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mangeons's avatar

How do you feel about some stores charging extra for "extended" sizes of clothing?

Asked by mangeons (12077 points ) August 20th, 2012

I’ve noticed several stores practicing this lately. For example, I was just browsing Alloy and noticed that for their jeans, they list a price range rather than just a single price for the pair of jeans. Any size 15 and up is more expensive than the smaller sizes. They call these sizes “extended sizes” and charge about four dollars more than the “regular sizes”. They do this with some of their tops as well. I’ve seen this at several stores, this is just one example.

While this policy doesn’t affect me at all, I do find it a bit strange that some stores choose to follow it. What’s your opinion on this pricing method? Why do some stores choose to do this, while most don’t? How do you feel about them calling it “extended size” rather than “plus size” or something else?

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25 Answers

jca's avatar

Walmart does. A lot of stores do. I feel like if it takes more fabric to make something, they have to recoup that cost. Until losing a lot of weight due to weight loss surgery, I had to deal with having to pay more for bigger sizes. I accepted it as another disadvantage of being heavy.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The price probably has to do with not only with the cost factor involved in making the product, but keeping a limited supply in hand.

As for the term “Extended Size”, it is just another PC term for not listing the actual size. I can’t imagine any reason to use any of them, unless the store is so large that they decide to devote certain sections to cater to specific sized customers.

downtide's avatar

Lots of stores in the UK do it, often with the cutoff point at size 20 or 22 for women and something like a 48” chest or anything above XXL for men (assuming they even carry those sizes at all). I’ve never thought it unusual and always assumed it was because of the extra fabric (with presumably sizes just under the cuttoff point running at a smaller profit than teeny-tiny sizes). There’s probably twice as much fabric in a pair of 48” waist trousers than there is in the 32” ones that I wear.

josie's avatar

Extra fabric
Smaller market, but same cost of display and storage, so more expensive to keep in stock
Maybe more hand fabrication if the extended sizes don’t fit the standardized machines and forms.

JLeslie's avatar

I have no problem with it. More fabric and more time sewing. Also possibly more shipping costs.

mangeons's avatar

To everyone who says that it’s because of the extra fabric, I did think of that. However, in looking at some stores that have totally separate plus size sections/clothing (rather than just making the same items in “extended sizes”) their plus size prices aren’t too much different than the regularly sized clothes not in the plus size section. It really just depends on the store, it seems. I haven’t really seen much of the price differences, so maybe it just happens more often in stores that I don’t shop at.

Earthgirl's avatar

It is mostly because of the extra fabric. Companies would have to raise the cost of smaller sizes to offset the higher fabric cost of the larger sizes. They are usually willing to do this up to a point because it’s not too popular with the larger size customers to have to pay more. But when the price difference goes up with larger and larger sizes and the profit margins go down it’s just a reality of dong business. I think it’s only fair. Why should a smaller size customer have to pay more markup so the larger size customer can get the garment for the same price? Reality is that it takes more fabric to make a larger garment. That is the major factor affecting the cost.Higher labor cost for the larger size is marginal and largely inconsequential.

tedibear's avatar

Conversely, I would like to be charged less for being a petite length and average size in clothing. My clothes use less material! I know, I know, wishful thinking.

Ponderer983's avatar

@Earthgirl If you think, as you stated, that “I think it’s only fair” to charge more for plus or extended sizes, then every size should be priced differently. A size 2 should be less than a size 10. It still takes less fabric to make the 2 than the 10. So why when we hit a magical size that a certain company has deemed their cut off, do those size people have to pay extra?

I have to say, as a plus size woman, this does piss me off to no end. Because as I mentioned above, each size you go up takes more fabric. I actually refuse to buy something if a company or store chooses to do this. I mostly shop at specialty plus size stores, so there is no comparison to “regular” sizes. And lest not forget, the average women’s size nowadays is a 14 (sorry, I can’t speak for men). In a lot of stores that is a plus size, but conventionally 16+ is the cut off for plus size. So @josie , your argument isn’t quite on point that there is a smaller market for that size clothing. I feel it’s a form of discrimination towards heavier people, and it stings me, in case you didn’t notice. Would it be so difficult to raise the prices across the board $1.00 instead of charging $4.00 extra for plus?

And @tedibear you have a valid point as well! I champion the petite cause as well as the plus size cause.

jca's avatar

@Ponderer983: I am guessing that if a graph was made to illustrate the various clothing sizes for women, there would be a bell curve, showing a small amount of women in the size 0–6 range, then getting larger for the sizes 8–10 range, then getting wider at the 12–16 range, then going back down for the 18–20 sizes, and down smaller to the 22–24/26 sizes. Remember a short woman can be larger shape-wise, and still be only a size 10 or 12.

