I recently received an e-mail about the new Lane Collection by Lane Bryant. The e-mail effused about “Premium fabrics with fine details and trim, the runway-inspired Lane Collection is exclusively designed to fit and flatter you and your lifestyle.” Which would be great, except that it’s exclusively designed NOT to fit me or my lifestyle because it only goes to a size 24 and I’m a 26/28. I know that Lane Bryant knows women my size exist because they already carry clothes for us in the store. I couldn’t imagine why they would design a collection and purposefully exclude women they already know shop for their clothes, so I sent an e-mail to customer service asking why they had stopped at 24. Here is the conversation that followed:
Dear Ragen Chastain,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
I do apologize, at the current time the size availability for the Lane Collection are not intended to change. If you would like to send me your physical mailing address I would be happy to send you a gesture of goodwill.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
While I appreciate the goodwill, I would also really appreciate it if you could answer my original question. Let me try to clarify, please let me know if I’m misunderstanding any of this: It seems to me that this is a line designed or at least commissioned by the Lane Bryant itself (since it bears your name). It seems that would allow you to choose the size range, especially since the clothes that you carry already go to at least a 26/28. You say on the website it is “runway-inspired and designed to fit and flatter you and your life style,” and yet you’ve chosen to make that line available only to your customers up to size 24 which makes me, as a 26/28 customer, feel like you aren’t interested in dressing me in runway-inspired fashion. Knowing, as you must, the dearth of fashionable clothing for plus-sized women – especially those in the larger sizes – I’m curious why you’ve chosen to create a high fashion line of clothing that intentionally excludes your customers (and those who are not yet your customers) who are so very under-served to begin with?
Thanks for your help.
Dear Ragen Chastain,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Your thoughts and comments are essential if we are to provide the best possible service and merchandise to our customers. It’s always helpful when a valued customer provides us with feedback or suggestions.
Please know I am sending your comments to our merchandise team so they can take your feedback into consideration when making decisions about future product lines.
I’m extremely disappointed in this answer. I requested an explanation and what I got was a copy and paste platitude. Let me try one more time. Why are you excluding size 26/28 customers from your runway-inspired Lane Bryant branded clothing line? It seems to me that if you are comfortable excluding size 26/28 customers, you should also be comfortable explaining why. I look forward to receiving an answer to my question.
Dear Ragen Chastain,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us.
I sincerely apologize that you are not satisfied with the explanation provided. Please know that we received word that, at this time, there are no plans to offer the 26/28 option for this particular line, I sincerely apologize. Unfortunately, the reasoning was not included in the response we received and are unable to determine why this merchandise is not offered. Please know that the decision is subject the change at any time and that your comments have been forwarded to our Merchandising department.
If there is anything else I can help you with, please let me know.
I’ve already been really struggling with Lane Bryant’s modeling fiasco, and their crappy reasoning for their modeling fiasco. Then there’s “tighter tummy technology” and the fact that I can’t seem to get any leggings from them that aren’t control top – which is a problem since my top is not out of control. I also noticed that there were less size 26/28 clothing options in the store. I asked the store clerk about it and was told that they were getting less large sizes in stores and that they go the fastest, but that I could shop online. LB isn’t the only store doing this and let’s be clear that they are saying: We want your money, but we would prefer that people not see you in our stores. Now LB is saying that their top of the line runway-inspired fashion isn’t for those customers at all, which doesn’t even cover the issue that there are women over size 26/28 who LB could cater to if they chose.
More frustrating is the fact that many of the major fat girl brands – Lane Bryant, Cacique, Catherine’s, and Sonsi, are all owned by the same company – Charming Shoppes – so often I feel trapped. I don’t particularly want to give Lane Bryant my money so that they can use it designing more lines of clothing that ignore me, but what else do you do?
I am fully aware that they are a business and they’re allowed to sell what they want. I’m interested in exercising my rights as a consumer. You all always have the best ideas, so my question to you is this: what are your favorite alternatives to these stores? Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.
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150 thoughts on “Lane Bryant Letdown”
Uggh, why am I not surprised (but nonetheless disappointed)?
A few of my favorite alternatives:
-ASOS Curve – only goes up to a size 22, but the sizes run really big, so their 22 would probably fit someone who usually wears a 26
-Domino Dollhouse! They have amazing, fashion-forward clothing, which goes up to 5x in some styles (although only 3x or 4x in others)
-Holy Clothing – hippie/peasant/boho clothing that lists sizes up to 7x, but they’re usually in stock up to 5x
-Chic Star – retro and goth clothing up to size 28
Yes yes yes to Domino Dollhouse and Holy Clothing! I’m going to have to check out those others.
I’m embarrassed to admit how much Holy Clothing stuff I’ve got hanging in my closet…
Me too!! Lots of Holy Clothing gorgeous dresses. I also shop Roaman’s for my other clothes – leggings, which I wear all the time, tops, undies and bras. They have, for the most part, a good selection in my size. Haven’t shopped at Lane Bryant in years. Oh, there’s a Catherine’s near my mom, I stop there and pick up a goodie now and then too. Going to try Domino Dollhouse, never have heard of them. Thanks for the list.
Ragen, LB’s response is corporate BS!
I love Holy Clothing’s designs, but the necklines always seem to be way too big for my shoulders and fall off. 😦
I haven’t heard of Domino Dollhouse either! Going to go look now! Thanks!
The acquisition of Charming Shoppes by Ascena has not, in my opinion, been good for the store. The jeans that actually fit are no longer being made, now this fiasco with sizing… (I’m not sure if the modeling fiasco came before or after the acquisition, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were after…)
Thank you for the Holy Clothing recommendation! I have been searching for a fun Holiday dress for my Junior Plus 12 year old, and was getting desperate. I told her to go look at the dresses and write down anything she liked. I knew the style was all her, but I didn’t expect the single word “Everything”. We chose one with a neckline drawstring (in case of wide neckline), swishy sleeves and the perfect color.
I won’t get started on the perils of finding age appropriate, size appropriate, clothing for tween girls!
Thank you for saving a little self esteem around here.
Might be time to take your money elsewhere. They seem to be letting you down a lot and not providing a good reason for excluding you other than, “We don’t know why but have no plans to change.”
The logic is flawed–“we don’t stock them because they run out too fast”…have they never heard of supply and demand? I have a hard time finding trousers in my size (14/16) because those seem to sell out of those fast too, but I sincerely doubt they’ll discontinue that size. Where’s the reasoning??
OMG – I have asked that question SO FREAKING MANY TIMES. If you know that’s your sellout size ORDER MORE OF THEM!!!
Yeah, seriously! Making less of sizes that sell quickly doesn’t even make sense. If people want them, then there’s obviously money to be made by making more of them.
I used to work at LB (hated it). Basically it’s corporate idiocy that stocks sizes and not the stores themselves. Each individual store is sent a set number of everything, so they aren’t responsible for ordering. BUT corporate should have a way of keeping track of how everything sells and send them accordingly.
A few more :
-Roaman’s – the majority of their clothing is really frumpy, but they have some gems, especially some of their new metallic items.
-Sealed With a Kiss Designs – some really cute stuff, up to 5x but their sizing runs a bit small
-Kiyonna – gorgeous clothing ,a bit pricey, up to a 5x.
-Igigi – also gorgeous and pricey, up to a size 32
-Queen Grace – likewise gorgeous and pricey, up to a size 26.
-eShakti – up to size 36, and also custom sizing. In my experience, their customer service isn’t great, but I know other people have had better experiences with them.
-Ureshii – custom sized clothing, mostly solid colors.
That is my biggest issue with shopping my size. I can’t afford sites like Juneau, Making it Big, and Kiyonna. I don’t make nearly enough bucks. Why isn’t someone out there making some bargain clothes???
heck, I’d settle for REASONABLY priced clothes. I not only cannot afford to spend over 100 bucks on the average outfit for everyday wear, but I find the implication that I SHOULD WANT TO even if I HAD that kind of money…rather offensive and disgusting.
Yeah, that is definitely a problem. I always Google for discount codes before buying online, and that helps a bit, but some of the stores are still out of my price range.
The Fatshionxchange LiveJournal community is a good place to find cheap clothes:
I’ve both sold and bought on there, and there’s good stuff to be found if you’re willing to read through the posts regularly.
eBay is weirdly useful, since you can shop by size and there are some pretty seriously offbeat offerings. I often like the clothes from Making It Big, but find them too expensive, so look for them on eBay. Also look there for J.Jill, which does run up to a 4x now and again. I often have good luck by searching by fabric (linen 3x, for instance).
eBay is definitely useful, although a lot of stuff on there runs weirdly small. Like, 4xs or 5xs that are the size of a typical XL.
