What women's clothing stores can I start shopping at now that I've shrunk to an 18/20?
April 19, 2009 8:18 AM   Subscribe

What women's clothing stores can I start shopping at now that I've shrunk to an 18/20?

After 6+ months of Weight Watchers and Curves, I've lost 56 pounds, and gone from a 26/28 to an 18/20. I walked into a J. Jill the other day, and actually fit in their XL!! I haven't really shopped anywhere but Lane Bryant and Avenue for over 20 years, and have no clue what stores might carry stuff I like, and somewhat larger sizes. My closest girlfriends are short, skinny, and have different tastes. Things to keep in mind:

  • I'm 40, about 6' tall (so, tall pants in some cases), and still need plus sizes. I'm curvy all around - larger bust, larger hips.
  • I teach, so stuff appropriate for school - we're not crazy formal, though, and I teach younger kids (much sitting on floor), so nicer drawstring pants would be fabulous (they're usable through more pants sizes)
  • The word "bohemian" is a great description of me. I love bright colors and patterns, v-neck tops, flowy tops, dark-wash jeans, layering pieces - I tend to dress younger than I am (and look younger too, according to neutral parties). I think Indian clothing is gorgeous. I don't generally do dresses/skirts (summer+thighs=chafing). There is no color I won't wear.
  • I don't want to spend a lot, especially on pants, because I'm still losing weight. Places with good clearance/sale racks are much appreciated. On the other hand, I've been known to treat myself to a really cute top that works with jeans and work pants.
  • I prefer shopping in a store to online - I'm an odd shape to fit these days. Online could work for tops, though. I live in New Jersey, for local shop consideration.

    Sorry for all the details, but I really have no idea where to go! Pointers to other threads also appreciated; my searches turned up very little. I've seen this thread and this one, but neither quite gets at what I need. Thanks!
  • posted by booksherpa to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
    Best answer: I know Gap and Old Navy have a good range of sizes, especially online.

    posted by radioamy at 8:48 AM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

    Best answer: We are similar sizes, and I've had luck at Od Navy with their XXL tops, and they have bottoms in 18 & 20. They also do Plus on their website, but having tried on some of the returns at my local store I haven't bothered.
    Try Eddie Bauer, and Torrid too.

    Ebay is a good resource for Indian apparel. Searching "boho" in the plus sizes category has worked well in the past for me. I have the chafing problem too, so I wear bike short under my flowy skirts.
    posted by Requiax at 8:59 AM on April 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

    Seconding both Old Navy and Torrid - Old Navy carries bottoms in their stores up to a size 20, and you'd probably be a 2 in tops at Torrid (though it's a bit pricier). Both of these have styles that skew younger than Lane Bryant. Also once you lose a little more weight you should be good to go at Target, which would be even cheaper; they carry larger sizes than most department stores.
    posted by thatmadgirl at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2009

    I am a 16/18 that leans toward 18s. I have the best luck in department stores. I've been spending most of my money at Kohls recently, and they have tons of sale racks. Their spring line is extremely colorful and free flowing, too. Do you have a Younkers/Herbergers? I have been very lucky there as well. And I don't know if this fits your Bohemian theme, but I can usually find something that I like, that also fits well, at New York & Co. Eddie Bauer is a great source for jeans for curvy women.

    Another good option for you may be Cato - usually the stores have two sides - one for sizes 18+ and one for sizes under 18. I'm guessing you'd be able to shop from both sides, the fit ranges a little bit depending on what you get. The prices there are reasonable and they would definitely have what you are looking for, I think.

    I do not think you would find much shopping at Old Navy. You might be able to find a top there, but if you hope to find pants, don't be surprised if you are disappointed. I have not been able to shop there since I passed size 16. Even if you were to find a size 18 or 20, it would not likely fit and even if it did, it would probably be too low-waisted. I haven't been happy with the quality of their clothing, anyway. I don't know anything about Gap.

    Also, I want to congratulate you on your weight loss! Very inspiring! I hope you have fun shopping for new clothes.
    posted by bristolcat at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2009

    Nthing Old Navy. As much as I hate to admit it, their sizes tend to fit a little big as well -- they're the only place I can still fit into a Medium. Anywhere else I'd head straight for the XL and work from there.
    posted by cgg at 9:32 AM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: LLBean has a good variety of sizes, and good basics. Coldwatercreek has a good outlet. Congratulations!
    posted by theora55 at 9:53 AM on April 19, 2009

    I got a ton of compliments after a trip to Fashion Bug a few weeks ago. I'd written off them and Dressbarn as "Mom" stores, but clearly what we Moms want now is fun style. They have a lot on their spring collection that would appeal to your bohemian side. The Plus dept is size 14-32. It's part of the same company that owns Lane Bryant and Catherine's.
    posted by saffry at 9:59 AM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: I have very good luck with Lands end. They have a great selection of plus sizes in everything. Check out the overstocks.
    posted by AuntieRuth at 10:21 AM on April 19, 2009

    Target! Their women's sizes go up to a 16 or 18, and they have a pretty extensive plus size department after that - and I'm constantly amazed at how cute some of the plus size stuff is. A lot of it seems influenced by a sort of vintagey, Anthropologie-ish style. And everything is like $20 or less, so it's a great place to shop when you're not going to stay one size for any length of time. I tend to fluctuate between two sizes a lot, so I'll admit to buying Target clothes in two different sizes sometimes.

    And congratulations on the weight loss :)
    posted by chez shoes at 10:36 AM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: Eddie Bauer has 18 and 20, although not in many stores - online or catalog are your best bet (after checking in the store to see if you like the styles/fabrics). Their XL or XXL may also fit and can be found in the stores).

