Clothing Design for Everyday Women

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

October 4, 2006

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Project Runway recently challenged their clothing designers to create outfits for average women. The judges concluded that many of the contestants missed the mark, finding it difficult to create clothes that are both comfortable and flattering.

Why is it seemingly so hard for clothing designers to succeed in making clothes that flatter women whose shapes have little in common with runway models? It's true that in recent years plus-size women have found greater variety in fashion, yet it still remains difficult to find stylish clothes, particularly brand conscious fashions in average sizes.

As you probably know, a greater number of women in the United States are wearing a larger size than women of the same age thirty years ago. You might have even noticed a kind of "size inflation" taking place in recent years. That size 10 you used to wear might now be considered a size eight, or even a size six!

Fashion School: Learning to Design for All Sizes
During fashion school, you'll be able to start thinking about how to design not just for reed-thin socialites, but women who lead busy lives, caring for family members and advancing their careers.

As a clothing designer for "real" women, it's helpful to understand how today's woman lives. You can perform informal research on your own, keenly observing and keeping up with news, reading a variety of newspapers, magazines, and journals relating to culture, lifestyle, and social trends.

Women fifty years ago, for example, had very different lives from today's woman. Most didn't pursue careers, a larger number were married, and on average they had more children. These are factors clothing designers and others with careers in fashion must consider when designing for and marketing to contemporary women.

An Estimable Career in Fashion
Many fashion school students aspire to a career in fashion designing clothes for the elite. Those jobs often allow the most creativity and freedom to use expensive fabric and complex cuts. But the reality is that most careers in fashion are focused on dressing the everyday woman. It's an important job, one that has become more exciting in recent years as forward-thinking designers help women dress for the many roles they assume in today's complicated, fast-paced world.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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