HanesBrands Intimate Apparel Reboot Targets "Curvy" Millennials
Body positive women, led by vocal Millennials, are prompting HanesBrands to change how it meets the needs of the full-figure/plus-size consumer.
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 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.”
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.”
Curvy insights to intimate apparel
During the yearlong research project, HanesBrands identified clear preferences and demographic trends influencing the categories:
- Call me curvy. Forty-two percent of Millennials prefer the term “curvy” over “plus size” and “full figure.” Older demographics were split evenly between plus size and full figure, but women of all ages reacted positively to the curvy descriptor.
- Give me the same products. All women, including curvy women, want beautiful, modern intimate apparel that fits their lifestyle. In the shapewear category, curvy women want to look and feel great, which means products available in the right sizes, with a comfortable fit and attractive styling. In the bra category, curvy women want less coverage with the same support and with a feminine, modern aesthetic, and 63 percent of curvy women want the ability to match their bras and panties.
- Curvy is the new normal. According to WGSN’s Body Positive: New Plus Size Retail Strategies report issued in 2016, the average American woman is now a U.S. size 16 to 18. HanesBrand’s research indicates that women are entering the curvy market earlier than in recent years: 35 percent of women are plus-size by age 25 and 44 percent by age 33. And The NPD Group’s 2015 Women’s Special Sizes Study reported that the number of teens buying plus-sized clothing in the United States doubled between 2010 and 2015.
Both the Maidenform Curvy and Playtex Love My Curves intimate apparel lines are available at Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s and other retailers, on retailers’ websites and online at www.OneHanesPlace.com.