At Monroe and Main, one of the things we pride ourselves most on is how well our clothing fits women’s bodies – and that’s any woman, no matter her size!
So, to give you an inside look at how we make sure we get the best fit every single time, we sat down with the ladies on the merchandising and technical design teams. We call these ladies our “fit team,” and their goal is simple: to make the clothes look great on you, our lovely customers. Take a look:
Meet our merchandising team
First in the plus-size fit process is the merchandising team. Fashion director Sue, senior merchant Melissa and the rest of the merchandising team work with – you guessed it – the merchants to choose styles that flatter a variety of body shapes.
So what styles do they look for? Well, for one, anything with an A-line, since it’s the most universally flattering silhouette. But the merchandisers spend a great deal of time considering not just the overall garment, but its smaller details too. Things like cut, fabric, construction and even colors and prints are all considered, and then the garment is either selected or tossed based on how those details come together. Does the fabric drape right? Will the cut look boxy? Are the seams flattering?
All of the choices in this merchandising process are made with the customer in mind, says Sue.
“We don’t want to put something out there that’s not flattering on her. No matter her age, she wants something that will enhance her, not just cover her,” Sue explained.
Meet our technical design team
Then, over on the technical design side of things, senior tech designer Julie, manager of tech design Anna and the others on their team take care of the rest. In basic terms, the “small but powerful team” alters the garments that were chosen by the merchandisers to fit a plus-size frame.
That means they spend time individually fitting each and every blouse, jacket or pair of pants on both a dress form and a fit model. Then they see how the piece can be changed for the ultimate fit, flattery and, most importantly, comfort. The fit team relies on feedback from the fit model (she’s a size 18W, by the way), who can tell them if something feels too tight or restricted and how it can be changed.
This part of the process may take months – it’s that detailed. Are the side seams too tight? Those are altered. Does the paneling in front need to be moved or resized? It will be. Whatever it takes to make it perfect, it’s accomplished. That way, we can be sure that no matter what size our customer wears, it will look great on her. And since we offer every garment we sell in every size (that’s small through 3X or 6 through 24, depending on the item) we want to make sure it will look good in all of those sizes.
“We really do pride ourselves on consistent fit across our brands and our styles,” says Julie. “We really try to make sure that if [our customer] is going to order a top, and a dress and pants, that she gets a consistent fit throughout. She knows what size to order and knows what size to wear in our brand.”
The model issue
There’s one thing that a lot of people ask us about: Since we put so much effort into making sure our clothing looks amazing on every figure, why don’t we show our garments off on plus-size models in the catalog?
That’s a great question – and it’s something we’ve put some serious thought into. In fact, we’ve used plus-size models in the past with very interesting results. When our customers see plus-size models, they simply don’t buy the clothing as much as they do when it’s worn on a traditional model (who’s typically between a size 2 and 6). We’re not sure why that is – but we’d love your input!
Either way, one thing’s for sure. What matters most to us is making women look and feel amazing.
“To me, I think it can give a woman self-confidence,” Julie says about being in well-fitted and comfortable clothes. “If she looks good, if she has clothes that fit her, clothes that enhance her shape – I know when I wear clothes like that I feel more confident in myself.”