Plus Size Clothes Shopping Tips

Posted by Jen Anderson on

Plus Size Clothes Shopping Tips

Shopping for plus size clothing has led to some of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I know you can relate. The sheer lack of options as recently as 15 years ago is wonderfully unthinkable now. But we still can't quite believe that shopping for clothes won't leave us exhausted and cranky. 

And those of us who are new to wearing plus sizes are completely flummoxed by the whole thing.

If we're shopping online, we have a dizzying array of choices. But shopping with a new-to-you brand means that you're taking a gamble. Is the garment well-made? Will it fit? It's a mystery until the unboxing.

woman wearing a navy maxi tank dress

Actual, physical stores may or may not have plus size clothes on site - even when they carry them online. A store that had plus size last month might not this month. It's one of those things that keeps changing according to...I don't know...signs and portents? It's certainly not based in logic. 

As part of our effort to get Vikki Vi back into stores, we'd like you to take a short survey. (I'll repeat the link at the end so you can keep reading if you'd like.)


I usually write about online shopping, but I have tips that apply to offline shopping as well.

Hydrate and Bring Snacks

It'll help you keep up your energy as you browse. If you're actually trying things on, you definitely need to bring along some water. Clothes shopping can be physically exhausting, even if you're shopping on a tablet on the couch. Treat it as the undertaking that it is.

woman wearing a modern floral print jacket

You Don't Have to Buy

Don't feel pressure to buy something just to justify the effort you've made. Yes, the boost you get from finding your new favorite top feels fantastic. But buying something that you're not in love with doesn't feel as good, and leaves you with something you're probably not going to wear.

Measuring Tapes Are Your Friends

Sure, knowing your measurements helps you interpret sizing charts. But they can also save you from lugging more into the dressing room than you have to. Don't just know your body's measurements - measure your clothes. The pieces that fit you well are an excellent guideline. Take a measuring tape with you to the store so you can measure the clothes while they're still on the hangar.

Dress For Your Body Shape

When you know which styles give your body room to breathe and move, you can quickly and easily reject pieces making it easier to find the pieces you actually want to consider. 

I've written about this topic so much that I've created an Ultimate Plus Size Guide to Dressing For Your Body Shape so I'll send you there rather than go into it here. 

woman wearing a black a line dress

Don't Get Too Excited About Specific Designers

I'll be honest - Betsy Johnson has released 5 plus size styles in her entire career and I own 2 of them. I'm only human. But I still picked the ones that work with my shape. 

I know there's a certain feeling of acceptance and belonging that comes with finding something from a big name brand that fits you. Just don't forget that "fits" isn't synonymous with "looks and feels great on me" or "I'm actually going to wear this."

Hold Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger to the same standards as random anonymous designers. 

Trust Your Instincts

If you're not sure about a piece of clothing, don't buy it. This isn't the 1980s. Plus size clothing isn't hard to come by. You'll come across something you can actually love without much effort. 

Tell Us What You Think

Do you shop for clothes in person? Wish that you could do it more often? Please let us know in our survey.


Check out our other plus size shopping tips.

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