Plus Size PLEASE!

So I was shopping with one of my plus size clients, we had a great time and ended up finding some nice pieces, BUT, the selection was extremely limited. After leaving our first shopping stop, we headed to a store that used to be her favorite only to find that they no longer carry women’s sizes. She was extremely disappointed as was I. Thankfully, we found another store that carried her size and we ended up with some complete looks.

That experience left me feeling as if the retail industry really needs to provide more options and a greater selection for women and men with fuller figures. Sixty percent of women are above a size twelve, yet it is so difficult to find larger sizes.

I asked my full-figured ladies on Facebook to give me some feedback on what challenges they face when shopping. Here are some of the responses:

The hardest thing about being plus size and shopping for me is that I am in the in between size. I am a 14 which can be found in plus size stores but also in regular stores. The thing I struggle with is that in some plus size stores like Lane Bryant, the clothes don’t fit me well. For instance, the pants are not flattering because they always have the bulge in the crotch area, the shirts sometimes are bigger in the belly area and short, making me look frumpy. So for me, it take a lot of time finding because I have to take my time and try on EVERYTHING. The other problem I run into is that designers think that just because a woman is plus size, they wear frumpy ugly clothing. The clothes that are cute and of good quality seem to be expensive. The store I LOVE is Ashley Stewart!!!!! I do not shop online very often because it’s hit or miss with clothes fitting me properly once they arrive and its too time consuming and expensive to continue to send clothes back if I get them and find they don’t fit correctly. – S.P

A huge challenge for me is finding clothes made from quality materials. I don’t always have time to sew. My top three stores are Macy’s, Ashley Stewart, and Torrid. I like the convenience of online shopping but not the risk so I do it in moderation. -Danielle

I shop at Lane Bryant, Old Navy and online. The hardest thing about shopping for me is that my options are very limited. I consider myself to be fashionable, but can’t always buy the fashionable pieces because they don’t make them in plus sized clothing. Living in Kalamazoo, the options are VERY limited as to where a plus size girl can shop. And for some reason, most stores think that big girls are really old or just have no desire to look beautiful or sexy. As far as evening wear, it’s almost impossible to find in a store around here, so that’s often an online purchase as well….so I really don’t have much of a choice but to order online. And I’ve been pretty lucky in getting things that fit and I know my body quite well and know what will and won’t look good on me. I really do wish that there were more options for plus size girls. When I’m wearing something pretty that makes me look and feel good, I am much more confident in who I am and in my beauty as a woman. I do want to feel beautiful and sexy when I get dressed. And wish designers realized that just because a woman isn’t a size four doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve gorgeous clothes that are trendy and stylish…. -Stacie

 Being in-between most of my young adult life I shop at stores that have 12-14s. I’ve learned to shop GAP inc. I always find stuff in a 12/13 at Old Navy/ GAP/Banna Republic. If the outfit is an oversized look for a smaller person it tends to …balance out on me perfectly without me looking swallowed. I hate looking for jeans(big butt, smaller waist, big thighs…) -Iris

So the discussion has been started, what is your input?

What are some challenges you face while shopping? Name the top 3 stores you like to shop at. Where do you go for evening wear? Do you shop online? Why/Why not?

I will write a follow-up blog and address some of your issues and concerns, so post your response!


4 comments on “Plus Size PLEASE!”

  1. I guess I’m officially plus size now, b/c I’ve been wearing a 12-14 for the past 6 months…but I don’t really have a hard time shopping at all. I shop in Kalamazoo, at 1) 360 degrees consignment store 2) Target clearance & 3) Kohl’s. If I shop online I only shop shirts or loose fitting… but I find that with consignment stores, Old Navy, Kohl’s, etc. I can find just about anything that fits me nicely. I think most women don’t want to take the time to “hunt” for nice clothes. Fortunately for me, I like the hunt. =) Now, what I don’t like is being a size 12, 13 or 14 which is pretty overweight for me, but still even then, I can buy clothes from Walmart or Meijer and still pair them with nice options from other places…and then not feel bad about ditching them when I lose weight b/c they only cost $5-$10.

    My best advice is getting pieces from a bunch of different places and then putting them together with creativity. I NEVER, very rarely ever find one complete look in one store….doesn’t satisfy my need to “hunt,” and is often WAY too expensive…I’m so super cheap now, Shereena it’s redonkulous. lol.

  2. I agree with the ladies. I am in between a 12 and 14 depending on the brand. I found myself actually now purchasing clothes from Lane Bryant and being happy about the purchases. But, as one of your friends stated, I can’t do it all the time due to the bulkiness, etc.

    The only thing I can purchase form Ashley Stewart has been jeans! They are the only one besides Target (believe it or not..) that fit perfectly. Especially because I am 5 foot even.

    I believe that for me, I am petite and plus sized. Its like I get played on both ends! My top 3 stores lately have been: Lane Bryant ( on a good day); Forever 21+ ( On a good day LOL) and Target.

    As for evening wear, It is a hit or miss with that one. Lately all of evening dresses have come from: The Limited; Forever 21 + and Dress Barn ( yes Dress barn..). If I shop online it would be to Torrid or Forever 21 +, it is only because I am fully aware of their sizing charts. Also, unfortunately, there are a lot of clothing they have online that are not offered in the store, so you are resulted to purchase things online.

  3. Great comments! I believe that retailers and manufacturers are getting the drift that not all full figured women are 55+ 🙂 And even the 55+ crowd want to look cute! Grace, you are NOT cheap! You are wise! No one would EVER know that you are so frugal with your clothing budget because you put the time and effort into making your outfits look amazing. And Quan, that is great that you know your sizing so well, knowing your sizes eliminates a lot of frustration which is a huge hinderance to people when they shop. Another great option as Grace pointed out is consignment and vintage shops. I visited both today and they both had great plus size departments. These stores are budget conscious, and at the vintage stores, you can find fabulous one of a kind pieces. The key is patience and shopping when you do have time to hunt 🙂

  4. I love Macy’s because their online selection is really good. Ashley Stewart is my second fave, but it’s not convenient if you’re not in southern Oakland County (Southfield, Oak Park, etc.). I also like Old Navy, but that can be hit or miss. My problem with the Lane Bryant’s & Catherine’s is that we may be “plus size”, but some manufacturers don’t tailor to my dimensions. The shoulders and chest area are usually the biggest challenge because I’m not a wide person, but they are made too wide. Plus (especially with Catharine’s) I’m in my early thirties, & want to dress to enhance my sophisticated youthfulness. Pants can be another issue because of the butt factor (and often not making the waist small enough to accommodate the derriere), but Levi’s have actually made really nice ones that are complimentary to my figure. My colleague is a size 24-26 with wide shoulders/stomach & a narrow hips/waist (which can be hard to shop for regardless of size) and has the CUTEST clothes & always looks great – she says she shops online a lot. Sizes past 22 can be hard but she’s made a way to dress like a trendy twenty-something with larger sizes, so the choices are out there but the compromise is not being able to try it on & often paying for shipping.

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