Has Old Navy charted a course for all retail to follow on plus-sizes?

Discussion
Source: Old Navy “BODEQUALITY” TV spot
Aug 23, 2021

Old Navy has introduced a major revamp of its plus-size approach, called BODEQUALITY, that addresses clothing inclusivity in a myriad of ways.

Among the call-outs:

  • Size and price equality: Old Navy said it has become the first value retailer to offer sizes 0-30 and XS-4X for all women’s styles with consistent pricing across the range. While Old Navy has been carrying plus sizes since 2004, sizes only ranged from zero to 18, or extra small to XXL in outlet sizing, according to WWD. Online, only about 30 percent of women’s apparel assortments were similarly available in plus-sizes.
  • Size-integrated shopping: Every store will offer all women’s styles in sizes 0-28 merchandised together rather than in special plus-size sections. Online, Old Navy is merging its Women’s and Women’s Plus collections within the navigation menu.
  • No “one-size fits all” mannequins: In stores, the retailer will showcase women’s clothes in sizes four, 12 and 18. Online, women’s styles will be showcased on models in the same sizes with a new toggle feature enabling shoppers to select their preferred default model display size.
  • Reimagining plus-sized fit: Following interviews with hundreds about body image and related fashion concerns, Old Navy has reinvented its fit process and sizing standards using 389 3-D digital models of real women. Details include adjusting sleeve openings so bras won’t show.
  • Major plus-size campaign: Saturday Night Live cast member and “Shrill” star Aidy Bryant has become the face of a BODEQUALITY campaign that will include a TV spot and social media content. The chain will support outreach with close to 500 placements in New York and Los Angeles and an open letter to “women everywhere” across social channels announcing Old Navy’s inclusive and integrated shopping experience.

The plus-size opportunity is still seen as significantly underserved with the cost of producing plus-size apparel often cited as a hurdle. NPD has found 70 percent of American women wear a size 14 or larger, yet less than 20 percent of apparel is made in those sizes.

Target, Nordstrom and Nike are among the retailers praised for their expanded plus-size offerings in recent years, but BODEQUALITY goes much further.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your assessment of Old Navy’s BODEQUALITY program? Do you see this as a standard that other retailers serving a mass customers base will or should follow?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The fact is that Old Navy is listening to their customers and who is shopping the brand. I love that Old Navy is making a bold statement on sizing and I am here for it."
"Fashion retailers have struggled to let go of the glamour fantasy and that has led them to poorly serve “real” folks who don’t fit the physical mold."
"The fact that 70 percent of women struggle to find clothing that fits them is a major miss for apparel retailers."

Join the Discussion!

12 Comments on "Has Old Navy charted a course for all retail to follow on plus-sizes?"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Did I miss it, or is there not one word about the same conversation in men’s Big & Tall?

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Excellent point and equally important. DXL is currently using a much more diverse range of models in its emails, website, and advertising at this point.

It will be interesting to follow reactions to these campaigns. I can imagine they make a great many people uncomfortable — even those who wear the larger sizes. We’ve spent soooooo long with a single body image projected out to us that society will have to adjust to this new (and far more realistic) view of people.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

When shopping for fashion people look at things like type of product, color, pattern, design, fabric, and price. When they have found something they like they then look for their size and assess things like fit. Certainly different people have different preferences and likes, but these are rarely determined on the basis of size. So, to my mind, Old Navy’s approach makes commercial sense as well as being inclusive.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Size inclusion is exactly what retailers should be doing and Old Navy’s BODEQUALITY program should be celebrated.

As a former merchant, extended sizing, petite or plus, is a manufacturer and pattern maker’s nightmare and most of the time the factory will not offer to cut these sizes. It’s not as profitable for them and the margins are lower. The size boat needs to be rocked and I love to see retailers push the envelope.

Minimum order quantities, size ranges and size scales that don’t include extended sizing, and the fact that more sizes take up more space on the shop floor is a deterrent for buyers and designers to offer these sought after sizes to the customer.

The fact is that Old Navy is listening to their customers and who is shopping the brand. I love that Old Navy is making a bold statement on sizing and I am here for it.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

The fact that 70 percent of women struggle to find clothing that fits them is a major miss for apparel retailers. Old Navy is doing what every brand should be doing – ensuring assortment options exist equally for its target demographic. Further, what good is assortment if consumers don’t have easily accessible ways to feel comfortable shopping it? These changes Old Navy is making are table stakes changes that are not only positive and inclusive, but also simply no-brainer business decisions.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust

Yes, this should be applauded and followed by other retailers. To not recognize and adopt this to your merchandising strategy is like ignoring a sizable, no pun intended, segment of your customer base.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

I like it when a clothing retailer shows “real people,” which includes skinny, tall, heavy, small, etc. Body shape inclusion is important to a retailer who chooses to market to the mass consumer population. Good for Old Navy!

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

I, for one, never understood pricing by size. The same retailers who charged more for “plus sizes” — as opposed to “sizes” – or Big & Tall lines — never seemed to discount for XS or petite items. If the argument was that larger sizes required more material which equaled higher costs, why wasn’t the reverse also true with less material carrying a lower price tag? Oh well, that’s a mystery for the ages. So obviously I feel BODEQUALITY — a pretty terrible and still patronizing name if you think about it for more than a minute — is decades and decades overdue and should serve as a standard. Maybe one day we will be evolved enough to eliminate body shaming altogether and just have products for everyone minus the fancy program labels. Making a big deal about not discriminating is a form of passive discrimination. Make good products in colors and styles that appeal to everyone and everyone is a potential customer.

Mel Kleiman
BrainTrust

This one comment from the post above says it all “NPD has found 70 percent of American women wear a size 14 or larger, yet less than 20 percent of apparel is made in those sizes.” If you want to talk about an untapped market this is it. Any positive approach to this market will be a winner and Old Navy is leading the way,

Jeff Hall
BrainTrust

This is a solid move on Old Navy’s part toward reducing the stigma that can so often come with the plus-size apparel shopping experience. I love that they’re merchandising all sizes together, using plus-size mannequins and doing away with the separate plus-size section in the stores. The campaign’s messaging of inclusivity and Old Navy being a welcoming place for everyone sets a new standard for others to follow, or ignore at their own risk.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

I’m very bullish on this initiative at Old Navy. I’m in the “plus” category for men. Pricing by size, and stylish clothes that aren’t available in my size, has always felt like body shaming to me. The inclusivity of the ads and the extended assortments would encourage me to shop at Old Navy, no question.

James Tenser
BrainTrust

Fashion retailers have struggled to let go of the glamour fantasy and that has led them to poorly serve “real” folks who don’t fit the physical mold. Since that is most people, it’s high time that MORE apparel retailers like Old Navy re-cast their size mixes.

Yes, Ryan, the branding in the ad is not my favorite either, but offering the people what they need and want is sound merchandising.

One wrinkle I haven’t seen addressed here is how much item proliferation results from expanded size ranges. This may be tricky to manage. Automated inventory intelligence will be an essential enabler to manage ordering quantities and minimize markdowns.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The fact is that Old Navy is listening to their customers and who is shopping the brand. I love that Old Navy is making a bold statement on sizing and I am here for it."
"Fashion retailers have struggled to let go of the glamour fantasy and that has led them to poorly serve “real” folks who don’t fit the physical mold."
"The fact that 70 percent of women struggle to find clothing that fits them is a major miss for apparel retailers."

Take Our Instant Poll

What grade would you give for Old Navy’s BODEQUALITY approach to the women’s plus-size market?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...