Monday, 8 June 2015

Shopping for Plus Sizes



Goth & Alt Plus Size Fashion

Before I wrote this post, I felt optimistic about plus size Goth and Alt fashions. I felt that the big name clothing companies were accommodating the plus size community. It turns out that I was dreadfully wrong. While sourcing materials, I became painfully aware of how difficult it is to shop for plus size clothing, especially in the Goth scene. I thought that the internet had paved the way for a more diverse size selection. Hell Bunny and Sourpuss have advertised themselves as having plus size garments, and they do, it's just not as much as you'd think...


While shopping, I found that in the upper end of the plus size range there are way less items to choose from. I was disappointed by this, for obvious reasons, but what really got me down was that those items that were available in larger sizes were often cheaper quality, poorly designed and dated. It's okay if you're down with wearing smocked crushed velvet and lace, rocking a trad goth look, but if you were interested in something newer, like say anything by Killstar, you'll be hard pressed to find it in your size.

I know that it costs more to produce these items and that companies will only do it if they know they have the buyers, but seriously, this is the internet. Make it available and people will buy it! >:(

Today I've assembled some mood boards with what fashions I could find for plus sizes. I hope you enjoy them and if you're a plus size chicky please tell me what you think! I would like to use more plus size friendly garments in my mood boards from here on in, and if I'm missing some fantastic magical plus size clothier, please let me know!!

Taxidermia 

(Main Photo) I selected this dress because it resembles one I own from Sourpuss. I love the print! It's a lot of fun and this dress looks comfortable. I would pair it with shoes that feature some unique detail, like studding. I used Pleaser's "Fearless" ankle boots for this mood board, although I'm sure plus size women would be quick to point out the heel on these babies. I've selected these shoes just for inspirations sake, don't buy heels if you can't handle wearing them, your money is better spent! I accessorized this outfit using taxidermy/organic inspired items, I figured it would complement the x-ray motifs in the dress.

Dress - Bone Skull Print Skater Dress from Torrid - Available in XL-5X
Shoes - "Fearless" by Pleaser
Ring - Cat Skull Ring by The Rogue & The Wolf
Hair Accessory - Deer Antlers & Orchids Headband by Restyle




Glitter & Ghoul

I like any top that drapes well and this hi-lo tank top from Torrid suits me just fine. We all adore the Ouija prints we've seen from big names like Killstar or Banned Apparel, yet not every brand is accommodating of plus sizes. I was overjoyed to see this piece being offered by Torrid in up to 5X. I think it would great paired with a black and white print tote or messenger bag, in this case I used Banned Apparel's pentagram messenger bag. It's good to carry a medium to large sized bag when you're plus size, you don't want to be carrying around an itsy bitsy baby bag that makes you look even bigger. Get something that's a decent size and makes a statement. 

For the bottoms in this look I selected these faux leather jeggings, which are sexy and edgy. I think they'd make those lady curves look fantastic! The shoes for this mood board are a nice pair of platform sandals. I used to own a pair similar to these. The straps are beaded and look so sparkly I just had to mirror that in the accessories. I chose this silver planchette necklace from Killstar because it goes with the shirt in a kind of funny kitschy sort of way. With larger statement necklaces like this it's best to use stud earrings, which is why I chose these bat earrings from Sourpuss.

Top - Ouija Hi-Lo Tank Top from Torrid - Available in XL-5X
Bottoms - Faux Leather & Ponte Jegging from Torrid - Available in 12-28
Bag - Pentagram Messenger Bag from Banned Apparel
Shoes - Bejeweled Flatforms (Wide Width) from Torrid
Necklace - Spiritboard Necklace from Killstar
Earrings - Bat Post Earrings from Sourpuss



Gothabilly Babe

If you're into the Rockabilly scene, you'll be happy to know that Hell Bunny and Steady Clothing offer garments in your size. For this mood board I chose the top as my departure point. This polka dot top from Hell Bunny is flirty in red. I like that the sleeves are large enough to complement the shape of the arm. For the bottoms I used these black peddle pushers from Sourpuss. When selecting a pair of pants, you'll want to make sure it's a spandex blend and well tailored. Darker bottoms are best if you're pear shaped and carry the weight in your thighs, contrast this by wearing a brightly colored top (hence the red shirt). For shoes I selected these adorable flats from Funtasma. They remind me of Monster High. I carried the skull motif into the bag and jewelry, which takes this outfit from regular Rockabilly into Gothabilly!

