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, Wyrick and professional stylist McKenzie Crouch 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: Flatters All Body Types
Sizes: 00-24 | Average price point: $99-$175
“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.”
Multiple styles for all body types
Jeans have built in stretch, so they fit comfortably even if you are in between sizes
Jeans are on the pricey side
Best Mid-Size Jeans
Madewell: Go-To Denim With Inclusive Sizing
Sizes: 14W–28W and 1X–4X| Average price Point: $98-$148
“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.”
Wide range of sizes and variety of lengths, such as petite, standard and tall
Curvy collection specifically caters to underrepresented body types
Many popular size sizes sell out quickly
forbes.comMadewell Promo Codes | 20% Off In September 2022 | Forbes
Best Plus-Size Dresses
Reformation: On-Trend Dresses
Sizes: 0-24 | Average price point: $128-$328
“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.”
Dresses are available in multiple colors and prints
Silhouettes work well for formal events like weddings
Not every dress style is offered in extended sizing
Best Mid-Size Dresses
Showpo: Statement Looks
Sizes: 0-16 | Average price point: $70-$100
“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 often shown on two different body types, to give you a better idea of what it may look like on you.”
Styles are shown on a variety of body types
The brand carries many on-trend looks not found in the plus market
If you were looking for larger sizes, the range only goes up to 16
Best Plus-Size Tops
Eloquii: Gorgeous Styles In Bold Colors
Sizes: 14-28 | Average price point: $50-$170
“Eloquii is a staple store in the plus-size community,” says professional stylist and personal shopper McKenzie Crouch. Outside of its wide selection, “it’s hip, it’s modern, and it has a little bit of everything for every style. Not to mention, the price point and quality is really incredible.”
Wide selection of options available
Many pieces tend to go on sale
Popular styles can sell out quickly
Best Mid-Size Tops
Asos: Affordable And Well-Fitting Pieces
Sizes: 12-26 | Price Point: $24-$135
Finding modern tops in plus or extended sizing can be especially difficult. Crouch recommends Asos Curve for stylish additions to your wardrobe. “If you are looking for affordable trendy styles, ASOS curve has some of the best discounted pieces,” Crouch says. “They also have the edgy looks that you want for a vacation or fun event.”
Trendy pieces are available at a reasonable price
A wide variety of options are available
Larger sizes tend to sell out quickly
Best Plus-Size And Mid-Size Workout Clothes
Bandier: Modern Options From Many Brands
Sizes: 3XS-3XL | Average price point: $45-$255
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.”
This site offers a variety of brands, so there is an abundance of options
Bandier carries trendy silhouettes and styles from activewear to lounge wear
Not every brand on the site offers plus or extended sizing
Best Plus-Size Swimwear
J.Crew: Basic Swimwear With A Twist
Sizes: 32A-42DD; XXXS-3X | Average price point: $68-$138
“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.”
Many tops are sized like bras, so you can get the most exact fit
Wide variety of styles for different body types
Styles frequently go on sale
Some of the larger sizes sell out quickly
Best Mid-Size Swimwear
Summersalt: Comfortable And Flattering Suits
Sizes: 0-26 | Average price point: $65-$125
“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.”
Compression fabrics hold everything in
Swimwear made from sustainable materials
Best Plus-Size Wardrobe Staples
Universal Standard: Endless Styles For Every Look
Sizes: 4XS-4XL | Average price point: $46-$188
“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.”
Styles on a variety of fit models
High quality items that are reasonably priced
Larger sizes frequently sell out
Best Mid-Size Wardrobe Staples
Athleta: Elevated Basics You Can Wear All Day
Sizes: 00-26 | Average price point: $44-$129
“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.”
Work-wear is comfortable and stylish
Wide variety of looks for every fashion aesthetic
Some pieces are expensive
What To Consider For The Best Mid- And Plus-Size Clothing
Material: The best advice for any type of garment is to look for high-quality fabrics that will last. Cotton and denim hold up well and come in a variety of weights and weaves for different levels of breathability. If you’d like pieces with a bit more stretch, consider lyrca, a synthetic fabric with elastane. For durability, polyester has incredibly strong fibers and helps create structure to retain the shape of your garments.
Fit: The best way to optimize the fit of your garment is to know your measurements, says professional stylist McKenzie Crouch. “Definitely keep a tape measure around for online purchases,” she says. But, she adds, it’s sometimes more important to focus on the fit of the item. “Many women, regardless of size, get caught up in the numerical size of a garment and won’t even consider a style if it requires them to go up in size,” she says. “I always encourage women to improve the fit regardless of the number.”
Return Policy: Mid- or plus-sizes at one brand can vary greatly among brands. A size 20 in one store may fit you perfectly, but it may be too tight in another one. With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to confirm the return policy before you click to buy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mid- And Plus-Size Clothing
What sizes are considered mid-size?
These labels are relatively new, but Crouch categorizes “mid-size” as sizes between 10-16.
What sizes are considered plus-size?
Most brands categorize sizes 18-24 or 1X-6X as plus-size clothing.
What are the hardest items to find in extended sizing?
Crouch has found while working with plus-size clients and listening to their shopping challenges, they tend to struggle the most with having access to stylish clothing. Many plus-size brands offer basics or staples, but trendy options are much more difficult to get your hands on. “In addition, many brands do not keep plus-size options in store for easy try on,” Crouch explains.
More Size-Inclusive Clothing Brands For Women
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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