I’m also 26/28 and I’m a huge fan of Torrid. I usually shop online with them, but my one in-store experience with them was amazing. Way better than any I’ve had at Lane Bryant.
Target has a pleasantly surprising plus size selection in store as well as online, and the clothes are affordable. Most of my wardrobe is from Target at this point.
Old Navy disappoints me by not carrying their plus size in stores, but their selection online is huge and they go up past my size. Their tank tops are a thing of beauty.
Oh, I also recently discovered City Chic online. Their clothes are cute as hell and they go 14-24, but say their 24 is comparable to a Torrid 26 and they seem to use a lot of stretchy fabrics. I ordered from them recently so I’ll know better when I get the clothes.
I really like City Chic! I have two items from them (via Domino Dollhouse) in a size 22. The top I have is stretchy, and could fit someone larger, but the dress isn’t. Neither of them fits me quite right, though, so I am going to have to have them altered.
Ah, ooops,vI meant Chic Star. I keep mixing them up. I haven’t ordered from from City Chic, but their clothing does look cute!
These are three of my main stores, too. Though, I must admit, Torrid & Old Navy’s quality can be questionable at times. Never had that problem with Target, though. Old Navy, I can understand – the clothes are relatively inexpensive. But Torrid charges way too much for things that fall apart way too quickly.
I also tend to shop at Woman Within. Their clothes are cheap-ish (especially on sale), and my 26/28 body wears only a 2x there (and they go up MUCH larger than that!) But, the clothes aren’t the most fashion forward, and it’s rare that I can find anything I absolutely love. It’s usually more along the lines of “find something cheap in my size that I wouldn’t be absolutely embarrassed to be seen in.”
I have to admit, though, the odds of me not shopping at Lane Bryant until they fix things are low… They’re the best place I’ve found to buy jeans that fit right, and mine are on their last legs (no pun intended.)
Yeah, I feel the same way about Lane Bryant’s bras. The location near me closed, though, and they discontinued the one bra that fit me really well (so I can’t just keep buying it online like I used to)….so who knows, maybe I will have to find a new place to get bras after all. Uggh, there is nothing I hate more than bra shopping…except maybe shoe shopping.
You’re lucky they even carried your size. I haven’t been able to get a bra that fit there since my daughter was born almost 9 years ago – they don’t make bras with my cup size.
I’ve had good experiences with ordering them from Woman Within or Just My Size, though.
Ugh, that’s too bad! They do seem to have pretty limited bra sizes.
Thanks for the recommendation of WW and JMS – I’ll check them out next time I’m looking for new bras. (Right now, I’m getting by with a combination of really old LB bras and some new Old Navy sports bras, which aren’t particularly supportive as sports bras go but are decent for everyday wear.)
Same with the bras. Lane Bryant is the only place I can find bras in my size (since I have a big band size but only wear a B cup) that are also anywhere near flattering or attractive.
“find something cheap in my size that I wouldn’t be absolutely embarrassed to be seen in.”
I also like Torrid ,Target, and Old Navy!
Old Navy is my go-to source for Hello Kitty t-shirts, which is important because I’m a huge (no pun intended) fan of HK. Their cardigans and sweaters are uniquely terrible quality, though…mine are all so pilled I hate to wear them. 😦
And recently I found a pair of Pure Energy jeans at Target that fit me perfectly! It nearly caused pigs to fly and hell to freeze over.
I have never been very happy with Target. I am a size 26/28 also and Target pants stop at a 24 and they are pretty true to size. From time to time I find some really cute tops there that will fit as I think there tops go to a 4x but mostly I am frustrated that (at least in my Target stores) there tend to be about 5 racks of plus sizes hidden in the back of the maternity section.
I’ve been frustrated with LB for years, they have been horrible about designing jeans that I LOVE and then once they have me hooked on them they stop making them, not to mention that there stuff is crazy expensive most of the time.
Old Navy stuff I love but again its only online and how hard is it for a fat girl to shop online? I wrote them about this very issue back when they pulled the plus size line from stores and got similar responses as Reagan did.
Most of the time, again at least where I live, I am relegated to what I can find at Target, the occasional random cute top from Walmart, Fashion Bug (which I believe just went out of business) or buying my jeans when I can find them on sale from LB.
I would love to find somewhere that sells plus size western wear however, so if anyone knows where to find all the cute stuff from like Sheplers or Cavenders (Rock n’ Roll Cowgirl, Panhandle Slim, ect) but in my size I would love you forever!!
I was also going to suggest Old Navy. As it’s online it’s kind of hit-or-miss since and you’ll probably be returning half your order, but since I’m about a size 30/32 (Old Navy online goes up to size 30) I don’t have many other choices.
It seems astonishing to me that I can’t find clothes that fit. I’m an active person, and it seems ridiculous that there isn’t anything in almost any brick-and-mortar stores that even fits over my body, little less fits and provides a selection to choose from.
When ordering from Old Navy, your best bet is to read all the reviews before you add something to your cart. Usually they’ll say if something runs small or large, or if it fits oddly in some areas, or stretches too much (or not a lot.)
Well, ok, that’s a good tip for ordering online, period, but still.
Yeah, Old Navy is pretty good about telling you if it runs small/large. In my experience most of there stuff runs big (I used to be a size 26 but 24 jeans at Old Navy were perfect for me)
Unfortunately, this could be the result of Charming Shoppes having been bought up by Ascena earlier this year (parent company to Dress Barn). I suppose there’s no way to know if it was their influence in the new line, but having family that has worked at Charming Shoppes for years, I have faith that it may have been out of their control.
And even more…
-New Look’s Inspire collection – up to size 28, some really fabulous stuff
-Torrid – trendy, somewhat “younger,”, up to size 5x
-Chubby Cartwheels- handmade, up to 5x
-KSY+ – up to size 26
-SimplyBe – up to size 28, and they also have lots of wide width shoes!
-Yours Clothing – up to size 32. I have an amazing peacock print dress from them, which has also been seen on Marianne Kirby.
-Style 369 – up to size 26
-Sequin Queen – sparkly clothing up to size 36
Also, I forgot Cult of California, which goes up to a 5x.
Sorry I’m situating this in such a long comment thread, but — Have you tried or do you know anyone who’s reviewed Cult of California active wear who might be able to speak to how durable it is? I’m pretty tough on my athletic clothing, and while this stuff looks fashionable and adorable, I’m curious about whether it “plays tough” too.
I got a Simply Bee catalog in the mail the other day and fell in love with just about everything in it. Plus, cute bras in large cup sizes (like L, not just DDD).
Fresh Produce clothing (Plus size is their “Extra Fresh” line) – designed and made in USA, COLORS!!, natural fibers, good fit and open to feedback from customers. The more they get comments from people enjoying their plus sized brands, the more they make. I wear their 3X and am at least a 26/28. On ebay – Boulder Bumper Crop and Pink Palm sell their clothes at a discount.
Let me just add that these are mostly clothes for those of us who live in warm climates as they are focused on casual/beach type clothing. Yes – I have worn a lot of their stuff to work but it is not “high fashion”. High fashion just isn’t my style so no suggestions there. “Beach” is SO my fashion tho!
I *hate* Lane Bryant. I effing hate that effing store and all of their trashy, overpriced ho on the stroll clothes. I’ll spend more money, drive more miles, and wait for mail order to keep my money from them. And I’m so grateful I have that option, because many plus-sized women wear sizes bigger than 22 or 24 and are essentially hostage to LB.
Before I had children, there was a fleeting golden time of eighteen months where I could shop anywhere. The first time my size 2 best friend and I were next door dressing room neighbors, I burst into tears. We have been besties – every day, every thing, and everywhere besties – since fifteen but I couldn’t have the experience of trying clothes on with her at the same store until I was 34.
After watching Eddie Bauer disassemble their once-excellent plus line, and Gap/Old Navy’s reversal on larger sizes, this looks like the beginnings of a LB reboot. Nice way to step on the necks of the women who keep yours above water, LB.
Lane Bryant totally sucks, but this: “I effing hate that effing store and all of their trashy, overpriced ho on the stroll clothes” is really slut-shamey. Not cool.
Agreed. No one deserves to be shamed for their fashion choices, but I think for larger women especially — who may well be wearing whatever they’re wearing out of necessity (as in, there are no other local stores that carry their size in a particular area), it can be extra hurtful.
