How the U.S. Sport Performance Apparel Industry Sizes Up to Female Plus Bodies. SL Solkolowski, J Silbert, L Griffin.

Date: October 2019.
Source: 3DBODY.TECH 2019 – 10th International Conference and Exhibition on 3D Body Scanning and Processing Technologies, Lugano, Switzerland.
Abstract: In the United States, about 68% of the female population is greater than a size 14, or plus size [1]. This demographic represents a $21.4 billion industry [1]. Over the last five years, there has been a movement in the U.S. sport performance apparel industry to manufacture products for this body type, which historically has not been considered “athletic.” As there is a lack of accessible measurements and sizing standardization for plus sizes, companies have developed their own unique systems, often graded from existing “sample sizes” (often a size small 4/6 or medium 8/10) or developed from old plus size standards (e.g., ASTM) [2]. As a result, plus size products in the U.S are inconsistently and unreliably sized. This challenge not only affects consumer satisfaction, but it also affects retailers and the environment. As an example, retailers scrap more than 25% of their returns, which can contribute to over five billion pounds in landfill each year [3]. The intent of this pilot study was to understand how well a sample of plus size bodies fit into the top three U.S. sport performance apparel companies’ size charts. Sixty-five 3D body scans of plus size women, who self-identified as size 18W, were analyzed to determine how their chest/bust, waist and hip measures compared to the top three companies’ sizing schemes. The companies included Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. Findings established that there are opportunities to: initiate a larger study to understand a more comprehensive set of bodies/measures, improve grading and size charts, develop relevant dress forms and product creation for this evolving demographic.

Article: How the U.S. Sport Performance Apparel Industry Sizes Up to Female Plus Bodies.
Authors: Susan L Solkolowski, Jessie Silbert, Linsey Griffin.