Aside from the Rack, Fashionable Reader, I am not really a plus size girl. However, I am the universal shopper for many of my friends. Which is to say, they all know that when in dire need I am available in any emergency ~ emotional, lifestyle, or physical ~ if a shopping jaunt is required. I have drawn up spreadsheets that correlate tops to bottoms for a stylistically-challenged beta reader. I have shopped for friends and partners who are too busy to do it themselves (and then returned the unwanted items). I also lived for five years with a plus size fashionista man.
Vintage is difficult to find in plus sizes for many reasons, one of which is that things are often tailored down as they are passed around. The end result is that what survives tends to be on the smaller end. Another reason is that stretch fabrics do not withstand washing so well as non-stretch. One of the things I would do is hunt for dresses in thrift stores that can become vintage with a little tailoring.
Since I am not an expert on shopping for plus size vintage I decided to call on a friend. Sarah and I have been BFFs for over 20 years. She's a gorgeous redhead who just happens to also be plus size. She is also a brilliant professional seamstress
. I put this question to her. Her response was as follows:
Finding vintage clothes in plus size is like catching lightening in a bottle; especially finding cheap vintage plus size. I've had decent luck on Ebay for retro fashion. But Ebay is getting harder to sell on so the selection is not as great as it used to be. Sometimes you can find nice things on Etsy too but you really have to troll both sites constantly to find awesome deals.
For actual vintage in plus sizes, the only online store I know of is Re/Dress NYC. They specialize in sizes 14 and up. (Gail notes to keep in mind that sizes have changed, I wear a size 10 in vintage size, sometimes a 12. My modern dress size is 4-8.)
For retro/mod/mid-century inspired new clothing, I like Domino Dollhouse and Pinup Girl Clothing. Domino Dollhouse carries only plus sizes and Pin Up Girl carries all sizes up to 3X. For nice boutique items that can have a vintage feel or flair to them, I like Lucie Lu ~ she carries only plus sizes from 1X to 5X.
Since your readership is [located] all over the place, it doesn't make sense to recommend specific brick and mortar stores but I can say that I've noticed more consignment stores are starting to carry plus sizes and sometimes you get lucky and find something fabulous.
If your readers are ever in SF try Vintage Expo, I think it happens twice a year. It doesn't specialize in plus sizes but it is a HUGE event and some of the vendors (at least 2 that I know of and probably more) do carry plus sized stuff. Excerpted from RedressNYC's site: "If you're in New York, plan to shop at The Big Fat Flea in May
(formerly known as The Fat Girl Fleamarket).
If you're near Boston, there is the Big Thrifty also in May She adds that Bust magazine published (Jan 2013) a list of 6 online stores that carry cute plus sized vintage-inspired clothes.
- RedressNYC.com - they used to be a brick and mortar store in Brooklyn specializing in plus sized vintage. Now they are strictly online and make their own repro-vintage. (Site can be slow to load.)
- Domino Dollhouse - based in CA, think Modcloth but more affordable and strictly plus sized.
- PinUpGirlClothing.com - their look is definitively mid-century retro-chic, think Rockabilly. Sizes XS to 2X.
- SimplyBe.com - carry sizes 10-28 in a mix of styles.
- BettiePageClothing.com - sizes from XS to 4X. Style is what you'd expect from their name. (But they are not cheap.)
- StopStaringClothing.com - retro-chic with some nice pieces that I haven't seen on these other sites. Their UI isn't the greatest but they seem to have quite the selection. Sizes XS to 2X.
So my sincere thanks to Sarah for the wealth of information.
In addition, I follow various bloggers who are plus size.
- Shelley of New Vintage Lady describes her blog as "vintage sewing for the stout woman." Her skill set is way beyond my own but she is an inspiration.
- The stunning Miss Amelia of Good Stuff Only occasionally ventures into vintage pin-up and rockabilly in her street style photo blog.
- There is also The Curvy Fashionista, her focus tends to be modern and trendy.
And here is an article from Plus Size Vintage
So there you have it, my darlings. I hope this has been of some help to you. Good luck in your quests and remember, if nothing else you can always accessorize with vintage and believe you me, this blog will come back around to talking accessories on more than one occasion.