Though not until more recent days has plus size clothing been a marketable line for nearly every retailer, the history of plus size clothing actually began in the early 1900s. Plus size clothing has come a long way and is now a point of interest for many designers who try to incorporate current fashion trends into comfortable, flattering clothing for stout figured women.
The history of plus size clothing began with a visionary immigrant by the name of Lena Himmelstein. A gifted seamstress from Lithuania, Lena Himmelstein became Lena Bryant when she married David Bryant, a jeweler from Russia. She became Lane Bryant when a bank representative misspelled her name on a loan application and then history was made. Lane Bryant began designing dresses for pregnant women who were shunning the old-fashioned Victorian traditions of not being seen in public. While sales went through the roof, the public was shunning the idea of bulking tradition in such a way that made advertising for her dressmakers shop difficult. Thus, the infamous mail-order catalogue was born.
She subsequently identified a new fashion need for plus size clothing and by 1969 a chain of over 100 stores were in full operation. Over time, as Lane Bryant sales soared, other designers and retailers began to acknowledge the market of women larger than a size 10 seeking comfortable, fashionable clothing. Today, few designers and retailers will exclude plus size clothing from their line-ups.
The last decade has brought the need for plus size clothing, lingerie, and accessories into the spotlight. Many top designers specialize in only plus size clothing and women can now find the comfortable, fashionable plus size clothing they desire at affordable prices from Macy's to Old Navy to nearly anywhere else. The notion of the average-sized woman has increased and fashion no longer excludes half of the US population who wears clothing bigger than a size 10.