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Why Plus Sizes Disappeared From Old Navy Stores for 11 Years

In line with the movement toward inclusive and expanded sizing, Old Navy is bringing plus-size clothing back into stores after offering the line exclusively through e-commerce since 2007.

Shoppers could touch, feel and try on plus-size apparel from 2004 to 2007 in Old Navy stores nationwide, before the Gap, Inc.-owned fast-fashion brand decided to shift the expanded size range of tops, dresses, denim and more to online-only status. But it was all for the long-term good, Old Navy said.

And Old Navy spokesperson said the retailer made the decision to “take a step back to invest in strategic work” to elevate its plus-size merchandise, leveraging consumer research insights and taking a fresh approach to product development. What’s more, much of that work involved fine-tuning the plus-size fit to accommodate the unique needs of larger bodies and rethinking the assortment strategy to deliver what customers want.

A dedicated team of designers, technical designers, merchants and others devote their time solely to building out the plus category, using “curve-proud” fit models and designing specifically for the plus woman rather than simply grading up from straight sizes.

Old Navy offers women’s apparel in sizes as high as 4X and 30 in regular, petite, short, tall and long.

Old Navy president and CEO Sonia Syngal said the brand “believe[s] in the democracy of style.” Continuing, Syngal said, “Fashion is personal, and your clothing should make you feel confident. That’s why we launched Size ‘YES!’ this year—because everyone deserves great style in their size whenever, wherever, however they want it.”

The Size “YES!” campaign promotes Old Navy’s inclusive sizing as well as the return of its plus-size offering to 75 stores, a pilot run that’s expected to pave the way for a larger expansion across the country.  “We are starting with a small launch so we can test, hear from our customers, learn and adjust before rolling out to more stores,” the Old Navy spokesperson said.

Old Navy’s announcement comes as a growing number of fashion brands is rushing to roll out expanded sizing and capture new customers. Recently, inclusive-sizing e-commerce startup Universal Standard developed a collection with J.Crew that offers modern and minimal apparel in sizes XXS-5X. Rihanna’s popular new Savage X Fenty lingerie line was inclusive from the get-go with bras in up to a 44DD.