Inclusive sizing for women is gaining traction in the world of fashion, and retailers who fail to respond to the trend risk going the way of the ark, industry observers say.

That means plus-sizes are on the way out, replaced by size-inclusive ranges of clothes that women of all size and shape want to wear, according to Retail Dive.

An increasing number of retailers and fashion labels are waking up to the fact that the majority of women are actually being sidelined by the traditional approach to sizing.

NPD Group’s Consumer Tracking Service records that two-thirds of women in the US now self-identify as a special size, which can be ‘plus’, but also ‘junior’, ‘petite’, or ‘tall’.

One-third of female consumers say they are plus-size, according to NPD’s data; teens too are part of the new profile. In 2015, 34% of teens bought plus sizes, compared to just 19% in 2012.

“So many women cannot purchase fashion because it's not available to them,” Shawn Grain Carter, professor of fashion business management at The Fashion Institute of Technology, told Retail Dive.

But the relegation of ‘plus’ and ‘petite’ to specialist retailers seems to be slowly on the way out. “Inclusive sizing is becoming less of a trend and more of a necessity across all product types,” said Kayla Marci, market analyst at retail and fashion technology firm Edited.

“Sixty seven per cent of American women are a size 14 and are voicing their need for fashionable products regardless of size. This is a need that brands can no longer afford to ignore.”

This signifies a big opportunity for retailers, Marci said, adding that marketing is also now increasingly moving away from projecting the Victoria's Secret skinny and sexy message.

But the market still has a lot of catching up to do when even start-ups, which might be expected to classify users by purchasing behavior rather than by size demographics, still look to ‘plus size’ classifications.

“Today’s consumer wants brands that define beauty by individualism and confidence, not by size or weight,” said Michael Felice, principal in the consumer and retail practice of global strategy and management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.

“Millennial and Gen Z shoppers want to feel a connection to a brand, and this is hard to do when the models wearing the clothing only represent a small segment of the buying group.”

Sourced from Retail Dive; additional content by WARC staff