Those of you who know me, know that I’m extremely passionate about clothing sizing and fit. Fun fact: I majored in textiles and apparel, and I even wrote a research paper about the history of U.S. clothing sizing systems in my junior year! 🙂
I had one professor who always emphasized the importance of proper fit. She would always tell us that she’d rather have us turn in a simple garment fitted beautifully to the model’s size and shape, than a gorgeously-designed, extravagant garment with poor fit.
Over the years, her convictions have become my own, and it’s not hard to understand why: a properly-fitting garment feels like an extension of your own body, and has the power to make you feel like a million bucks. Conversely, repeated experiences with poorly fitting garments tend to cause us to grow frustrated with our bodies, especially when we don’t fit within a “normal” size range. That’s why size-inclusivity is so important: nothing beats the magic of wearing clothes that were truly designed for your size and shape.
Disclaimer: For purposes of this blog post, I will be using the term “size-inclusive brand” to refer to brands that include at least one significant extended-size range (plus, petite, tall, and/or curvy sizes). Nowadays, the term “size-inclusive” is often synonymous with “plus-size-inclusive.” However, I think it’s important to remember that plus-size women aren’t the only ones who are excluded by the standard XS-XL sizing range. I love the definition of “size-inclusive” used in this blog post by Parfait:
“Size inclusive means that, no matter how you look – short, tall, big, small, athletic, curvy, flat, plus size – you will not be discriminated against based on your size. When it comes to clothes, it means a brand is trying to cover as many different sizes as possible, and doesn’t just cater to one figure.”
I also recognize that size-inclusivity is an ongoing and imperfect process, and it’s both expensive and logistically challenging for a brand to significantly expand its sizing ranges in a short period of time, due to the increased number of sizing patterns, fit models, fit tests, SKUs, and a range of other factors.
As such, I think it’s important to be patient and gracious with brands that are starting to offer even a few extended sizes, and to gently encourage them to gradually offer more. That also means celebrating the introduction of extended sizes which may not apply to you personally. For example, as a super petite woman who almost never fits into “straight” sizes, I’m always happy to see brands introduce plus sizes – even though I’m not plus-sized.
Without further ado, here are a few of my favorite size-inclusive brands:
American Eagle has really upped the sizing-inclusivity game in recent years, especially with their denim collection. Currently they offer jeans in sizes 000 to 24, in five wonderful lengths: x-short, short, regular, long, and x-long. They also offer a variety of fits, including a curvy fit designed for women with a larger hip-to-waist ratio. On top of all of that, they prominently and consistently feature models of different shapes and sizes on their website. Go AE!!
It’s also worth noting that their sister brand, Aerie, was one of the first brands to champion a “zero retouching” policy, which means that you will see rolls, stretch marks, tan lines, skin texture, and other completely normal “imperfections” in their ads.
For those of you who haven’t heard of this brand before, eShakti is a unique online brand that offers customized sizing and design. The really cool thing about eShakti is that you can even customize features such as neckline, sleeve type, and length (e.g., selecting between above-the-knee, below knee, and mid-calf lengths) to really flatter your particular style and shape.
Their dresses are reasonably priced between $50-80 on average, and the customization fee is only an extra $9.95. Plus, the processing time is impressively fast for custom clothing (I usually get my orders within 2-3 weeks). I have to mention that their dresses often include some outrageous prints and designs, but don’t be alarmed! If you browse a little through the website, you will also find some more classic styles that will be flattering on many. 😉
I 100% recommend trying eShakti if you are curious about customized clothing. If custom sizing is not your thing, they also offer an impressive non-custom size range between XS (0-2) and 6X (36w). You can use this referral link for $25 off your first order!
I don’t think anyone is surprised to see me include LOFT on this list, haha! 😉 I’m pretty sure half of my closet is from LOFT, including this cute jumpsuit pictured above. The main reason I love LOFT is that they have both petite and regular sizes for almost every single style they offer. That’s a really rare thing to find, as most brands that offer petite sizing only do so for a few select styles. LOFT also offers limited styles in tall, plus (up to size 26), and maternity sizes. I would love to see them expand these lines in the future!
I was recently introduced to Revelry when my friend Hannah was picking a bridesmaid dress collection for her upcoming wedding. Revelry has a lot of cool things going for them: a super-inclusive size range of 0-32, a choice between short, regular, and tall dress lengths (those of you who have been bridesmaids before know how rare this is!!), and diverse models in their advertising. I also love that they offer a convenient home try-on program to let you try different styles, sizes, and/or fabrics before you commit to a dress. I’ve had a great experience with Revelry so far, and I would definitely recommend them for special events and weddings!
Madewell offers limited extended sizing in Plus, Petite, and Tall fits. Their new plus line (over 130 styles in total) includes some seriously cute dresses, blazers, jeans, and loungewear in sizes 14W-28W and 1X-4X, and I’m impressed by the fit photos on the models.
I would love to see them expand their petite and tall lines as well. Currently, their petite/tall lines are mainly for jeans – although I was able to snag this rare petite dress above last year, and it is one of my best-fitting dresses!
NEW: Old Navy
I’m editing this post to include Old Navy in the mix! Old Navy recently launched their BodEquality campaign to offer EVERY single one of their women’s styles in regular sizes XS-4X, tall, and petite! Seriously, my jaw dropped when I saw this announcement, as I’m used to petite sizes being made in just a few random styles. Not only did they majorly expand their size range, you can now see styles modeled on three different sizes (S, L, XL), and you can even add a filter on the browsing page so that the cover image of each style is modeled by your chosen size. Major kudos to Old Navy!! I can’t wait to try more of their petite styles (like this adorable “Coffee Weather” sweatshirt above!) in the future.
Honorable mention: Lulus
Lulus may seem like an odd addition to the list, but surprisingly, they do offer over 100 dress styles in 1X-3X, many of which are really beautiful and would be perfect for photo sessions. I’ve also noticed that they have started picturing a few curvier models on their website, although they have a lot of room for improvement in this area.
It’s worth noting that Lulus has a really great review system where you can filter by reviewer size, height, and measurements, to see dresses on people who have a similar size or shape as you, including petite, tall, curvy, and plus-sized reviewers. I hesitate to call Lulus a truly size-inclusive brand (thus the “honorable mention”), but I do think that most women will be able to find a Lulus dress that suits them, and I hope to see expanded size representation from them in the future!
Do you have a size-inclusive brand that you love? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂
Jocelyn Bravo is a Northern VA family photographer who specializes in creating joyful and luminous images for families and couples. She is based in Alexandria, VA and loves working with clients all across Virginia and the DMV.