Top - "Cilla" Dot Top in Red by Hell Bunny - Available in XL-4X
Bottoms -Sourpuss Black Peddle Pushers XL-3X
Bag -Loungefly Black on Black Lattice Skull Tote
Shoes -Funtasma Black Punk Skull Flats
Jewelry - Kreepsville 666 Skull Ring and Inverted Cross Skull Bracelet




Fun with prints!

Here I've gathered up a handful of Rockabilly inspired dresses. Each can be styled to suit different wardrobes. For example, I'd love that blue dress on the end for an elegant Goth look, with black lace panty hose and big black heels. It's all about how you wear a garment, so never feel limited just because you might only have access to basic black dresses or things that may not appear Goth or Alternative at first glance. 

The first dress I've selected is a wiggle dress which features a polka dot top and red skirt. This goes against the darks-on-the-bottom rule I mentioned recently, but it's okay in this case because the top isn't solid black. The polka dots lessen the contrast and balance things out. The second dress is a classic Goth piece with skulls and roses (who doesn't love that?). It has a nice neckline with wide straps, which are good for support. The shape of this dress is very flattering. The third dress I chose is a black and white gingham 50's dress. One of the things I've read most often when dressing plus size is to choose patterns carefully. It's usually recommended to go for smaller, busier prints, I'm assuming because it conceals "figure flaws". This 50's dress is good because it has a bold contrasting collar which draws the attention to the face. In the last dress I selected another print, which could be considered a large print, however, I feel because it features an array of colour on a black background it achieves the same effect. Avoid tight dresses that are in bright solid colours, they tend to show our lumps and bumps in ways we do not want.

Each dress here has some kind of detail at the waist, whether it's a belt or construction line. These details can create definition at the waistline, so if you're looking to achieve an hourglass figure, look out for garments that cut at the waist or accessorize with a belt or belly chain.

1. "Romona" Wiggle Dress by Rocksteady - Available in XL-3X
2. "Rock & Ruin" 50's Dress by Hell Bunny - Available in XL-4X
3. "Mary Ann" Gingham Dress by Hell Bunny - Available in XL-4X
4. "Monique" Dress in Royal Peacock by Heart of Haute - Available in XL-3X


Black is Best

You simply cannot go wrong with the LBD! Every girl needs one. They're great for giving you that perfect, proportionate silhouette. Where bright, solid colours can call attention to your unwanted bumps, black is very good at concealing them. Similarly to the dresses in the previous mood board, most of the dresses here feature some detail at the waist. This is very good for creating shape and breaking up the figure.

The first black dress I chose appealed to me because it looked so comfortable, it's a simple skater dress. The neckline is flattering and it drapes beautifully. The second dress I chose looks edgy and fun. I love the corset detailing up the front of the bodice and the flare of the peplum creates definition at the waist. For the same reason I chose this dress from Steady Clothing, which features a keyhole neckline. It is super sexy! Definitely not for the timid girl. If you're shy about exposing that much of your body, this last dress from Collectif is a sure choice for you. It has a lovely silhouette. The a-line skirt is good for complementing any figure, it's a universal favorite. Some girls might be put off by the 3/4 length sleeves but if you carry weight in your upper arms this kind of sleeve is good for concealing it. Sleeves that I absolutely DO NOT recommend are small cap sleeves, they will make your arms appear larger. Likewise, get dresses with wide straps because you will find the same issue with spaghetti straps (not to mention those things are terrible for support).

