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Stephanie Sack, owner of the Bucktown boutique Vive la Femme, was quoted in a Thursday Styles section in the New York Times article about the rise of plus-size fashion. Sack, whose shop is one of the few independently owned retailers in the area--scratch that, one of the few retailers in the area period--to cater to larger women, opened up her store seven years ago because she couldn't find trend-influenced styles that fit her.
Yet while some companies are expanding their plus-size offerings, others are eliminating them altogether, citing the extra cost of fabric and the difficulties of designing so many different patterns for figures that vary so much. But everyone's shape varies--ask big-busted women, petites, and those with wide hips or broad backs whether it's easy to find clothes that fit and flatter them, as a post on Jezebel.com pointed out. Even women with "normal" proportions are urged to use a tailor to get that perfect fit. But there's no arguing that the selection offered above a size 12 is pretty grim. Styles using stretchy fabrics and loose cuts are meant to fit as many people as possible.
Solutions? Maybe smaller-scale operations, like Sack's shop and designers who specialize in this market, are the answer. Of course with retail and the fashion industry in a major downturn, it'll take some deep pockets to find out.