I’m 5 foot 9 and wear a size 16 now. My boss is a short thing, around 5 foot 2 and she’s about a size 12, but I think I look thinner than she does, because I’m longer and she’s shorter and rounder.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Ponderer983 It’s a matter of degree. When you get to a much higher size range it’s harder for the manufacturer to eat the cost. In the “normal” size range of 2–14 basically the higher cost is spread throughout the full size range. So a smaller person such as @tedibear pays more of a markup on their clothing so that a larger person can be able to pay the same price. If you think that’s fair you’re entitled to your opinion I guess. Believe it or not clothing companies are constantly pressured to hold the line on prices. They sell the most when they can keep their prices low and they try to do this as much as possible. If they don’t another maker will undercut them and get the business. But there comes a point when you’re almost giving it away! The margins are so low you have to sell a ton of merchandise to make a decent profit. It’s a tough business, not easy money. Many manufacturers would love to be in the plus size game because it’s a large market. But it’s a challenging market as far and fit and pricing go. If it weren’t so challenging you would would see way more companies doing it and doing it well. It simple arithmetic. Just as you can’t buy something for nothing the manufacturer has to pay for their fabric. It quite simply takes more fabric to make a larger size. Believe me, if manufacturers could get fabric for free they would be happy to give you more for the same price.

Sunny2's avatar

I think perhaps it isn’t the amount of fabric in the garment as much as it is fitting the pattern on the fabric. Fabric comes in standardized bolts of fabric. Different sizes take different layouts of the patterns because of the width of the bolts. The larger the patterns are, of course, the more fabric they may need to be able to fit them on the cloth with a lot more waste of fabric. They may be able to cut several sizes from one width of fabric, but only one extra large per the same amount of fabric. Pricing doesn’t always make sense to the buyer, that’s for sure.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Sunny2 It’s true that manufacturers use what they call “mixed markers’. Mixed markers have different sizes of the same garment. You may not be able to fit another size 12 across the goods but if you can fit a size 2 or a 4 or a 6 they will do it. A marker is the layout of the pattern pieces on the fabric. Every possible effort is made to interlock pattern pieces to get the best “yardage” which is jargon for the best utilization of the fabric. The tighter the marker, the better the cost savings because of less waste.Every possible inch of fabric is used. But if the garment is bigger, no matter how well you utilize the fabric, you are going to use more fabric. Again, as I said, simple arithmetic.

tom_g's avatar

My head is huge. Not just larger than average – it’s immense. The novelty of large brain jokes wore out many years ago. In reality it just means that I can’t wear hats from stores. Period. The “one size fits all” caps just rest on the top of my head on the largest setting. So, I have to special order hats, and they often cost more than the average cap you can buy in a store.

I’m assuming the extra cost here is not due to extra fabric required for my absurd head. Rather, it’s a specialty item.

What’s my point? I’m not exactly sure. But is it possible that they have to make these extra-large sizes as specialty items or something? I don’t know. I really don’t know the economics of clothing, other than I probably don’t want to know because of means these companies are using (cheap labor in other countries).

Earthgirl's avatar

@tom_g In that case I think it’s a matter of a smaller run of production. When a maker does a smaller run the set up and economy of scale goes down so they recoup the cost by asking for more money. It’s like a surcharge. I guess your fat head brain power comes at a cost, lol.

tom_g's avatar

@Earthgirl – Yep. I guess you’re right. Note: 2 of my children have inherited the head. Poor kids.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Of course. More material = more cost to the manufacturer == more cost to you.

mrrich724's avatar

I don’t have a problem with it. I’d guess the extra fabric isn’t the primary cause for the higher price, rather the additional process of having to create extra patterns and other resources to create the out of ordinary sizes. Additionally, there is a financial risk in offering those sizes. A business takes a risk in buying those the product, not knowing if it will be sold to the few people in their market who are that size. It can end up sitting on the shelf and not being sold at all!

Earthgirl's avatar

@mrrich724 I work in the business and I can tell you that the extra fabric is the primary reason for the higher cost.

jca's avatar

A cake costs more than a cupcake. It takes more eggs, more flour, more milk to make a cake. You can make 12 cupcakes in not a whole lot larger of a pan as it takes to make one cake.

mrrich724's avatar

@Earthgirl Good to know. My wife being in fashion industry, I just know that a lot more money is spent on R&D in the USA than on the cost of materials sourced from and assembled in China.

But, not being sure, I prefaced my answer with “I’d guess.”

I learn something new every day.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ponderer983 The difference between a 2 and an 18 is probably almost double the material. I can’t understand why it bothers you so. I can understand why a size 16 might be a little annoyed that she just barely makes it into the plus size clothing (actually some vendors do 2–16 in the regular miss area). Shopping only at a store that has plus sizes only keeps you from knowing the miss sizes are less, but doesn’t change the reality that they might cost less. I guess shopping online means the public is more aware of it, it’s more in theor face. Previously a woman would just be shopping in her department and looking at those prices, not necessarily comparing prices to the miss sizes.

woodcutter's avatar

Possibly more waste VS piece ratio in the manufacturing process to make the extra large plus sizes. Maybe more retail space is used to display the goods because fewer pieces can be in a given place.

rooeytoo's avatar

If this becomes the norm, I want a deduction in price for being small and dainty, heheheh!

Sunny2's avatar

Actually, differing prices might inspire more large people to lose weight, if the extra size is due to weight. There’s nothing much to be done about larger sizes due to height.

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