Mid-size goes mainstream as fashion loosens its belt on size inclusivity

The growing cohort of midsize fashion shoppers sees apparel brands begin to blur the lines between standard and plus sizing, prompting brands to think about sizing in a wider midsize continuum and promoting greater size inclusivity within the fashion industry, the latest data from True Fit, the data-driven personalisation platform for fashion retailers, reveals.

Original insight from True Fit’s Fashion Genome™, fashion’s largest global connected data set which analyses data from almost 200million shoppers and 16,000 brands and retailers on the platform, shows a growth in mid sizes (UK 12 – 18) amongst shoppers.  Globally, 38% of female True Fit users are midsize, rising to 42% of women in the UK and 39% in the US while in Europe this is slightly lower, with 30% of women represented by those within the midsize range.

This rising mid-size demographic, True Fit suggests, is prompting brands and retailers to start blurring the lines between standard and plus sizes, with many now offering mid sizing to cater for both and thinking about sizing in terms of a wide range continuum, versus the rigid segments (i.e. standard vs. plus sizes) of the past.

As of May 2021, True Fit’s data shows the majority of retailers on its platform now carry upwards of 90% of their catalogue in midsize ranges, suggesting that sizing is becoming more inclusive with some of the UK’s leading retailers already taking steps to promote size inclusivity.

High Street fashion favourite, H&M, for example, has taken steps to becoming more size inclusive with the recent launch of its H&M+ range and announcement that some of its main lines would now go up to 2XLs.  Meanwhile Mango followed suit with its Violetta range to offer greater ranging across its clothing and footwear and fast fashion pureplay, ASOS, launched ASOS CURVE, which now carries 1,789 women’s styles and in March announced it would carry greater size ranging across its menswear offer too.

The midsize segment is a growing category in the US, with the percentage of midsize sales increasing to 52% in 2020 (compared to 44% in 2017), True Fit’s data showed.  UK and EU midsize sales decreased in 2020, down 11% and 5% respectively compared to 2017, however any decreases in midsize purchases have corresponded directly with increased purchasing in plus size ranges.  So, if midsize purchases went down 5%, True Fit saw an increase in plus size by a similar percentage.

Sarah Curran Usher MBE, MD EMEA at True Fit, commented: “Diversity and inclusion has become increasingly important for consumers – from readdressing gender diversity gaps to recognising gender fluidity in merchandising and adopting more sustainable practices, there is a growing trend for shoppers to, quite literally, wear their hearts on their sleeves as they demand ‘better’ when choosing who they shop with.”

“Size inclusivity has long been an issue the fashion has struggled to shake, but the rise in midsize shoppers – a new cohort which is now blurring the lines between traditional standard and plus sizes – is paving the way for a more diverse ranging and greater accessibility to styles for all sizes.  It has also prompted retailers to take the opportunity to serve an as yet untapped demographic, which has so far been ‘unseen’ by the industry – creating a valuable new segment.  And that means the onus is on fashion retailers to be able to track and react to insights from these macro data trends in order to continue to evolve their offer to meet their customers’ needs,” she concluded.

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