I cracked up at “ho on the stroll.” I refused to give my money to Lane Bryant for YEARS when I could still wear their sizes because if the model on the wall was a size freaking six, I’ll eat her pants. I refuse outright to give any money to clothing shops where the models could not wear the clothes as made. It incenses me to the point of incoherence. I shop at Catherine’s (yes, I know it’s a Charming) because at least their models can wear their styles. I don’t have a lot of options for inexpensive clothes, so I’m definitely hostage.
The Woman Within catalog and website are also filled with skinny models wearing clothes that are obviously way too big for them. That pisses me off! Can I please see someone who looks like me in the clothing so that I can judge how it will fit? Is that too much to ask?
Thanks for the comment! I’m with you on hating LB and I think it’s awesome that you are keeping your money from them. I also completely understand if they aren’t your style. I would ask you to consider the idea that calling them “ho on the stroll” clothes shames fat women who do like that style, the women you spoke of who are held hostage by LB, and is slut-shaming as well.
Don’t even get me started on the Dress Barn companies of which Charming Shoppes were bought by earlier this year/last year! They are closing Fashion Bug, which, while not the highest fashion of plus-size fashion was reasonably priced and where I could find clothing for me and my clothing sensitive (sensory issues) daughter. While I understand that Fashion Bug was bleeding money, that doesn’t help at all when the alternatives involve Dress Barn (only to a size 24–and their “fashion” has always made me say WTF??), Maurices (sizes run SMALL and they “are expanding their plus sizes”, because they don’t have much now in the stores), Catherines (prices are HIGH and it’s either safari season or cruise season constantly), and LB (again, prices are high and most of the clothing is just weird to me).
I can half-heartedly suggest Cato, but I haven’t been terribly impressed with their clothing either and there is no online option for ordering. They also are in a growth phase of opening stores, but probably not fast enough for a lot of us. At least they carry to a 26/28 without hesitation in the majority of their styles.
I think Lane Bryant is probably following the Dress Barn lead in terms of only having sizes to 24 in their stores. They only want the FATS to go to Catherines, I guess, where we can have tent fashion that, as a much older lady put it, “she wasn’t old enough to wear.” Plus Lane Bryant has gotten too full of itself by trying to aim for the high end, “chunky” girl shopper who has more money than sense in terms of buying $80+ jeans. (No offense meant if that’s anyone reading and you can afford it; I’d just hazard that many of your fellow fats and thins cannot!)
You probably could find the email of a human at Lane Bryant, Ragen, and address your concerns to them. Unfortunately the service line/contact us people have to use scripted responses provided to them by the company as they work for minimal pay.
Ugh yeah, I hate how all the pants at LB are like $80. Once I saw a pair of really cute pink jeans there, but they were $90 and there’s no way I’d pay that for a pair of pants!
And I was really sad about Fashion Bug closing too. I haven’t shopped at them in years, but I have good memories of them from when I was a teenager and plus size clothing was almost impossible to find.
I weep for the loss of Fashion Bug. I buy 90% of my clothes there; it was hard enough when the one near my apartment closed. Now with all of them closing, I have to actually find a new store, when I’ve been buying most of my clothes from Fashion Bug for literally 20 years – hell, I got my prom dress (outfit, rather) there.
The one up side of FB closing is the sales. Just yesterday I got two pairs of pants, two shirts, and three bras for $100.
The suggestions in these comments are great. I loathe shopping online, but I need to learn to accept it. Avenue is my current alternative, but I’m right at the top end of their sizing. Only their “sizing runs large” pants fit me in the store (since any larger sizes have sold out by the time I get there, which, wtf), but I did find the most incredible stretch corduroy pants recently. They’re so comfortable that I took advantage of the black friday web sale to buy 3 more pairs in different colors.
(I have bought SO MANY PANTS recently. It is so hard for me to find pants that fit, so whenever I find some, I snatch them up. I’m set for a while now. Also, none of them were black, which is a huge step for me.)
I was just in Lane Bryant last week. There were very few 26/28 sizes in the store (which is what I wear as well). I went in to look at bras and they were very helpful and I did buy 3 of them. However, their bras stop at a size 46. I was very surprised by that – us big girls need big bras! So, while they do carry some great bras, if I grow even one inch, I won’t be able to buy them there anymore. I also tried on one shirt that was a size 26/28 and it didn’t even come close to fitting. That perplexed me. I did find a sweater (which, of course, is stretchy). It’s all really too bad.
Many years ago, probably about 20, I worked with a guy who left our company to go and work at Lane Bryant. Now this guy was a really good looking, muscular in shape guy. So, I didn’t get the connection. Anyway, when I went to the store he was managing, there were posters everywhere of reed-thin models wearing the Lane Bryant clothes. Of course, I found him and asked what was up with the false advertising. He told me that all women of size want to believe they look like the models and, frankly, when they used plus-size models, they sold less clothing. I couldn’t believe it. I had a pretty large argument with the guy, but he never did see my point.
The only thing I can really find an abundance of in a size 26/28 is clothing that I don’t want to wear.
Believe it or not, I order most of my clothes from QVC…yes, on TV. Their clothes go up to 3X (and are usually generously cut). They charge exactly the same price for XXS as they do for 3X. If you know your chest and hip measurements, it’s pretty easy to figure out what size to buy. They have basic stuff like Ts and turtlenecks and jeans as well as more fashion-forward things. I would recommend them. I usually wear a L in pants and an XL or 1X in tops. In number sizes, that would translate to a 14 in pants and an 18 in tops. Hope this helps.
I never would have thought to try QVC. Thanks for the suggestion!
Just peeking at the site, they seem to have a TON of stuff available in my size – and not in some special “plus size” section, either.
I being on the smaller end as in a 14/16/18/20 depending on the cut of the fabric, I am pretty much hostage to Reitmans, Penningtons, and Addition Elle (all owned by Reitmans) and maybe, maybe find something at Old Navy once and again that actually fits due to the way the sizing is now. Used to be a Large everywhere, now I am between a 1-2X on a good day. (Canadain sizing can be a pain in the butt, you are a large in one store, and XL in another, a 1X in the next and a 2X in the next, and most places now only carry up to a L at most now, but! You have the option to order online… No thank you, I will try it on thanks!)
But my problem isn’t finding my size, my problem is at places like Addition Elle and Penningtons, that carry my size and the style of clothes I like (don’t love the price since finding out in class everything starts as a 4X and is made bigger or smaller then there. So by that logic straight sized people should be paying the most for clothes not us) I am told I am too “Thin” to shop their and I am not a “real” woman! Now the irony of this is at every other store I am told I am too “Fat” to shop there and there for an not a “real” woman.
Long story short, I hate shopping because I can’t find somewhere I am actually comfortable to shop.
It’s even worse once you go past 26/28. I’m a 34/36, and all of my clothing comes from the OneStopPlus online sites (Roaman’s, Woman Within, etc.) I can sometimes find something suitable at Catherine’s, but if I were to need something new in a hurry, I’m SOL.
Of course, they all assume that women my size want to wear stretchy shirts with cat faces on them, flashy sequins or muumuus. I’d kill for some decent career wear like what’s offered at Jessica London, but no.
The other assumption in the cut of the clothes is that all women my size are all belly, no hips and no bust. Again with the “no.” So, if you’re an “extended size” in plus size fashion, you pay more for it and it’s cut badly, but it’s that or go naked.
I’ve contacted Old Navy and Target regarding their Women’s Plus selection and gotten similar responses. It’s very disheartening to try to shop when so many stores basically relegate us fat chicks to catalog shopping or online.
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with LB for years. They are the only place I can find jeans that flatter me (though I don’t like their new sizing system at all.) However, being someone who is an in-between size makes it really hard to shop there for anything else. The bras in my cup size don’t come in my band size (or even close.) They rarely have things in my size besides jeans. Also, their in-store sizing suggests that they think only tall women are plus-sized. (I’m 5’3″.)
I’m 5’11” and bought some jeans there a few months ago that were “average” height and I have to roll them up to not trip on them (have not had time/money/opportunity to get them hemmed). They fit well when I bought them, but after wearing them for more than a few hours, I have to have a belt (the one I bought just broke) or they nearly fall off my hips!
As for bras, LB has my favorite bras and were not carrying them in my size so I got the biggest ones then went to Catherine’s for extenders, which work wonderfully. I’m actually looking forward to getting the newest version of my bra because my ex got some a while back and they really make her breasts look amazing!! 🙂
I’m 5’5″ and LB’s petite pants are too long on me. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
I’m feeling your pain – I am 5’2″ 26/28. I *had* to get pants and I went to LB…they fit okay but the hems were dragging on the floor – and they were the “petite”! Now when I buy pants I have to factor in how much it will cost to get them hemmed up. Grrrrr!!!!
