If you’re plus sized, you’re defs already an expert shopper. You essentially have to be, to find the gems underneath all the shirts with cold-shoulders, foil butterfly prints, and shapeless sacks.
It can be particularly hard living in Australia, where there aren’t many options to begin with, and the ones that do exist have more limited size ranges than their overseas counterparts, not to mention fewer truly on-trend pieces.
During my teenage years, I got tired of accompanying my mum into stores that mostly sold clothes aimed at women her age – clothes that were ‘flattering’, aka loose-fitting, usually black, and covered as much skin as possible. Now and then I would find something I liked, but for a long time, buying clothes was a chore, and having my own style never really occurred to me.
Fortunately, I discovered online shopping near the end of high school, and as a result, I’ve been buying my clothes almost exclusively overseas for years now. And now sharing the fruits of my efforts with you!
While some of my favourites are no longer around (RIP Domino Dollhouse and Premme), there are still a bunch of exciting stores that recognise that plus-sized shoppers don’t want to have to sacrifice style just to find well-made clothes that fit.
German retailer Navabi both curates designer plus-sized fashion from around the world and designs their own, often in conjunction with big names in the plus-sized blogging world. Designers they carry include Manon Baptise, Zizzi, and Isolde Roth.
They carry UK sizes 14-34.
Eloquii is a Canadian store that carries sizes 14-28. While they stock a fairly wide range, I’ve found that their strengths lie in workwear and occasion wear. Think bold colours, metallics, sequins, and pencil skirt and blazer sets in every combination imaginable.
3. Universal Standard
Universal Standard are the GOAT when it comes to well-made basics, and their size range is astounding – 00 all the way up to 40. While they have truly basic basics, like black and white t-shirts, they have a lot of fun, unique pieces as well, although their range is definitely on the simple side – you won’t find many sequins or bold prints here. They also have a ‘see it in your size’ feature that lets you see what any item looks like on someone who’s the same size as you – an absolute godsend when you can’t go into a store to try something on.
4. Girlfriend Collective
For those of you who love activewear, this one’s for you. Girlfriend Collective is a Seattle-based brand that specialises in activewear, particularly sports bras, leggings, bodysuits, and shorts. Everything goes up to 3XL, except for their leggings, which go up to 6XL. The bras and leggings are available in as many as 22 colours, so if you’ve ever wanted a foam or periwinkle activewear set, your prayers have been answered.
5. Playful Promises
Finding cute lingerie in plus sizes can feel practically impossible, but thankfully brands like the UK-based Playful Promises are working to fix that. They carry sizes 6-28, and are known for their killer promo on Instagram, courtesy of their partnerships with well-known plus-sized figures like Gabi Fresh.
6. Isolated Heroes
Isolated Heroes is an indie retailer based in Scotland that specialises in sequins and faux fur, which should give you some idea of what their clothes look like. Basically, if you love loud pieces that look like they were made specifically to wear to Mardi Gras, Isolated Heroes is definitely your jam. Their clothes are available in sizes 6 to 28, and are handmade in Scotland.
7. Plus Equals
Another UK-based indie store – they’re really killing it over there, hey – that you need to know about is Plus Equals. Similar vibes to Isolated Heroes, but with a focus on plus-sized customers – their sizes range from 14 to 42, but they also make pieces to measure at no extra cost. Their clothes are bold, bright, and perfect for a night out where you want to get peoples’ attention as much as possible.
8. Beefcake Swimwear
Beefcake Swimwear specialises in unisex swimwear that looks straight out of the 1920s, and they carry sizes XS to 5X. If you’re after a bit more coverage this summer, one of their swimsuits might be just what you need (as well as a hat and sunscreen, of course!)
Probably the most important thing you need to know about Chromat is that Beyoncé loves them – she’s worn their stuff for performances at the Super Bowl and the MTV VMA’s. The second most important thing you need to know is that their products are stunning, and available in sizes up to 3XL. Plus, they focus on swim and active wear, so you can live exclusively in Chromat pieces for the next few months and it won’t seem at all strange.
Catherine Bouris is a freelance journalist and law student from Sydney. You can follow her @catherinebouris.Image: Chromat