Pinterest's search overhaul makes it easier to find plus-size fashion

The company’s new “body type technology” aims to surface more inclusive styles.


Pinterest is again changing its search algorithm to make its results more representative of the people using its platform. The latest update is aimed at improving the visibility of plus-size fashion and other styles that highlight a broader spectrum of body shapes and sizes.

With the changes, searches for women’s fashion and wedding looks will surface results with a more diverse range of body types, Pinterest says. Annie Ta, Pinterests’s head of inclusive products, said the changes were driven by the realization that many users were adding “descriptions and qualifiers,” to their queries in an effort to find the styles that best fit their needs. “They were experiencing something really similar: recommendations that were homogenous and not very diverse,” she said.

It’s not the first time Pinterest has taken steps toward more inclusive search features. The company, which has cultivated a reputation as a kinder social media company, added skin tone filtering to makeup and other beauty-related searches in 2018, and introduced hair pattern search in 2020.

It took a similar approach in looking at ways to tweak its algorithm to surface results that would be more inclusive for the plus-size community. Ha says the Pinterest’s algorithm has been trained on more than 5 billion images and videos on its platform to detect and categorize different body shapes and sizes. The company also tapped advocates and creators from the plus size community for advice on the changes. Now, users should be better able to browse styles without adding on extra search terms like “curvy” or “plus size.”

According to Ha, early results suggest the feature is effective. She says that the representation of different body types in search results for women’s fashion has improved by more than four times since implementing the algorithmic tweaks. Though the changes are limited to women’s fashion and wedding-related content for now, she says the company is looking to expand body type representation into other categories as well.