Despite the fact that 70% of the women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or larger, cultivating nearly $7 billion in retail sales, the plus-size market doesn’t receive nearly as much attention as other clothing categories. So when a recent review submitted to ConsumerAffairs told us about a different kind of experience with Old Navy, we decided to dig a little deeper.
“About 6-8 months ago, Old Navy changed their business model for their Women's clothing department. Prior to the change, their plus size clothes were only available online and were always considerably more expensive than the Misses line of clothing,” wrote Joy of Louisville, Ky.
Joy applauded Old Navy for expanding its whole line of women's clothing from size small to 4X in stores – and all the same price point. “As a plus sized woman, this is such a wonderful change. I applaud them for realizing that plus size women would like the same options and misses sized women and not have to pay an arm and a leg for it," she said.
ConsumerAffairs reached out to Old Navy for more information and was told that the initiative that Joy wrote about is called “BODEQUALITY.” A company representative said it was an initiative that the company started building back in 2004 when it first introduced extended sizes.
“Old Navy is a brand that believes in the democracy of style and fundamentally believes in size inclusion,” the spokesperson told ConsumerAffairs. “We have always believed that all our customers should be able to participate in the same brand experience and have the same access to product, and have been working towards this launch for years.”
Getting it right all the way down to the size of the pockets
It’s taken Old Navy 17 years to get to where it was comfortable with the BODEQUALITY blueprint. The company said it has spent that time conducting customer listening sessions and shop-alongs, taking body scans, and holding fit clinics – taking in details all the way down to factors like pocket size, denim waist gaps, and the length of dresses and pants.
“What I’m most proud of is how this effort stays true to our values of democratizing style for all,” said Nancy Green, president and CEO of Old Navy, in an email to all global Gap Inc. employees. “It is a transformative moment for our brand and our customers, that further establishes our leadership position in inclusive fit and style.”
Joy, for one, is happy that Old Navy decided to make a difference. “I like that plus-size isn't just one little back corner of the store at Old Navy now,” she said.