I think what they do is take a pattern and enlarge it by “zooming in” so that all dimensions of the pants are larger, including the length which is pretty much stupid. Do their pattern makers know so little about making patterns that they don’t know better?
I’ve had good look with Avenue, in which I wear a 4x. I was able to get a suit for a reasonable price, which looks and fits just fine, but is made of horrible polyester and feels awful next to the skin. Solved this problem by always wearing pantyhose under the unlined pants. The pantyhose is also from Avenue and fits well` and is reasonably durable. I have found good, plain cotton sweaters. blouses and camisoles there. None of the bras fit me – terrible selection. OK shoe selection, but I’m picky about shoes. Fair share of things with glitter and sequins, for those who like that style. They usually have some kind of sale deal going, so if you can put energy into shopping repeatedly, there are real bargains to be had. I don’t remember if there are any photos of models in the store, but I do know that the staff tend to be delightfully fat and very friendly, which I hope means that they are well compensated. I can’t recall if the size cutoff is 4x or 5x.
For years, I have bought clothing online from Making It Big, a company mentioned by a previous commenter. I can’t say enough for the quality and cut of their clothes – at least the pants. I can justify $80 for a pair of comfortable, well-cut pants if I know they will last for years and can be worn with pretty much anything.
LB leaves me cold. They moved out of my local mall, so there is now NO plus-size store in the entire mall. I should probably let the mall owner know that I now never go there. I used to be a regular LB shopper, but recently they seem to be designing for someone who is much younger and flashier than I am.
I love Avenue!!! I’d say half or more of my closet is Avenue clothing. http://www.avenue.com.
I totally forgot about Avenue!
Their stuff tends to be hit or miss for me, but I’ve found a few things there that I wore until they died. Last year, I fell in love with a pair of boots they had, too – one of the few places that had good ones with larger calf sizes – but at $90/pair, it was out of my budget.
as far as tops go Avenue has been fair to me but their jeans have enough room in the crotch for me to fit a small midget in there so I have shyed away.
I used to love LB’s right fit jeans (I was a red 8 all day) I loved them b/c they sat right below my waist which is how I love my jeans (keeps them from bulging at the waist in the back) but they changed the way that they make them and they don’t fit anymore.
What frustrates me about most places is that they think if I am buying a 4x or a 26/28 top that must mean that my boobs are like a freaking EEE cup (of which I am not) so most tops don’t hang on me right (imagine the girl from Flashdance with her shoulder hanging out of the sweatshirt top – only my left boob is hanging out too)
That and how do they think they can get away with having a size 6 model something for a size 26? I mean come on really!
The models on Avenue are larger now than they were a year ago. I think there’s one lady who’s @ a 14, the rest are larger with a few definitely in the over 20 category. Yea! Women with bodies similar to mine!
Can you even find right fit technology anymore? The yellow square fit me perfectly – I still have one pair of lane bryant right fit pants – they’re on their last legs, and when they go i don’t know what i’m going to do… i’ve probably dropped 600+ dollars over the last 2-3 years looking for an alternative since lane bryant stopped carrying right fit (and the right fit website still exists but isn’t any help), and else nothing fits right – nothing would even be able to be altered to fit right on me. Sooo frustrating.
One of my faves for about a decade: Alight.com. They are 14-28 and sell EVERYTHING, from casual to formal. And they ship internationally…and have great sales.
Oh, and to add to my love of Avenue…. the models are all larger than LB models, or at least appear so. So very nice to see women my size or larger so that I can see how the clothing fits!
I found leggings in 30/32 on Avenue just now.
I always thought Roaman’s was frumpy, but I’ve had good luck there lately, especially with basic Ts and sweaters and whatnot. I do well at Old Navy for shorts and leggings. I am about a 28/30, 4x on top and 2x-ish on the bottom which can make shopping quite the challenge. I’ve admired the Simply Be and Ulla Popkin catalogs, but haven’t wanted to cough up the bucks. Shopping is a challenge, for sure, but catalogs and online have served me pretty well. Oh! I forgot Lucie Lu online, they have cute, trendy (but not trashy) styles through size 5x.
Lucie Lu’s stuff is really cute, but when I bought a dress from them, it started pilling and getting holes after only a few wears. And I paid $70 for it! Blahhh.
I love Roaman’s and buy most of my clothes there.
Oh my goodness… I haven’t looked at Roaman’s in a long time for exactly that reason – I always thought of it as frumpy and, well, ick.
But I’m loving what I’m seeing there – some awesome jeans that I would die for. And a corduroy military jacket (that, sadly, isn’t in my size.)
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Let’s talk about super-plus-size clothes. If you think there’s a dearth of 26/28, lemme talk to you from a 34/36 perspective. It makes me angry.
😦 It’s ridiculous how most plus size clothing lines stop somewhere between 22 and 28.
At a place I used to shop at way back when (closed now due to lack of customers) their plus size stopped at an 18. There was now 20 or higher, you wanted higher, we went and shopped at an old lady store, which never seemed right to me.
Excuse my spelling mistakes, it was supposed to be no instead of now, and you instead of we. I hate apple auto correct sometimes lol.
This 1000x. Even at Catherine’s, I can only wear the casual styles, as they cut the formal styles too small. And I can’t find pants to fit me *anywhere*. I haven’t bought new pants in over five years because I haven’t been able to find any that fit that I can try on in a store. 😦
(snap) Thank you!
Right there with you. We “extended size” folks have even more limited options than plus size shoppers.
Hi I hear you about lane bryant. I hate that their pantyhose are mostly control top and the tights as well.will send them a note as well. Try jessica london, simply be, mib and coldwater creek. Jjill goes to a 28 as well. Vikki v and misook(nordstrom) are great professional clothes and travel like a dream. Happy shopping!
I have nothing to say other than THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT. I’ve been checking out Eloquii’s clothes because I think they’re really nice, and they only go up to 24. ASOS goes to 22. What the actual fuck? If Lane Bryant doesn’t want fat ladies in their stores, they should get into another business.
It is totally bullshit. ASOS runs really big, so a 22 would probably fit someone who usually wears a 24, 26, or even 28. But still, it’s bullshit how many plus size lines stop somewhere in the mid-20s.
I really do NOT understand the basic logic of this move at all. I mean, first of all, Lane Bryant has spent a LOT of money to become a BIG name in plus size clothing…and to create a positive image for themselves in that market. They admit that the larger sizes always sell out first, and are the most popular. SO….. wouldn’t it make more sense then, to cater to the larger sizes, to make and sell MORE to that which is in high demand? Wouldn’t it make more sense FINANCIALLY even, to have your new line cater to THOSE women rather than to start slowly and methodically trying to drop them from your customer base? What kind of company says “we don’t want this entire group of people as customers anymore”?
I always thought it was weird when FB seemed to be trying to become a straight-sized store. As if there aren’t enough of them around! We’re a a massively underserved market, don’t abandon us, find out out what we want and sell to us! We have money! We want to spend it!
Nordstrom now has a plus-sized line. It only goes up to 24, but I fit a size below what I fit at Lane Bryant. They have a “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans” line which is a terrible, terrible name, as I am only 30 and have no children, but they fit great. It’s pricey, but Nordstrom Rack carries their plus size lines and is more affordable.
I mentioned this in a response to another comment upthread, but I’ll put it here also: Fatshionxchange is a great plus size buying/selling community. I’ve both bought and sold clothing there, and there are some good finds for cheap:
I’m a big fan of Ashley Stewart. They have a much better price point than LB, and have some good sales. Every once in a while I can find something from Target, but I have to say that I get instantly P-O’d when I go back in the little 10×10 square “Women’s” section to find it cluttered with return item carts. I get that they need a space to put the return items, but maybe they should build a space into the store. I find it interesting that the overflow never goes into, say, the men’s undergarment and socks area, but ALWAYS into the women’s section. Who wants to shop around carts and racks? I’ve pretty much boycotted shopping at Old Navy – I think it’s ridiculous that I should have to pay shipping when it’s not my fault they decided to pull the plus size section out of their stores. A friend of mine recently introduced me to plusmodelmag.com. They have great resources out there, and if you follow them on Facebook, they often showcase designers of plus size clothes.
I go back in the little 10×10 square “Women’s” section to find it cluttered with return item carts.
Oh, God, I hate this too. The last time I went to Target, I literally could not find the plus-size clothes (except for what they carry of plus-size activewear, but that’s a whole other story) — so I asked. I was directed to the back end of one rack. Half a dozen garments above a size 16.