5. Skull Graphic Skater Dress from Torrid XL to 5X
6. "Azrael" Dress by Hell Bunny - Available in XL-4X
7."Emma" Dress by Rocksteady - Available in XL-3X
8. "Trixie" Doll Dress in Black by Collectif - Available in XL-4X




It's Goin' Swimmingly

There are a handful of plus size clothing sites that offer regular swim suits. If you're looking for something more exotic you might find it difficult to get it in your size. Thankfully Banned Apparel swimsuits do in fact come in plus sizes, although I haven't seen many online in a while. This voodoo doll swimsuit is so cute I want it for myself (especially since I feel more self conscious about my tummy). It's done in a 50's style, which is a hot trend right now. I love this polka dot one piece, also from Banned Apparel. The dark panels on the sides create a slimming appearance and give the figure a more streamlined shape. In the final bathing suit, from Steady, we see ruching which is ideal for hiding figure flaws. You don't have to be limited to one piece bathing suits if it's not to your liking. I've seen a lot of gorgeous vintage inspired two piece swim suits on a variety of regular plus size clothing sites.

Left - Gothic Voodoo Doll Swimsuit by Banned - Available in XL-4X
Center - "Rogues" Polka Dot One Piece Swimsuit by Banned - Available in XL-4X
Right - "Nancy" Retro Swimsuit in Black by Steady - Available in XL-3X


What have I learned? 

The most surprising find during my sourcing was that the Rockabilly scene has the most plus size options. They're nice and tailored too, so if you're sick of seeing smocking try poking around Steady's or Blame Betty's websites.

As for alternative clothing, if you like today's street fashion you might find some pieces here and there, but stick to the plus size clothiers. I had one hell of a time sourcing alt fashion for this post. I once saw an "XL" on Dolls Kill and it was like seeing a unicorn. Unless you're looking for accessories, I would avoid sites like Dolls Kill and Nasty Gal. They'll just piss you off. I don't think that's a huge loss anyways, considering Dolls Kill treats it's customers like they're retarded or something and everyone on there looks like a whore... Instead opt for Torrid. Torrid is like Forever21 only better, it offers a wide variety of styles and even carries Tripp sometimes. It's very fashion forward. I got lost in a sea of chiffon skirts and skull dresses when I discovered Torrid. Definitely worth looking into, they carry up to 5X and their prices are reasonable.

I was disappointed to see that there are very few plus sized models in product photos. Now, I don't think this is discrimination, I think it's probably just cheaper to use one model instead of two (although I do question why so many of the models are stick thin). I think a good company would photograph the clothing on an average dress size model and a plus size model. If a store offers plus sizes this should be mandatory. I don't even need to be plus size to know how difficult it is to imagine what something will look like on you without a reference. How completely frustrating!

I'm happy to see that most online stores offer a filter or category for plus size clothing. This is nice because you don't have to have the annoyance of opening every single listing to see whether or not a garment will fit you. And how grotesquely disappointing is it to fall in love with a garment only to learn it's not available in your size?! I feel that way about most Japanese clothes...

Just a quick list of Goth/Alt shops that carry some plus sizes:
*Most variety of sizes

Sourpuss Clothing (US)*
The Gothic Catwalk (UK)
Steady Clothing (US)
Kate's Clothing (UK)
Blame Betty (CAD)*
UPDATED:
Mystic Crypt (US)*
Good Goth (US)


I love Torrid! It's not necessarily Goth or Alt, but carries a handful of items that would suit the wardrobe. It's a great site that offers up to 5X.

Conclusion

Creating this post has been the most exhausting project for me. I've spent days scouring the internet for plus size clothing. I found that going directly to Goth sites wasn't the most successful strategy. When it comes to dressing Goth or Alt when you're plus size you definitely have to get creative. This means you could end up buying something black from Walmart but provided you accessorize it the right way, you could easily rock any fashion style. I suggest you bookmark any website you can find that offers your size because it's easy to lose track of which stores do. I hope someone finds this post helpful some day. It's been a learning experience for me.

Best,



24 comments:

  1. you definitely are right on the model thing, thats one thing i like blogs for, you see different bodyshapes in different outfits, follow their links and might find stuff that looks just perfect on you... and that also was one reason why i felt that uncomfortable in my heavy weight days, i would never be able to find nice clothes and since i felt uncomfortable would not want to do it myself back then :-/ still you found some nice items for this post!

