How Do We Solve The Plus-Sized Clothing Crisis?

Two Saturdays ago, we posted about the LA Times piece about designers refusing to create plus-sized clothing. Today, Times readers respond, and a popular retailer makes a big announcement:

First, a woman named Linda writes:

My company, Makeover Media, always recommends branching into plus sizes when manufacturers or retailers complain of slow sales, sluggish business . . . and they always refuse. One company, a swimsuit retailer, has spent ridiculous amounts of time and money "chasing new customers." But when I broached the subject of adding plus size swimwear to the website store only, the company refused.

Cynthia notes:

Many real women are not curvy and hourglass-figured, like most plus-sized models I see. We have thicker waistlines in relation to our hips… Most clothing designers have designed on the (sexist?) assumption that women have tiny waists no matter their size.

Ariene says:

The first national designer/retailer combo brave enough to make and stock real fashion sized for the average American woman is going to make a fortune, and then hopefully the rest will begin to follow.

But: The announcement that Forever 21 will offer "extended sizes" — in a line called (ugh) Faith 21 — is not welcome news for everyone. The dresses and separates sizing will only "extend" from size 12 to size 18, and the denim? Only a 34 (14/16). Since the "average" American woman is a size 14, this means that the store will still mostly offer clothing for smaller-than-average ladies.

While Gap often stocks up to size 20, is the brand still relevant (is there anything you'd want to buy)? Teen brands Alloy and Torrid offer plus sized clothes, but in hyper-trendy styles that may not be appropriate for the "average" woman. Lane Bryant? Expensive, and not enough variety. The truth is, plus-sized women shouldn't have to rely on one single retailer to fulfill their fashion needs. Judging by the response on the LA Times story and various plus size posts around here, you get the feeling that there are quite a few women all looking for the same thing: Affordable and stylish clothes that come in sizes larger than 12. But if designers don't care — and manufacturers would rather lose business than be known as something fat people wear — what can consumers do? Maybe it would help if we started counting ourselves? Surely there is strength in numbers.

Your Turn: A Call For Plus-Size, Forever 21 To Extend Sizes With New Line [LA Times]
Earlier: Designers Refuse To Cater To The Average American Woman
Fashion Designers Are Small Minded About Plus Sizes
Alloy: The Secret Weapon Of The Broke & Plus-Sized