After decades of being underrepresented in fashion, the plus-size apparel market is thriving; according to Statista, it’s worth an estimated $24 billion and growing at a rapid pace. With this explosion of demand comes more options, obviously, which means shopping for plus-size fashion is no longer confined to a handful of speciality stores or limited sections within larger department stores. Instead, everyone from retail giants like Nike to fashion-forward labels like Reformation have embraced more inclusive sizing and released freshly imagined collections that speak to a more diverse audience. The issue now is not so much a lack of options, but finding the very best places to shop for plus-size clothing in what’s become a very crowded market.
While everyone will have a different opinion on where to shop, certain retailers stand out for going beyond the ordinary. They offer extremely well-made pieces, with silhouettes that aren’t merely functional but embrace fashion on another level: think gorgeous fabrics, innovative designs and fits that truly work with a woman’s body. As a plus-size fashion influencer, Katrina Nichole is an expert in finding such brands. “I have been a lover of all things fashion since I was a little girl, and have lived in a bigger body my entire life,” she says. “My number one priority when I am shopping is finding clothes that actually fit my ultra-curvy body well and look stylish.”
Fashion influencer Bonnie Wyrick has a similar point of view. She specializes in the mid-size market (sizes 12 through 16), which she defines as “the space between straight sizes and plus.” It’s category that speaks to “a quickly growing and highly engaging community who, until recently, didn’t feel represented in the fashion or social space.” As she says, “when you are ‘too curvy’ for standard brands yet ‘too small’ for plus-size, it was easy to feel alone in your self and body image.” Thankfully, that’s changing now.
Here, Nichole and Wyrick share their go-to retailers and the fashion labels they like best, so you can shop and bookmark them. Also look for more fashion picks at the end.
Best Plus-Size Jeans
“Good American is one of my favorite places to shop for any kind of plus-size pieces, especially for jeans,” says Nichole. “They come in so many different fits based on your body type and size, and they are one of the few places that create trendy jeans for all sizes. Right now, I am in love with their Good ’90s jeans, and their Always Fits jeans are perfection for those who fluctuate in size since there’s built-in stretch.”
Best Mid-Size Jeans
Madewell The Plus Curvy Perfect Vintage Jean in Coney Wash: Destroyed Edition
“Madewell has invested in being more size-inclusive with a large collection of petite, curvy and plus styles,” says Wyrick. “Their curvy collection caters to body types who need a couple extra inches in their hips and thighs but don’t want that dreadful waist gap. The line is contemporary and the quality is on point with more high end, buttery fabrications.”
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Best Plus-Size Dresses
“Reformation is a sustainable brand that makes some of the most stunning dresses for upscale and formal events. I fell in love with their Michaela dress so much that I actually hiked with it up to the top of the Arches in Moab just to take photos in it,” says Nichole. “They have great basics as well, such as skirts, pants and tops.”
Best Mid-Size Dresses
“One of my favorite things to say is ‘show up and show off’ because style isn’t a size and I truly believe everyone can wear what they want and should have accessibility to do so,” says Wyrick. “Want to wear a crop top? Do it. Nervous to wear a tank? Bare those arms. Brands like Showpo make affordable, trendy clothing in sizes 0-18 and can help make that happen. Each item of clothing is shown on at least two different body types, to give you a better idea of what it may look like on you.”
Best Plus-Size And Mid-Size Workout Clothes
Nichole finds it hard to choose a favorite among plus-size activewear brands. “Choosing just one brand when it comes to fitness and workout clothing is hard for me since I like so many,” she says. “The site that I am currently obsessing over is Bandier. They offer an array of athletic brands, and their selection of colors, patterns and trends are so unique when it comes to the world of plus-size fashion.”
Best Plus-Size Swimwear
“J.Crew’s bikinis are my favorite for full coverage, and they have lots of family-friendly one-pieces as well,” says Nichole. “If you are looking for bikinis and one-pieces for vacation and sultry getaways, I would also recommend a peek at Good American’s swimsuits.”
Best Mid-Size Swimwear
“Just because you may a little belly, doesn’t mean you have to rock an outdated tankini,” says Wyrick. “We want our curves to be supported yet also want to feel snatched, too. Summersalt swimwear is offers slight compression, is made from sustainable materials and provides designer quality, all for under $100. I’ve done my time with cheaper swimwear brands in the past and they just don’t compare to the quality and fit of this one.”
Best Plus-Size Wardrobe Staples
“Universal Standard is an amazing brand to shop for basics and they are one of the most inclusive brands on the market with clothing that goes up to a size 40,” says Nichole. “I’d also recommend Target for wardrobe basics with solid quality at a great price point. I’ve worked with them on sponsorships and some of the in-house brands I like best are Ava & Viv and Universal Thread.”
Best Mid-Size Wardrobe Staples
“In my twenties, I struggled finding a pair of dress pants that also made me feel confident. They always gapped or pulled across my hips, or bunched when I sat down,” says Wyrick. “Slacks tend to be more of an investment, so it was hard to make a purchase that I didn’t feel good in. Athleta has a variety of pants that take you to from work to happy hour, from workouts to brunch, in sizes from 00-26.” The look and fit, she says, “is chic comfort in one.”
More Size-Inclusive Clothing Brands For Women
Eloquii: Built from the start as a plus-size brand, Eloquii is particularly popular for day-to-night dresses, pencil to peplum skirts, breezy blouses and other wardrobe basics at affordable prices.
Girlfriend Collective: This sustainably-minded brand has sizes that extend up to 6XL and emphasizes recycled materials in their line of basics that include sweatpants, tops and tees, leggings, lingerie and swimsuits.
Nike: For sports apparel and athleisure in inclusive sizes, Nike is a favorite among fitness and fashion influencers, especially for leggings and sports bras.
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