Vol.1, No.10

Buying plus size clothing for kids

Learn where to find plus size clothing options for kids and how to develop a wardrobe that will be both functional and flattering.

A plus-size young woman
Photo Credit: Justin Horrocks
The challenge of buying plus-size clothing for children lies first in finding stores that provide well-made and sensibly priced items and second in being able to choose items that will be flattering and attractive. By focusing on a few basic tips, it will be easier to pick long-lasting, classically styled items. By doing some research on the kids' clothing market in your area, it will be easier to find suppliers with great selections of plus size clothing for children.

Finding clothing suppliers that make attractive, functional plus size clothing can be a challenge, as any shopper knows. Luckily, many manufacturers and designers have started to expand their sizes and carry plus size options. One of the first places to look for plus sized clothing is in the same major brand stores already catering to kids' needs. Nationwide chains with good reputations will almost always have some plus-size inventory; check the local stores to determine if they keep plus size items in stock. Specialty plus size stores tend to cater toward adult shoppers more than kids; however, ask the salespeople there if the store is affiliated with a children's brand. It may be easiest also to start thinking outside the store. Look at stores' websites to be able to order from their full inventory (not just what happens to be on hand at the local store). Check to see if there is a mailing list for catalogs; prices are sometimes cheaper because the store can save on its expenses.

Even after finding a good supplier of plus size children's clothing, there is the challenge of buying attractive and stylish items. First and foremost, it is essential to have the child's input on his or her wardrobe. Though it may be impractical to always shop with a child, make sure to get a good sense of the likes and dislikes of the person wearing the clothing. Specifically, ask about color preferences, fabric likes and check about anything else that is an absolute no-no in their wardrobe. A ten minute conversation can prevent the extra time required to return items or the extra money spent on items that will never be worn.

Beyond the preferences of the child though, think logically about the way that children wear their clothing. Choose rugged items made to last. Denim and corduroy fabrics stand up well to the abuse kids can dish out. Though patterns work well to hide the stains that inevitably end up on children's clothing, it may be more effective to try to buy low-end play clothes that can be thrown away after particularly messy activities or designated as "dirty work clothes." Try to add to a child's wardrobe with new clothing items that work well with items already in his or her closet. Pants and skirts, for example, tend to work best in a neutral color that will match nearly any top; avoid purchases that cannot be paired with the majority of the other clothing. Remember also that children grow; their closets will be continually updated and ill-fitting items removed. It is not necessary to provide them with duplicates of every item. Instead, focus on the items they wear most frequently and make sure there is enough of that type to create daily outfits; update rarely worn clothing (such as formal attire) only when needed.