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J.Crew’s new plus-size collection is stylish and affordable

Model wears a red dress from the new size-inclusive J.Crew collection with Universal Standard. (Photo: courtesy of J.Crew)

J.Crew, one of America’s biggest retailers, is finally tapping into the plus-size industry through a special partnership with Universal Standard, a plus-size fashion startup only three years old.

The collaborative collection spans work-appropriate gingham dresses, striped maxi dresses, feminine-cut blouses, racer stripe trousers, and midiskirts, to weekend-ready comfy tank dresses and tees in sizes XXS to 5X. It’s affordably priced too, starting at $50 and capping off at $150. You can shop the entire collection now on jcrew.com and in select stores.

This collaboration is part of a much larger sizing rollout for J.Crew. This summer and fall, you’ll begin to see more of your favorite J.Crew styles in additional sizes and accessible to more people, as we work towards inclusive sizing across categories,” Lisa Greenwald, J.Crew’s chief merchandising officer, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. 

Model wears tee and black tank dress from the new, size-inclusive J.Crew collection with Universal Standard. (Photo: courtesy of J.Crew)

Given that it has been around since 1983, why did it take 35 years before the company entered the plus-size market? After all, 67% of women in the United States wear size 14 or above. It’s long overdue, but it’s a sign that J.Crew is ready to make a change for the better. “We recognize our platform as a mainstream American brand and feel proud to have the responsibility and the privilege to do more for our customers. We’re excited to continue working toward more inclusivity and making J.Crew available to everyone. This has been a long process, throughout which we’ve worked very closely with Universal Standard to make sure we’re doing it thoughtfully,” says Greenwald. 

Model wears striped waist-tie dress from the new size-inclusive J.Crew collection with Universal Standard. (Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew)

The decision to partner with Universal Standard was an easy choice. “We wanted to work with experts in the field on this collection to kick off a much larger rollout of extended sizes, new fits, and fabrications across the brand. We recognized Universal Standard’s highly technical approach and wanted their partnership to create great clothes tailored for the real, diverse spectrum of American women, and we love their style.”

With this pivot toward plus, J.Crew wants to make sure it does it right by not segregating plus into a separate category. “We are committed to offering our customers a truly inclusive experience. That’s why new sizing will be seamlessly integrated into J.Crew’s main assortment and throughout creative, as opposed to a standalone ‘plus’ category,” Greenwald explains.

Model wears white blouse and racer stripe trousers from the new size-inclusive J.Crew collection with Universal Standard. (Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew)
Model wears a black top and striped skirt from the new size-inclusive J.Crew collection with Universal Standard. (Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew)

J.Crew’s  timing isn’t entirely surprising, considering the fashion industry’s recent pivot toward embracing, accepting, and including plus-size women within its coveted doors. However, there is still a long way to go. Plus-size models like Ashley Graham, Candice Huffine, and Paloma Elesser have become NYFW catwalk mainstays walking for major designers like Michael Kors, Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung and Eckhaus Latta. Graham in particular has made history gracing the covers of VogueSports Illustrated, and more. We’ve seen established brands like Loft and now J.Crew finally expanding into plus, while the marketplace is also embracing direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands like Universal Standard and e-commerce start ups like CoEdition.

Model wears a black cardigan and racer stripe trouser from the new, size-inclusive J.Crew collection with Universal Standard. (Photo: Courtesy of J.Crew)

During Jenna Lyons‘ tenure overseeing creative at J.Crew until April 2017, the brand witnessed growth and success in Lyons’s quirky, preppy take on classic American fashion. She embraced diverse casts of models in her shows and presentations, but inclusive sizing always fell short. This collection signals a major shift in how J.Crew is moving forward into its next incarnation without Lyons and tapping into its next generation of consumers. “We’re excited to continue working toward more inclusivity and making J.Crew available to everyone,” says Greenwald.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Shop the 6 sexiest plus-size swimsuits from curvy model Hunter McGrady’s line
Jordyn Woods thinks body positivity is misunderstood: ‘We’re kind of still stuck in our old ways’
Plus-size and curvy models are front and center at this fashion week 

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