Vol.1, No.10

Plus size friendly designers and fashion labels

At one time it was difficult to find attractive and inexpensive clothes for larger women.

Clothing designers
Photo Credit: Anna Chelnokova
Despite the fact that the majority of American women fall into what the clothing industry calls “plus size,” it can be next to impossible to find high quality clothing in sizes higher than 14. Internet access is beginning to change that trend, making it easier for women to find just what they want with minimum hassle. Here are a few companies that focus on the wishes and needs of the larger customer.

Avenue (Avenue.com) is a retail designer of clothing from size 14W to 32W. This company creates bright, fashionable pieces that are competitively priced. Most of their offerings are casual. They have retail locations across the country, or you can order online.

Lane Bryant (lanebryant.charmingshoppes.com) is similar to Avenue in both style and price. They also carry a lovely collection of plus size maternity clothes. Catherine’s (catherines.charmingshoppes.com) and Fashion Bug (fashionbug.charmingshoppes.com) are part of the same company. Fashion Bug carries less expensive products and their retail locations have great sales. Catherine’s is the most expensive of the three and targets more mature and career-minded women.

Jessica London (jessicalondon.com) is a maker of plus size fashion up to size 34W. Products here range from bathing suits to career and social dresses. Beautiful dresses for special occasions round out the collection. They also carry a line of shoes to complete their classically styled women’s wear.

For a more informal and inexpensive line, check out Just My Size (JMS.com). Available in department stores and online, Just My Size focuses on youthful fashions and the very basic items that are overlooked by other companies. Their hosiery and lingerie is especially recommended.

Love Your Peaches (loveyourpeaches.com) is a popular online company with sizes ranging from 1X to 6X. Their prices are reasonable, and unlike some companies, the site shows women who are truly plus sized rather than showing all of the clothes on size 12 models. This plus size shopper was particularly impressed by Peaches’ suede and leather coats and lovely linen skirts.

Igigi (igigi.com) is perhaps best known for its formalwear. Luscious silks and satins, all under $200, come in a variety of subtle and bold styles. Stoles and shawls are available to match. Igigi also has a line of feminine casual wear.

If it’s fancy lingerie you seek, you can’t go wrong with Plus Intimates (plusintimates.com). Here you will find fantasy “sleepwear” ranging from modest to downright naughty. Don’t miss their pretty Goddess Collection in sizes 4X-6X.

Despite having lived within an hour of Maine’s L.L. Bean retail store for my whole life, this writer was surprised to learn that the famous outerwear company does carry plus size women’s clothing. I can tell you from experience that you’ll be hard-pressed to find large sizes in Bean’s physical store, but shopping their website (llbean.com) reveals women’s sizes to 3X and 26W. Prices here are slightly higher than average but well worth it for the quality and guarantee. You can return any item for a full refund or replacement â€" even if you’ve been wearing it for 20 years.

It used to be that larger women had to travel to “special stores” or have clothing custom-made. Not so today. The advent of the Internet has made beautiful, affordable fashions available to women of all sizes â€" and that’s the way it should be!