Super Sizes: Who Do You Love?

Published September 3, 2011 by Fat Heffalump

I am thrilled to say we have over 100 people who have joined the Super Sizes Facebook group already, and another group who are not Facebook users who have asked me to keep them up to date as well.  I am in no doubt that will keep growing as we start to work on more tangible projects down the track.

Now, over on the last post about the topic, (where you will see some very clear examples of how NOT to conduct business) I promised that we would have a chance to talk about those companies who DO provide plus-sized garments for the super sizes.  A space to share our positive stories, promote the businesses who get it right.

I do understand that no business gets it 100% right, but if we don’t encourage and promote those who at least put in the effort, and let them KNOW when they get it right, how can we expect them to continue honing their product and service.

Besides, the more we can share our arsenal of resources to get clothes that fit our bodies, at a reasonable price for their level of quality, fabric and construction (be they bargain styles through to smart investment pieces), the more options we’re all going to have.

So, I’ll go first!

Well, I think you all know that I love Autograph Fashion.  Not just because they’ve been so awesome as to send me stuff to review.  I love them because they are the ONE dedicated plus-size brick and mortar store that caters up to size 26 in Australia, which is the standard plus-size range.  All the others have cut off the upper sizes because they claim there isn’t a market.  Which is utter bullshit, because here I am at a size 26, needing clothes!  I’m quite sure I’m not the only size 26 in the country.  They have also completely changed their stock in the past 12 months.  When I wrote this post almost a year ago, Autograph was a sea of gypsy skirts, peasant tops, capris and plain t-shirts.  The few other garments available were awful synthetic work trousers, a whole pile of print front tunic tops and a few nanna dresses.  In short, nothing I wanted to wear and the same thing that could be found at any Target, Big W, K-mart or Best & Less.  Not what I wanted from a place that was labelled with the word “Fashion”.

To their credit, they listened.  They’ve improved the quality of their garments, in fabric, cut and construction.  They’ve broadened the range to include corporate and fashion, as well as some of the casual they’ve always had.  They’ve had colour and prints that have been on trend.  And they’re active within the blogosphere – both mainstream plus-size fashion and those of us here in the Fatosphere.  Sometimes they miss a bit with their sizing, sometimes the pricing is out, but mostly speaking, they’re doing very good things.

At the moment, that’s it for Australian companies, but I am seeing a few smaller designers and businesses coming up, which I will keep my eye on.  I think Gisela Ramirez is doing some amazing things, though I’ve not yet seen any of her garments “in the flesh” so to speak, but I hope to change that in the near future and will share here on my blog when I do!

Internationally, I love Evans Clothing from the UK, simply because they’ve stuck their necks out a few times and had a go at making some fashion ranges.  Two Beth Ditto collections (I bought a couple of fab pieces from the second one) and this year they had another fashion collection with some really on trend pieces.  They go up to a UK32 in the majority of their lines, their shipping is reasonable and they have great sales.  I have quite a few Evans pieces.

I also really like Yours Clothing, another UK retailer.  They have lots of bargains, lots of casual clothes you can pick up at a great price, and have a lot of things you can try out a style or trend with without blowing the bank.  Most of their range goes up to a UK32 as well.  I have picked up some cute dresses from Yours, and some leggings as well.

Most of the US ones have REALLY high shipping rates to Australia, so I haven’t tried them.  However, I do love We Love Colors for tights and leggings.  Their tights go right up to EE size which I think would be well past a 32AU.  At a size 26AU I take the E size in the Lycra blend tights, and I could probably go down a size really.  I buy their leggings which are a 3X in the largest size, but my size 26 arse fits in them fine!  I really wish they would bring out their fishnets and striped tights in the same sizing as the solid colours (the sizes they have at the moment are too short for me) and also more print tights in the A-EE sizing as well.  But they tell me on Twitter that they’re working on it.  When they do, I’ll buy up big!  Their customer service is very, very good too.

So those are my favourites to fit Super Sizes.  What are yours?  Where have you picked up some clothes that you’ve really loved?  Why do you love those clothes?  Keep this post to positive comments about brands please, even if someone suggests a brand that you personally don’t like.  I want to hear those positive stories loud and clear so we can work with these companies to encourage them to cater to us even more.