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    1. I think we're living in the best time for Goth and Alt fashion, there are so many diverse fashion blogs. It's great to hear from all the different viewpoints. Although I gripe a bit in this post, I must admit there are far more options for plus size men and women today. I think back to my teen years, when my friends were plus size goths, and all they ever wore were black t-shirts and pants. I'm sure they would have had a blast if these stores were available back then.

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    2. for sure! even though i think there still could be more... would it be too difficult for alternative clothing brands to create their best selling products in plussize, too? or maybe ask the people in a poll and let them decide which products they would love to see in bigger sizes!

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    3. These are good points. I think if brands did some research they might learn that many plus size women would be interested in wearing their clothing. I don't know why Killstar doesn't offer more than 2X, I mean they thought to make 2X (that's more than some clothing brands are willing to do) why not go the full 4 or 5X? It sort of makes me wish I had the money and knowledge to design my own plus size Goth clothing line lol.

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  2. I guess it's always been harder to shop for plus size stuff, but these days, at least they have some other options, than specific 'XXXL stores'...Oh, I hate those places. :/
    I agree about the models, I wish they'd photograph plus size items on plus size ladies - of different body shapes - so a curvy gal or plus size chick could get an idea of how it would look in real life. I'm not plus size, but I'm curvy and even I don't dare to shop online because everything is photographer on tall, slim ladies and I simply can't imagine what it would look like on my hourglass shape...:/

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    1. I have the same issue! I'm not even that curvy but I have different proportions compared to these skinny models with their long torsos and regular sized legs. There's really no substitute for trying it on in person, but plus size girls need at least some kind of reference point when buying online. It does look completely different between a petite and plus size model, especially when it comes to stretchy clothes, it drapes differently. I hope there will be more progress made for plus size fashion, I hate to see those drab plus size shops you mentioned. I found one while working online, it seemed nice enough, but all the tops and dresses looked alike and really simple. Plus size ladies deserve better than simple!

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  3. I never realized that it was so difficult to find plus size clothing! I do know, however, that it's a lot harder to find it inexpensive. Anytime I go shopping with someone who wears plus sizes I feel so bad because the prizes can be so high! I go into a shop sometimes and buy a dress for 15-20 dollars, but this seems harder to do with trendy items in the higher sizes.

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    1. That seems to be the major complaint from plus size shoppers is the cost and quality. Sometimes the higher cost could be justified, like if the garment required more materials and embellishments. But sometimes I think these companies are taking advantage of plus size consumers. Like I feel some stores just charge up the ass because they know plus size people will have no choice but to buy it at that price. I've never known anyone to prove if that's true, but I've seen that argument circling a handful of "fat positive" blogs.

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  4. I love gothic style <3 perfect dresses!

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    1. I'm glad you like them! I love these dresses.

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  5. I was watching a news story with my husband this morning about some of the frighteningly skeletal models used in the European fashion shows. We were both shaking our heads at the designers who create clothing that can really only be worn by women who represent such a miniscule portion of the potential buying public when it comes to weight and height. It's such a bizarre conundrum!

    The Gothabilly skull tote is fab!!

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    1. We've made some progress here in North America, I know some designers have sworn off size 0 models and opted for size 4. I'm a size 4/5 and I'm pretty small compared to the average person, so this isn't a huge improvement. I think the average model should be more like a size 7, but even at that it has to be a "healthy" body. Muscle and fat distribute differently per person, there could still be someone who is a size 7 and they could be grotesquely unhealthy. I think the larger problem at hand isn't the models but how people are perceiving them. You can throw clothing on a skinny or big girl and all I care about is the clothing lol. I'm not sitting there thinking about how I wish I was 100 lbs, because even if I was I'd probably still have cellulite and this little fat pouch at my front. Girls need to learn to be happy with themselves.

