Plus-size might be the body buzzword at the moment taking over the fashion world, but most women know that finding the right outfit is a lot more complicated than just the size printed on a tag.
According to new research that examines the shopping habits of women of all sizes, there certainly are a few patterns. Just one in eight women (13 percent) say they dress to show off their body, and the majority (53 percent) saying that they dress to actively cover things up.
In fact, the new poll of 2,000 women across the country conducted by Trunk Club revealed that no matter their shape, 46 percent of women struggle with some size or fit issues that impact what they wear and what trends they’ll try simply because of the makeup of their form.
The most common priority for women when shopping is hiding their belly - with 65 percent naming it as a top consideration. Covering thighs is something 29 percent of women think about at the store, while 27 percent also look to cover their arms.
Only 19 percent of women report feeling confident in a bikini, making it the most avoided clothing item, followed by miniskirts, form fitting dress, strapless tops and dresses, and jumpsuits/rompers.
As for what sort of clothing American women feel the most confident in, cardigan sweaters take the top spot, followed by long coats and knee-length skirts - simply more proof that American ladies prefer to cover up.
The biggest fit issue among US women is finding pants that fit in both the waist and in the hips, with half reporting that they have this problem.
It seems this is the top issue for women of all body types, including those with round bellies, long torsos, short torsos and even those with narrow hips or exaggerated curves, proving that women share a number of struggles behind the fitting room doors!
Such shopping tribulations have led more than half of women (57 percent) to feel like there are simply no clothes made to fit their particular body type.
Even when trying to be more adventurous it’s not always easy - 46 percent of women have wanted to try out a new trend they saw in the media, but subsequently couldn’t find it in their size.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that 43 percent of ladies report they struggle with body confidence when they are shopping for clothes Only 12 percent say they feel more confident in the fitting room.
These frustrations also likely contribute to 66 percent of women buying multiples of an item that fits whenever they are lucky enough to find one that fits perfectly.
The average American woman owns five button-up shirts, six pairs of jeans, three form-fitting dresses, nine loose t-shirts and three low-cut tops or dresses. But, of course, these numbers vary over different body types.
Women who prioritize hiding their belly shy away from sheath dresses, and women with small waists own twice as many fitted frocks as the national average.
With this sort of selective shopping apparent among women, it makes sense that 61 percent believe that avoiding certain clothing because of their shape has played a massive role in how their personal style has been formed.
“All women have different body types and bring their own individuality to style, but it’s frustrating when you can't find the clothing in the style or fit that helps you confidently flaunt your figure and express who you are,“ explains Linda Bartman, chief marketing officer at Trunk Club.
“I often hear women talk about having a difficult body type to fit. Because sizes and styles vary across brands and categories, the real challenge is not your body type but rather figuring out how to navigate through the plethora of options to find the perfect fit for you.”
It’s not to say that American women haven’t ventured out of their comfort zones, but they don’t always hit the mark.
The average woman has six items in her closet that she never wears but is hanging on to until they fit better. They also have four items that do fit, but that they feel they don’t feel confident enough to pull off.
Respondents reported that they only feel confident about their outfit around four days per week, with one in ten saying they never feel confident in how they look.
To help address the problem for women no matter their shape or size, Trunk Club’s Expert Plus Size Panel, a group of 14 stylists well versed in women’s fit issues, compiled their top tips for all fit issues. Their biggest piece of advice?
“Be open to trying new trends and playing around with different styles until you figure out what works best for your body,” says Tara Nesser, Trunk Club’s director of sales training. To see the full range of style tips please visit Trunk Club’s style site.
If you’re concerned about your mid-section:
• Try layering a jacket, cardigan, or vest over a blouse or tee to minimize your stomach and elongate your figure
• If you prefer dresses and skirts, look for a thicker waistband. It creates the waist that you want but holds everything in and minimizes the look of the belly
If you’re concerned about your thighs:
• Wear a printed top or accessory to emphasize your top half
• A long vest or sweater that hits right at or above the knee is perfect. It "covers" your thighs, while creating a slimming effect
If you can’t find pants that fit in the waist and the hips:
• Play around with pant rise. High-rise pants with stretch usually works best in dealing with this particular issue
• Find a denim or pant brand that focuses on this fit issue, like Good American. They're made for curvier women who struggle with the hip to waist ratio. Find your fit and buy every color
If you’re concerned about your arms:
• Depending on temperature, a nice jacket can do the trick, but if it's too hot for jackets, try the cold shoulder trend
• Sleeveless tops can be great as long as they are not cap sleeves. Pair them with a light, open cardigan for breezy style. Look for a cut that shows off your collarbone
If you have a long torso:
• Opt for long lines, even a thin pin striped top or jacket and longer third pieces
• Embrace high-waisted pants and pair with a fitted top! This ensemble makes your legs look longer and accentuates the waist
If you have a short torso:
• Half tuck everything! It shows where the smallest part of your waist is and creates shape
• Cropped jackets also point directly to your waist and help create that shape for you
If you have narrow hips:
• If you want to hide that you have narrow hips, peplum is a great option. It creates volume without creating the illusion of a baby bump
• If you want to accentuate your narrow hips, try low or mid-rise jeans with a half-tucked top
***This random double-opt-in survey was conducted by OnePoll, a market research company and corporate member of ESOMAR and adheres to the MRS code of conduct. For more information about One Poll’s research in the media, navigate to their portfolio here: http://www.onepoll.com/in-the-media/. This survey of 2000 US women was conducted between September 08, 2017, and September 18, 2017, by Market Researchers OnePoll and commissioned by Trunk Cl.ub