Dani Alicia is an actress, writer, and entrepreneur. She writes about topics that interest her.
Searching for real plus-sized clothing can be extremely frustrating. In the downtown shopping district of the city where I live, there are very few plus-sized clothing stores, and the stores that we have only sell up to size 3—if I am lucky. As a woman who wears a size 4X, I have to travel out of town to shop or order online. Even then, the selection of stores that carry 4X-sized clothing are slim and very expensive. Here is a list of my favorite stores to make your shopping day go by more efficiently.
1. Lane Bryant
Lane Bryant is one of my favorite stores. I shop here more than any other store on this list. They have very fashionable clothing at a mid to high range price. They also offer very valuable coupons every single week (I rarely pay full price for anything there).
Their sizes range from 14 to 28, although they do sometimes have a size 12. They offer business, casual, and activewear, intimates, and accessories. My two favorite styles of clothing from this store are business-wear and activewear. They always have such a fine and versatile selection of suits and separates in a multitude of colors. I also love the fact that many of their suits are fitted rather than baggy, as some designers often make plus size clothing baggy. Their activewear is amazing. The brand is called Livi, and I love the moisture-wicking, breathable fabric that many of the activewear pieces are made from. All of their products, right down to the stockings, are a high-quality product.
You can shop online at Lane Bryant. The website is modern, elegant, and eye-catching while being easy to navigate. You are able to join their mailing list (which I recommend because they send out coupons all the time). They have a much bigger selection online than in stores and sometimes even have better values than in stores. I also love the fact that I can have my order shipped to my local Lane Bryant store for free.
Lane Bryant has over 700 retail stores nationwide. They also have Lane Bryant Outlet, which is a lower-priced store that offers basic pieces. I give this store five out of five stars because it's affordable, fashionable, and accessible in a number of ways.
Talbot's is a store that has been around since 1947. They sell sleek, stylish, classic American styles in misses and plus sizes that are geared towards thirty-something and older women. With over 500 stores across the United States and Canada, plus a thriving online presence, they are definitely an accessible store.
Talbot's clothing has a nice, comforting appearance and is definitely of a superb quality. The styles are simplistic without being boring. This makes the styles able to blend in decade after decade (because their products are such a high quality, you could literally have a sweater for 10 years and it still looks good).
Talbot's price ranges are so varied that this could be a good or a bad thing. In general, their prices are more on the high end (not celebrity high-end, but for an average person, it's pretty pricey). However, they have outlets and clearance stores where you can find clothing at a better price value. They also offer sales online and in stores that can make shopping more affordable. Overall, the quality that you get for the price is definitely worth a few extra dollars. I give this store five out of five stars for sophistication, quality, and accessibility.
I have a love/hate relationship with this store. The things that I love about this chain are:
- They have a phenomenal number of retail locations. There are over 1,000 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They also have a thriving online presence at Rainbowshops.
- Their prices are super affordable.
- They sell everything! Clothing, shoes, children's clothing, outerwear, activewear, intimates, accessories of all kinds, perfumes, makeup, etc.
- Their stores tend to be huge! They have so much to choose from that it is mind-blowing.
- For those of us that are financially challenged, some of their stores have lay-a-way programs (but the stuff is so inexpensive, I doubt you would have to use it).
- They update their styles frequently so you can always be sure to be on trend by shopping at Rainbow.
Things I hate about this chain:
- A lot of their clothing is low quality (hence the prices).
- Their sizes only go up to 4X, but they rarely sell larger than 3X in the retail locations, so I mostly have to shop online for my clothing.
- Even online, they don't have a huge selection of 4X clothing. But if you are 3X or smaller, then you're in the game!
Even with the lack of 4X clothing in their stores, their prices are so amazing that I shop there every once in a while. I don't buy any business wear, intimates, or upscale clothing from Rainbow because of the quality, but for casual wear, beachwear, vacation wear, or anything of that type, their clothing is good. I once bought five shirts for $25. That's how good their prices are. Overall, I give this store three stars out of five for price, a massive selection of items, and accessibility.
4. Ashley Stewart
This is a store that I shop in (online) almost as much as Lane Bryant. The Ashley Stewart brand is modern, classy, fashionable, and sexy, and dedicated to plus-sized women. Their sizes range from 12 to 32. They carry casual wear, business wear, activewear, intimates, shoes, and accessories. They also sometimes have a few high-end, upscale red carpet type dresses online sometimes.
This brand is fairly new, being launched in 1991. They don't have a lot of retail locations yet (only 89 across the United States), but it is so worth it to shop on their website. The company is constantly in the spotlight, often hosting modeling contests and runway shows.
The clothing is phenomenal. You get quality clothing at an affordable price. To make it even better, if you join their mailing list, they send out lots of coupons and they also often have sales on their website. Their clothing is geared towards making women feel beautiful, sexy, and upscale. Even their casual clothing has a sort of upscale feel. Even though they have a limited number of locations, I give this chain five out of five stars for style, price, and quality.
Torrid is popular chain that carries clothing from sizes 10–30. Although you may not be able to find very many of the larger sizes in stores, they have a massive selection of choices online. Torrid's styles are geared more towards a younger audience. They always have an updated, modern, fun, and flirty selection of clothing. When I think of Torrid, I definitely think of rocker-chic as a description of their style.
Torrid has many locations all throughout the United States and they also have a thriving online presence. The store is easily accessible and is always very upbeat and attractive, especially to the younger crowd. They also have a model search each year where their customers can really get involved with the company. Another interesting service that they have is a discount to bulk buyers who want to resell their clothing--basically a wholesale program.
Torrid's prices are incredibly fair for a quality product. Their prices and quality fall in between Rainbow and Lane Bryant. The products are priced perfectly for college students and young adults, making it a go-to shopping place for this age range. Despite being geared towards the younger crowd, they still have a lot of fashions that thirty-something, or maybe even forty-something women could like. I give this store four out of five stars for price, quality, and accessibility.
Find Your Favorite Plus-Size Store
These stores have a great selection of plus size clothing for different age ranges and sizes. The best part is that even if there isn't a brick and mortar store near you, all of them have online retail stores that you can order from with easy return policies. Of course, there may be more awesome plus-sized stores out there. I encourage you to leave a comment about your favorite store below!
Questions & Answers
Question: Why didn't you mention the Avenue in this article? I shop at the Avenue website as well as in the store. There is not an Ashley Stewart store near me, although I have bought some clothing on Poshmark from that store. I have shopped at Torrid and like that store, but in my area the Torrid store is much farther away than Lane Bryant or The Avenue.
Answer: At the time that I wrote this article, I had never shopped at Avenue. That is why I didn't mention it. I have shopped there since I wrote the article and yes, they have amazing clothes.
Dani Alicia (author) from Florence, SC on August 27, 2018:
I will definitely check it out. Thanks!