In the UK fashionworld.co.uk does a good range up to a 32 in a lot of styles. They have jeans which are brilliant for me, so many styles seem to be put together on the (mis?)understanding that fat women do not come in at the waist. I am a UK 26 (which I think equates to a US 24) and have a shape which is the result of 10 years of horse riding, cycling and heavy farm work. I don’t have ‘legs’ so much as scaled down tree trunks and in most styles to find anything which fits over my calves/thighs and doesn’t bulge at the waist is a nightmare… and don’t even START to talk about knee high boots. Even the extra extra wide ones from plus size stores won’t zip up beyond the ankle. Fashion World are pretty pricey though, but they have comfy clothes, in styles I like, and a good range of office-y stuff.
Not good to hear that Fashion Bug is going to be closing. That’s literally the last actual store in town that caters to my size (not that a lot of their stuff was all that great and some of it actually was on the small side) but dang it, that really will pretty much just limit me to Walmart, ShopKo, and online (Target has very little in my size as does Kmart).
Oh, and because it’s so hard for me to find decent clothes, my wardrobe mainly consists of knit slacks, t-shirts, long sleeved t-shirts, sweaters (when I can find them) and sweats. That’s about the extent of it. I don’t know what I’m going to do if I ever need DRESSY clothes for a job or something. I figure I’m pretty much screwed on that end.
THIS is being a HUGE impediment to me making peace with my body. My highest weight was 225 and I managed to lose 30 pounds and then gain five and hover around 200 at which point I was still wearing size 18ish clothes and could still shop at Penney’s, Walmart, etc. like I was used to. And as much as I want to be happy with myself no matter how I am, I really want to stay small enough not to have to shop at places like Lane Bryant whose clothes I hate, which generally seem to be low-quality construction as well. =(
One place not mentioned here is Talbots. They have a nice plus sized department in stores and on line, although they only go to 3x in most styles. Still, they have an excellent professional selection. While their regular prices are high, they have frequent sales that Mae items more affordable. Their quality is excellent. They also carry plus size petite and tall sizes, and I find their sizing to be generous. Also, really critical for me, is pants come in different basic shapes. Curvy for pear shaped plus sizes, signature for women with larger hips and thinner thighs, Hollywood high waisted fit, and signature for slimmer hips.
If you can wait until red hanger sales, the deals are superb. For example, I picked up two cardigans at their summer sale for $14 each – 100% cotton, beautiful coloring, but was from their early spring line.
I won’t buy LB items. I don’t like the quality especially for the price point. Their regular prices aren’t far below Talbots, but the quality is worlds apart.
When my mom switched to a job that required professional clothing, she started shopping at Talbots. Like you said, they have Woman Petite (12WP-22WP) in addition to straight size Petite (0P-16P). She’s 5’3″ and a 14P and does not need to hem her pants. They are such high quality too! They fit her great, and she has received compliments and had people ask where she got her pants. She loves that they don’t squeeze her crotch or rub on her C-section scars (those are actually her 2 main requirements for pants :)).
She loves the tops too, because they have a lot of stuff made from cotton, which breathes better (she suffers from hot flashes).
They do tend to be a bit pricey ($80-100 for pants), but like you said, sometimes they have sales. She always asks for Talbots gift certificates for Christmas.
I shop Avenue when I can and Cato stores. I get Woman Within catalog and have had good luck with jeans/pants from them as they have large sizes in talls… whoot!
I can’t help but wonder if eliminating larger sizes is in response to not wanting to ‘promote’ obesity… or if they feel they can shame us all into loosing weight so we can buy clothing. I remember in the 70’s not being able to find any stylish clothing above a 14… seriously… even women’s clothing over a 16 was so ‘old’ looking to me and frumpy.
I will shop at Catherine’s if I am in California visiting my family. Otherwise, it is a four hour trip down to Seattle for me. Which is not worth it for some half-decent quality clothing at their high prices. At least they go up to my size! (and higher!) It’s nice, but really, I just wish Lane Bryant hadn’t decided to no longer carry my size. They suck. And I hate that shopping at Catherine’s supports the parent company of Lane Bryant. It’s a conundrum. I get panties at Lane Bryant because they fit. I get my bras at Walmart because they fit. Sometimes I can find pants at Walmart. Of course, I also hate supporting Walmart, but I am also kind of poor and I really don’t have much of a choice.
I usually wear t-shirts and at least I get all my t-shirts at shirt.woot.com which is an awesome company and they have a different t-shirt every day for only $12 and up to size 3x. I wish they would expand their available sizes. I wouldn’t mind paying a few bucks more for a slightly roomier t-shirt. But the 3x still fits. Meh. What can you do?
They stop at 24 but I’ve had good luck finding attractive and inexpensive clothes at Kohls. And if you can shop during a sale Macy’s often has good stuff. They stop at 24 though. Shopko (West/Midwest/Online) carries some inexpensive size 28s and 4xs. There clothes are simple, and not very “fashion” forward, but I’ve found a fewmcutemthings there.
OneStopPlus.com has a line of clothing of all sorts that can go up to a 5 or 6X. And Hips and Curves.com has really sexy lingerie that fit us bigger girls too!
For bras, can’t beat Ladygrace.com. They carry every size known to woman. Ebay is also a good place to find unusual size bras, post breast reduction I’ve had good luck there for known-to-fit name brand large band/small cup bras.
I’m an 16-18, so take this as you like, but most of my clothes come from Land’s End or Talbots. Many of their styles only go to 3x or 26, but I’ve found their clothes to be generously cut… so they may work up to a 28.
Both Talbots and Land’s End can be expensive (excellent sales though!) but perhaps more importantly… the clothes tend to be timeless classics that wash up nicely and last forever. I’d rather have a few peices that hold up well, than lots of trendy stuff from Old Navy and Torrid (that can’t handle a trip through the washing machine.)
As for Land Bryant, I used to shop there a lot, but I HATE all of the polyester, sequined “clubwear.” The only things I’ve bought in past few years are long-sleeved t-shirts and v-necked pullovers. I miss their old trousers lines, but I guess they don’t want my money anymore.
I’ve replied to several comments in here and I love all the new shops that I’ve found from your replies, some of them were better suited to me than others, but I guess what really gets me is that we are basically forced to shop online. I know most of you will get this but it is stinking hard to shop for clothing, let alone plus size clothing, online. You never know for sure what size to get so you order the one you think will work based on the charts and cross your fingers, wait a week or more to get it (unless you want to pay $20+ for overnight, one time I spent more on next day shipping then I did on the actual purchase just b/c I needed it ASAP) only to find out it doesn’t fit right. So you sigh, pack it up and ship it back to request the different size, wait 2wk or more now for rtn shipping and back to you shipping so if you need something for a special occasion you better order it at least a month in advance which doesn’t always work. What happens when you get asked on a date and need a new outfit for the weekend or there is a funeral or something like that?
Why should we be forced to shop exclusively online/in catalog? Our money spends as good as anyone else s so why can I not just be able to run down to the mall and pick something up?
I feel the same way! I actually wrote a rant about it not too long ago. There are some really awesome plus size brands online (Domino Dollhouse FTW!), but being forced to rely on them really sucks. I’d love to be able to actually try on clothes in person.
I looked at Domino Dollhouse but its really not my style. I’m more Old Navy, casual/comfy (think Bella Swan) I don’t do dresses, in fact I have joked with my boyfriend that the only time he will probably ever see me in a dress is our wedding day, I am a jeans and tshirt kinda gal.
At my core though, at least for my evenings out, I am a country girl, I love Rock ‘n Roll Cowgirl kinda stuff (ie. burnout tee’s) but much like Areopostle their sizes are wack (an XL is really like a Med) but even still, I most of the time would be good with Old Navy, but again, I have to order online and I really don’t feel like I should have to when no one else HAS to.
let me alter this last comment to say that I don’t like to wear dresses b/c most of the time I am very uncomfortable in them and they are not very flattering to me – there are lots of cute dresses I see all the time but shy away from them
You read my mind. I do shop at Old Navy and LB but the styles are limited. I like simple good fitting clothes. Hard to find in stores. And, don’t even get me started on trying to find a bathing suit!
I know I’m starting to sound like an add for them, but seriously, check out Evans for bathers. Even in Winter they stock some, I’ve got two pairs (I’m a 24/26) that are cute and really comfy – http://www.evans.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CatalogNavigationSearchResultCmd?catalogId=33054&storeId=12553&langId=-1&viewAllFlag=false&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=209533&parent_categoryId=209427&beginIndex=1&pageSize=24
I am “late hour-glass(i.e. more sand on the bottom)” shaped which makes figuring out my size a royal pain – I am 1-2x on top and supposedly almost 6x in my hips if you believe the catalog charts (which you can’t trust). I really prefer to try on things, especially jeans and bras, in-store.
