As a lady with curves, I hate the almost inevitable frustration that comes with every trip to the department or clothing store. My current size is what I like to refer to as the in between zone — otherwise known as the Seventh Circle of Size Hell. I just might fit in the XXL in the regular sizes, or they might be cut too short for my tall frame. I might find the right 0X or 1X in the plus sizes, or they may just look tent like and unflattering.
And while I love that so many department stores do carry lines in extended sizes, I must lament that they often miss the mark in terms of style, cut and selection. Here’s a hint, y’all. Baggy t-shirts look worse on curves. Excess fabric is not our friend.
But, instead of complaining, I want to give props to the stores who understand real curves, and celebrate women of all sizes.
eShakti has been a favorite online retailer of mine for a while. Shopping for casual or work? Need a dress for a cocktail party? eShakti has everything, and they boast a selection of clothing where almost all items are available in sizes 0-36W! Not only that, but you can customize necklines, sleeve lengths and skirt lengths to your own tastes.
For the styles they offer, and the quality, I think the pricing is quite reasonable. They have super friendly staff and customer service.
Lane Bryant has been in the forefront of Plus Size fashion for decades. However, my one problem is that even though I live in an area with a few malls, only half seem to have a Lane Bryant store housed within. No problem. LaneBryant.com to the rescue.
And if I am being honest, what they have always gotten right was that they feature real models in every shape and beautiful skin tone. A few models do look more like a size 12 than a true plus size woman, but I can handle that, as long as I see a size 20 or 24 in the catalog as well.
Bonus Points: LB gets serious bonus points for stocking shoes in wide sizes and boots for curvy calves!
Darn it, I said it. I went there. Yes, I like Dress Barn.
Dress Barn may not seem ultra hip, and it isn’t. But it isn’t supposed to be either. I like to wear nice tops with my jeans. I like classic dresses with just a touch of interesting. Too much interesting is a bit out of my fashion comfort zone.
- Well-cut jeans? Check!
- Cute blouses? Check!
- Little Black Dresses that won’t break the bank? Check!
- A clearance rack that actually has good clothing I want to buy? Check and check!
And, Dress Barn isn’t just for plus size beauties. Our less-curvy friends will find an equally good selection there, too. Which is actually a bonus for those of us in the between zone.
Crown & Ivy
Southern women rejoice, dressy casual (or is it casual dressy) has a price conscious savior, Crown & Ivy. Solids, prints, blouses, dresses… yes, yes, yes and yass! I like to think of it as Lilly Pulitzer-adjacent. Don’t get me wrong, I love LP styles, but most stores do not offer my size, and I like the Crown & Ivy price point far more. Crown & Ivy also offers lots of styles, not just prints. Though I love the prints.
You can find Crown & Ivy at Belk stores and some malls have standalone Crown & Ivy shops. Even better Crown & Ivy has almost every demographic in the southern lexicon covered.
- Jrs. Plus
But you don’t live in the south, and your mall doesn’t have a Belk? Well, bless your heart. Belk.com delivers!
Retailers that Mostly Get it Right
Taget, Old Navy, Charlotte Russe, Torrid, Hot Topic and Talbots all have been hit or miss for me.
Target is great for staples like v-neck tees. Target’s Massimo denim is fantastic. Where they fall short are dresses and dressy tops.
Old Navy usually has a top or two I like, but it’s pretty inconsistent. I usually check out the racks if I am in the store for my kids (Old Navy is great for school uniforms, y’all!). I have other go-to shops for myself.
If I am shopping at Torrid or Hot Topic, I prefer brick and mortar. That way I can feel the item in my hands and try it on. The quality is hit or miss on some pieces, which is fine for occasional wear items, but wardrobe staples in my house need to be extremely well-made. But if you are looking for fun & edgy, Torrid is a great place to stop.
Wrapping it Up
If you have a plus size lady on your shopping list, I highly recommend a gift card from one of the shops above. Humans of all sizes have different tastes and different preferences when it comes to style and fit.
I love v-necks and think that scoop necks were created by Satan. Other ladies may love the scoop. They must, or stores wouldn’t carry so many of them. But, my point is, we all love gift cards!
Disclosure: I am not affiliated with any of the above brands or retailers. All opinions are my own.