At Brayola, we’ve always known that curvy is fabulous—especially when it comes to intimate apparel in sizes for every body. Now, the rest of the world is finally taking note. With body positive attitudes taking root and old beauty standards being shunned, Millennials are reshaping the industry as we know it. And—dare we say it—it’s about damn time! According to a 2016 report from WGSN, the average American woman is now a U.S. size 16 to 18. And guess what? She, like all women, wants to look and feel beautiful in modern intimate apparel that fits her lifestyle.
Curvy is the New Plus
The body positive term is taking over every channel from Instagram to e-commerce websites. In fact, Nasdaq reports that “Millennials and other body positive women of all ages prefer the term curvy to describe themselves and the apparel they wear. Curvy women…are also demanding intimate apparel products designed and made specifically for their body types without compromising the fit, variety, selection, style, color, and features available in other sizes.”
Business Wire further proves the viability of body positive messaging and size inclusivity, stating that “Curvy is a significant and growing part of the $11.1 billion category. According to The NPD Group’s U.S. Consumer Tracking Service for the 12 months ending June 2017, 30 percent of the combined dollar volume of bras, panties, and shapewear comes from plus sizes.”
In other words, curvy women want to be treated like every body else—and big brands are starting to pay attention.
Brands on Board: Playtex & Maidenform
Thanks in part to extensive market research with curvy women, HanesBrands is introducing, via their brands Maidenform and Playtex, two curve-conscious lines that include bras, panties, and shapewear designed to meet the needs (and wants) of curvy women using a brand voice that resonates with this demographic.
“Body positive women are embracing their curves and have become a force in the intimate apparel category,” says Jay Turner, the HanesBrands president and general manager for intimates. “They want to enhance their curves, not hide them. They want to be respected, not dismissed as an afterthought by product offerings that are a mere line extension of average-figure apparel that doesn’t meet their needs. And they have power in numbers.”
One of the aforementioned lines, Playtex Love My Curves, offers a fresh twist on old favorites while introducing matching panties for the first time ever. The line stays true to hallmark styles that smooth, lift, and support while debuting more modern styling that includes moderate coverage—another first for Playtex and something curvy women requested specifically. The line will be available in sizes up to a G cup.
From Maidenform comes Maidenform Curvy, a revolutionary new approach to shapewear. Shapewear usually follows standard misses patterns, but Maidenform opted to develop patterns using curvy fit models. In other words, real bodies = a real good fit! The line also features patent-pending design features meant to improve fit and increase comfort. Maidenform Curvy is available in sizes 1X through 4X, designed to fit women size 16 to 30. Win!
“We listened to curvy women’s frustrations regarding the choices available in the category and responded with a completely new design process and shapewear line to meet their needs,” said Tricia Bouras, vice president and general manager for shapewear. “We won’t ask curvy women to compromise on fit, comfort or modern style. Maidenform is the first mainstream shapewear brand to address this important demographic, and our new Maidenform Curvy is offering women never-before-seen options.”
HanesBrands spent a year researching the curvy millennial market in order to identify clear preferences and demographic trends influencing the categories. Here are a few of their key takeaways:
- 42% of millennials prefer the term “curvy” over “plus size” and “full figure”
- All women—including curvy women—want beautiful, modern intimate apparel that fits their lifestyle. They desire the right sizes, comfortable fits, and on-trend styling.
- 63% of curvy women want the ability to match their bras and panties
- According to WGSN’s Body Positive: New Plus Size Retail Strategies report issued in 2016, the average American woman is now a U.S. size 16 to 18
- 35% of women are plus-size by age 25 and 44% percent by age 33
- The NPD Group’s 2015 Women’s Special Sizes Study reported that the number of teens buying plus-sized clothing in the United States doubled between 2010 and 2015