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Fashion at Every Size

by Amber Huett-Garcia, MPA

I’ve worn nearly every size on the average woman’s clothing rack. From a size 4 to size 28, a lifelong journey with obesity made me hyper-aware of which stores included all body sizes in their brick-and-mortar locations and online shelves. As a child, I was shopping in women’s sizes by middle school, but the choices were limited when it came to “hip” pieces.

As you look to rebuild or add to your wardrobe, I’ve assembled a list of places you can look to find style in every size. While many readers are familiar with favorites like Lane Bryant, Torrid and Ashley Stewart, I’ve worked to include brands that you might not have heard of and could be added to your rotation.

I also want to add that many brands are gendered, but I’ve tried to include brands that have diversity in models and options for individuals who identify as non-binary. There are many great companies that didn’t make the list and I encourage you to share those within your social networks.

Get Inspired

Need to be inspired before you shop? Try following some online influencers to get your fashion flow moving, such as:

  • Gabifresh – Instagram.com/GabiFresh
  • Sierra Holmes – Instagram.com/EclecticKurves
  • Emily Ho – Instagram.com/Authemmie
  • Alysse Dalessandro – Instagram.com/ReadyToStare
Rebuilding or Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

Sometimes we need to add in basics or build a capsule wardrobe (a core group of interchangeable pieces), but we don’t know where to start or who will sell our sizes. Below is a group of brands that are great for rebuilding or creating your capsule wardrobe.

  • Universal Standard – UniversalStandard.com

Sizes 00-40 (7X). Their items are full of high-quality basics for around the house or in the office. Each piece I’ve received not only feels great but holds up after considerable use. Tip: Take a look at their unique size chart to ensure you’re purchasing the proper size.

  • Girlfriend Collective – Girlfriend.com

Don’t let the name fool you! This eco-friendly brand sells women’s and men’s sizes up to 6XL. Not only do these basics look great, but the company is very eco-friendly. Their packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable, and their clothes are made from recycled materials such as fabric scraps and post-consumer water bottles.

  • Cato – CatoFashions.com/Plus-Sizes

Women’s sizes 2 to 28 (with select styles up to 32). They have mid-range prices for everyday wear and plenty of options in short length, too.

  • Ulla Popken – UllaPopken.com/en

Women’s sizes up to 32 with select styles up to 38 (6X/7X). This brand doesn’t sacrifice style for size.

  • Copper Union Apparel – CopperUnionApparel.com

Women’s sizes up to 38 (7X). This website has tons of fun pieces to choose from!

  • Smart Glamour – SmartGlamour.com

With sizes XXS to 15X, this online site has you covered. They even have a ‘shop by model’ feature where you can click on pictures of similar body styles and customization options, such as adding pockets to a skirt (they know what we really want!).

Undergarments with Extended Sizes You Might Not Know About

While many of us know about Cacique (Lane Bryant) or Hanes extended sizes, there are also many truly size-inclusive brands that focus on undergarments and sleepwear.

  • TomboyX – Tomboyx.com

With sizes XS to 6X, this undergarment brand started as a place where people could wear ‘underwear that anybody can feel comfortable in, regardless of where they fell on the size or gender spectrum.’

  • Curvy Couture – CurvyCouture.com

This online store has bras up to 4XL or 46G.

  • Parade – YourParade.com

With men’s and women’s underwear sizes up to 3XL, this brand has real bodies to model and gives back 1% of profits to nonprofit organizations that predominantly support black women.

  • ThirdLove – ThirdLove.com

With more than 60 bra sizes, this brand even sells half-cup sizes up to 44H and underwear size XS to 3X.

Best ‘I Didn’t Know They Sold My Size!’

Many brands now carry extended sizes online, including the couple I’ve listed below. In many cases, a ‘factory’ or outlet version of these brands is a great place to start if you want to try sizes without shelling out massive amounts of money. Brands like Banana Republic, American Eagle, and Abercrombie and Fitch all carry up to size 24 women’s sizes when even a decade ago, they were exclusively advertising to smaller bodies.

  • JCrew Factory – Factory.JCrew.com

A lower price point than the traditional JCrew, JCrew Factory has classic preppy styles, many of which go to a women’s size 24. Tip: Get on the mailing list to watch for clearance steals. They often run sales of 50% to 70% extra off of those prices. I often find my basic tanks and tees for under $10, which beats most big box stores.

  • Anthropologie – Anthropologie.com/New-Plus-Size-Clothing

While Anthropologie has been around since 1992, they extended their brand to include up to size 26W in 2019. These items hit a higher price point than the average shop for extended sizes, but they often have excellent sales and are great for everything from a beautiful dress to high-quality suit jackets.

Night Out Outfits

A special event, hot date or celebration sometimes calls for places with truly beautiful options. Below are a couple that have many of the basics for casual wear and work wear but also have some unique shapes and styles for a variety of body sizes.

  • ELOQUII – Eloquii.com

With all options up to sizes 26/28 and some styles in 30/32, this site has the perfect selection for a classic black dress or a show-stopping bright pink number. It also offers unlimited rental if you want options flowing in and out!

  • CityChic Online – CityChicOnline.com

Sizes 12-24. This shop has casual dresses, dresses in bold colors, cocktail dresses, and others from traditional black dresses to evening gowns.

Best ‘Fast Fashion’ with Semi-Inclusive Sizes

Sometimes we need a piece that won’t get much use, so we don’t want to spend a lot of money, aka ‘fast fashion’ quality. I want to point out that many of the fast fashion brands are not truly inclusive if you’re a women’s size 24 or larger, or larger than a men’s 44. I want to point out that many of the fast fashion brands are not truly size-inclusive if you’re a women’s size 24 or larger, or larger than a men’s 44.

  • SHEIN Curve – Shein.com/PlusSize

With sizes for men and women up to 4XL (size 20), you can add some trendy pieces without breaking the bank. Tip: The size is more junior in many pieces, so you often need to size up. Look at the user-submitted photos and reviews, which are incredibly helpful for knowing how each piece varies. You might be a 2XL in one piece and a 4XL in another!

  • Forever21 – Forever21.com

With up to size 3X for women and XXL for men, you can often find clearance steals or sales that make purchasing that dress that will be in style for a year worth it. Note: The sizing runs more like junior sizes and a 3X is closer to a 20-22.

  • ASOS – Asos.com/Us/Women

Women’s sizes up to 24 and men’s sizes up to 4XL. Be sure to look at the product descriptions, models, and size charts to choose the best size.

There are Options for People of All Sizes

No matter the reason you’re looking to shop, these are just some of the places working to include options for people of all sizes. When I look at my closet, I see various sizes that all fit the same, so I focus less on the label size and more on how I feel when I’m wearing it. Buy the items that make you feel comfortable and confident – and work it!

 

About the Author:

Amber Huett-Garcia, MPA, is an emeritus member of the National Board of Directors for the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) after serving nine years on the national board, including two years as its chair. She’s a metabolic surgery patient and is currently maintaining a 245 lb. weight loss. Currently, Amber serves as the Director of Business Development at Lemonada Media, a national podcast network, and resides in Memphis, Tenn.

People living with obesity deserve to have their stories told, and OAC fights to ensure those stories are told with dignity and respect. Learn about OAC’s work with the film “The Whale” and how we hope our participation influences the representation of obesity in future films.

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