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Men’s fashion comes of age globally as brands adopt size inclusivity


Mens fashion comes of age globally as brands adopt size inclusivity


The boom of inclusive sizing within women’s fashion in the past few years highlights the growing awareness about health among all age groups of people. Most brands, like the small-scale Universal Standards to those operating on a global scale like Old Navy, are expanding their size bases, to make their products more inclusive.

Men’s fashion value drops in 2021

However, currently, most of this revolution is happening in women’s fashion. Men’s fashion is yet to adapt itself to size inclusivity, shows data from Statista. The report reveals, the value of men’s plus-size fashion has actually dropped from $1 billion in 2020 to $850 million in 2021. This is contrary to the demand as an average American man’s waist size is 40 inches whereas sizes in the market start from 38 inches.

Few apparel brands have indeed expanded the sizes of their men’s offerings. In 2019, Madewell launched men’s jeans with sizes extending upto 43 inches. Through this move, the brand aimed to bring the same level of size inclusivity and the focus on correct fit as in women’s sizes, says Joyce Lee, SVP-Design, Madewell. Making larger sizes for men helps the brand attract more valuable and long-term customers, adds Lee.

Another brand offering larger sizes for men is Bonobos. The brand offers men’s pants upto size 54. It adopted size inclusivity in 2018, 11 years after its inception. However, only few brands like Universal Standard offer larger sizes with their straight sizes. Usually, plus size fashion is offered by specialty retailers or as an exclusive offering by a mainstream retailer.

More options than earlier

Currently, plus size fashion offers more options than earlier. For instance, on JC Penney recently introduced its plus-size XLG collection designed with Shaquille O’Neal. The line includes men’s shirts, pants, jackets, sweaters and suits, in sizes ranging from a medium tall all the way up to 6XL. The collection delivers on the brand’s commitment to offer plus size fashion to its customers, says Michelle Wlazlow, EVP and Chief Merchandize Officer, JC Penney.

Mostly ignored by the industry, shorter men are catered to by specialty brands like Otero that was launched in 2019. The brand aims to address an underserved market, says Steve Villanueva, Founder, who relaunched the brand over the summer.

Growing rapidly, men’s fashion generated revenues worth $500 billion in 2021, and is expected to grow 10 per cent next year. With revenues declining every year, the market remains largely untapped, waiting for brands to be explored more extensively.