I did find an *awesome* bathing suit at Junonia. They do nice sturdy sporty stuff and their pants are pricey but they good basic knit pants that last a long time.
Agreed. And while I know that a lot of online stores offer free return shipping, they don’t (and I get that many, particularly small, independent businesses, can’t afford to) offer free replacement shipping.
That is, if I buy Item X in Size Y, I pay my $7 shipping or whatever, and I wait for the item. If it turns out that what I really need is Size Z, some stores set it up that I can return Size Y without paying shipping — but I need to pay another $7 to get Size Z sent to me. Which means I’ve paid $14 total in shipping — and that’s if Size Z actually fits.
Given the number of times I need to try on three or four or more different things (cuts, sizes, etc.), I simply can’t afford the probable number of returns. I have a limited budget for clothing already; significant shipping and re-shipping (and re-re-shipping, etc.) are unworkable for me.
I don’t know how far up the sizes go, but I like CJ Banks for my teachery style clothes. I have a tough time shopping online, so I need a bricks and mortar store. I have never had much luck at LB.
I’ve actually had been pretty good luck at Ross. I don’t really shop for clothes online myself because there are so many variations in how things fit and I HATE going to the post office and having to send stuff back. So I very rarely shop online.
I do like Torrid but there isn’t one in my area right now. It’s also more expensive, as people have pointed out, so I only shop there if I’m traveling and I don’t mind spending a little extra for something cute.
So I shop at Ross for the most part. It’s nice because while they don’t always have a LOT of selection, they do carry some plus sizes and things are organized by size so you don’t have to waste your time seeing something cute and then discovering they don’t have it in your size. 😦
I also shop at the PX (Post Exchange, it’s like a retail store for military families and soldiers), which unfortunately isn’t an option for everyone (you have to have a military ID to purchase, I believe, or you could shop with someone who has one and they buy it and you pay them back). But they go up some plus sizes, and can have decent stuff (if sometimes kind of expensive compared to Ross). I’m on the smaller end of plus-size (about a 16) so I probably have more options unfortunately. But Ross does carry some things, although it is kind of hit and miss. At least it is affordable too.
What I wouldn’t give for a decent selection at the Exchange. Our BX here has a few “XL” sized shirts, and if you are over about a size 20 the ONLY thing they have are tropical print mumus.
I literally burst into tears in the BX when I saw that. Way to hit below the belt 😦
Would be wonderful to compile this thread into a list of retailers 🙂
Also, Lands End (I think I saw mentioned above) carries to 26W or 3X. But they are very generously sized. I usually take a full size smaller there than other retailers.
Also, I buy bras through a local boutique, but can also get them through herroom.com. I wear a 6D bra, so it is extremely difficult to find. I also recommend a brand like Elomi that specializes in full figured gals (they cater to the DD market and above).
I also HIGHLY encouurage a good bra fitting. I mean a really good one. At a boutique that specializes in bras if you can, or a Nordstrom’s if they have one in your area. Good bras are insanely expensive but they make all of your clothes fit and look better. I know form experience after discovering by band sizes was 3 sizes too small.
I agree that a good bra is key but where I have problems is I physically cannot wear under wire but if I have a bra that fits right I can wear it and it hold me up like an under wire should (at least the majority of the day) but I (like most women I am told) am different cup sizes (like almost a full cup and a half) so as we speak right now I can look down at my boobs and my left one is fine but my right one is hanging out of the top of the cup (looks like boob muffin top) and I hate it, I am always having to grab ahold of my cups and shift into a better position….how do you fix that without spending a fortune on custom made bras?
I have worn the same bra for years – Playtex 18 hour with comfort straps. Underwire bras hurt and drove me crazy. The Playtex really is comfortable, gives terrific support, and is available in very large sizes – I wear a 48 DD. The Catherine’s store I shop at in Clearwater, FL when visiting my mom carries them – I never fail to find my size – white, beige, and black. Roaman’s also carries them and runs sales every now and then. They last forever – I wash in the washing machine, but hang dry, no dryer. The ultimate comfort bra, IMNSHO. ; )
I have a similar issue. When I can find bras that fit at all, I end up trying to buy them to fit the larger breast. That way, I can also buy one of the insert things — they have gel ones, rubbery ones that sort of look like chicken cutlets, etc. — to insert into the cup where the breast is smaller. It’s not a perfect solution, but for me it’s a lot more comfortable than wearing a bra that’s too small in the cup (even just on one side).
I’m surprised no one else has mentioned Evans. I’m in Australia and it’s literally where I buy over 95% of my clothes. It’s a pain waiting for them to come from the UK, but they also have extra wide shoes in a heap of styles so for the first time since I was a kid I actually have some cute shoes! I buy most of the stuff on sale, but besides having the odd top that had wonky sizing, everything I bought there has lasted years (so far). Though I do go to Kiyonna for cocktail dresses.
I used to be a size 24, when I took a job as a canvasser I lost nearly 70 pounds and settled around 225 wearing a 16. After my pregnancy I’ve settled at around the same weight and wear a 16/18 in pants depending on the cut (my hips refuse to go back to the way they were). When I wore a 24 I shopped almost exclusively at Lane Bryant, even worked there for about 8 months. I now refuse to shop there. After they implemented their red, yellow and blue pants sizing I gave up on them, I got so frustrated not being able to find a pair of jeans that fit me and so many people on the sales staff were rude to the bigger customers (which I found really stupid considering they were working in a plus size store). We were trained to push the website on women over a size 20 and to encourage them to shop exclusively online since the selection was bigger. I had a big problem with this because, at the time I was a size 22/24 and if I had come in there as a customer they would have encouraged me to shop online instead of being able to get my clothes in store like the smaller sizes. When I became a smaller size I gave them one more shot, I went in for a pair of jeans, the sales woman completely disregarded my actual body shape (11 inch difference between my hips and waist) and kept trying to put me in their yellow jeans, which are for women with a straight body. She just kept saying since I wasn’t really plus size they would fit me fine.
I get most of my clothes from Old Navy, I have a few pieces from Torrid but I have’t bought anything new from them in nearly 3 years. Since so many people have mentioned Avenue I think I’ll have to check the store out, I never knew they sold plus size clothes.
I remember when they started the red/yellow/blue stuff, that was when I was in love with their jeans but I also remember that first fitting sucked. The clerk measured me and told me I should be in a blue, I tried them on…. they sucked. They did just what I told her I didn’t want them to do – pouch out at the back of the waist band. After she insisted that blue was what I should be in I sent my best friend out to the shelf and had him grab me a red and a yellow in my size and tried them all on. He agreed with me that red was the way to go, they fit perfect, no bulging, not too much room in the crotch and the length was perfect.
What burned me about those jeans was the quality was poor at best, I would wear a pair for less than 6 months and have holes worn in the fabric of the inner thighs that I had never had a problem happening before or on any other brand that I had ever worn.
Also, plus size maternity clothes don’t seem to exist anywhere.
These comments are a treasure trove of shopping hints for the big girl!
This whole subject – of clothing, much less any sort of fashion/fatshion – makes me so damn sad, depressed, self-loathing, etc. I would love, love, love to wear clothes that flatter me and make me feel good. I had to skim the comments just like i would normally do on an anti-fat article (or even a pro-fat article on a mainstream website, where the comments are so often anti-fat). Not that this is anywhere as bad as that, but I was getting that same sick to my tummy feeling that I usually get… You see, I wear, like, an 8X. I can’t say for sure, since so few brands carry my size. I can wear the occasional 6X dress from onestopplus.com – if and only if it is a frumpy style; they seem to cut those larger. There is one – count ’em, ONE – style of blouse (glorified tee-shirt) in which I feel comfortable. I have one of every color. And I wear the Same. Damn. Pants. every day – boring knit black ones from Making It Big, which barely fit and for which I pay like $70 apiece (including shipping). I am so far from having ANY FATSHION CHOICES AT ALL that it makes me sad and sick inside to read all these suggestions… that are supposedly inclusive. The LB thing makes me sad too, except I stopped being able to shop at LB many many years ago. I tried eShakti and I’m gonna end up spending another $100 per dress to actually get them to fit – the only reason I’m even doing it is I need something to wear for engagement photos and bridal showers. And thank the Sacred that I found a fantastic designer/dressmaker who is a costumer by trade, so she is used to clothing all sorts of bodies, not just the slim ones. I have at least a 70% certainty I might feel pretty in my clothes on my WEDDING DAY. Oh wait, you say, most brides get to try on a bunch of dresses until they find one they really relate to/feel sure of? Yeah, not me. Le sad. Le tres, tres, sad is my un-fashioned life.
