There was a time when trendy teen fashion was only for the size 14 or smaller. Some manufacturers eventually branched out to include size 16 in their hip and chic lineups, but those are still few and far between. It seems that once you hit that magic number, 16, you enter into a world of plus size fashion that has a life of its own. And that life is OLD.


OK, maybe the term "old" is a little harsh, but the truth is, there is very little for teens who want to dress like, well, teenagers. Once you are out of the so-called "mainstream sizes" of fashion it often seems that what is trendy and stylish is more appropriate for a 40 year old woman than a 16 year old girl. Until fairly recently, plus size teens have had the choice of either dressing in generic jeans and t-shirts or dressing like their mother (or worse, their grandmother). There were few offerings that were hip and (more importantly) YOUNG.

Some plus size designers, however, are sitting up and taking notice of the purchasing power that teens have in the fashion market. Young people are hitting the malls, spending money on the latest styles. The more fashionable choices that they have, the more they will spend. This oft overlooked niche has the potential to be a real powerhouse in terms of profit. That is, as long as the designer delivers.


As designers have discovered the plus size teen set, they have incorporated "junior plus" sizes to their offerings. Low rise jeans, prom dresses and fun, funky tops that are available in plus sizes are emerging, giving teens who wear a size 16 or larger fashionable choices in their wardrobes. Some designers offer funky, trendy teen clothing in size 1X, 2X, even up to 5X. Plus size teen girls finally have a choice!

Even though the designers may be catering more to the plus size teen, the new challenge is finding a retailer that carries these fashions. In larger cities, this may not be a problem. However, smaller towns may not have stores that carry more diverse offerings of fashion, leaving the plus size teenage girl to dress more like her matronly aunt than her 16 year old peers.


Online retailers, though, can bring the world of fashion right to your doorstep. A quick internet search of "plus size teen fashion" yields website after website of some of the funkiest, chic teen fashions that designers offer. Ordering is easy, but if the item does not fit, buyers should make sure that the site has a good return policy.


Some retailers have regular sizes in their stores, but do have catalogues that offer plus sizes. Shoppers can order from the catalogue and pick up their purchases in the store where they can be properly fitted. This cuts down on shipping charges and makes shopping much easier.

Plus size fashion has come a long way from the drab, dark, tent-like ensembles of yesterday. Designers are taking notice of the teen super shoppers and realizing that the plus size teen makes up a good portion of those teen shoppers. Celebrities who are considered to be "larger" such as Queen Latifa, Raven Simone, Christina Ricci, Kate Winslette and, of course, Tyra Banks are letting young women know that they don't have to be stick thin. They are encouraging them to love their bodies, plus sizes and all, and designers are responding by providing trendy, fun plus size teen fashions. These fashions no longer turn the wearer into an invisible wallflower, hiding in the shadows, but instead a beautiful butterfly, stepping into the sunlight, chic and trendy, proud of how she looks and confident in who she is.


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