Help me find cute, affordable plus-size clothes
October 28, 2014 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Between a recent fire at my apartment and a mix-up with the cleaning crew, all of my clothes are now gone except a few things I picked up at Target with a giftcard from a friend. Another friend was amazingly generous enough to send me $200 to help rebuild my wardrobe, and I am trying to figure out the most satisfying way to do so.

I am definitely looking for affordable and plus-sized (usually a size 20 or so). I prefer low-energy shopping and don't want to go through tons of different websites (and I *really* don't want to have to go to stores or the mall!)

A lot of times when I look for clothes online, I find the plus-size options to be totally shapeless and ugly. I don't like the caftan look. My sensibilities lean toward the bohemian without being totally flower-child. In the winter, I primarily wear black pants and sweaters, but I do love to also wear dresses over pants as well.

I will need to rebuild my beloved sundress collection at some point, but autumn in Wisconsin is perhaps not the time for that.

I am aware of the options presented by Target, Old Navy, Alight, Amazon, Lane Bryant, Craigslist, and Freecycle.

Between a lack of energy and a lack of transportation, I don't wish to try to hit all the thrift shops, Goodwill, etc.
posted by mermaidcafe to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
How about Lands End for staples? I have some flowy open cardigans from there that have lasted years, and the sales are very frequent.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:18 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would probably recommend checking out Modcloth. I'm not plus sized myself, but it seems that they do offer quite a decent range of clothing in plus sizes. Something that I really appreciate is that many of the items include reviews by customers who have bought the item, and they sometimes include their height and measurements, the size they bought and a photo of the item on. It can give you a really good idea of how the item actually looks in real life.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 8:23 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

My standbys for plus-sized bohemian-but-not-TOO-hippie and cheap:

Forever21 Plus
ASOS Curve

I scan their clearance sales pretty often and pick up some really cute stuff for super cheap.
posted by erst at 8:32 PM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

I too was going to recommend Modcloth. Their fashions run a variety of sizes and many items go from Small to 3X (and sometimes more) so they design with women or fashion in mind instead of a size.

For example this is a really nice jacket! OOo and this top! Oh my and this too! ... and now you've got me shopping...

One more, super cute jeans.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:34 PM on October 28, 2014

Be sure you really read the reviews about each dress at Modcloth, though: while I love love love at lot of their styles, I've returned every dress I've ordered there (and I'm an 18/20) because I've found them to be either too short or too flimsy or too boobtastic to be work-approrpiate. (That said, they might be fine if you're going to wear them over pants or under sweaters!)

I find Land's End to have excellent quality staples for the price--their sweaters and pants last forever for me.
posted by TwoStride at 8:50 PM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

And the LE dresses are solid, too!
posted by TwoStride at 8:51 PM on October 28, 2014

Yuck. I commented in your last question - I had a fire and they threw away all of my shoes and almost all of my clothes. Here's my only advice - if you might be like me, make a list. A small list and then don't buy things that aren't on the list. Not because you'll buy too much stuff but because it's too overwhelming. I'd go to the mall with the intention of buying shoes and then I'd think okay, maybe I need sandals but then I'd look around the store and think "oh god, I need sandals but I don't have any tennis shoes either and it'll be cold soon so I need new dressy black shoes and what about boots" so I'd leave with nothing but a feeling of panic because too many decisions. I think it would have helped to just plan to ONLY buy, say, one skirt, two shirts and one pair of specific shoes so I could concentrate and not think of the zillion other things I'd need to buy. I hope this makes sense and good luck!
posted by artychoke at 8:53 PM on October 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you ever shopped at Dress Barn? Despite the awful name they have really cute clothes, and they go up to size 24. They actually have slightly different lines for misses vs plus, which I thought was really smart, since plus-size clothes have different cut/style considerations. They obviously have a lot of dresses but also other items.
posted by radioamy at 9:44 PM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'll put the option of One Stop Plus on the table. This is the online face of a corporate group that includes the Woman Within, Jessica London, Roaman's, Torrid, and many other plus-size brands. Quality across their brands is pretty hit-or-miss; the Woman Within stuff has been particularly poor quality, IMHO; Jessica London/Roaman's slightly better. But if you combine sales with ubiquitous coupon codes (check retailmenot) you can get quite a number of pieces for $200.
posted by drlith at 3:39 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, seconding Dress Barn. I'm in straight sizes and Dress Barn is the only mixed size store where I find myself looking over at the plus section and wishing they made those things in my size. Also, they carry a lot more than dresses, and their sale racks can be pretty good. (Their normal pricing isn't bad, either.) Quality is OK -- better than Forever21, but worse than Land's End. So I might buy staples like black slacks elsewhere, but cute tops/sweaters/dresses? Yes.
posted by pie ninja at 4:03 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also take a look at Ruche - they have a curvy section. Quality isn't super, but some really cute things at affordable prices. When you are ready to rebuild the sundress collection, take a look at eShakti. You can buy "off the rack" there, but I highly recommend taking the time to enter your measurements, pay the addtional $7.50 and get the garment tailored to you. Oh, and currently, eShakti is running a buy 2, get one free offer.
posted by sarajane at 5:08 AM on October 29, 2014

Forever21 Plus is a good affordable option. Also, if you have any plus size swip swap groups on Facebook for your area, I would try those also. We have a few in my area and I have been able to find a lot of wonderful and cheap items there!
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 5:11 AM on October 29, 2014

Avenue and Dress Barn, for sure. Ross has a decent selection of plus size tops.

