Shopping for clothing as a plus size woman has always been a challenge for me, especially growing up in a small town with no major clothing stores. The clothing market as a whole does not seem to cater to plus sizes compared to petite sizes, but there has been a drastic change in recent years as brands see the need for more plus size options. With my body type and my sizes fluctuating between sizes, finding cute and affordable clothing is hard, but it has gotten much easier over the years. Since this is an area where I have had lots of personal experience and lots of searching, I thought I would share my favorite plus-sized clothing stores and brands.
AVA AND VIV
Ava & Viv is Targets plus-size line. What I love about this line is that it’s not hidden between the maternity section and the bathroom; it’s an actual standalone brand in the store unlike Target’s past plus size attempts. My favorite pieces from Ava & Viv are the long sleeve shirts, dresses, and embellished peasant tops. What I like about this brand is that every piece that I own hasn’t shrunk and has kept its color well.
FOREVER 21 PLUS
It’s no secret that it’s hard finding pieces in Forever 21 Plus section that are actually true to size. Fortunately, Forever 21 has really upped its game since the relaunch of the plus size section this past April. My favorite piece from Forever 21 plus is a pair of skinny jeans; my favorite pair of jeans that actually fit my apple shaped body (which, if you have an apple shaped body on top of being plus sized, you know the struggle of finding jeans that actually fit you well). Shopping at Forever 21 plus has always been a hit or miss for me. You really have to try on everything and make sure it fits and that you love it before purchasing because of their strict return policy. I’ve found that the jeans and dresses fit me better than the tops, but I do own a couple of tops that I love.
I’ve been shopping at Lane Bryant for years, and it is my go to for intimates, work attire, shoes, and active wear. All of my pieces have kept up well, especially my work attire and intimates; some I’ve had as long as 4 years and they look brand new. Lane Bryant is a little pricey, but it is worth it for the quality of the clothing. Most of the time there is some type of sale going on or I use my coupons I get in the mail, so I never pay full price for anything.
LAUREN RALPH LAUREN
Ralph Lauren is a classic American brand, and I was so happy when I discovered that they carry what they call “woman” sizes, which are sizes 14-22. My Favorite Lauren Ralph Lauren pieces are the sweaters and pajamas (anything in their paisley prints are to die for).
OFF PRICE RETAILERS
Both TJMaxx and Marshalls have a great plus size section, and I always start at one of these stores before heading to the mall if I’m looking for something specific. I’ve learned that many brands I love are considered designer diffuser lines, which means they are sold only by off price retailers (TJMaxx, Ross, Marshalls, Burlington Coat Factory). Some of the brands are Tahari, Cynthia Rowley, and Philosophy, which have some of the cutest, most flattering pieces I wear almost every day. Tahari and Cynthia Rowley have really nice blouses and work wear; whereas Philosophy has great yoga pants and every day wear. These stores also carry Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren plus sizes, which are sold in stores but much more affordable.