old navy bodequality campaign
Credit: Courtesy of Old Navy

Old Navy's New Initiative Makes Plus-Size Shopping So Inclusive

"No separate sections, no different styles, no isolation, and no frustration."
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As a plus size shopper, one of the most frustrating and disheartening experiences happens when you walk into a store and have to look for clothing in a plus-size section separate from straight-sizes. Unfortunately, despite that the average U.S. woman is a size 16-18, plus size people have been conditioned to expect the bare minimum when it comes to retail. Shopping in a separate section from straight-size people isn't ideal, but for people who wear sizes over 16, there may not be any clothing options at all. Luckily, some brands are looking to solve both problems. Old Navy, for one, is making a sweeping series of changes that prioritize size-inclusivity and the plus-size shopping experience with its new BODEQUALITY initiative.

The first change: Every Old Navy item and style will be available online in sizes 0-30 and XS-4X at price parity. In addition, 1,200 Old Navy brick-and-mortar stores will offer sizes 0-28. The best part, in my opinion, is that there will no longer be separate sections when it comes to plus-size and straight-size options—everything will be merchandised together. That means a plus size shopper can walk into an Old Navy store, and its website, and have the exact same shopping experience as a straight size shopper. No separate sections, no different styles, no isolation, and no frustration. 

old navy bodequality
Credit: Courtesy of Old Navy

When it comes to prioritizing size-inclusivity, Old Navy did research when it came to fit. After all, people in larger bodies require fit changes that go beyond just length and width adjustments. Partnering with Dr. Susan Sokolowski, a fit activist and expert at the University of Oregon, Old Navy changed how it approaches fit and size standards. 

The brand worked with real women and fit models in size 20-28 to adjust "every design detail—from pocket placement and their proportions, to denim waistband pitch and ankle tapers, to the body lengths of dresses, tops and outerwear," according to an Old Navy press release provided to HelloGiggles. With this, the brand prioritized and invested in making clothing that perfectly fits larger bodies rather than just creating clothing in larger sizes and hoping for the best.

old navy bodequality campaign
Credit: Courtesy of Old Navy

"BODEQUALITY is not a one-time campaign, but a full transformation of our business in service to our customers based on years of working closely with them to research their needs. I'm proud of the collaboration across our Old Navy teams to evolve the retail experience for women," Nancy Green, President and CEO of Old Navy said in the press release.

With recent big-name brands removing their plus-size section altogether (and not for positive reasons) in recent months, it's encouraging to see such a big brand take on in-store inclusivity in a way that feels lasting, thoughtful, and research-backed. Ultimately, these are the type of changes in plus-size fashion that actually feel impactful—even if there's still a long way to go when it comes to size-inclusivity in the industry as a whole.