Wholesale Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Blog

Ideas for Jewelry & Accessory Businesses
Filed under Fashion Trends
Share Button

  WHAT DOES THE AVERAGE American woman look like?  Well, if you are addicted to the skinny portrayal of La American as put forth by the fashion industry, get ready for a shocker. Because she “ain’t” what designers would like her to be. And she’s tired of apologizing!

The average American woman is a size 14.  Now, that’s not obese and it really isn’t fat, either.  You could get away with calling her chubby.  Or, well rounded. Not at all what we’ve been led to believe.  What’s more (and this is the real shocker) the lady – according to the Palm Beach Post — is generally happy with her size and appearance

Beverly Blanchette of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, says “When I think of how I starved myself and how self-conscious I was for years, I can’t believe it.  I am happy to say I am now happy with myself (and wearing a size 14).”

Blanchette echoes many other women across the country in verbalizing a new attitude toward body size and appearance.  They’re saying “I’m OK.” They are tired of the fashion industry’s exclusive emphasis on undernourished bodies.  And they are looking for retailers with the clothes and the attitude to fit their own new philosophy.  

“The fashion industry portrays this beauty ideal that’s really false – 0s and 00s are in the minority,” says Maricruz Gonzalez of Greenacres, Florida. The 22-year old recently lost 50 pounds, going from a size 22 to 14.  And she’s learned to love the body she’s in. “The size on the label is ultimately irrelevant,” she says.  “The most important thing is that you need to be happy with who you are.” 




                                                 Size 14 Club

A RETAILER IN CHICAGO is using the Size 14 model as a takeoff for store promotion.  The boutique has started a Size 14 Fashion Club, and meets one evening a month for a special event, socializing, and light refreshments.  The Club has a speaker at every meeting – no, not an Alcoholics Anonymous style speaker, but someone to talk about being the “perfect size.” 

Emphasis is on what fashion looks best on a size 14, what accessories enhance the look, and what special things can be done to pull everything together fabulously.  This is an “UP” experience all the way.  Plans to set up a special interactive web site are now underway!

Buying fashion isn’t easy for larger size women.  According to the New York Times, thin people are more like one another; heavier people are less like one another.  With more weight comes more variation. That means it is very difficult to design for heavier women. 

                                            Limited Choices

“YOU CAN EITHER MAKE clothes that are shapeless,” says pattern maker Kathleen Fasanella, “or target the segment of the market that, let’s say, favors a woman who gets larger at the hip.  You really have to narrow down your customer.”  And even designers have different ideas of what a size 14 means. A dress measurement at Michael Kors has a waist of 31”.  At Lane Bryant, it’s 34”.  Hips measure out at 42” from Michael Kors, and 43 ½” at Eileen Fisher. 

So…what does the average woman do?  She chooses clothing often as a backdrop, rather than major focal point of her fashion.  And then, she ACCESSORIZES.  This means great accessories, from necklaces to handbags, to enliven her clothes and make them really special. 

Are there any key points to remember about accessories for a Size 14?  You bet!  First of all, the key is size.  Tiny jewelry pieces get lost on a larger woman.  Offer your customers a number of the larger size necklaces that are so popular today.  Suggest collections of bracelets, worn in multiples.  Go for wider rather than thinner bangles.  Color is another “must have.”  More intense colors stand out, give greater pizzazz. 

Handbags are another important category, and today’s style was made for the Size 14 woman.  Big handbags are terrific!  Stay away from the cross-body bags, as they will bring too much emphasis to the bust line.  Generally speaking, suggest larger evening bags rather than tiny ones. 

                                        More Experimental


HELPING a SIZE 14 become more experimental with fashion is another big plus for both retailer and customer.  Larger women can look fantastic with large prints, long skirts, and expansive scarves.  They can wear exotic styles, Africana, see-through over blouses.

As Susan Vitiello (who looks just great in multiple strand necklaces) of Jupiter, Florida, puts it, “It’s not the size of what you wear but how you wear it.”  Monique Vidal-McDowell, who wears not only necklaces but bracelets on both arms, adds, “I feel sexy and fabulous as a full-figured woman in my 40s.  It’s all about how you feel inside.”



Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, October 29th, 2010

You can follow any responses to this entry through the magic of "RSS 2.0" and leave a trackback from your own site.

Post A Comment