My Lane Bryant purchases have steadily decreased over the last two-three years. They’re focusing way too much on going-out clothes, tighter cuts, shorter lengths and lower necklines instead of everyday wear or office-friendly wear. I refuse to pay $80 for a pair of pants and $70 for a sweater. I think the Ascena buyout definitely is a major part of their changes. The company is dropping Fashion Bug because they aren’t trendy enough (and the only one in the Charming franchise to sell 30/32 for reasonable prices unlike Catherine’s). I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to stop selling 26/28 alltogether at LB even though that size sells out first, considering I wear that in the majority of their clothes. I know many, many complaints have been made to Ascena but they just don’t care.
It looks like the majority of my future shopping will be done online, although I have found things at JCPenney from time to time, and Avenue is pretty good. The downside is, I have to travel out of my way to get to their closest stores. I’ve also seen some nice things in the Simply Be catalog, but again, they are too pricey for my liking.
I like One Stop Plus. LB pissed me off- their sizes are never consistent,they are too expensive, and now, I have another reason not to shop there!
Do be careful not to take this personally! “How can I not take this personally?”, you ask? It’s about sales, and demand, I suspect. I can not walk into a store–any store–not even Nordstrom–and get my size shoe–9 1/2 AAAA, nor can I get a bra for under $80 because of my size–at the very few places that choose to accomodate me with a fitting garment for my narrow band but large cup size. It pisses me off, but I do realize that it’s not personal. If there were a great market for these size items they would, no doubt, be carrying them everywhere. This is not an anti-fat thing! Even the non-fat suffer from this size discrimination!
I completely respect your right to choose what is personal and what is discrimination, and I am sorry for your struggles finding shoes and bras that fit (I’m a size 6 DDDD so I feel your pain). However, I do not believe it is your job to tell other people what to take personally, or what is anti-fat, that’s something that we each get to decide for ourselves. The fact that people who are not fat suffer size discrimination does not mean that this practice isn’t anti-fat. Also, this is not necessarily about supply and demand – despite the fact that they admit that size 26/28 clothing sells out first they are choosing to stock less of it and they are choosing to create lines that eliminate that size completely. This is happening at the same time that they are trying to move to a more high-end “boutique” vibe.
“Woman Within” used to have a nice selection of night wear (in sizes above 28…and at reasonable prices)—I know because it’s where I bought my favorite sets of Satin PJs ever (featuring breast pockets to carry my phone, OH YES!) WW had some very cute under things, too—with prices I could afford. I’m not sure what WW’s selection is like nowadays. But it might be worth a gander, if only for sleep wear, slips and panties, etc.
Great letters, btw. I admire your persistence!
You’re in LA, right? Have you checked out Big Girl Gear? They’re based in Lancaster, CA, but they are also at the Sherman Oaks Farmer’s Market every Tuesday. Their stuff goes up to a 90″ hip and 78″ waist, though I don’t know how much of it they bring to the market.
That website is problematic.
What to do? Well, I thrift. I LOVE thrifting. For one, I’m not limited to shopping in just the women’s section and the thrift stores I frequent do carry up to a 4 or 5x. Sure, I might still end up with Lane Bryant clothes, but the fact that I bought them second hand means I’m not directly supporting them and their stupidity. Because those 3 responses you got from them? Utter stupidity. Way to NOT answer your question, even a little. Maybe they’re afraid of “promoting obesity.” [massive eyeroll] But, seriously, thrifting!
The UK fat chick store is Evans, they have a poor selection, are expensive and no longer add elastic to the waist of their jeans and some of their trousers, their petite range is designed for someone who has a very short body (I have short legs and arms, so I want shorter sleeves, not body) and the final straw was when enquiring about bras I was measured improperly and then told that they didn’t have the size I actually needed in stock and that they could only order it if it was physically in the warehouse (since they don’t order many of the larger bust sizes – they all get sent out to various shops) their website is the same, if it isn’t physically in stock you can’t even set a flag to tell you when it’s back in stock.
I now buy most of my clothes online as Fashion World have free delivery and returns and they have no problem with you ordering two sizes to find the one that fits best and returning the one that doesn’t fit. Their clothes fit, get delivered fast and their sales are really decently priced.
I still buy t-shirts in a regular store as the Primark gents range goes up large enough to fit me (if I don’t mind that the seams are in a slightly odd place) and after talking to a couple of managers they are hoping to try to extend the ladies range to a larger size again (which still mostly wont fit me but gives other women larger, very cheap, choices) so I might be able to get some women’s tops too.
I’d like to see a range that did jeans, t-shirts, simple shirts, trousers and skirts from a really small size to a really large size (about UK 4 – 38) that would give most women a chance to wear at least the basics that are designed for women (not kids in the case of the smaller sizes and not guys in the case of the larger). Getting the basics right gives you a sound financial standing to expand the styles and gives women clothes for work and leisure at a reasonable price – if we can get one group of people to look past their prejudice and see how profitable this could be we could let capitalism take care of the rest (hopefully).
Of course, if we’re going to mail order our clothes, all these size differentials of the different stores and manufacturers creates a big problem. It’s a lot of hit and miss and sending things back and forth. I really hate that.
I can’t tell you how many times I have looked forward to receiving a shipment of clothing, only to have to return it all the next day. So frustrating! And, although I try to prevent it because I know it’s ridiculous, I always feel fatter if something is too tight. I’m trying to get over that because it’s self-destructive, but it’s a childhood issue that I’m trying to get past (at 50 years old!).
I’m 48 and still not past those childhood issues – they are really tough. *hugs*
This is so upsetting. I recently ordered some stuff from Catherine’s (I need more business-appropriate pants for my internship this January and theirs go up to size 34 — crossing my fingers that they’ll actually fit) and had been considering a few more things from Lane Bryant too. I usually take a size 28 minimum and while a lot of LB stuff no longer fits*, many of their tops, skirts, dresses, and non-fitted items still do. I have so few options out there as it is that I really fight with myself over the option of boycotting a company for any reason. But if LB is okay with offering a high-end line that doesn’t even cater to ALL of their CURRENT customer base (never mind the fact that I really think they should expand their range up to at least the same sizes as Catherine’s), I might just have to reconsider my policy. I’m planning in writing to both LB and Ascena about this and will be keeping an eye on the situation.
*Let’s not even get into discussions of whether or not the fashions suit me. I haven’t been able to make that kind of a thing a priority in YEARS.
I’ve been reading your blog for a while and haven’t commented yet. This one, oh yea, I’m commenting – because I TOTALLY agree. I stopped shopping at Lane Bryant a looonng time ago once I re-discovered Catherine’s and Roaman’s (online) – not to mention a few other places I have locally – good to live in a big city. Lane Bryant stopped caring about their customers a long time ago with ill fitting clothes and clothes clearly meant for the Forever 21 crowd – which is fine but the all they did was make the clothes with more fabric but no re-shaping for a larger figure.
Love your blog!
Might I suggest Roamans (roamans.com)? I have seen their clothing in sizes up into the 40’s. Their fashion tends to be more European based but that’s never been much of an issue for me personally. And the biggest bonus, there is rarely a control top to be seen!
In case any Germans read here too … I do shop almost all my clothes at sheego.de recently. Their clothes are affordable and they have lots of nice stuff that actually fits me (Eurpoean size 50). They have even super-wide boots … the first boots that go over my calves in years!
I also love the fact that they use actual customers wearing up to size 50/52 to showcase how their stuff looks on them!
I refuse to buy bras from LB now. I had gotten one on sale that I liked, and went online to see what else they had in that style, and I realized they were charging $10 more for F,G,H cups than they were for DDD and smaller. I do not like to support businesses that charge more based on an arbitrary size cutoff.
Abiandlois.com is one of my new favorites. Clothes are generously cut and she will happily custom make items for you. It is really evident to me that the lady who makes these clothes really understands what looks good on a fat body. She sells sizes up to a 6x, and her prices are ridiculously reasonable. We have purchased 6 tops from Abi&Lois so far and have loved each of them. Did I mention he does custom pieces at no additional cost? Customer service is prompt and personal. This shop just opened up its first physical location in Portland, OR but we have had no issues with online ordering. I believe they are having a 10% off deal right now, which makes me feel like I am paying Walmart prices for pieces that are sexy and/or work appropriate. It’s the type of place I really hope has long term success.
