The new Playtex Love My Curves stays true to the bra brands core competency of smoothing, lifting and supporting, but updates its look with fresh, modern styling that includes moderate coverage

The new 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

Apparel giant HanesBrands is changing how it meets the needs of full-figure/plus-size consumers with the launch of new lingerie lines under its Maidenform and Playtex brands "for women who love their curves."

The company says it is responding to the demands of body positive women – in particular millennial consumers – with new bras, panties and shapewear designed to meet their needs and tastes, as well as using language they prefer.

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, who account for nearly one-third of intimate apparel sales, are also demanding intimate apparel products designed and made specifically for their body types without compromising the fit, variety, selection, style, colour and features available in other sizes.

"Body positive women are embracing their curves and have become a force in the intimate apparel category," explains 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 $11.1bn category. According to The NPD Group's US Consumer Tracking Service for the 12 months ending June 2017, 30% of the combined dollar value of bras, panties and shapewear comes from plus sizes.

New curvy intimate apparel lines

Tapping into the curvy movement, the Maidenform brand is introducing Maidenform Curvy shapewear, and the full-figure Playtex brand is introducing the Playtex Love My Curves line of bras and, for the first time, matching panties.

Shapewear is typically sized up based on Misses patterns, but Maidenform went back to the drawing board for Maidenform Curvy. Using curvy fit models, the brand developed patterns and designed its new shapewear line based on curvy women's bodies – which it says is 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 US 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," says 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," says Maria Teza, vice president and general manager for bras.

Curvy intimate apparel insights

During the year-long research project, HanesBrands identified clear preferences and demographic trends influencing the categories:

  • Call me curvy. 42% 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% 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 US size 16-18. HanesBrand's research indicates that women are entering the curvy market earlier than in recent years: 35% of women are plus-size by age 25 and 44% 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.