18 comments on “Super Sizes: Who Do You Love?

  • I like Autographs recent range. I also like Lucie Lu. And Torrid’s recent Retro range. Igigi has some nice stuff too (albeit pricey).

  • I’m not on Facebook, so I haven’t joined your group there. It sounds like a really neat thing and I also want to be kept up to date even though I’m not on FB. Sadly, none of the companies you mentioned go to my size so I cannot comment on them.

    I have bought most of my clothes from Making It Big and Junonia for many years. I’m not overly thrilled with the prices of either company and the fit leaves a lot to be desired. I’m 5’3″ so I have fit problems for being short as well as big. MIB’s petite pants have so much rise to them that they could double as bib overalls. 🙂 I recently bought a skirt and jacket from them (on sale it was still $100 for the two pieces). I had to have them altered which put another $25.00 onto the cost of the set. Junonia used to make pants with a better rise for me, but the last few years the company has cut way back on the variety of clothing they offer. I sent back the last pair of pants I bought from them. The fit was still good but the material was very thin for the $49.95 price tag.

    I recently experemented with Silhouettes. Their top size seems to fit and the prices are good, but the quality could be better. But at least they had some stuff I could use. That’s something anyway.

    • I guess I should add that I’m a size “K” with Making It Big, a 6x with Junonia, and the items I tried from Silhouettes were in their “extended size” 6x. I have been looking at Ulla Popken but haven’t tried them yet. If I do, and they fit, it will be in their largest size which is a 36/38.

  • Lucie Lu is a company made by one of the designers behind B&Lu. I used to enjoy B&Lu but their size range had shrunk drastically (they now only make a few designs in 5X and most of those are a very, very small 5X). Lucie Lu doesn’t have absolutely everything in 5X, but they do have most of their garments in that size. They’re fun, well-made and reasonably priced. Shipping to Australia is as cheap as possible – unlike Igigi, as much as I love their clothes – and when I had to return something it was no trouble.

    Style & Substance are an Australian site who stock various brands, including Igigi and Kiyonna. They stock garments in all of the manufacturer’s sizes (so Igigi goes 14 to 32, Kiyonna 1x to 5x etc.) which means that not all of their clothes have a big range but many do. They are cheap and fast to ship, keep the bigger sizes in stock, have a reliable size guide on their website, and have excellent specials.

  • I (in Germany) swear by Ulla Popken for a lot of things. It’s one of the few places that have sizes over 52 (that’s a US 22), especially with natural fibers. Since I usually wear a 54, I don’t know if they have the sizes over 54 and 56 in the stores off-hand, but they have up to 64 in some things to order (that’s a US 34). They also have different styles going on at the same time, not just ALL empire waist and then NO empire waist, which is nice. You can also return stuff ordered online or from the catalog at the stores, and shipping (again, in Germany) isn’t bad. They also have an alteration service, so with pants that aren’t available in short sizes (which some of their pants are), I can get them shortened.

    Oh, and they also use a variety of fit models, so while you have to look at the shape of the clothes/models in the catalog (or website…), there’s probably clothes that will fit you right. This summer there were shorts that fit big-stomached me withOUT a baggy bit under my stomach! (I bought about 10 pairs, my first shorts in years!)

    You can add me to the list of people who are interested, but not on Facebook.

  • For reference, the absolute smallest size I can fit in now is a US28, which I guess is roughly about 4x in most brands. Unfortunately for me I’m within an inch or two of being sized out of that range entirely, and there are already lots of size 28/4x things I can’t wear because of how they are built or what they are made of (Lane Bryant business shirts, I’m looking at you). To be totally honest there aren’t all that many shops out there I can say that I love, or even like. For the most part I tolerate what’s there. If/when you post a “Who do you not love” thread you’ll be putting up with a novel-length comment from me. But for now, two places I like:

