25 Plus-Size Shops That Aren’t Fast Fashion
Independent fashion retail, like many industries, has been hit hard by the pandemic, with many businesses like Sies Marjan, Need Supply, Totokaelo, Cushnie, and Bird in Brooklyn forced to close doors in the last year. That’s why supporting small businesses is essential right now. This is especially true for shops that cater toward plus-size shoppers, a major segment of the U.S. population — 67% of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or up — that is rarely the fashion industry’s focus of attention. That said, finding small, plus-size clothing retailers to shop from can be a daunting task, leading many to default to fast fashion instead. One look at Twitter confirms this, with many people asking their followers this question: Where are all the plus-size clothing brands that aren’t fast fashion? One of them is Guadalupe “Lupe” Soto, a 22-year-old woman from Anaheim, California, who in December tweeted asking for small brand recommendations: “I wanna support more plus-sized businesses cause I don’t really see many and I wish I did as a plus-size gal myself.”“I prefer to shop small businesses for environmental purposes, [because] fast fashion brands contribute to climate change, as well as worker exploitation,” Lupe tells Refinery29. “This year I tried my best to refrain from fast fashion and have been shopping for clothes from thrift shops and secondhand stores.”Since the pandemic began, many people similarly have chosen to re-evaluate their consumption habits and educate themselves on the environmental waste and unethical practices that are tied to fast fashion corporations. But given how few brands cater to plus-size women, giving up fast fashion, which is also affordable, is not easy for anyone above a size 14. Still, many are not deterred. “Moving forward, I know I want to put my money in the pockets of people who really need it and small brands that exemplify everything I stand for,” says Lupe.With that in mind, we compiled a list of our go-to indie shops — some that sell new items, others vintage, including Lupe’s Depop store. Ahead, 25 plus-size brands and retailers to support now. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.BAACALNamed after Lauren Bacall, a movie star in the ’40s known for breaking the rules, BAACAL is a fashion brand with the same against-the-status-quo mentality. Designed by Cynthia Vincent, the brand offers high-end fashions in sizes 10 to 22, which they say is the “true majority.” “I wanted to make a brand from my point of view; where I ‘fit’ into fashion,” Vincent said in a press release. “It was incredibly difficult to find high-quality investment pieces beyond a size 12. Knowing that the average American woman is a size 16, I wanted to create a brand for women like me.” BAACAL Maxi Wrap Dress, $, available at BAACALBerriezEmma Zack founded her Brooklyn-based online vintage shop Berriez after years of struggling to find clothing that fit both her aesthetic and her body type. At a young age, she fell in love with secondhand clothing, though she realized soon after that plus-size vintage fashion was hard to come by. In an effort to give women like her more options, she started Berriez, where she specializes in sourcing previously owned items specifically for plus-size women. Vintage Floral Dress, $, available at BerriezChromatUtilizing her background in architecture, designer Becca McCharen-Tran founded Chromat in 2010 with the intention of crafting swimwear (and more) that’s both sustainable and inclusive. With fit at the core of everything McCharen-Tran designs, you can guarantee that your Chromat swimsuit will fit as well on you as it does on the wide range of models that appear on the brand’s website and at its NYFW runway shows. Chromat Bustier Suit, $, available at ChromatCopper Hive VintageSalt Lake City’s Copper Hive Vintage was founded by Jacqueline Whitmore — Chubby Dust Bunny on Instagram — a self-described “fat boss babe” who’s obsessed with vintage clothing. For her store, she curates vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories with size inclusivity in mind. Vintage Vintage 1940s Sheer Nelly Don Pastel, $, available at Copper Hive VintageCopper Union ApparelWith a focus on fit and fabric, Copper Union Apparel designs pieces for women sizes 12 to 34, paying specific attention to plus-size “industry standards,” so as to ensure that when shoppers order their size, their size is the one they receive. As for their offering, the pieces sold at Copper Union range from leopard print T-shirt dresses to slouchy overalls. Oh, and they sell handmade face masks, too. Copper Union Apparel Esther Overalls, $, available at Copper Union ApparelCoyanFounded by creative consultant Lucas Zunz, luxury fashion brand Coyan offers made-to-order gowns and caftans, up to size 24, in an array of vibrant colors and luxurious fabrics. Though on the pricier side, Coyan’s occasionwear will be a highlight of your closet for years to come.Coyan Made-To-Order Seta Gown in Orange, $, available at CoyanHenningFounded by plus-size fashion editor and model Lauren Chan — you might recognize her from Christian Siriano’s runway shows — Henning is a luxury brand that Chan started after years of feeling “on the fringe” in the fashion industry because of her size. Focused on high-quality staples, the brand specializes in wardrobe essentials like blazers, coats, and silk dresses. Henning Classon T-Shirt, $, available at HenningHey MavensHey Mavens is a plus-size lingerie brand that offers fun, handmade undergarments that founder Annika Chaloff believes have “the power to influence how you feel,” according to her website.Hey Mavens Slime Green Bra, $, available at Hey MavensImpish LeeImpish Lee, founded by sisters Noelle Lee Ventresca and Kali Taylor Ventresca, is a customizable lingerie brand designed to provide women with intimates that fit them right, no matter what size they are.Impish Lee Mimi Playsuit, $, available at Impish LeeJibriStarted by Atlanta-native Jasmine Elder in 2006, Jibri is a line dedicated to providing women — size 10 to 28 — with an array of stylish options ranging from chic caftans to cozy loungewear. Fans of Jibri include Tess Holiday, Gabourey Sidibe, and Toccara. JIBRI Two-Tone Maxi Cocoon