Plus-size ladies, where do you go to actually try on nice pants/suits?
June 11, 2013 5:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for actual brick-and-mortar stores where I could try on a wide variety of size 16-18 suit separates or dressy-to-formal tops/pants combinations.

Some examples of what I like:


I love this from Ann Taylor, but Ann Taylor doesn't carry plus sizes in the store. I need to actually try them on.

In my experience, department stores often have a very limited selection in "formal" plus sizes, or all they have are very matronly pants suits.

At this time I'm not looking for skirts or dresses. PANTS ONLY PLZ. Can be cropped/capri pants. Doesn't have to be a suit combo... separate, dressy pants/tops are fine.

Thanks for your help!
posted by nakedmolerats to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Lane Bryant, Macy's.
posted by tilde at 5:50 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Talbots - not all locations carry plus size, but the ones that do have a good selection.
Dress Barn
posted by SisterHavana at 5:57 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Herberger's carries a nice (although pricey) line of Calvin Klein suit separates, and a good plus selection overall.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:01 PM on June 11, 2013

Lane Bryant and Nordstroms
posted by brilliantine at 6:14 PM on June 11, 2013

Lord and Taylor
posted by kimdog at 6:16 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Ann Taylor outlets carry all their sizes. Also consider Jones New York.
posted by MrsBell at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

You have to be selective, but Chico's 3 and 4 sizes correspond to 16-18 and 20-22, and they have coordinates and pantsuits usually.
posted by Miko at 6:43 PM on June 11, 2013

Jones New York makes suits for Dress Barn that are quite nice, to tie two suggestions together.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:52 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by oflinkey at 7:12 PM on June 11, 2013

Macy's has the best deals and I love Tahari suits!

Lord and Taylor is okay, they used to be much better.

Jones New York at Macy's or at an outlet mall.

Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales have high end stuff.

Talbots will have, but their stuff is boxy (more for the prep figure, tummy, no butt)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:27 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I almost always order a whole bunch of stuff from a place with free return shipping, free return in store, or return shipping credit on exchanges (e.g., Zappos, Macys, Ann Taylor, for examples from each category). That way, I can try on a bunch of stuff in the comfort of my own home, which means I can look at it in my own mirror under non-fluorescent lighting, and I can sit/stand/walk in it as much as I want to make sure it fits the way I want it to. And then I return what I don't want. It involves a bigger financial investment at the outset, but if you return things quickly, you can often get a refund before your credit card bill comes due.

If you really want to go to a store, though, I think Macy's may be your best bet. Call them first, because only some stores have plus sections. Also, while Coldwater Creek skews middle-aged lady, they often have cute blazers and pants on sale, and they have a huge range of sizes. Also, J.C. Penney has a lot of new lines that are much more modern than a lot of their old stuff, and they carry plus sizes.
posted by decathecting at 7:29 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ruthless Bunny is spot on. Macy's is probably the best for professional separates. However, not all Macy's stores have great Women's departments. Don't be discouraged if the first Macy's you go to has a limited selection. Try another one. Talbots Woman has nice pieces, but yeah, they are boxy. I've been routinely disappointed at Lane Bryant. The quality isn't great, and they skew a lot more casual.

I'm a 16W and I have a ton of Jones New York right now.
posted by msladygrey at 7:36 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Lane Bryant. At the moment their stuff is looking a bit summery, but they have had a lot of styles like that in, you have to hunt through some of their crap to find the good pieces at times.
posted by wwax at 7:38 PM on June 11, 2013

Talk to a personal shopper at Nordstrom. Not allnordstroms have extensive plus sizes, but usually one in a state/area does, and the shopper will know which one and what they have. It's a free service.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:04 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Lane Bryant's quality is awful! If you're finding only old-lady stuff at your Macy's, ask an experienced employee in the plus section about other area Macy's. Depending on your area, you may have to call/drive around to find out which Macy's has a decent plus-size section. They vary from almost nothing to half an entire floor. (It took me ages to find this out.)
posted by wintersweet at 8:34 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've been plus size and regular size and always been very tall. Mail order is my best friend. I buy and return ruthlessly. But I'd have nothing decent to wear if I had to rely solely on brick and mortar.
posted by cecic at 8:34 PM on June 11, 2013

Eileen Fisher,on line,brick and mortar or a big Macy's. Fits generously true to size. Some stuff's classic, some's quirky, all is pricey but lasts for freaking ever and never looks dated.
posted by puddinghead at 10:11 PM on June 11, 2013

Draper's & Damon's has some plus sizes. May be a bit traditional.
posted by Cranberry at 12:13 AM on June 12, 2013

Some JJill stores carry their plus sizes, but most don't.

Definitely mail order & return
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 6:42 AM on June 12, 2013

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