When we started Of Mercer three years ago, we set out with the mission of making professional women look and feel their best in and out of the office. But as a small company we had to start...well, small - offering only 7 sizes in our desk-to-dinner styles.
But we knew this wasn’t enough.
Over the past few years, it has become abundantly clear that we have many more women who we need to serve. We hear from our would-be customers regularly, asking for us to increase our size range, and it has become all too obvious that many fashion brands are completely ignoring women over size 12, especially if you demand something better than fast-fashion (you should!). So we knew it was time for us to step in and do something about it.
As a data-centric company (duh, we have Wharton founders) we set out to talk to anyone who would speak to us about the challenges facing plus-size women. We spoke with 50+ professionals (lawyers, bankers, doctors), plus-size experts, models, influencers, and even Janet a high school principal who sat next to Dorie on a plane to Raleigh-Durham. We have enough notes to write a book about fit concerns – arm holes, chest circumference, hem length, and so many more.
With these women we narrowed down the 10 silhouettes to focus on to launch our line, and then we re-fit them through many iterations with a size 16W fit model (Elizabeth Taylor who you may recognize as Melissa McCarthy’s right-hand woman). There are so many subtle, but important, updates from our straight size fit. For example, The Hudson Dress has a sleeve stitch that can be snipped if you want a little more wiggle room for your arm. But this is just the beginning. We are excited to get feedback from our customers and to continue to offer more styles in extended sizes.
You may recognize some of the faces of our line. Clémentine Desseaux founded the All Women Project, Katie Sturino is a plus-size fashion expert and founder of The 12ish Style, and Julie Henderson launched ALDA with four fellow models (including Ashley Graham) when Ford Models shut down its plus size division, despite it being the most profitable. We are proud to join these, and so many other women in the movement towards size inclusivity and body positivity.