Curvy is the New Full Figure: Body Positive Millennials Driving Change in Intimate Apparel

Body positive women, led by vocal millennials, are prompting HanesBrands to change how it meets the needs of the full-figure/plus-size consumer.

Playtex - Love My Curves

Nicole Edelen (right), Curves on a Budget and Ashley Zeal, Two Peas in a Prada, prepare for the Playtex Love My Curves photo shoot. Both, along with Cystal Coons (not shown), Sometimes Glam, are known by their followers on social media for their body positivity and style.

For starters, millennials and other body positive women of all ages prefer the term “curvy” to describe themselves and the apparel they wear. Curvy women, nearly a third of the intimate apparel industry, are also demanding intimate apparel products designed and made specifically for their body types without compromising the fit, variety, selection, style, color and features available in other sizes.

Following a yearlong immersion with curvy women, the company’s Maidenform and Playtex intimate apparel brands are introducing new bras, panties and shapewear designed to meet the needs and tastes of curvy women using language they prefer.

“Body positive women are embracing their curves and have become a force in the intimate apparel category,” said Jay Turner, HanesBrands’ president and general manager for intimates. “They want to enhance their curves, not hide them. They want to be respected, not dismissed as an afterthought by product offerings that are a mere line extension of average-figure apparel that doesn’t meet their needs. And they have power in numbers.”

Curvy is a significant and growing part of the $11.1 billion category. According to The NPD Group’s U.S. Consumer Tracking Service for the 12 months ending June 2017, 30 percent of the combined dollar volume of bras, panties and shapewear comes from plus sizes.

New Curvy Intimate Apparel Lines

Tapping into the curvy movement, the stylish Maidenform brand is introducing Maidenform Curvy shapewear, and the iconic full-figure Playtex brand is introducing the Playtex Love My Curves line of bras and, for the first time, matching panties.

Maidenform Curvy retail signage introduces its new collection of shapewear to women who celebrate their curves. The line, which is designed based on curvy women’s bodies, offers a number of features – including flex-to-fit lace and fabric with wicking technology – that enhance the line’s aesthetic and comfort. Marketing support for the Maidenform Curvy collection launches in September.

Maidenform Curvy is unlike other shapewear in the industry. Shapewear is typically sized up based on misses patterns, but Maidenform went back to the drawing board. Using curvy fit models, the brand developed patterns and designed its new shapewear line based on curvy women’s bodies – unheard of in the industry. Additionally, the line offers patent-pending design features to improve fit and flex-to-fit lace that enhances the line’s aesthetic and provides increased comfort, along with anti-static, cling-free fabric with wicking technology that makes the line more cool and comfortable. The shapewear, which is offered in new 1X to 4X sizes, fits women that wear U.S. dress sizes 16 to 30 and can be found at major department stores and online starting at $44.

“We listened to curvy women’s frustrations regarding the choices available in the category and responded with a completely new design process and shapewear line to meet their needs,” said Tricia Bouras, vice president and general manager for shapewear. “We won’t ask curvy women to compromise on fit, comfort or modern style. Maidenform is the first mainstream shapewear brand to address this important demographic, and our new Maidenform Curvy is offering women never-before-seen options.”

Left to right: Cystal Coons, Sometimes Glam, Ashley Zeal, Two Peas in a Prada, and Nicole Edelen, Curves on a Budget, are helping Playtex launch the #PlaytexPositivity campaign to support the brand’s Love My Curves collection. A modern twist on the Playtex brand’s 85-year commitment to supporting women, #PlaytexPositivity encourages women to “lift each other” through words and/or actions on a daily basis.

Playtex Love My Curves stays true to the bra brand’s core competency of smoothing, lifting and supporting, but updates its look with fresh, modern styling that includes moderate coverage – a first for the Playtex brand and something curvy women specifically asked for. The new collection is also available in larger sizing (up to G cup), and for the first time ever, offers a line of panties to match its bras. Bras retail for $42 and panties are $12.50 at major department stores and online.

“Curvy women are tired of overpaying at specialty stores or getting pushed online to find the right size and aesthetic,” said Maria Teza, vice president and general manager for bras. “We have been inspired by this community of women who embrace their curves and want intimate apparel that accentuates who they are. Curvy women are the new average, yet they are an underserved demographic. Playtex is proud to seize the opportunity to offer curvy women the products they want and deserve.”