    – OneStopPlus makes it so easy to find stuff in my size because it seems like so many major plus-sized brands are consolidated there. One of my favorite pieces from them is a blouse from Avenue. It doesn’t have any give to it so I did have to order it up a size from what I would usually get, but it fits perfectly and feels comfortable too. I haven’t had it long enough to see if it holds up well after repeated washes though.
    – Sydney’s Closet. Lots of dresses and they got up to a US40 or something like that (I could have sworn I saw some 42s and 44s once but maybe I’m remembering wrong). I got this dress in red for my office’s Christmas party: http://www.sydneyscloset.com/asp/product.asp?categoryid=73&catalogid=2307 I did have to get the shoulders adjusted a little because I had to buy a larger size to accommodate the fact that I’m a larger size on the bottom than on top, but other than that it fit awesome, looked great, and got rave reviews. The material is great and it seems like a very well-made dress. And while the dress wasn’t cheap at $99, it still didn’t break the bank. Sadly I need more than cocktail dresses and ball gowns for my everyday life but I know exactly where I’m going the next time I need either one.

  • They only go up to an American size 26W, but I love eShakti. For one thing, their entire line of clothing goes from size 0 to size 26W. If they make it and they make your size, they make it in your size. The styles range from casual to business appropriate to full on formal, and there’s a high proportion of natural fibers (all too often absent in plus size clothing!).

    In addition to all of this, they ask your height and bra size as a standard question on every piece of clothing you buy. As a petite plus with a small rack, this is just plain amazing. But since the range of cup sizes to choose from runs from 28AA – 58J… looks like they’re doing their best to accommodate all sizes and shapes of boobage. It’s also possible (for a small extra fee) to give them entirely custom measurements to work from.

    Full disclosure: I have not actually ordered a piece from them yet, but I have heard from a number of women who own the clothes and really love both the quality and the service. I’m thinking of ordering something as a birthday pressie to myself. The price tags are a little on the high side for my personal budget, but I’ve seen things of lower quality going for higher price tags, too. If I do order something, I’ll be sure to let you know how my experience goes.

    • Twistie, I just wanted to note that I’m over a US26W and I order from eShakti all the time. I just do custom orders. It’s a little extra money — $8 per piece — but well worth it for me, since I have unusual proportions, and only ever buy work clothing and dresses from them.

      Plus, it’s nice for pear-shaped me to do a custom order and not have a dress that is super-baggy on top and pinchy on bottom.

    • I also have ordered some custom pieces from eShakti (I’m a US28) and have been extremely pleased. I love their tunics–they fit perfectly, they’re pretty, comfortable, and seem to be quite well made. A+!

  • I’m a size US 28 – 32 on bottom, and a US 24 – 28 on top. I’m sized out of most of the plus size specialty stores, or extended straight-size lines. I’m also about 6 feet tall (182 cm), so proportions can be really weird on me, too.

    As a result, I’ve relied on Avenue, Fashion Bug, and Target for my foundational stuff and cheap(er) tops/skirts, and I do custom dress orders through eShakti, which customizes up to pretty much infinity. It’s more expensive, but doing it the eShakti way ensures that I have a garment that actually fits *all* my unusual proportions.

    That being said, compared to when I used to find cute clothes at a size US 16/18, my clothing bill has about quadrupled (if not more) and my options have decreased by a factor of a hundred. Also, the quality of plus size clothes tends to be very poor.

  • Depending on the cut, I’m a US size 22-32 on the top, and bottoms I wear US 26-30, again depending on the cut. I’m 5’9 and have a long torso.

    I shop at Lane Bryant (I can’t do their button-down shirts because it seems now they are made of stretchy material that keeps riding up and they are made very small, not for busty women at all but everything else I take a 26/28 in). Fashion Bug and Avenue go up to US size 32 and their prices are pretty reasonable if you’re looking for basic casual stuff. There are times I’ve been able to find things at Dress Barn and Dots despite their highest size being a 24. Dress Barn is for the more conservative fatty and Dots is geared towards teenagers and 20-somethings, but I’m 35 and I’ve bought a couple of tops in there. Maurice’s is also another trendy store that goes up to 24, and I compare it to Torrid as far as pricing goes. I’ve also found things at Sears, JCPenney and Macy’s as well.

