Big Girl Dressing Volume II: Finding a place to shop

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I've come to a sad and depressing conclusion: until I get paid more I'm never going to be able to dress my body exactly as I would want to. I don't know how anyone who's not the 'average' size and shape could!

I've tried to be only a closet whiner about the trials and tribulations of dressing my body. My body is curvy all over and top heavy for most things, and it takes a lot of work to not look ridiculous in my everyday life. Lately I've been trying new distributors, visiting different stores, hoping to find something that while may not be perfect off the rack, also wouldn't require $50 worth of tailoring to make fit. I've come to the conclusion that this dream is going to have to be added to the basket of impossible dreams. If you're not the person who can fit into the
Faith21 line at Forever 21, plus sized clothing is just always going to be absurdly expensive.

To clarify, I'm not saying that expensive, better made alternatives shouldn't be out there for plus sized ladies. I'm saying why isn't there a middle ground for what has proven to be the norm for the population? Size 14 is the
average people - not a size 2. I don't think you're going to convince me that somehow the fabric necessary to make a size 14 dress requires a 150% markup in price.

My roommate has pointed out to me that the price is in reality more a reflection of the fact that the items made for plus size women are not made in bulk, thus costing more per item to produce.

I don't care.

I understand that argument but it still doesn't quite compute, because plus size items should be made in bulk. The market is there, but the culture of fashion hasn't caught up to reality.

I've been browsing through the list of designers featured at the Full Figured Fashion Week in NYC (which I just found out happened - thanks Jezebel!) and while I love what's featured I can't afford much of anything on my currently receptionist salary. Grr.

Oh well. To close out this post, here is a list of designers/stores I like that feature plus size fashion. I'm not going to include some of the generics like
Roamans because I don't think their fashion is particularly all that attractive - or made well enough to be mentioned. I like to have some pizazz (or at least the option for pizazz) in my clothing and I want to look my age, so while I haven't purchased from all of these places I can least say that I've read really good reviews about them and I personally like what I see.

Budget Friendly ($)

Forever 21 (their Faith21 section isn't bad if you can fit it)
Target maternity section (don't judge - they make room for the bust and are often cuter than anything else there)
Old Navy (I hate to mention them because it irked me when they moved their entire section to being exclusively online, but they are an option)

Mid-range ($$)

Torrid (often have 50% off clearance sales, and while not uber well made, it's always cute)
Lane Bryant (a little generous with their sizing, but if you can fit it they make great work appropriate items)
Ashely Stewart (can be a little hit or miss, but if you can get to it the store's usually worth a look)

Expensive ($$$) (usually around $100+)

Pin Up Girl Clothing (old school drama!)
Igigi (wonderful at everything)
Kiyonna (dresses galore)
Monif C. (love the convertible dress)
Carissa Rose (clothing fit determined by bust size)

Things I found while Googling

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