Plus size women tend to be extremely loyal to their favorite brands. That's because it takes a lot of trial and error (and money) to discover your favorites. We've all been let down by pricey yet cheaply made clothes that don't fit properly. In the past 12 years or so, our plus size clothing options have expanded. But since most of that involves online-only brands, it can feel like those options don't actually exist.
When we need to buy something our usual brands don't make, or we feel like experimenting, it can be an arduous process. If we could shop in person, we can feel the fabric and look at the seams to judge the quality. Yet shopping online may actually make it easier to tell if a brand's clothes are high quality.
Do a Google
Let's say you need a new plus size bathing suit. So you Google "plus size swimwear" or something similar and get an overwhelming amount of options. The next step is to scroll until you find a brand you'd like to know more about. So then you search for the brand name and see what people have to say about them.
Bloggers and Instagram influencers often discuss fit and quality. Social media may also offer useful information. Product reviews can be helpful, especially if the customers mention that they're devoted to a brand. Repeat business indicates good quality.
Mind you, everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has a useful opinion. They may have different criteria than you do. For example, "too expensive" can mean that a brand costs more than the quality merits, or it can mean that it's too expensive for that person's budget, or it can mean that they've been let down so much that they've sworn not to spend more than an arbitrary amount on a piece of clothing. So you'll need to read several posts and reviews before making up your mind.
Visit the Brand's Website
Does the website feature lots of details about the clothes? More is better. Are the models twisted into weird poses? That could indicate that the clothes are boxy or shapeless. If the people who design the clothes can't make them look good in photos, that's a red flag.
Brand vs. Retailer
You know that they're different, but you may not have considered how you can use this difference to expand your options. For example, Plus by Design is the place to buy Vikki Vi, but we also carry other brands like La Cera and Caribe. Their sizing may be different from Vikki Vi's, and they don't use our signature fabrics so you need to pay attention to all the product details. But Danielle wouldn't stock anything that wasn't up to her standard. So you can trust that those other brands are good quality.
Now let's say that you need some clothes that we don't have, like swimwear or active wear. You can Google those other brands to see where else they're available. A website that sells a brand that you know is high quality is likely to carry other brands that are also trustworthy.
Take a Leap of Faith
Eventually, you're going to have to jump in and order something. If you're unsure about quality, start by ordering just one piece. Shopping the sales may make you more comfortable about trying a new-to-you brand.
Obviously, this is not the way to buy something you need to wear in 5 days. Buying clothes you'll love takes time. You don't have to make a big project out of it, but maybe do a little browsing here and there so that you're not shopping under a time crunch.