Cute, stylish clothing should know no size, but the reality is that once you get past a certain size, it is harder to shop. That’s a bummer, but it’s also a real problem.
Many women in larger bodies — or bodies that are on the cusp of what’s easily available in clothing stores — who want to get off the yo-yo diet hamster wheel cite one of their reasons for still longing for weight loss as being unable (or fearing they will be unable) to buy clothing they like.
Well, it’s clothing’s job to fit our bodies, not our body’s job to fit clothes! Fortunately, there are far more options than there used to be, mostly through the world of online retail. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list (I think that would be impossible) but it’s a start:
- Universal Standard. Women’s clothing brand using quality materials and fair labor practices. Sizes 00-40. I’ve been a loyal fan since I first shopped in their Seattle showroom in 2017 or so (I just shop their website now). I also appreciate the diversity of models they use, and that many items can be viewed on models of every available size.
- Mango. Stylish casual and career wear, including a plus-size collection.
- Madewell. Has a new-and-improved plus-size collection, up to size 28.
- Swimsuits for All. Swimsuits, coverups and some other clothing items in extended sizes.
- Alpine Butterfly. Luxury swimsuits up to size 6x.
- Altar. Size-inclusive brand (sizes S-6X) with a brick-and-mortar location in Portland, Oregon. Clothes are made in the U.S.
- Torrid. Trendy plus-size clothing. I wear some of their cute graphic T-shirts all the time.
- Girlfriend Collective. Ethically made activewear. Sizes up to 6XL. I’ve been happy with their sports bras and casual bralettes.
- Superfit Hero. Athletic wear in sizes L-7XL.
- eShakti. Online, made-to-order clothing company offering sizes 0-36. You can customize measurements, as well as details like garment length, sleeve length, neckline, etc. I have bought many, many, many dresses from eShakti.
- Peridot Robes. Robes in sizes 14-40. Made in Los Angeles.
- Tuesday of California. Vintage-inspired clothing in sizes XXS-7X.
- Marina Rinaldi. Italian style in sizes 4-24.
- Mara Hoffman. Women’s wear in an extended size range at designer prices, but with seasonal sales.
- Navabi. German startup selling its own in-house pieces plus pieces from other extended-size brands.
- Big Bud Press. Ethically made in Los Angeles, nontoxic dyes, hand-dyed, natural cotton. Sizes up to 7XL.
Size-inclusive sewing patterns
Is sewing your jam? Maybe finding clothes that fit isn’t a particular issue for you, but finding styles you like that are also in fabrics and colors you like is challenging. Or, maybe you have a real eclectic bent that clothes in your price point can’t even touch. Here are a few companies I like that offer patterns in a more expansive size range.
- Cris Wood Sews. Custom-sized, paper-free, minimum fabric waste sewing patterns for beginners. The small selection includes the envelope dress, which I’ve seen done up online in everything from drapey rayon (great for a swim cover up or a cool summer dress) to wool crepe (great layered over turtlenecks or long-sleeved knit tops). The first dress I made wasn’t drapey enough (the instructions do specify to use drapey material, so this was my bad), but I shortened it to make a hip-length top and it’s super cute.
- Fabrics Store. Offers premium paper patterns (which are not inexpensive), but also has free PDF downloadable patterns. Sizes range from 0 to 30. You get all the sizes with the download, but what makes these patterns interesting, compared with other free downloads I’ve experienced, is that they’re layered. You need to download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, but then you can choose exactly what size(s) you want to print. This is helpful if your measurements neatly fit one size, or if they range across, say, three sizes, so you can print only those and then cut to personalize it.
- Mood Sewciety. This website offers free patterns up to size 30 (measurements 58.5-49.5-63). I’ve downloaded a handful that I’m excited to try leading into summer.
- Something Delightful. The weird new name for the company that owns Vogue, Butterick and McCalls patterns. Vogue has a plus size range up to 26 (48-41.5-50) and up to size J (55-50.5-57) for Sandra Betzina’s Today’s Fit. Butterick and McCalls have plus size range up to 32W (54-49-56). Watch for sales…I recently snagged a few Vogue patterns I was coveting for $5.99 each rather than the usual $25-35.
- Style Arc. Many of this company’s patterns are available in sizes up to measurements 58.25-50.5-61. The company is based in Australia, so the best bet is to buy the patterns via PDF digital download, or via Amazon. I am drooling over many of these patterns, but I’m trying to pace my pattern-buying with my actual sewing.
- Tessuti Fabrics. Another Australian company with paper and downloadable patterns (including some free downloads) up to measurements 48-43-52. I downloaded the free Athina top pattern, but haven’t used it yet.
Carrie Dennett is a Pacific Northwest-based registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance writer, intuitive eating counselor, author, and speaker. Her superpowers include busting nutrition myths and empowering women to feel better in their bodies and make food choices that support pleasure, nutrition and health.