Plus-size women have always been treated like second-class citizens who got stuck shopping in tiny out-of-the-way sections of department stores and with few places to invest in good clothing. Sure, if a plus-size woman wants to fish something unsightly out of a bin of cheap and ugly she has plenty to choose from. But for the woman who has good money to spend, the options are like a pyramid, the higher you go in price point, the fewer the choices she has. Not only do retailers give the more ample woman little to select, but the look of the pieces also seems to imply she was being punished for being her size. It’s a sad reality that the assumption is those who wear a larger size are poor, uneducated, and lacking in any taste. I wish I was making that up.
It could be a symptom of the pandemic or just a coincidence that I have been shopping for extended and plus-sized clothing more frequently in the past few months which has given me a reason to look more closely at what’s available to women who shop these sizes. And as I just said to a new client of mine who told me she was really happy with the selections I found for her, when you find the right clothes for your body and feel like you are really in control of your wardrobe, it’s easier to find comfort with wherever your body is at.
If you are a plus-size or on the cusp at a size 16 or 18, I am listing the professional plus-size clothing resources I have come to count on so that you too can feel like you have found the right clothes for your body.
WHERE TO FIND PREMIUM PLUS-SIZE PROFESSIONAL CLOTHING
- Foster Pants 2. Estuko Dress 3. Choe Top
The best thing M.M. Lafleur ever did was branch out into plus-size clothing. Their mastery of cutting at the size really puts them in a top position. It’s one thing to just cut clothing larger, it’s another to understand what happens to a woman’s body when she is in this size range. I am impressed by M.M. Lafleur’s understanding that some women gain and become an even curvier hourglass and some women gain in the middle. Not all brands that cut plus-size understand that.
- Adam Lippes Printed Cotton Voile Asymmetrical Dress 2. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Loren Balloon Sleeve Blouse 3. 11 Honoré Adora Blazer
When a client wears a size 16/18 and is in a position of leadership, the stakes are much higher. First, this client has the money to invest and as I said earlier, these pieces are much harder to find, which proves the connection society makes between lower-income and wearing larger sizes. This is why I love 11 Honoré which is a size-inclusive shopping site that for the first time ever, gives more women the option to experience the best designer clothing. Sizing starts at a 10 or 12 and the models photographed in the clothing are not thin women that force you to envision what the clothing will look like on you, they are women you can relate to. 11 Honoré carries brands like Jason Wu, Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, and Veronica Beard, to name just a few.
Not only does Marina Rinaldi make beautiful clothing but the brand, which is part of Max Mara empire, has been around since 1980 which really endears me to them because while other brands are new to the plus-size world, this luxury brand has been heeding the calls of these women who have an ample budget and nowhere to go for 40 years. Just like the Max Mara line, Marina Rinaldi is the place to go if you want to invest in a coat.
I only recently got to know the shopping site Navabi and it is now a must-shop destination. The most frustrating part of my job is when I can visualize a client’s style but can’t find the pieces I want. Navabi is a German-based company founded in 2009 that saw a gap in the premium plus-size market. Unlike many plus-size retailers that take a more utilitarian approach to fashion in this market, Navabi catered to the fashion that customers deserve. They realized when it came to trends, most plus-size brands were two years behind so they eventually created their own brand with clothing that is on-trend. Navabi ships internationally.
Many women don’t realize that Akris Punto sizes up to a size 18. While they don’t do plus-size, they cater to that often forgotten woman who wants to invest and falls into the cusp range. Admittedly, Akris Punto also cuts on the smaller size but they still represent luxury catering to an incredibly segment of the extended size market who so rarely can shop at the price point.
When a woman of a certain size is ready to invest in clothing, she often finds Lafayette 148 waiting for them with outstretched arms as the first brand willing to help her out. Lafayette 148 sizes up to a size 24 and boasts 58 different sizes in their line (this includes their petite range) and, uniquely, they also offer custom-sizing.
Gravitas is like my sleeper agent line that I forget about until I need it and then remember how grateful I am they exist. I came upon their line while shopping with a plus-size client at a department store and shop mainly on their site directly. Instead of sending shoppers to another part of the website, all sizes up to 26 can shop in the same place and they use something called Lifestyle Labeling which should come across as patronizing but manages not to. Their clothing comes with shapewear built right in.
Every woman of a certain size knows Eileen Fisher. As with most brands, you have to love the look of Eileen Fisher styled clothing and as I have aged I have learned to appreciate it more. Somehow, Eileen Fisher manages to make their body styles even look good on me and my hourglass figure. In fact, I am wearing a pair of their twill joggers as I write this. In addition to their ethical and sustainable practices, I have become obsessed with their Renew Program where you can get gently worn pieces for a fraction of the price.
In addition to Vince’s pieces typically being generous is cut, their extended sizes go up to a size 3X which makes the brand so covetable. It’s rare that a “cooler” brand pays much attention to the plus-size range (Theory is trying by recently increasing their sizing to 16) and it’s refreshing to know that a woman of any size can wear Vince’s modern, cuts, stunning blouses, and easy looks.
SUBSCRIBE TO BRIDGETTE'S WEEKLY STYLE UPDATES
RECEIVE A FREE WARDROBE CAPSULE BUILDER GUIDE WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE
Another possible resource to add to your comprehensive list might be https://gabriellecarlson.com who does custom sizing in NYC.
Thanks, Anne! I did not know about them and will check it out now. Thanks!
I just looked at the site today and saw that the range is reduced now. In the past, there were more jackets/skirts/trousers. Perhaps they will be on offer again as the opening continues.
Bridgette, can you doa similar post for petite women? It is so hard to find “designer” clothing in petite sizes. Lafayette is great, and Talbots, JCrew, and other mall brands do petite. But for interesting and beautiful clothing, it is tough! and lots of women are 5’4″ or shorter–the average height in the US is 5’4″! So why the dearth of options? Saks and Neimans don’t even bother with this as a category. Lately, plus sizes are getting all the attention,and petite is left behind. Thanks!
Hi Susan, I have done a post on this in the past. https://www.bridgetteraes.com/2018/04/17/the-slim-petite-shopping-guide/ I agree, petite is equally challenging. Another issue that makes it difficult for petites is glamour sizing. The bigger they scale up clothing, the more challenging it can be for women who actually need petite clothing.
MM Lafleur recently announced that they are not doing plus sizes anymore. Well, they didn’t exactly blare it from the rooftops, customers noticed that their plus size offerings were scant to none, and complained. The announcement came at that point.
Ugh, well that just sucks. Thanks for the update. I don’t know how I missed that. So absolutely ridiculous.
These are really beautiful selections! Those Navabi picks are AWESOME.
Navabi has been a great find!
Just spotted some Lafayette 148 blazers in limited sizes in black and periwinkle on TJ Maxx Runway:
Here’s another one in a double-breasted style in “Teak.” Looks like it retailed for close to $800 in regular sizes at Saks.