    Also try Macy's and Nordstrom, or the equivalent in your city.
    posted by matildaben at 10:59 AM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: I'm the same size. For slightly higher end clothes, I've had great luck at Bloomingdales, and they always have sale racks. Not all their stores have a plus size dept, so check first. Also great deals/unusual finds at Loehman's, but the same applies - not all their stores have that department.
    posted by ljshapiro at 11:30 AM on April 19, 2009

    If you ever make it to Canada, try Reitman's.
    posted by cranberrymonger at 11:43 AM on April 19, 2009

    Response by poster: Thanks for all the help and congratulations! I caught the first few answers before I went out today, so I gave Old Navy a try. I'm not quite in their XXL yet, but I'm not all that far off, either. I liked the stuff I saw there, and now I have a better idea how their clothes fit me, so I might try ordering online.

    Been to Target and Fashion Bug without much luck, but I'll try them again, especially since I'm headed out of the "Women's" department into regular sizes.

    Keep the suggestions coming; they've been really helpful so far.
    posted by booksherpa at 12:26 PM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: I'd really stick with JJill, they always have large sizes and stuff is so pretty!

    I've had a lot of luck lately at Macy's (sale racks only, never ever pay full price at Macy's!). Their INC line is pretty cute.

    I'm a solid 18 and I have a really hard time finding stuff outside of the "plus size" section of any store period. Forget Gap, and Banana Republic, their largest sizes don't even come close for the most part.
    posted by tristeza at 12:39 PM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: My wife has had pretty good luck at JC Penny. Some of their larger sizes are the classic flower print 60+ year old women clothes, but they have started having more styles that go up to the 22, 24 in sizes. At least around us, the clearance section can have pretty nice stuff. Worth a shot if you haven't been there in awhile, since our sense is that they've improved a lot since 5 years ago.
    posted by skynxnex at 1:00 PM on April 19, 2009

    For larger bust bras and clothing, my wife is quite fond of Bravissimo.
    posted by Fleebnork at 2:47 PM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: I think you would like Chico's - a quick view of their website indicates they go up to 16/18, so you'll be there soon.
    posted by lakeroon at 2:51 PM on April 19, 2009

    I was going to come back and suggest Chico's, but keep in mind that 90% of their clothes are kind of "old lady", but the other 10% can be reasonably stylish. The same goes for Coldwater Creek, which also has larger sizes.
    posted by matildaben at 5:01 PM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: Try Chico's knit tanks and sleeveless knit tops, including the travel collection. You can wear them under button-front tops that are partially or completely unbuttoned. Some of their other styles are roomier than others, so if one size 3 seems tiny, try something else. (Unfortunately, their knit tops with sleeves tend to be ungenerous.) Chico's repeats their style names and the cut stays consistent, so if a given style blouse works for you, you can buy it again next year in a different color and fabric.

    Lands' End Commuter trousers are simple and machine washable and they have some stretch. I find that the regular 16 and 18 are pretty roomy, but they have plus sizes beyond that. They'll hem them at your chosen length. You can get customized jeans from Lands' End, too, and they'll keep re-doing them till you like the fit.

    J.Jill Catalog has extended sizes, but the stores do not.
    posted by wryly at 5:31 PM on April 19, 2009

    Best answer: Another option is to play in thrift stores/op shops. You can try on whatever you want, no one cares, and even if you don't find anything, it should give you an idea of what brands should fit in what sizes, so you can go to those stores without being petrified that nothing will fit.
    posted by kjs4 at 6:47 PM on April 19, 2009

    Congrats on your weight loss! It's a strange thing realizing how many more clothing stores are open to you now, isn't it? I've been there. :) Old Navy, Bergner's, Kohl's, JCPenney's, Macey's, J. Jill's are all staples for me now. Maybe I need to look in Chico's again if I'm to go by others' recommenations here; last time I stopped there, everything I saw was around a size 3...
    posted by iceprincess324 at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2009

    Response by poster: Tonight I checked out Chico's, and discovered that I'm not quite there yet. They have odd sizing. It's 0, 1, 2 and 3 with half sizes. A 3 is apparently around a misses 16. I liked a lot of what I saw, though, and their clearance rack will be worth checking out once I fit their stuff. The Chico's style appears to be a good fit for me. Macy's also had a few cute things, but the hit-or-miss sale rack was miss tonight.

    It is a WHOLE PILE OF FUN walking into brand new (to me) stores and potentially fitting in the clothes. Shopping on J. Jill's website with my girlfriends was all kinds of awesome.
    posted by booksherpa at 6:19 PM on April 20, 2009

    American Apparel stuff is not expensive and there are tons of styles and colours to choose from. I know for sure that their shirts go up to 2XL - I'm also in the busty lady club and I get pretty much all my shirts from there.

    I lost 50lbs about three years ago and now I actually enjoy shopping (as opposed to biting my lip and holding back the tears as I exited the mall with nothing). Congratulations on losing that weight, I know what a good feeling it is. Have fun with it your sexy new self! :)
    posted by futureisunwritten at 8:41 PM on April 23, 2009

    trying on a bunch of stuff that doesn't fit drives me nuts, but i love shopping. so instead i measured myself and then i go on ebay and compare my measurements to the ones that the sellers post. it arrives in the mail and fits perfectly. it's awesome.

    also, a lot of sellers on http://www.etsy.com do custom made clothing, some of it with elastic waist/drawstrings/etc :)
    posted by groovinkim at 5:14 PM on May 9, 2009

    « Older Online collaboration tools.   |   Mission: From pretty pictures to useful pictures Newer »
    This thread is closed to new comments.