Did you know that the average dress size in the UK is a 16? Although this is within the realm of off-the-hanger ‘normal’ dress sizes of 6 to 18, it’s difficult to believe that if you’re even a size or two bigger than the national average, your plus size fashion choices can become extremely limited.
I’m a big girl, a size 20 to be exact, and I’m happy with how I look. Should I lose weight for health reasons? Yes, being overweight isn’t good for me, and I’m doing my bit to improve my health. Should I lose weight for aesthetic reasons, or to fit better into societies definition of beautiful? Hell no.
I’m fiercely passionate about loving the skin you’re in. Regardless of shape, skin colour, hair colour, height, and all of the other things on the list of things we, as people, worry about. It’s taken me an awful long time to get to this point, but I’ve never felt more confident and one of my favourite things to do is clothes shop.
Trying to be Plus Sized and Fashionable
These two things should not be mutually exclusive, but for so long, they really have been. I remember never being able to shop in actual retail outlets in my late teens, because the largest size on the rack was an 18. There were a small handful of shops that offered a plus size section; New Look and Dorothy Perkins for example, but they were dreadful.
If you’re on the bigger side yourself, you know what I’m talking about. The large oversized jumpers, the boot cut jeans, and basically everything being in black. These ‘fashion’ brands basically gave me the option to buy ugly and overly expensive clothes in their shop, or go online.
Now of course, since then, the world has changed and actually more of us than ever shop online almost entirely. This has paved the way for many new brands to launch and become real front-runners in the fashion industry, without a single high street store. The great news is that some of these brands have recognised a need for attractive, stylish, better-fitting and affordable plus sized clothing, and some of them do a fantastic job of it. Here’s the list of my favourites.
One of the lesser-known brands on this list started out as a market stall in East Anglia, and has grown to 160 stores in the UK and an impressive online shop to boot. Yours Clothing is an entirely plus size brand, instead of an extension of an existing line, meaning they focus solely on just plus sized fashion.
Their materials are good quality and far from the kind of clothing that will need replacing frequently. With that comes a reasonable price tag, but they’re not what I would describe as ‘cheap’ – that said, I never mind paying that bit extra for quality and you do find that with Yours Clothing.
I think my favourite part of their lines is the suitability for larger sizes. Instead of just being available in sizes 18-34, they’re designed for sizes 18-14, with flattering shapes for all body types. I can only see Yours growing from strength to strength, as their fashion lines seem to be continuously improving and diversifying.
I know it seems an obvious choice, and I know I’m not teaching you a new brand with ASOS, but I cannot write a list of the best plus sized fashion brands and not include their Curve range. Probably the widest choice of clothing in this entire list, there’s literally thousands pieces to choose from.
Similarly priced to Yours Clothing, you can expect to pay anywhere between £30-£50 for a decent dress, but they of course have cheaper summer dresses, and more expensive evening ones. I have a real appreciation of how stylish ASOS make plus sized clothing, and an even bigger appreciation for the images and models they use.
ASOS were one of the first brands to start using unfiltered images with no air brush in site. For the first time we saw models with cellulite, scars and muffin tops and and it’s started an absolutely wonderful movement across the fashion industry. That, alongside their endless selection of clothes in a wide range of sizes are the main reasons for selecting ASOS for this article.
Manchester-based Boohoo is part of a bigger family of fashion brands, also including the likes of PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal. It’s worth saying that Boohoo is very much targeted at the younger audience of 16-30 year olds, and I’m already pushing the upper limit of that bracket. There are some things that make me stop and think ‘people wear that?’ but that’s probably my age talking.
Boohoo have made the list for one main reason; their prices. There are some absolute bargains to be had, as in true DFS style, there’s almost always a sale on. You can get a decent day or night dress for under £20 and that would probably be at the dearer end. Just bear in mind that these clothes are not a long term investment and won’t last as long as other higher quality brands, but if you need something cheap and delivered quickly, Boohoo is a good option.
Having said that, I do have a few criticisms of Boohoo that I feel it’s only right to share. The main one being that their stock of sizes is very limited at times. This is likely because of the sales and low prices, but the amount of things I come across that have a maximum size of 24 is unbelievable. Also, their ‘plus sized models’ are no larger than a size 12. Enough said.
For me, Dorothy Perkins is one of the most underrated plus size fashion lines out there. They’ve graced our high streets for many years, but their extensive online range in larger sizes is not to be missed. Particularly good for office and work clothing, the quality is above and beyond any other in this list, but so are the prices.
You will pay upwards of £60 for a decent work dress, and when compared to the others in this list, Dorothy Perkins is expensive. Ranging from sizes 18-28, with plenty of choice and great quality material makes it worth the price tag in my opinion, and if you’ve never considered Dorothy Perkins for clothes, I would definitely start doing so.
Affordable Plus Size Fashion Made a Reality
Once upon a time, buying clothes in larger sizes used to be a pretty expensive option. Brands like Evans exist entirely for larger women, and charge twice the amount of any other high street clothing brands. Alternatively, plus size lines in ‘standard’ shops would be substantially more expensive than the rest.
The rise of the online shop and tough competition resulted in fashion becoming much more affordable for the larger population, as well as providing a much wider choice. Now with the introduction of additional payment methods like Klarna and ClearPay, the fashion industry is working hard to make clothing purchases more obtainable for people of all sizes and budgets.