Every plus-size woman understands the struggle of shopping for clothes in stores. Few retail shops carry enough larger sizes to accommodate every shopper, and many plus-size women have experienced poor treatment from staff and fellow shoppers. Until brick-and-mortars can eliminate their fat-phobic atmospheres, most plus-size ladies will continue to turn to the web to find the best fashion options for their bodies.
However, shopping online comes with a set of different types of risks. All women know that sizes are not always what they claim to be, and fits that look great on the website’s model might feel bad on the shopper who buys them. While some number of returns is inevitable, there are ways for plus-size women to increase one’s successes in hunting for fashion online. Some tips for getting more out of online clothes shopping include:
Having Accurate Body Measurements
It does not matter whether you are plus-size or straight-size — you know you cannot trust clothing sizes. Different brands adhere to different measurements in sizing, so what may be a 2X in one brand could be a Large in another. Much more valuable than knowing your size is knowing your measurements.
To buy clothing online, you don’t necessarily need to know every measurement that a tailor might take, but there are a few crucial measurements that influence how clothing looks and feels. Your shoulders, your bust, your waist and hips and your arm and leg length are all useful for finding plus-size pieces that are more likely to fit your frame. You can take these measurements yourself, as long as you have a flexible measuring tape and good posture, but for precision, you might want to enlist the help of a fat-friendly tailor — more on that later.
Following Fat Fashion Bloggers
Though not always catapulted to the front of the For You page, fat influencers do exist — and many of them do have outrageously excellent fashion. Usually, fat bloggers are more than eager to share their fashion finds with their followers, so by hitting “subscribe,” you can gain insights into the best brands with plus-size clothing for women. Some of the plus-size community’s favorite fashion influencers include:
- Bailey Peyton
- Alexandra Stewart
- Lauren Nicole
- Jessica Torres
- Sierra Holmes
- Stefani Nicole
- Mona Seddeek
- Kellie Brown
- Margie Ashcroft
- Nicolette Mason
- Nadia Aboulhosn
Recognizing Flattering Cuts and Lines
Despite what the fashion industry might try to tell you, there is no universally flattering cut or line. In fact, it is the fashion industry’s job to convince you to buy new clothes every season; while you might find it fun to participate in certain trends, you should always try to take fashion advice with a grain of salt. Instead of buying into what so-called fashion gurus might tell you about styles that fat women should wear, you should experiment yourself with different looks to find the pieces you find most flattering on your unique body and to your unique aesthetic.
With experience, you should have a sense of what shapes of clothes you most enjoy wearing. For example, you might know that you can almost always feel comfortable and confident in flowy Bohemian blouse. You will likely have better luck buying Bohemian-style blouses online because you already know they look good on you and fit the rest of your wardrobe. Risks are more likely to result in returns, so sticking to what you know you like is a good rule for online shopping.
Cultivating a Relationship With a Local Tailor
Finally, it is important that you recognize that many of the clothes you purchase will need to be altered in some way to fit you perfectly. While this is true to some extent across the fashion industry, it is unfortunately even more common in the plus sizes, as many brands do not understand that merely sizing up their straight-size designs is not usually effective at fitting larger frames. It is important to remember that it is the fashion industry’s mass production of clothing that is the problem — not your body.
You should become good friends with a tailor in your area — one who is no stranger to plus-size bodies. Because tailors can be uncommonly cruel about body shape and size, you might save yourself some headache and heartache by asking for recommendations for tailors from your fat friends. If you can’t find any leads, you might ask friends about sewing relatives or even take up sewing yourself. Sewing machines are much more intuitive than you might expect, and learning to modify your clothing is only a step away from making your own utterly iconic fits.
Online shopping has been a revolution in giving every plus-size person access to fat-friendly fashion — but online shopping can still be exceedingly frustrating. With the right tools and the right mindset, you can assemble the perfect wardrobe for you.