Semester of Graduation

August 2018


Master of Science (MS)


Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising

Document Type



Due to western societies continued obsession with youth, thinness, and fitness it is no surprise that mature women and plus size women alike are still highly stigmatized and widely ignored by the fashion industry. Past studies related to mature women and plus size women’s dress and body perception have been conducted, however, there is a severe lack of research related to mature women who are also plus size. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to understand the dress rules and body perceptions of mature plus size women (MPSW) over their lifetime. This exploratory study consisted of 16 semi-structured interviews with mature women between the ages of 52 and 72 who were currently plus size. Additionally, all of the participants were also plus size between the ages of 15 and 25. Data was analyzed using the constant comparison method with which three major themes emerged. First, past clothing experiences included the participants’ memories of shopping for plus size clothing as young adults, as well as the individuals who shaped their style. The second theme, current clothing experiences, included the MPSW’s opinions toward shopping, who influences them, and the styles, colors, patterns, and fit of clothing which they liked and disliked. The final theme, favorite clothes, encapsulated the participants’ favorite outfits from the past and present.



Committee Chair

Stannard, Casey