I thought I’d mention Plus Woman for mail/online clothes. Plus Woman is a little pricey but the clothes are well made, last practically forever (depending on what fabric you choose), you can choose from an assortment of options such as fabrics/colors,sleeve and necklines, garment length and everything is made to your order. They go up to 10X and all their models are truly plus sized.
For bras, Decent Exposures. They can make any size you need from several fabric options. They also offer casual clothes up to 4X.
I’ve also found some terrific items from Silhouettes – sweaters and jeans for example.
Yay for mentioning Decent Exposures!!! XD I found them here in Seattle and went in for a fitting – they are awesome and their customization is amazing. So comfortable! Their fitting guide online gives a lot of good general advice about how to find the right bra size and what certain fit problems mean.
Just My Size seems to have good selections and decent prices – I’ve ordered a bunch of bras from them ($15 each on sale) so we’ll see…
Still trying to find a “no bounce” sports bra that can handle my high impact dance class…
How about http://www.mizrak.com/catalog/index.php. There’s a fair bit of what i would term frumpy styles there (some due to the fabric choices) but there’s such a big range that you can usually find something decent for the office, or even something dressier, and they go up to size 15X, with a fair bit of customised options. Sorry if someone has already mentioned them, I haven’t quite scrolled through ALL the comments here yet.
Anyway, I really have a great deal of difficulty getting clothes that fit, as an extra plus size, very pear shape, and in Australia (not a lot within Australia, & shipping can be prohibitive from outside Australia). It really seems like entire plus size lines, and entire websites sell only clothes for “apple” type plus figures. and really all I require to accommodate my tremendously fat arse is a few styles that flare out enough below the waist!
That reminds me, Lotus in the Moonlight on eBay (http://stores.ebay.com/lotusinthemoonlight)is great for plus size clothes (“lagen look” and floaty styles, which personally I love), and a lot of styles that accommodate my pear shape!
And http://www.sanctuarie.net has some beautiful and sexy dressy items in sizes up to 9X.
We used to have a label called “Annaliese” (spelling may be different) here in Ausrtralia, that I loved. They had sophisticated and modern, flattering styles, but they disappeared a few years ago, along with their second label “Gypsy Girl” which was basically knock-offs of Holy Clothing. Oh well.
I just thought of another important gripe when buying clothes online: ACCURATE MEASUREMENTS FOR THE ACTUAL GARMENT YOU’RE BUYING!
Size charts aren’t 100% helpful as one dress may be cut to cling all the way up and down, and therefore match the size charts, while another dress might be cut to be loose in one or more places, and therefore might fit a larger measurement.
I notice Mizrak.com has the measurements for each garment in each size, which I love, and I wish they all did this.
On eBay too, when they’re often selling just one or two of an item of clothing, the seller really needs to put down the measurements of the garment for the key points (minimum of bust, waist and hips, but length and hem circumference would also help). SO important! I won’t buy stuff without those measurements now, as I’ve had so many disappointments.
Such a wonderful point! I used to sell on ebay and I always put every measurement that I could think of. That is the biggest gripe of mine about buying online. I need a lot larger top due to a large bust than I do in pants.
Well, I just thought I would join in on the Lane Bryant ranting! So a few weeks ago I went in and bought two l pair of jeans, I believe one pair was T3 technology boot cut size 24 and they were flattering BUT I was still, meh, they fit, and there jeans, they’ll do. Then I tried on the Genius fit Slim bootcut, OMG,it was if Heaven had opened its gates and for a brief moment I was in a state of Euphoria, I think I even heard the faint singing of angels in the distance. Well, today as I redeemed my “real woman bucks” or whatever the hell they are called, or TRIED to redeem I should say, all my warm and fuzzy feeling for Lane Bryant died–FOREVER! They had 2 pair of jeans in the whole friggin store that were a size 24, jeggings and straight leg. Ok, let’s try the jeggings they were too big and the size down too small, straight legs just didn’t fit me right, I’m tall and curvy and they just weren’t flattering, very thin material and both were in the $60-70 range! I asked the employees “when do you guys get a new shipment in of jeans?” and they replied “I dunno, we get shipments on Tuesdays and we dont know whats in it, and it usually takes us several days to put it out anyway.” What baffles me is employees who “dunno” shit about the place they work for, and this was a manager too! This place breaks my heart all the time, and like most of my bad relationships, I went right back for more!!!!!! Those glorious jeans I found were an exception to Lane Bryant’s overpriced, under quality, lack of selection clothes!!!! What’s a fat girl to do? SIgh.
Oh, can I just say how much the Lane Collection pissed me off? The sizing is WAY off, the pieces are obscenely expensive – and I can’t try them on first! I ordered two pieces in an effort to find something sassy for New Year’s Eve, and the sizing & shape of the top was just…. bad. Like a sequined sack. The skirt was HUGE, and yet the reviews on the website said that it ran small. I returned & reordered each in the next size down, only to find that the top was poorly proportioned and the skirt was still too big! *facepalm*
I’ve also given up on buying LB jeans. When they first had RightSize fitting, the yellow cut was perfect for me. Once the corporate games started, the cut & sizing changed and I was once again S.O.L. After making that discovery, I mentioned the change and how disappointed I was to the ladies behind the counter and heard “You know, you’re the fifth person today to say that!” Umm, doesn’t that tell you something?
I’m just… I dunno… fed up? Tired of it? Sick of being pushed into obscure, crowded areas of stores in the feeble attempt to find something to wear? Guess that’s why I’m learning to sew.
I am just as disappointed in Lane Bryant. A few years back I complained that they did not carry enough in size 14/16 and I felt that all the store associates were buying them up before customers got a chance. Their response was ‘we get what corporate sends us’. Apparently with no regard to their demographic? Also, I have been increasingly frustrated with their styles. Most of their dresses don’t compare to other sources in
the way they look, they often cinch at the waist when higher up under the ribs would be more flattering. I bought a pair of black pants for work out of desperation, but they are the most ‘grandma’ looking style pants I’ve ever worn. In addition it seems if you want a bra you need to be a 44-46 around to fit the cups. They really don’t carry anything for larger cups with a 38-40 band size. I’ve stopped going there for the most part. For summer, I like Old Navy dresses and shorts. Macy’s has been great for a few cocktail dresses.
Deb Shops are another good place for plus-size, trendy clothing – definitely cheap in terms of both cost and quality but every now and then you find a gem – I compare it to Old Navy.
If you live in the Western Pennsylvania/East Ohio area sorry – I didn’t realize they were a regional chain.
Ah I see, they ARE more widespread, but the website limits your search to 100 miles. Moderators feel free to exclude this and my previous comment 😉
OMG! how have i only just found your site ;)….i just decided to ban Lane Bryant for their “cut & paste” customer “service” responses….a little about me, I wear a size 22 top, 40g bra, & 12/14 bottom & like you am extremely confident & grateful for the voluptuous body that God has given me. The store that I’m favoring right now are Hips & Curves & Her Room. There may have been a time when Lane Bryant held a monopoly on plus size wear, that is fortunately no longer the case. The two above mentioned online stores have impeccable customer service & I’d highly recommend checking them out. I do not enjoy shopping online but because Lane Bryant does NOT carry very many size G cup size bras (in house & even online) I still have to shop online for them. Another scary fact is that I have had my bra measurement done in house at over 10 Lane Bryant stores & each time have been told I was a 40d, 40dd, 40ddd, & the worst one told me to just increase my band size to 42 so the cup will fit (yea Lane Bryant in case you didn’t know the band size is quite important because that is where the support from the bra comes from NOT the strap, yea they were a bit off because I wear a 40h or 40D5 (it’s no wonder 80% +/- of the population is wearing the WRONG size)…if you must buy a bra at Lane Bryant have a friend measure you & call their 1800 # they actually helped me find my Lane Bryant bra size (since each brand has different size scales, that’s why I always refer to my universal 40d5 size). Hope thus helps.
At Maurices (another store owned by the same company that owns Lane Bryant), they have been doing the same thing for years. Size 26W could be ordered online, but was not carried in store. I have ordered jeans and slacks from them online for about 10 years. This year, as I’ve looked for pants online, I noticed that they don’t seem to carry size 26 in any of their new product lines. I received a flyer in my mailbox recently that states they carry sizes 2-24. First they cut size 26 in store. Now it appears they’ve cut it completely. Some of the alternatives, like Cathetine’s and Cato seem to cater more to an older clientele. I wear size 26, but I’m not ready to wear frumpy clothing.