In 1904, widowed seamstress Lena Bryant began making maternity clothing out of a storefront she rented for $12.50 a month, including a stretch waistband dress that would launch her into the echelons of retail royalty. A bank officer managing her business account misspelled her name as “Lane,” hence the beginning of Lane Bryant’s longtime domination of the plus-size apparel world.
113 years later, plus-size clothing options are often still frustratingly limited, be it in terms of size, style, or in-store availability — but luckily for fashionable plus-size folks, the market is steadily becoming more competitive.
Below is our list of the best places to shop for plus-size clothing online, broken down by category, from basics that’ll come in under $50 to the upscale designers. Did we miss your favorite? Leave it in the comments, or pop by the Racked Lounge on Facebook and tell us more.
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Rebdolls: This size-inclusive brand offers a ton of body-conscious dresses, jumpsuits, and separates in all different prints and colors, perfect for wearing with OTT accessories. They’re soft, they’re comfy, and they’re generally well under $50.
Old Navy: The affordable retailer offers cute casual pieces and workwear (including many of the same styles made in straight sizes), and even offers a “shop by shape” option, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Rue 107: This size-inclusive brand offers playful pieces (including swimwear) in bright solids and vibrant prints reflective of its Haitian and NYC-based roots.
Universal Standard: The originator of the luxury plus-size capsule wardrobe, Universal Standard offers architectural pieces in materials like cashmere, French crepe, Peruvian jersey and alpaca, and beautiful vegan leather. It even has a “starter kit” to make being fabulous even easier.
Best Under $100
Solid pieces that won’t break the bank.
Warp + Weft: Premium denim under three digits? Amazing. Premium denim under three digits up to size 24? Even better. Now if they'd just expand to include sizes 26 and up, they'd be unstoppable.
GS Love: Like a Forever 21, Boohoo, or Charlotte Russe in terms of price (roughly $15 to $50) and simultaneous interpretations of every single trend you could ask for; think romantic, sporty, hippie, and goth lite, all under one roof.
S.W.A.K: Think quality weekend wear and office-appropriate duds. The company’s name, an acronym for “Sealed With A Kiss,” seems accurate — it’s the only large-ish company I’ve ever seen cast a whole campaign of people who are size 20 and above, and its pieces are reviewed well and often (along with a helpful and affirming “see this on customers like you” photo gallery).
Addition Elle: From ruffles and florals to shredded denim and biker-inspired details, this Canadian brand (that ships to the US) is a swell choice for punk rockers and princesses alike.
eShakti: This made-to-measure, direct-to-consumer brand offers an almost disconcerting amount of styles, color options, and even modifications like altered sleeves and necklines, with prices mostly in the $40-$75 range.
Retailers offering a range of labels for different aesthetics.
Navabi: Think Nordstrom, only in sizes 10 to 34. In addition to carrying brands like the romantic Manon Baptiste and sculptural Zedd Plus, Navabi works with plus-size bloggers and models on special collaborative collections.
Target: Target doesn’t have the perfect track record with plus-size customers, but it’s still one of the most affordable places to get stylish pieces above a size 12. The retailer has worked with plus-size bloggers on its Ava & Viv line, and it offers inclusively sized collections from labels like Who What Wear and Victoria Beckham.
ASOS: While pieces from ASOS’ own collections vary widely in quality, the mega-retailer is still worth visiting for hard to find/ship names like the UK’s One One Three and Monki, which is not officially plus but great for in-betweenies.
Solid standbys for when you need something, like, yesterday.
Torrid: From a beloved denim line to on-trend separates and dresses and pretty, cozy underthings, Hot Topic’s sister shop (which does still stock plenty of gear for your chosen fandom) has really grown up.
Eloquii: Like Torrid, Eloquii isn’t the absolute cheapest you’ll find — but the range of options and sizing, as well as the quality, is well worth the price (both have frequent sales, anyway). Eloquii offers beautiful pieces for work or cocktail hour and is even working to develop specific collections for different body shapes.
ModCloth: Retro styles, novelty prints, and more for the adorkable plus-size gal in your life. Since its acquisition by Walmart earlier this year, the site seems to have reverted to marking its plus sections as such, rather than the “extended sizes” labeling it adopted in 2015 in response to customer feedback.
Small brands and shops for plus-size people, by plus-size people.
Premme: While perhaps not quite as indie as some other brands on this list, Premme (a portmanteau of "premium" and "femme") is, at its heart, a love letter from plus-size women, to plus-size women. Following their work on Target's Ava +Viv brand, bloggers Nicolette Mason and Gabi Gregg created their own line of playful separates and dresses up to size 30 — exactly as you'd expect from two ridiculously stylish intersectional feminists.
Chubby Cartwheels: From bralettes to fishnets to fully sheer pieces, Shawna Farmer breaks all the plus-size fashion rules (and at shockingly affordable prices for an indie maker).
Zelie for She: Some designers are notable for iterating on a signature aesthetic season after season. Not the case with master of reinvention Elann Zelie, whose several past collections bring to mind everything from Nasty Gal and Shop Jeen to Anthropologie and Lilly Pulitzer (you know, without the fat-shaming baggage).
Flaws of Couture: From bloggers Garcia Marie and Sashagai Renee Ruddock comes Flaws of Couture, which is unique both in its streetwear aesthetic (because no, not all big girls want to wear fit-and-flares) and in its brazen fat positivity — a very necessary combination.
PlusBklyn: Bored with most plus-size clothing options on the market, Alexis Krase has stocked her New York City shop with novelty prints, biker babe looks, and more, including brands from Junarose to TuesdayBassen.
Upscale Designer Pieces
The perfect shops for your next special-occasion look, or simply for spending your Christmas bonus.
Courtney Noelle: Courtney Smith truly knows her way around sequins, fringe, satin, and other super opulent materials. Her gorgeous pieces are perfect for any event that demands a splurge.
Beth Ditto: A fashion icon in her own right, singer Beth Ditto makes luxe pieces in cheeky novelty prints and sparkly sheer fabrics — all the fun stuff plus-size girls aren’t supposed to wear.
Shegul: This brand doesn’t always feel as cohesive to me as I’d like it to, but at her best (which is often), designer Aysegul Ilter’s pieces are the plus-size answers to Steven Alan and Creatures of Comfort.
Mei Smith: This boutique is teeny-tiny and definitely pricey, but it does offer the kind of gorgeous minimalist clothing plus-size brands usually skip right over. If you’ve been on the hunt for a shirt dress that’s not super femme, Mei Smith could be the place to drop a pretty penny.
11 Honoré: Newcomer 11 Honoré sells high-end plus-size clothing from a small list of designers that includes Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell, Baja East, and Michael Kors. Expect the list of brands to grow as founders Patrick Herning and Kathryn Retzer recruit more labels.