And if you can get to at least one... Goodwill is a gold mine for cheap, nearly new clothes from dept stores. Find the Goodwill/Salvation Army that's in the most upper-middle-class suburb near you. Where the soccer moms live. (No hate on soccer moms... I love buying their clothes!!) I wouldn't bother looking for pants at the Goodwill - I find it's way harder to find pants that fit just right - but YMMV. But you can load up on cute shirts for like $4 apiece.
posted by nakedmolerats at 6:01 AM on October 29, 2014

You could also do a free trial at Gwynnie Bee, which is for plus-sized clothing like Netflix was for dvds. That way you can try a lot of different brands and see their quality and how they fit you. If you like something you try, you can buy it at a discounted price.
posted by amarynth at 7:50 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

H&M have a nice selection in their Plus sizes. It's good mostly for basics with a few cute pieces thrown in the mix, & not so much stuff it takes hours to wade through. The prices are all reasonable & quality, for the items I've got from them, has been pretty good for the price.
posted by wwax at 8:18 AM on October 29, 2014

posted by latkes at 9:09 AM on October 29, 2014

I recently signed up for Gwynnie Bee, which I'm somewhat disappointed in the service angle on, but have been pleasantly surprised by the clothing options.

If you haven't heard of them: they are a clothing rental / subscription service. It's basically like netflix for clothes for sizes 10 and up, though you have a bit less control over which of the pieces you like they actually send you at any given time.

And, they have a shop where you can buy the gently used clothes they are taking out of circulation. So cute clothes, good cuts, and low prices - pretty much a win as long as you don't mind the fact that someone else has worn it before!
posted by CharlieSue at 10:49 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Okay first of all, don't take advice from folks who are not plus sized. I feel like that sounds mean, but just...clothes shopping for all women is fraught, I know, but for plus sized people it can be an extra layer of hell, I think. ModCloth has cute dresses, but they're cut terribly. They just blew up their straight sizes with no regards to shape or fit, and they cost a fortune.

I have been with Gwynnie Bee for a while and agree that their customer service is not the best but it's an easy, low-maintenance way to try different brands and send things back and skip a lot of the stress of regular shopping. For some reason, trying on a dress that doesn't fit doesn't make me cry at home the way it can at a store. And I'm fully on board with being plus sized! But trying on clothes can SUCK ASS.

Simply Be may have some of the aesthetic you're looking for. Also the ASOS Curve line has great sales. But really--grab some basics from brands you already know, and then get on the Gwynnie Bee train. If nothing else, it'll help you figure out what sizes you wear in different brands and then you can start shopping them directly.

Also I could talk about this all day, so MeMail me if you want to talk about clothes more!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 11:30 AM on October 29, 2014

I am super fat. I have recently found cute things at modcloth and macys of all places. Also you can likely get some basics from onestopplus. Tshirts and the like. I have also found cj banks to have gotten cuter in past years if youre willing to spend some time and overlook some of the fugly stuff. They are much more affordable than lb and avenue. I have not ordered from them but also check out swak designs.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:05 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Eshakti (Not cheap, but all clothes are customizable to your measurements)
Dillards (can be pricey, but check the clearance! I ALWAYS find great deals)
Dress Barn (terrible name)
TJ Maxx
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 12:46 PM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think anyone's yet mentioned Marisota. I buy from them online (18/20, tops and bottoms) and the shoes/boots/sandals are also nicely priced and very comfy. Sizes 8-28 and all sizes are the same price. Affiliated in some way with Simply Be, which I'm not as thrilled with.

So sorry for your loss and having to start over. Good luck!
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2014

Sorry you're in this situation! A good plus wardrobe is hard to accumulate, losing it sounds like a nightmare. simplybe and Nordstrom are my favorites, the latter having a very accepting return policy (and acceptable prices on their house brand, soujour). If you happen to need to be at a mall despite your wishes, try JC Penney. I find their jeans to be flattering, also quite affordable. The Avenue has terrible jeans, but usually some good sweaters and tops, and they'll have sundresses come spring, too. Good luck!
posted by AliceBlue at 2:48 PM on October 29, 2014

Take a look at Amazon, too. I've found a few cute tops and dresses on there. Just watch out for whether you're looking at a "women's plus" item or a "juniors plus" item. The juniors plus usually means you need to go up two or three sizes for it to fit.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 9:39 PM on October 29, 2014

If you have a Shopko near you, that may be worth a trip. They have some cute plus size stuff and their prices are pretty reasonable.

Another vote for Simply Be. They have some cute things, and they have promotion codes all the time.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:35 PM on October 29, 2014

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posted by ovenmitt at 8:55 AM on October 31, 2014

If you want clothing that looks a bit different, try nissen or jshoppers (both Japanese sites). They have sizes up to 10L -- I think that's about a 28US. Quality is OK, and selection is interesting.

I loathe dresses, but I have this and I love it. (I actually purchased it IRL in Tokyo, but it's from the same company.)
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 11:16 AM on November 2, 2014

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