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Introducing Our First Addition: MM.LaFleur’s Extended Sizes

May 18, 2017 | Filed in: Your Closet

From day one, MM.LaFleur’s mission—to take the work out of dressing for work—was meant to include women of all shapes. “In order to serve as many women in the professional realm as possible, we knew we needed to extend our sizes beyond a 16,” says Michaella Kurdziel, MM’s director of customer experience. “It was just a matter of when we would have the resources to get it right.”

That time has come, and we’re excited to introduce our first extended sizes (shop them here), designed for women who typically wear 14W to 22W. We’re calling it the First Addition, and we hope it’s the first of many efforts to diversify our size offering (petites, we haven’t forgotten about you). “At MM.LaFleur, we’re always striving to become even more inclusive,” says MM founder and CEO Sarah LaFleur. “We’re so excited to make our collection accessible to even more women.”

First Addition // MM.LaFleur

Model Jillian Goins wears the Deneuve shirt in cream.

To develop these pieces, we spent over a year doing research, holding focus groups, and talking to potential customers about what their work wardrobes were missing. “Because getting fit right is so important to us, we interviewed dozens of women who all told us, ‘The industry sizing doesn’t work for me,’” says Sarah. “We said, ‘Screw the industry sizing. We’re going to do our own thing.’ And that’s what we’re here to do—challenge the industry standard.”

The First Addition is not a new collection; instead, it’s a refabrication of MM’s core bestsellers, including favorites like the Etsuko, Lydia, and Toi dresses (we’re starting with 18 key pieces, and adding over a dozen more in the following weeks). Last November, we hired product developer Matilda Ceesay to work with MM creative director Miyako Nakamura on the process of tweaking seams, adjusting proportions, and reformulating our patterns so that a broader range of women can experience the tailored, beautiful fit that we’re known for. “What we’re doing is radically different from most other plus-size lines,” says Matilda. “The aesthetic is the same as the rest of our line, whereas many other brands will use stretchier, flimsier materials and fewer fit points. We are creating garments with the same standards as all of our other sizes, and that is very rare.”

First Addition // MM.LaFleur

Jillian wears the Etsuko dress in true olive.

While Matilda wielded her pins behind the scenes, Michaella helped facilitate focus groups where women tried on our clothes and gave feedback on fit, comfort, and style. “We invited women who were right on the cusp of a size 16, who owned some MM but needed different sizing in other items, as well as other women who hadn’t been able to wear our clothes at all,” says Michaella. “A lot of them told us that it’s very hard to find classic, elegant, streamlined pieces at mass plus-size brands—and that’s exactly what we’re offering.”

This feedback loop has always been an important part of our design process, and will continue to be. “We want this to be the best piece of clothing you’ve ever put on, and if it’s not, then we want to know right away so that we can make it better,” says Michaella. “As a brand, we know that professional women are often overlooked by the fashion industry, and the plus-sized professional woman is perhaps the most overlooked—but equally deserving of the quality and luxury of service that we provide to all of our customers.”

See our behind-the-scenes video of models Jillian Goins and Clémentine Desseaux in a few of our First Addition pieces, below. “What I like best about the fit in the MM collection is that it really takes the woman’s body into consideration,” says Clémentine. “These clothes let women be themselves, with all their curves and shapes, and still feel comfortable and look good.”

Shop our First Addition here.

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