down to a size 8. In some instances, designers are calling their size 6 models plus size.

The average size of a ‘thin’ runway model is a size 00, and even that number is a lot smaller than it used to be. Models used to be considered average at size 2, and now some designer lines are breaking out sizes that are small than a 0 or 00.

More than a decade ago, women who were considered thin models were approximately 8% thinner than the average size of a healthy woman. Today, that number has jumped to 23%, which makes the average model meet just about all the criteria that is used to determine whether or not a person is suffering from anorexia, or the starvation of one’s body for weight loss purposes.

The average plus size model is anywhere from size 6 to size 18, and the average woman is size 14. Most women are right around that size in this country alone, though there are always women smaller and women larger. However, what’s considered ‘average’ for women in everyday life is now considered plus size in the modeling industry.

Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images


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