Dress, $, available at JibriLoud BodiesPatricia Luiza Blaj founded her ethically made clothing brand Loud Bodies as a solution to the fashion industry’s inclusivity problem. Whether you’re tall, petite, plus-size, or need adaptive clothing, Loud Bodies has something on-trend that will fit your specific sartorial needs. But in the off-chance that you can’t find anything in your size, the brand will custom make items that are — for free. Loud Bodies Venus Layered Dress, $, available at Loud BodiesLupe SotoSoto’s Depop shop has a little bit of everything, from colorblocked T-shirts and corduroys to delicate blouses and mini skirts — all of which are secondhand and sourced with plus-size women in mind. SheIn Pink Gingham See-Through Baby Doll Top, $, available at DepopLuvsick PlusChicago-based vintage obsessee Britteny Riordan founded her secondhand shop Luvsick Plus as a way of sharing her passion for finding vintage items for all body types with the world. Camo pants, plaid skirts, grandpa sweaters, and more — Riordan has an eye for finding on-trend pieces for everyone. Luvsick Plus The Vincent Pants, $, available at Luvsick PlusMore Than Your AverageLocated in Washington D.C., More Than Your Average was founded by Mya O. Price. It boasts stylish options ranging from plaid slip skirts to ‘80s-inspired power suits. More Than Your Average Statement Flared Plaid Skirt, $, available at More Than Your AveragePaint By Shawn Denise“I wanted to create a brand [where] curvy women could find a one-of-a-kind piece for the perfect event, night on the town, or even an everyday look,” Paint by Shawn Denise founder and designer Shawn Denise writes on her website. As such, her brand, which was founded in 2013, offers everything from mini dresses to pantsuits, for women sizes 12 to 34. Paint By Shawn Denise Ha’lesha Dress, $, available at Paint By Shawn DeniseParadeCami Tellez, the co-founder and CEO of size-inclusive intimates brand Parade, is on a mission to “rewrite the American underwear story in full-spectrum color,” Parade’s website states. To do so, her team communicates directly with customers to make exactly what they want in a pair of underwear available. The result? Underwear that fits every body type, is wildly comfortable, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It’s also modeled on a diverse array of people, so there’s always someone who looks like you on Parade’s social media and website, as well as in their ad campaigns. Parade Silky Mesh Hip Hugger, $, available at ParadePari PassuShanna Goldstone founded Pari Passu, which in Latin, translates to “equal in all respects,” after helping actress Melissa McCarthy launch her clothing brand. After researching the market with McCarthy, she realized the often subpar options plus-size women have when shopping for clothing. In turn, Goldstone decided to change that, by designing plus-size clothing using a proprietary fit system that takes shape into account. The result? Minimal fashion items that fit as close to perfect as possible without them being custom-made.pari passu Jenn Robe, $, available at Pari PassuPlus BKLYNFrom brand new items to vintage and consignment pieces — all of which range between size 14 and 26, with select styles up to 32 — there’s something for everyone’s unique aesthetic at Plus BKLYN, one of New York City’s largest retailers specializing in plus-size fashion. Vintage Spring Front Pleat Floral Dress XL, $, available at Plus BKLYNThe Plus BusBased in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park, The Plus Bus is a mecca for new and secondhand fashions for plus-size women who want access to stylish clothing at an affordable price. Founders Jen Wilder and Marcy Guevara-Prete launched their business in 2015, first showing up at vintage fairs and flea markets in L.A., before opening their brick-and-mortar store a year later. Vintage Pink and Yellow Plaid Pleated Skort, Size 3X, $, available at The Plus BusSeaux & SeauxSeaux & Seaux is a New Orleans-based boutique that caters specifically to women sizes XL to 3X. With monochrome co-ords, jumpsuits, corsets, and more, Seaux & Seaux features an impressive selection of on-trend pieces. Seaux & Seaux Cheetah Sista Mesh Corset, $, available at Seaux & SeauxSmart Glamour Mallorie Dunn, a part-time professor at Parsons in New York City, founded Smart Glamour after graduating from both FIT and Pratt. Her inspiration for the brand stemmed from conversations she had surrounding body image issues and the lack of representation of women, femmes, and non-binary folks in the media, according to her brand’s website. On her site, users can shop based on specific models, which allows them to see what each item looks like on different body types. Smart Glamour also offers virtual try-ons for $15.Smart Glamour The Tommy Scuba Wide Leg Suit Pant, $, available at Smart GlamourSmash ShoesStarted as a solution to the footwear industry’s lack of options for women who wear sizes 10 and up, Smash Shoes offers versatile shoe options, from over-the-knee boots to strappy sandals, to a segment of shoe shoppers that often get forgotten. Smash Shoes Dale Sandals, $, available at Smash ShoesTamara MalasTamara Malas is insistent that brands shouldn’t just be size-inclusive, sustainable, or ethical — they should be all three, and then some. Using high-quality, sustainably sourced fabrics, the brand, which offers sizes 10 to 32, creates bold and luxurious pieces for daring dressers, all from NYC. Tamara Malas Oxbow Sweater, $, available at Tamara MalasTuesday of CaliforniaBased in Los Angeles, Tuesday of California is a brand dedicated to offering people of all sizes — the brand makes sizes XXS to 7X — the opportunity to shop ethically made and environmentally friendly clothing items. Tuesday of California Slip Dress, $, available at Tuesday of CaliforniaZelie For SheZelie For She designer Elann Zelie creates limited-run and trend-forward items for women sizes 14 to 24, with every item designed and produced in Los Angeles. Zelie for She Sunday Kind Of Love Dress, $, available at Zelie for SheLike what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Plus-Size Bridesmaids Need More Dress OptionsHere’s Why I Prefer Clothing Swaps To Shopping NewWhy Are Boots For Plus-Size Women So Hard To Find?