    Woman Within and Roamans aren’t well-liked in the Fatosphere, but many of my pieces come from them. They always have coupons and you can’t go wrong with their casual stuff, especially when you can get it on clearance, The dresses and formal wear are a little to be desired but luckily I don’t have to get dressed up too often—I usually hit them up for sweaters, tunics (at least they don’t shy away from the ’30-’36 lengths that I love) and their jeans and capris. They also have a decent collection of swimsuits too. I also find their 12WW shoes I can fit into as well, especially their slip-ons. For the fatty on a budget who knows her size, it can be a good place to shop.

  • I’m not a super sized fat woman; I’m a size 20-24 on top (depending on cut of the garment) and woman’s size 18 on the bottom (pants; I’m not much of a dress/skirt wearer), but I’ll second the mention of Woman Within, Roamans and Avenue. Most of their online catalog items can be found on onestopplus.com, a website that gathers all those other sites together so you can look at tops, dresses, sweaters, whatever, from Roamans, Jessica London, Woman Within, etc, all at once. Like _lifeonfats_ wrote above, they’re not very popular with most fatshion bloggers, but they’re great for basics and some slightly stylish knit tops. They feature a lot of tunics and some more drapey items, but I have a few of them in my wardrobe for those times when I’m going to the movies or on a road trip and need something comfortable to wear in the car. Or for those days when I’m dressing for work and need to be able to grab something quickly out of my closet and not spend a lot of time planning how to put my outfit together. I try to make sure that what I buy from onestopplus has *some* detail that I like, but that means I have to look around a little longer because I find some of their stuff to be a little ‘matronly,’ and not very stylish.

    I also do a lot of shopping at JCPenney, and some at Sears and Kohls. In the past 2 years, I’ve started doing more online shopping at QVC.com and found several designers there that I like. They only go up to 3X (US size 26-28) in all their styles, and, just like with any online catalog, cuts and sizes vary with different designers and can be hit or miss. Worth checking out as another option, though.

  • i’m a generous 24, and for years i had the same basic pants and shirts custom-made overseas, every time i travelled.
    i never wore synthetics or anything stretchy…it was all linen and silk and cotton.
    and it was a precarious way to manage a wardrobe….sometimes more than 12 months would pass without a trip and i’d be down to rags almost.
    plus, my holidays became ALL ABOUT sourcing fabrics and finding tailors and then hauling it all back home.

    a year ago, i found ts14+ and my life changed.
    my entire wardrobe is now ts….pants, body t’s, tanks, cardies and wraps, all in basic colours and interesting cuts.
    everything seems to layer easily with everything else.
    it isn’t inexpensive, but they have good sales that are worth watching out for.
    when i see the sales, i come down like the assyrian (like the wolf on the fold!) and i get away lots of wonderful 40% off gear.
    i travel a lot and packing clothes has always been the bane of my existence….until now.
    for the first time, i can now travel with one 7 kilo backpack with stylish mix and match, crushable, wash and wearable, drip dryable, layerable clothing.
    and none of it ever seems to fade or wear out (with the exception of a couple of body t’s that are pilling horribly after not a lot of wear. and i am not a fan of one of their particular blends, so i just avoid pieces in that fabric and there is still heaps to choose from.).

    i really love this clothing….it all drapes beautifully, the designs are prolific, and the comfort is unparalleled.
    the range goes to 24, but it’s a generous 24.
    and some styles are more lavishly cut than others.

    they have just put out some swimwear and i bought 2 suits.
    this is unheard-of in my world!
    to find TWO suits in a season that made me feel awesome!
    normally, i’d be in there buying a backup pair as well, because from bitter experience, i know it might be a long haul and a few years until i see the next suit i can live with.
    however, this year i am not hoarding…..i have confidence that they will put out new styles next year and that those suits will be as well-made.

    the staff at the ts shops i have been to are well-informed about the clothes, helpful and enthusiastic.
    i’ve had great combos suggested to me and the service has been terrific.
    i’ve shopped online also and the wait time can vary, but on the whole, you get the clothes and everything is fine.

    i have just ordered some silk knit long underwear online from nz nature.
    i have been looking for someone who makes this in a size 24 forEVERRRR.
    so light to travel with, so sleek to wear, and so very very warm.
    my fingers are crossed for true sizing!

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