How To Find Plus-Size Fashion That Doesn’t Look Like a Sack
Let’s face it: most of us have a love/hate relationship with shopping. After six pairs of jeans are lined up in the dressing room and none of them fit, it can be pretty discouraging. But that problem is magnified when you’re plus size. For us, it’s not that none of the jeans in our size fit; it’s that most stores act like our sizes don’t exist, and if they do, they think the best thing to do is cover us with a tacky print on a muumuu. Forget that. I’m here to tell you that it’s completely possible to find stylish, affordable clothes for your body — no matter what size it is.
First, let’s talk jeans. Lane Bryant (sizes 14-28) is my go-to, but they tend to be expensive, so I invest in a few good pairs or wait for a sale. Their jeans are definitely the highest quality, though, and will last for years. Avenue (sizes 14-32) also has some good fits, and a nice variety — but their material is usually thinner, and for the price, they’re not necessarily worth it. Fashion Bug (up to size 30) is good in a pinch, though they’re on the lower-end side. More often than not their clothes will come a little too rhinestone-bedazzled for my taste. With all of these stores, the trick is to stake out the styles online before trying them in-store, so you know what you’re in for when you go. Lane Bryant has a great line of jeggings out right now (judge me all you want. I can’t hear you over how comfortable they are) in tons of fun colors, and Fashion Bug can have a great selection of different lengths. Jeans are never going to be the easiest thing to find, but with a little bit of work and some patience, there are plenty of options out there for larger ladies.
What about your everyday outfits — things you just need to have in your wardrobe? My personal favorite store is Target (up to size 30). I have such a weakness for their sundresses and skirts and tops and…basically everything. Super cheap, fairly decent quality, and you can stock up and treat yourself to some cute accessories as well. I also recently discovered this site called Shop It To Me, which allows you to track your size in over 800 different brands, many of which carry larger sizes. The site then notifies you when relevant clothes are on sale, so your shopping is more efficient. Also available for those of us who love to shop online is Modcloth (up to size 22), a great place to find high quality, gorgeous clothes.
Of course we need more than just the basics too. For formalwear, there are a few really great options. Torrid (sizes 12-32), which is heaven (albeit a little pricey), has some excellent dresses, skirts, and formal pants and tops, and they regularly run impressive sales so the thrifty shopper can find a great deal. Their clothes are well-made and are generally worth the price, and I’ve been jealous of everyone who has a store near them for years. Another option is Deb (up to size 24), for a more youthful look in formalwear. There’s some interesting clothes there, and they’re usually pretty inexpensive, so it’s quick and easy to find something that works for you.
A lot of the time, companies will have plus size clothes that will be harder to find in stores, which is where online shopping comes in. Forever 21 has a plus size line called Faith 21 (sizes 11-20) which is sold in some stores. It’s basically the same as their smaller clothing, which is a refreshing thing to see from such a big company. Usually, plus size lines will be much more conservative or simple than general sizes, which is a shame. It’s not as if we need to be catered to as a separate demographic just because our asses are a little bigger. I didn’t give up my creativity in fashion when I grew above a size 12, and I don’t like being told that I should. Faith 21 has definitely filled a gap in my wardrobe, although I should note that their clothes run a little small. Another chain that has a plus size line available online is Old Navy (sizes 16-30). They’re a good place to pick up solids and classic styles. I especially love their cardigans and sweaters. Check out your favorite store’s website and see if they have a plus size option; you might be pleasantly surprised with what you find!
The main ingredient in any wardrobe is flexibility. Sometimes you have to be willing to work for the best looks, and this is especially true in plus size fashion. There are great finds at all of the stores I mentioned, but you can find clothes elsewhere, too. Most major department stores have a wide range of sizes, and thrifting is always an option too. There are also, of course, some who make or tailor their own clothes, but as I’m hopeless at that, I depend on these resources. For most of my life, I was embarrassed of my body and tried to keep it hidden beneath bulky sweatshirts and baggy jeans. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t me. A few years ago I traded the body camouflage in and started experimenting with my style, and I haven’t looked back. Never settle for less just because the fashion industry wants you to hide. Wear anything and everything, and start now. Happy shopping!
Header image courtesy of lookbook.nu/vi_islandqueen