Plus-sized clothing for women usually refers to clothing sized 14 and up. However, many stores have plus-sized ranges that start higher or lower. Some stores, such as Lane Bryant, specialize only in plus-sized clothing; while other stores offer clothing in these sizes as an addition to other lines, such as junior or petite-sized clothing. Because there is no size standardization, the actual cut of the clothing can vary -- and your size could be different from store to store. In addition to numbered sizes such as 22, plus-sized clothing can also come in X's, such as 1x, 2x, 3x and so on.
Stores that size plus clothing by X's have a range from 1x and larger, depending upon the store. These sizes usually correspond to a small range of sizes in the larger numbered ranges. For example, 1x is usually the equivalent to sizes 14/16 -- 2x to sizes 18/20 -- and 3x to sizes 22/24. It is always best to check the fit of the item, before you think about purchasing an article of clothing.
Stores that utilize number sizing for plus-sized clothing usually ranges from 14w and upward. The difference between a 14 and a 14w is that the w-size is usually cut a bit larger. Plus-size for juniors uses odd numbers, such as 13, 15 or 17 and is cut a bit smaller than clothing found in women's lines.
Comparing Size Scales
Depending upon the store, there usually will not be a big difference between a 22 and 3x. Because the 3x is cut for several sizes -- 22 to 24 -- it will probably be larger than a 22, which is a more precise size. Clothing that emphasizes tailoring and fit will typically be marked with number sizes while loose clothing, such as T-shirts and sweats, will use the X scale.
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Where to Purchase
Plus-sized clothing used to be difficult to find. Today, it has grown easier to find fashionable and well-fitting clothes, particularly with the advent of online shopping. Because you cannot try clothing on before you purchase, be sure to familiarize yourself with online store return policies. Plus-sized clothing available at ASOS Curve, Lane Bryant, Torrid, Target and many other online and department stores has made shopping for well-fitting tailored clothing easy and affordable.
Baird Daily is an English instructor. She is published in the "World Literary Review" and has written about music and arts for the "Daily Athenaeum." She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Western Virginia University and is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky.