Where do you buy your clothes?The women's size 12/14 edition.
March 13, 2017 11:34 AM   Subscribe

As a push towards better health, I've changed my diet and started seriously exercising. This has meant I've moved from a size 18/20 to a size 12/14 and now I have have no ideas where to buy clothes. Any suggestions?

For many years, I've shopped at Addition Elle for jeans and work wear and then Old Navy Plus for basics. I needed to buy new jeans (so yay!) and some tops and I'm hitting the bottom end of where Addition Elle has sizes. I know that 12/14 range is hard (it was hard 20 years ago when I was last in it) and it's a bit easier now that some plus retailers will go to 12 but I'm fighting against the shopping habits of years now.

Any recommendations? I'm in Toronto, Canada and willing to online shop but I'd prefer places that don't cost a zillion dollars in shipping.
posted by machine to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I was size 12/14 about 8 years ago. Vanity sizing has meant that straight sized stores carry larger sizes these days. Size 14 now is bigger than size 14 from 20 years ago.

Old Navy, The Gap, Reitmans and Eddie Bauer are probably good places to start. Reitmans in particular carries up to a 16, I think, in standard sizes.

You can go to the mall or you can order online and return stuff to the physical store.

Don't be afraid to tell a sales clerk that you've dropped wieght and aren't sure about sizing.
posted by TORunner at 11:56 AM on March 13, 2017

First off, congrats! This must feel amazing.

When I dropped weight a few years ago I made a styling appointment at Nordstrom and they helped me find a right size, pick out a few useful items, and got the items tailored to fit me length-wise. It looks like there's a Nordstrom in Toronto where you could do the same.
posted by toomanycurls at 12:21 PM on March 13, 2017

Most places go up to at least 12 now. 14 is more common. Here is a blog post on the cusp sizes between standard sized and plus sized you might find useful.

I personally really like Nordstrom's for many high quality brands and great customer service and Boden for work wear that is still a bit fun/eclectic. Boden sizes run large.
posted by sulaine at 1:05 PM on March 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Depending on your style and budget Talbots does a lot of very reliable stuff in your (our) size range. Good for basic pieces and some colorful patterns that can be mixed with cheaper/funkier/more interesting accessories that aren't so hard to find in the right size.

The difficult thing about this size is that a lot of stores don't carry much in physical locations. So they'll say they sell things in size 12 or 14 but it's actually only online. I've slowly gotten better at doing things like finding something that fits in the store but is the wrong color or a different set of garments but in the same mini collection and figuring out which thing to order from their website (hello, the Gap, why are you such a pain), talking to customer service people and having them offer free shipping if i order at the store, and finally getting more comfortable doing returns. It all takes a lot more imagination, willpower, time and focus than a lot of people are reasonably able to devote to dressing themselves. Personal shopping services are there for exactly these situations and if I had the budget I'd totally use them.
posted by Mizu at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2017

Depending on whether you expect to lose more, you might consider thrift stores. If you are just passing through a size, it keeps the cost down. Old Navy regular sizes go up to like 20, so there is a lot of overlap with the smaller size end of plus sizes.
posted by Stewriffic at 2:01 PM on March 13, 2017

posted by spicytunaroll at 2:07 PM on March 13, 2017

For jeans and tops you can go to winners, the Bay, h&m for fast fashion or old navy/gap/banana republic if you like old navy anyway. If there's one or a big Loblaws/Superstore near you there's also Joe Fresh.

To get off the more beaten path, if you want to get really fitted and spend wads of cash there's Over the Rainbow in Yorkville. And if you want funky second hand jeans &/or both used & new funky tops there's Kensington Market.
posted by warriorqueen at 2:18 PM on March 13, 2017

I'm in the 12/14 range and 12 seems to be more standard but 14 is harder to find. I also came in to recommend Nordstrom - they have free shipping (in US at least) and you can order a bunch at once, try on at home and then return in store or ship back. I mostly wear dresses and I fit in a large or sometimes even a medium. They also have an excellent denim section. Pants are always harder but I've had good luck lately with Lucky jeans and Calvin Klein jeans (not from Nordstrom, from Marshall's but still check out the jeans at Nordstrom for higher-end.)
posted by tatiana wishbone at 3:06 PM on March 13, 2017

I'm a "top end" size 10 and have had a lot of good luck with Banana Republic, especially for dresses. Every so often Tommy Hilfiger has something I absolutely love.

The key thing I've learned since dropping a bunch of weight is not to be too concerned with the number on the garment. Try things on, and see how it goes. I now have items in my closet from 6-16, and they are all covering the same body.
posted by rpfields at 4:36 PM on March 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Black & White Market. (In contrast to others here, I don't recommend Banana Republic, as I find their sizing really tricky -- often neither the 12 nor the 14 fit me well -- and their prices inflated for the quality they offer. Oh, I just realized that rpfields specifically called out BR's dresses, which I agree are an exception.)
posted by salvia at 5:50 PM on March 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I buy most of my clothes at Target. My weight yoyo's so I don't like to spend a great deal of money on clothes that may not fit in 6 months to a year. I used to shop at Macys and Express, and on Amazon buying expensive brands, but it's just not practical right now. Get to your happy weight and stay there! You'll feel great and you can splurge on clothes you'll love. For now just shop at Target, that would be my suggestion
posted by Avosunspin at 6:28 PM on March 13, 2017

I'm currently a 12/14 and a lot of my current wardrobe is from Loft and the Anthropologie sale racks, with some Old Navy and Gap mixed in. I'm generally a L in all those brands, sometimes an XL. I generally prefer tops and cardigans with a looser/flowy fit and stretchy pull-on skirts and pants, because the sizing's easier to fudge and they'll generally be okay if you go up or down ten pounds.

I've had good luck with Level 99 jeans lately; they're on the pricier side but easy to find online for a discount. If you're looking at jean brands with waist sizing, you'll probably want a 31 or 32.

I was approximately the same size 20 years ago, too, and even though it's a tricky size range it's a lot easier now than it was then. I have the most trouble with Forever 21-type stores and high-end brands that I can't afford anyway, but in most mall stores I'm fine.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:48 PM on March 13, 2017

OP shops are a good place to relearn what size you are, and try a bunch of clothes from different brands. Do a quick bust or hips check at the racks.
posted by kjs4 at 9:28 PM on March 13, 2017

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