The availability of plus-size clothes has increased, but the options are still limited. Why is it still so hard to find larger clothes at your favorite store?
Great news for H&M fans: You can now buy clothes from H&M online! Not so great news: Good luck finding much if you’re above a size 12! Jezebel pointed out that the plus size selections for the popular retailer were nice but incredibly limited compared to their “regular” sized counterparts. So I checked out H&M’s plus-size section, and I’ve gotta say that I’m really disappointed: There was a grand total of 50 articles of plus-size clothing–dresses, tops, pants, and tights–some of which weren’t even available for purchase yet. Let’s compare that to the 156 items in the regular-sized tops section of H&M’s site alone.
(Related: What Is My Actual Size In 10 Popular Stores?).
When it comes to major clothing retail chains, it’s pretty hard to find clothes that are made with larger bodies in mind. And when these stores do, in fact, have plus-size options, it’s rarely as varied as everything else. That’s not to say that things haven’t improved. As little as five years ago, any plus-size options in most stores seemed to be a lot uglier than the other clothes in the store. It was a bit like bra shopping: The larger the bra size, the more beige and ugly your options become.
Luckily things have changed for the better since then. Now, many plus-size clothes are way more stylish and less matronly looking. For example, H&M’s plus-size options are actually really cute. Even Forever 21′s plus-sized clothes usually look exactly like the rest of the clothes sold in their store, just bigger.
So yeah, it’s not a desolate wasteland when it comes to plus-sized clothing. But are these stores going to do anything about the lack of variety and significantly smaller stock? Are plus-sized girls supposed to feel grateful that they can buy clothes at their favorite store in the first place and stop complaining? Are they supposed to feel appreciative of the fact that H&M doesn’t shame their figures like Abercrombie and Fitch does?
Well, I hope that’s not the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
It’s important for girls to feel like they can walk into a store and find something that actually fits. Sure, most things we wear these days don’t fit as well as they could because we rarely have our clothes tailored, but let’s be real: Smaller girls have a much easier time finding clothes that fit, period.
I’m tall with a pretty large bust, and, while they’re nothing to call home about, I have pretty decent-sized hips. I’m currently floating between a size 10-14 depending on the store or brand, but finding clothes that fit properly can be a pain. Depending on the material, I can usually fit in the largest sizes at stores without plus-size lines, like American Apparel or Urban Outfitters. But sometimes plus size apparel is a safer option for me: If there is an XL available, I’ll go for that over the size large in a heartbeat. But what about girls who don’t have the privilege to rely on plus-size clothes as a style preference? What about girls who are tired of only relying on Old Navy and Torrid for their wardrobes and wish they could just stroll into the nearest Urban and buy an overpriced t-shirt without feeling alienated?
Don’t get me wrong; like I said, there are some retailers who are looking out for plus-size ladies. I’ve already referenced H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, and Torrid, but other options include Target and even Mod Cloth, which is awesome if you love vintage-style clothing. However, I think that one of the coolest sources for plus-sized clothing is ASOS Curve; they have such a large selection, the sizes range from a US 14-24 (UK 18-28), and the clothes are actually really great.
But still, relying on a handful of stores to offer clothing to girls and women who have larger frames is really absurd. I just hope that in the very near future, we can walk into our favorite store, look at the size tag of a really cute dress and head straight to register instead of putting it away with a dejected sigh.
What do you think about the availability of plus-size clothing? If you’re plus-sized, what are your favorite places to shop? Tell us in the comments!