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  6. I always thought plus size goths looked awesome. And there are some looks that only they can pull off, those that I, a tiny boobless child, basically, can't. I'll never pull off mature womanly styles...like rockabilly or vintage (like you mention) or seductive styles. I always look like i'm dressing in my mom's clothes. I love your collages/mood boards.

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    1. I love plus size goths! I was looking at pictures of plus size Goth and Rockabilly women for this post and I adore their curves. I'm a stick figure myself lol, things just hang off of me in weird ways, I don't have the chest to pull of busty garments and my torso is sort of short so I look squashed in certain outfits. And thank you! I have fun making mood boards.

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  7. Great selección! Follow me on gfc and i follow you back! kiss

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed this post! :) And sorry, but I don't follow blogs contractually.

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  8. I love your mood boards! Looks like Torrid has some great alternative fashion! Love the Kreepsville jewelry too!

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    1. Aww, thank you! I think Torrid is pretty awesome, I hope they continue to carry alternative styles. I had a hard time finding plus size stuff that wasn't just generic looking tunics!

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  9. Not many variety in these choices as many sell cheap "Chic Star" products or 50s rockabilly .. Id keep looking on pinterest also improvise your look by shopping around instead of hunting on "Alternative" clothing stores

    http://witchworldwide.com/ try these

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    1. Thanks for your input. I'm actually not too familiar with Chic Star (I'm assuming it's the alt version of Punk Rave?), most of the plus size garments I source nowadays are from Hell Bunny and Steady. It's a shame that Hell Bunny has chosen to invest more time into their 50's repros instead of Spin Doctor, which I vastly preferred. I have visited Witch Worldwide in the past and I was disappointed to see that they only carried Nu Goth white and black prints. They're kind of like Kill Star but their stuff isn't as edgy or innovative, and they have fewer selections. I will say that WWW's prices are more reasonable and they have more sizes available. I still hunt occasionally on various Alt and Goth sites for plus size fashion. As far as I can see there still isn't a brand that caters to all the Goth/Alt scenes and carries larger sizes, which is unfortunate. Most plus size girls I know have to shop around and coordinate their looks between brands, and how complicated that can be will vary depending on each individual's desired style.

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  10. I had a friend whose parents were in clothing manufacturing, and she told me that it doesn't actually cost more to make plus sized clothes. If they charged on amount of fabric used, those who wear an XS or S would get charged less than average, and they don't. The extra fabric that goes into plus sized clothes averages out the lesser amount used in the smaller sizes. So basically, they charge us more because they can get away with it.

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    1. Thanks for expanding upon that! I think it's disgusting that they would do that to plus size women. :(

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  11. Dolls kill is absolutely fucked up - I'm thin by conventional standards, never been called
    Chubby in my life or anything but i need a large at dollskill. That wouldn't bother me if they didn't have xl +
    It's made for pixies
    However, not fucking ok for you to say the models on their site look like whores like it's a bad thing and that they treat their customers like they're 'retarded'
    What fucking use is fat positive body positive content like this if you're gonna shit on and shame other marginalised women. Sex workers, sexually active women and people with disabilities don't need this shit
    Fix your attitude and expand your feminism.

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    1. Dude, you are entitled to your opinion as I am mine. If you have in fact purchased from Dollskill an had an alright experience purchasing from them then that that's great, but they have had a very bad reputation for treating customers like dogshit in the past as I have read countless reviews from distraught customers who are basically treated like idiots for no good reason (other than for Dollskill to deflect blame for problems with their orders). Maybe I might have offended sex trade workers, I sympathize with them because I know they battle addiction and mental illness. But it is not cool to wear a shirt with a slogan that says slut on it (like those on Dollskill) because I believe it reflects negatively on women as whole; it's NOT sexually empowering, it's demeaning. It's fine if you're a slut on your own time, just don't parade it around like all women are sluts because we're fucking not. I'm not behind your kind of feminism and I certainly don't fucking need to adopt it because you feel I should, that's not how the world works. Furthermore, my blog, my opinion, my right to say whatever the fuck I think or feel. So chill the fuck out and get over it.

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