the rundown, based on my age and style and income (i’m 30 and my style is where ‘foofy’ and ‘slob’ intersect on a venn diagram and i generally have zero dollars), and is US-centric because that’s where i live and shop.
- catherine’s: owned by the same company as lane bryant, goes up to size 32 but generally has ‘older’ clothes and has a lot of crazy wtf nightmares. most stuff is in the $30-$80 range. they carry up to a 30 in stores.
- lane bryant: maybe 10 years younger in style than catherine’s, but too expensive. they will trick you into using some secret jeans formula to pick jeans and the jeans will always suck. carries up to a 28 in store. their only saving grace is their ubiquitous $25 off coupons, where you get $25 off of $75, $50 off of $125, or $75 off of $200- google for this coupon, it’s basically available all the time. note: i have had trouble buying stuff online with a debit card.
- the avenue: basically just like catherine’s but slightly cheaper- most of the clothes are kind of ‘mature’ and elastic-waist-y, but they’ve stepped up their game somewhat in the last few years. they occasionally have great, cheap tights, and they are one of the few stores that carries above a 28 in brick-and-mortar stores.
the pretty good:
- evans: i believe they have stores in the UK, but are online-only for the US. they’re a mixed bag- they sometimes have really cute, trendy stuff (and they famously did a line with beth ditto), but they also have frumpy garbage. they carry up to a US 28. most stuff is in the $40-$60 range per item.
- simply be: online only in the US, they carry up to a US 28 and most stuff is in the $30-$60 range. they have a lot of cute stuff, but they ship from the UK and it takes a long time (and packages to the US aren’t tracked. at all.), and their return policy is kind of bunk.
- asos curve: online only in the US, and they carry up to a US 24 (the sizes are in UK sizes, so a 28 on the site is a US 24). they have some of the cutest crap out there, but their plus sizes stop too early. i’ve heard their clothes run large. look to spend about $25-$40 for tops and $40-$75 for dresses.
- forever 21+: they are one of the more affordable plus lines, with most items being $10-$30. some stores have plus in store, but not all. they try to be on trend, skewing more toward juniors. weirdo christian company, if that bothers you. their 3X is listed as a size ‘17/18’ but i’ve shoe-horned myself into some of their stretchy 3X stuff and i was a 26 at the time.
- torrid: torrid was kind of the first ‘cool’ plus size store to come along to liberate us from lane bryant. they are owned by hot topic, so a little bit of corny corsets-non-specific-rock’n’roll-faux-goth-rockabilly-pin-up seeps in at the edges. they carry up to a 28/4X in some items. their leggings run pretty large and are fairly durable. most stuff is $30-$70, and not often worth the price tag quality-wise.
- new look inspire: asos and simply be both carry items from this line, and they have cute clothes that aren’t crazy expensive. they are online only in the US and carry up to a US 24. their clothing is kind of on the older end of juniors, but as a woman-child in my early 30s i have no beef. most stuff is between $50-$70.
- jc penney: no, wait, hear me out. jc penney has a weird amount of cute affordable clothing, and i’ve heard the selection of plus stuff is better in stores than online (gasp). most stuff is in the $30-$50 range and they have good sales. since they are a department store and carry a few different brands, the sizing goes up to 24 in some stuff to 5X in a few things.
- target: target has stepped up their plus size game in recent years, but only online- the selection in the store is usually 2 sad racks of polyester encroaching on the abundant, adorable maternity section. they have a lot of juniors stuff, which is good for juniors and immature adults (this guy right here), but be aware that the juniors 1-4X and womens 1-4X fit differently. most stuff is $10-$30.
the place to get dresses for a real fancy thing:
- kiyonna: kiyonna has a lot of really elegant dresses to wear to weddings, and they let users submit pictures of them in their dresses, so you don’t have to rely on how the clothes look on a 6’ size 10 model. they aren’t really my style, and they’re expensive (most stuff is $90-$130), but sometimes you are forced to go to a work event or wedding or something. they carry up to a size 32.
- eShatki: i rep eShakti really hard (and they aren’t even paying me or anything, but again, eShakti, if you want to send me free shit, please get to sending). everything comes from size 0-36 and they will customize anything to your measurements for $7.50, and will also make clothes above a size 36., but if you aren’t into foofy super femme gear, it is also lacking. most stuff is in the $40-80 range, which is pricy, but that’s basically what we’re paying at these other places for clothes we DON’T love.
- welovecolors: their nylon/lycra tights are expensive at $15 each, but they are durable as hell, come in a million colors, are super high-waisted, and will probably fit someone up to a size 30-32 who is like 5’8”. i cannot speak to the fishnets or footless tights. they also have athletic wear that comes in sizes up to 3X.
- domino dollhouse: most of their stuff isn’t my style (bordering on pin-uppy rockabilly-y teen goth-y), but they have the famous galaxy leggings (which run large- i’m a 28 and am sadly swimming in my 4X pair). they do have cute accessories sometimes, though, and i think it’s important to buy accessories from stores that sell plus sizes (like, why give urban outfitters our money for hair bows and shoes if they won’t make clothes for us? also cause they are a conservative craphole.)
- re/dress: coming soon ! hoping to carry stuff up to a 5x, and carrying the magic teggings (these thick leggings that are one size fits all, but fit my size 14 friends and my size 32 friends like magic.). when they re-open, they are going to expand to styles beyond ‘femme,’ which is music to the ears of fat people who do not want to dress like foofy cupcakes, bikers, or schoolmarms. run by cool fat queer-positive feminists.