News outlets were all a-buzz this week with the report that clothing stores just don’t stock clothes to meet the demand of their larger customers (and by larger, apparently they mean over a size 16 which is actually an average sized Australian woman). In response, we at KiKi & Tea thought we’d help out by asking a friend of ours, “fatshion” blogger Bek M, to tell us just where you can find clothes for 16+. Bek writes:
Once upon a time, the only places I could look for clothes above a size 16 was Big W. The clothes were usually tent-like, polyester monstrosities that hurt your eyes to look upon them.
Thankfully, shopping for plus size “Fatshion” has gotten a little easier since a decade or so ago. It still has a long way to go (for instance, why is it so hard to find cute athletic wear above a 16? Why do the sizes stop at 24-26?) but with the internet, our options have increased. I’m going to give you a run-down on both the bricks and mortar stores and the online stores available. This is all from personal experience, and my budget is low, so if you want to add any other stores you’ve heard of or had experience with, feel free to add in the comments.
Bricks and Mortar Stores
Big W and K-Mart
These stores have a plus size section, mostly tops and bottoms, dresses, some jackets. No swimwear. I find Big W the best of the two. They have launched a new range called Avella, which stock some decent stuff on trend. They still need to work on their fit. They stock a lot of cotton blend clothes which I appreciate. I usually pick up leggings and bike pants here, so they usually only last a few seasons before they deteriorate. Their pricing ranges from $15-$59. K Mart still stock a lot of polyester ugly stuff. I look in there occasionally but never find anything I like.
Their plus size section is a little pricier than Big W and Kmart. I’ve picked up a few nice on trend tops there, but they could do with more variety. I’ve found them great for bras and underwear. If I had one closer to me I would definitely visit it more often.
A store designed just for sizes 16-26. Their sizing runs large (or normal?)- I usually wear clothes a few sizes lower than in Big W. They are expensive, ordinary tops can run $60, for example. The trick is with this store is to wait for the sales. They have regular 50% off sales at the end of the season, just sign up to their newsletter and you’ll get the sales info. I have purchased tops, skirts and trousers for $10 at sales times. I often try on clothes I like in store, figure out what size is best, then wait for the sales. They have a facebook page that they respond to, and take on board customer feedback. They have a lot more stuff on trend than they used to. They also stock swimwear and nightwear (mostly black so far) and have brought in boots for large calves, which have been very popular. I bought a pair of under the knee high black boots for $99 last year and wear them most of winter. They have an online store too.
Catering for sizes 16-26. The first time I walked into City Chic my immediate impression was “clubbing clothes”. Short, sparkly, sequins, non-breathable fabrics. They have more variety now, and an online store. There has been some dissatisfaction among the customers for a few reasons. One, that City Chic opened an online store aimed at the international market and charged the international customers much less than they charged the loyal Australian customers. Two, that they don’t change or take on feedback from customers, such as not stocking the larger sizes in store. That said, I have friends who only shop there and love their clothes. They have less sales than Autograph so I have yet to shop there. I do appreciate that they seem to stock young clothes, cute and edgy stuff.
I love the concept of Crossroads. Straight sizes up to 22, and it’s cute, trendy, young stuff. Unfortunately, they only stock up to size 22, and it’s a small 22. If you fit into their size range, great, but I don’t. I don’t understand why they would bother to stock some of the plus sizes, but not the higher sizes. They have pretty dresses, interesting styles, great colours. They also have an online store, and sometimes there’s quite a price difference between the clothes in store and the clothes online (being cheaper online).
Millers is not just a store for older ladies. It has cute stuff for young women too. It’s a great place to pick up cardigans and dresses, and reasonably priced tops and bottoms. There’s also sleepwear and swimmers. Unfortunately, like Crossroads, they only go up to size 22.
Best and Less
In my opinion, Best and Less are a hidden gem. They don’t have much of an online presence, so I think they are overlooked. They stock a plus size brand up to size 26 called Woman and I have found great stuff there, ranging from cute tops, shorts, pretty polka dot dresses, jackets and nightwear. They even have a range of athletic clothes. Their prices are reasonable, similar to Big W. I keep an eye out for the Woman brand when I op shop too.
This is my main online store, sizing 18-26. Why? Because they have free delivery, and this year now have an office in Australia, so I can return clothes cheaply for a refund. Just make sure you buy from their Australian store. They have a regular clearance section and sales. ASOS Curve make on trend fun clothes up to a size 26. Maybe they have a bit too many playsuits and super short dresses for my liking, but they try to have a facebook page where they take on feedback from customers. One day I would love to see as many ASOS Curve items available as there are in the straight size section. I think their main range is a little exxy for me, but nearly all the items eventually go to clearance where they’re about half price or more, so I wait for that.
This is another UK store, stocking sizes 14-32. Shipping to Australia is about $20. They have a lot of sales, and mark down their clothes a lot. I have picked up tops for $10, a black dress for $40. They have pretty accessories and a huge range of stuff, more than ASOS Curve.
No Exceptions Clothing
This is an Australian store, who stock clothing from other places. Their range tends to be edgy, goth, pin-up, lacing and velvet sort of stuff, which I love. They also have some pretty dresses and swimwear. Their stock from Chicstar tends to vary wildly in size, which is problematic, but not their fault.
This is the place for decently priced boho and medieval dresses, tops and shirts. The items are ethically handmade in India, and are soft and breathable. I bought a dress from them for summer and love it.
This US store is great for edgy, interesting stuff. Shipping depends on the size and weight of your order, but I ordered a sundress and shipping came to under $20 so it was pretty reasonable. The owner Tracey designs a lot of the pieces and has regular collections coming out. So encouraging to see a lady designing especially for larger bodies, and with interesting stuff that isn’t mainstream. They stock a beautiful line of petticoats in nearly all the shades of the rainbow, dresses, tops and bottoms, lingerie, hats and accessories. And the best thing? They measure and write up a size chart for every individual item of clothing. Awesome.
We Love Colours
They specialise in tights and leggings in any shade of the rainbow, including plus sizes. Last winter they had free shipping for Australian and New Zealand customers, so keep a look out.
Here are some other stores I’ve come across in my internet travels, but have no experience with.
- My Size
- Chubby Cartwheels: hand made fun clothing
- Dream Diva
- New Look
- Sweetooth Couture (will custom make up to 6x)
- Curvy is Beautiful
- Woman Within (up to size 44)
- Making it Big (up to size 48)
- Love your Peaches (do custom sizing, swimwear & clothing)
Do you find it easy to buy clothing that fits? Where do you buy yours?
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