By Rieva Lesonsky

Plus-size women’s appetite for fashionable clothing shows no signs of slowing down.

We’ve said it before, but the situation hasn’t really changed. So now it’s The New York Times reporting that plus-size clothes for women is a hot and growing market, and ripe with opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Plus fashions start at size 14, which just so happens to be the size the average American woman wears. In all, 67 percent of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or up.

According to The Times, research company The NPD Group reports sales for plus-size clothing hit $15.5 billion last April, up 5 percent from the previous year.

But perhaps the greatest innovation in the plus-size clothing industry is the styles of the clothes. As The Times says (and anyone who has ever shopped for plus-size clothes knows), in the past, plus-size fashions were generally available in “uniformly dark colors and generous silhouettes [which] serve the sole purpose of covering up and deflecting attention from the body.”

But manufacturers (both new and established) and retailers (particularly online) have changed course. Today’s plus-sized clothes are based on fashion trends (even “hot off the runway” trends), aimed at a younger generation of women, and often written about by plus-size bloggers and  in fashion magazines like Marie Claire.

As proof of a vibrant market, The Times reports one manufacturer, Eloquii, just raised $6 million.

Social media plays an important role in marketing these fashions. Reach out to a market eager for fashionable clothing, and you can build a community of loyal customers.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+   and

Photo Courtesy: Eloquii