Shopping for clothes online can be a crapshoot. Without the ability to try something on, it’s hard to know how it will fit and make you feel about yourself, and plus size shoppers have limited options, making for a more difficult time.
Despite the average American woman falling somewhere between and 14 and 16 in standard American sizing, companies often don’t accommodate for those buyers and thus narrow the market for where to look when seeking out hip, stylish looks in a size 12 and up.
We asked several plus size influencers, writers, and real shoppers to sound off about their favorite places to pick up great clothes that fit well, plus what they love most about the stores. Here are their suggestions and enthusiastic endorsements of where to click for your next perfect ‘fit.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Kathleen Kristiansen started her journey as a travel influencer with her website Tripplepassport but now leans into showing off her spectacular style as well, preferring the term “plus size advocate” when it comes to feeling good in your clothes.
“As my body changed,” Kathleen told us, “I have stepped into the role of body acceptance.” A quick stroll through her Instagram shows fun styles from sequin dresses and leopard caftans to a more classic colors and shapes for daily wear.
As for where to shop if you’re looking to grow your closet similarly, Kathleen raved about Mark & Spencer:
“M&S is a staple British brand with great pieces, affordable prices and diverse models on their site. Most of their pieces go up to a US 20 / UK 24 automatically without a separate ‘plus’ section. Their clothes hold up so I find them easy to give away for a second life with someone else. They’ve made great strides in making more sustainable denim. Most of all I love their nautical looks, bright colors dresses and staple jackets.”
The site can be set to several different currencies, so no need to guess at conversation rates.
Amanda Kaye Stein is an editor and poet in New York who, after majoring in fashion design, “combined her greatest loves and now strives to help craft the most innovative, helpful, and creative beauty content online” with her website Beauty Mag. Using that style know-how, Amanda told us about her love for ASOS Curve, one of the most popular shopping sites for plus size gals that has endless stylish options for trendsetters and more conservative dressers alike. She reported:
“ASOS Curve is a fantastic option for plus size fashionistas who want to add both the latest trends and timeless classics to their wardrobe. You can find nearly everything here, from faux-leather leggings to sexy cocktail dresses to cozy athleisure. They carry up to a size 28, and they offer accessible prices that are made even better thanks to their frequent flash sales.”
Nikki Webster is a travel writer who “covers how to travel while grinding a day job and travel without breaking the bank,” and has a great sense of style while doing so. “I get asked about my clothing ALL the time,” she tells us, “and I refer people [to Mordenmiss].” You can check out her fun Instagram here, or follow along with her adventures in more depth on her website here.
“This clothing line is very European, really trendy, and eclectic, most importantly it is forgiving. Most dresses have an empire line that gives you a natural hourglass and the tops all gather at the sides in a way that enhances your natural curves! Lastly, true to size - use the size chart for accurate sizing.”
You’ll find flowy tunics, comfy dresses in interesting patterns, and eccentrically styled pants, many styles coming in plus sizes exclusively while others in standard sizing run up to 2x or 3x.
When it comes to plus size activewear, popular Instagrammer Saucye West cued us into Superfit Hero, a company that sells workout wear in sizes L through 7x designed to fit larger bodies flawlessly. She told us of her pick:
“I am truly grateful for brands like Superfit Hero that, without hesitation, saw that the market needed size expansion as wellas visibility. You can literally see people of all sizes and body types. And not just the same old palatable hourglass bodies that most brands use. They also treat their influencers well. I’m very grateful to have worked with this brand. And I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future.”
Another vocal supporter of the line is Jessica Rihal, also known as JessicaJadeYoga on her much loved Instagram. She said:
“When it comes to activewear, I’m looking for comfort, I want to look good and I want the freedom to move from activity to activity. I get all of this from SuperFit Hero. I can do some yoga, get lunch and play around at the beach in the same super hold set - and look good the entire time.”
Next we talked to Armenda Scarberry, an office administrator with a passion for plus size fashion and the kind of cute style that travels well from office to party to casual night out and beyond. She offered up two suggestions, the first being Woman Within. It’s an ultra-affordable one stop shop where you can grab anything from loungewear to outerwear, the latter of which drove Armenda’s suggestion.
“Winter coats are a nightmare to try and find as a plus size person because of bulkiness,” she told us. “I found a peacoat that was thin but super warm at Women Within on Cyber Monday for about $30. They also have extended plus sizes there and their fit is very generous.”
Torrid is one of the most popular spots for plus sized folks and for good reason. Their clothes are high quality, built to fit beautifully, and are up-to-date with current trends for a wide range of ages. Armenda elaborated:
“I prefer buying clothes at Torrid. It’s more affordable than a lot of the other plus size stores and unlike the cheaper fast fashion spots, they have actual sizes for larger bodies. I got a 3XL shirt from one of those less-great spots once and was so excited because it was pretty cheap, and that NEVER happens with clothes that fit me. Once I got it, I was so discouraged because it wouldn’t even go over my boobs. I looked into their size chart and it was cut for someone around the size 16/18.”
This one doesn’t fit the exact criteria of “plus size clothing store,” but The Jacket Maker creates gorgeous outerwear that accommodates sizes up to 4x in standard sizing, with custom orders available for those who need a 5x or larger. We can’t stop drooling over the trench coats and beautiful blazers done in sumptuous leather, a style that’s picking up steam more and more as the late 90s/early oughts trends all circle back around.
“I know it’s pretty hard for a plus-size customer to find the right product for them,” the company’s Mehmood Hanif told us. “They do not have many choices of designs, fabric, colors because most of the stores make limited designs and stock in plus size and due to which customers need to sacrifice their taste.“We at The Jacket Maker realized this issue and decided to offer all of our collection in plus size. We have 300+ products in our store and the design are available in plus size too. We offer leather jackets up to 4XL and if any customer needs a bigger size than 4XL they can opt for the ‘*Made To Measure*’ option and share their sizes so we can make the jacket especially for them.”
Our next suggestion comes from the fabulous Jenny Hopkins, whose personal style and hilarious attitude can be seen on her Instagram here. When asked where she picks up the fun, funky styles she rocks regularly, she told us:
“I would 100% suggest Eloquii. Their styles are always current and fun, plus the quality for their prices has always stood the test of time for me. On top of this, their sizing doesn’t stop at the typical 18/20, they go up to a 28!”
The famed, long-running retailer was an obvious choice for this list, hence their inclusion at the bottom despite being brought up a couple of times throughout our talks with some of the folks above. They’ve been a staple at malls across the country since anyone alive can remember, and their styles continue evolve so plus size women can continue looking their best and most stylish for a reasonable price. In addition to being a go-to for many, the company’s sales are an enticing reason to stop by now in order to see what’s going on; there’s always a BOGO, holiday sale, coupon, or some sort of discount to be found that provides a significant savings off the retail price.
Alicia Shelhammer, a grad student in cyber security and forensics, doesn’t have much time between research assisting and finishing her last semeter of school to search for great clothes that accommodate more than straight-size wearers. She gave us her two cents on why Universal Standard is one of her favorite places to find beautiful, comfortable clothes that have one of the broadest size ranges on the market.
“Universal Standard is truly size inclusive,” she explained. “The sizes go from 00 to 40 which is incredible since many plus-size brands stop at size 30. They are a little pricier, but they often have good sales and you can find promo codes online. Their denim is the best I’ve ever tried. They have a program called Fit Liberty that if, after you’ve bought an item, your size changes, you can exchange that item for free. They send you that item in your new size and donate the returned one to a local charity.”