Although things have improved dramatically, it can still be difficult to find fashionable clothes in plus sizes for younger women. Thanks to increased awareness among designers and shops, as well as specialty shops online, it's become easier, although there is still a long ways to go.
Finding Plus Sizes for Younger Women
If you talk to women who wore plus sizes when they were children or teens in the 1960s or 1970s, they will tell you humiliating stories of the "Chubbies" section of the department store, which was tucked as far away from the other clothes as possible. Besides feeling like a pariah for having to shop there, the clothes themselves were hideous - ugly dresses and tops that resembled tents. The message was clear: you didn't fit the mold of what was considered standard beauty, therefore you had no right to look good or, worse, feel good about yourself. As if junior high and high school weren't hard enough - plus size girls who couldn't make their own clothes had to stand out that much more.
Some clothes in plus sizes for younger women still trend towards the unflattering, such as jeans that manage to show nothing but bulges or T-shirts whose effects render you almost shapeless. But discount stores and better shops alike are taking note of the numbers of plus size teens and young women who are very fashion conscious and are serious about looking good every day and night. Many shops are simply including larger sizes with their other stock, so that a girl looking for trendy jeans will find a size 20 on the same rack as a size 2, rather than having to go to another section of the store. Or at least, there will be a Junior Plus section right next to the Juniors, so that there isn't far to go. This does a lot for a girl's self-confidence, as she can shop with teens of all sizes, rather than feel like an outcast.
Young Women's Plus Sizes Online
The Internet has been a big help to plus sized women of all ages as they shop for traditionally hard-to-find items such as swimwear, lingerie and wide shoes and boots. But it's also done a lot for women who want to find good clothes that are stylish and reasonably priced. You don't have to waste a lot of time trawling through department stores and malls looking for the larger sizes when, with a few clicks of the mouse, you have dozens of virtual racks to browse.
Before you start filling up the shopping cart, be aware that sizes can vary online much as they can in a shop (ever notice how you need a 16 in one brand but an 18 in another?). You should contact the store's customer service and ask them to give you measurements for the sizes. They should be able to tell you the bust, waist and hip measurements. However, if you find that you order something and it's not a good fit, most shops will be happy to arrange a straightforward exchange. Once you know your size on a particular site, you can then shop with ease.
Here's a short list of some online retailers who specialize in the young women's plus size market:
- One of the most popular online shops for younger women is Torrid, which carries great clothes, shoes, lingerie and accessories for teens and young women in sizes 12-26. The selection is great, the quality good and the prices very reasonable. They also have an excellent clearance section.
- Another popular online destination is LucieLu, which carries sizes up to 5x. Many of their clothes are similar to Torrid's, but there's enough difference to make it worth your time to browse.
It should be noted, too, that both sites use plus size models, so that you can get a real idea of what the clothes will look like.