Everyone goes through the struggle of shopping for clothes, but it’s even more of a challenge for plus-sized women. Not a lot of stores carry plus sizes on hand so rather than face constant disappointment and waste valuable time, these women turn to online shops to make the search more bearable.
In fact, a survey by Bustle shows that around 68% of plus-sized women prefer to shop online. Not only are their options more limited in-stores, but many retailers offer poor designs at high prices – and since it’s the only option, they’ll have no choice but to buy them.
So, here’s a guide to help you choose that perfect piece of clothing to add to your ever-growing wardrobe.
Know your measurements
If there’s one step you can’t skip when searching for clothes online, it’s checking your measurements. Many make the mistake of “estimating” their measurements, which can lead to a lot of wasted money on clothes that will never fit. To measure yourself properly, you’ll want to cover your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips.
Don’t pull the tape too much – it has to be a little loose to give yourself a little bit of leeway. Make sure you also take note of how long portions of the garments are (like the length of dresses and pants) to help you visualize how it’ll look on you.
Pay attention to quality
Just because online shopping finally gives you a wide variety of products to choose from, it doesn’t give you the excuse to buy whatever you fancy. Just like regular shopping, you need to discern which clothes are of good quality, and which ones aren’t. Woman Within has a selection of button-down shirts that are tailored specifically for plus-sized women looking for quality-made products.
Everything from the specific fabrics the brand uses to their detailed listings, allow women to feel more confident when they invest in products that they know will add value to their wardrobes and are customized to their specific needs. As a rule of thumb, try to go for retailers who are transparent and willing to answer every query you have.
Reviews are important
One advantage of online shopping over local stores is customer feedback. Being able to read the comments of people who have purchased the product before is very useful, and can save you a lot of time and money.
A tip is to pay more attention to the reviews of women whose body type, weight, and measurements are close to yours for more accurate insights. After purchasing, if you’re satisfied with what you got, be sure to leave a review of your own – it’ll help other buyers who are on the same customer journey as you.
Take your time
Unlike the urgency that comes with shopping in-store, you can take your time when browsing online. No need to go through the trouble of going back to a store, only to find out someone else has bought it. With online shopping, don’t rush and impulsively click that “add to cart” button. Research, research, research!
Understand the return policy
Before making a purchase, make sure to understand the retailers’ return policy. For instance, Modcloth has a fantastic free return policy, which makes online shopping much easier to trust. If it doesn’t fit, then they offer a money back guarantee.
As a heads up, most online retailers offer full refunds only within 30 days, so make sure to try on your new garment the moment it arrives, so you don’t have to worry about going over the returns period.
Take it to the tailors
When you go over the return period, don’t worry – that’s what tailors are for. You’ll need to shell out some extra money, but getting clothes altered to fit your body can be rewarding. Sometimes it’s cheaper to order clothing on sale that are a little off measure (better if it’s bigger than smaller – that way the tailor will have more fabric to work with) and have it altered. There’s also the fuzzy feeling of owning something that’s uniquely yours.
Exclusivity is a struggle we’ve only begun to understand. Gone are the days where models were overly thin and tall. In fact, this “tall and thin” stereotype only represents around 5% of the American population. Although we’ve got a long way to go, there are plenty of initiatives that bring us closer to a more diverse and inclusive industry.
Recently, there’s been a growing number of body-positive brands popping up. For example, Rihanna offers a plethora of plus-sized clothes through her recent Fenty Fashion Line, a collection created to accommodate around 36 different body types. This is also true for plus size retailers like Premme, Zelie For She, and Proud Mary — the list goes on!
After all, beauty never comes in one standard look. To see real change, brands, customers, and designers alike must come together to redefine it – and it starts by making every woman feel like they have a choice.