Why Is It So Hard To Find Plus Size Clothes At Your Favorite Store?

H&M is now available online, but their plus size selection is seriously lacking | H&M

H&M is now available online, but their plus size selection is seriously lacking. | H&M

Great news for H&M fans: You can now buy clothes from H&M online! Not so great news: Good luck finding much if you’re above a size 12! Jezebel pointed out that the plus size selections for the popular retailer were nice, but incredibly limited compared to their “regular” sized counterparts. So I checked out H&M’s plus sized section and I’ve gotta say that I’m really disappointed: There was a grand total of 50 articles of plus size clothing–dresses, tops, pants and tights–some of which weren’t even available for purchase yet. Let’s compare that to the 156 items in the regular sized tops section of H&M’s site alone.

When it comes to major clothing retail chains, it’s pretty hard to find clothes that are made with larger bodies in mind.  And when these stores do, in fact, have plus size options, it’s rarely as varied as everything else. That’s not to say that things haven’t improved. As little as five years ago, any plus size options in most stores seemed to be a lot uglier than the other clothes in the store. It was a bit like bra shopping: The larger the bra size, the more beige and ugly  your options become.

Luckily things have changed for the better since then. Now, many plus size clothes are way more stylish and less matronly looking. For example, H&M’s plus size options are actually really cute. Even Forever 21’s plus sized clothes usually look exactly like the rest of the clothes sold in their store, just bigger.

So yeah, it’s not a desolate wasteland when it comes to plus sized clothing. But are these stores going to do anything about the lack of variety and significantly smaller stock? Are plus sized girls supposed to feel grateful that they can buy clothes at their favorite store in the first place and stop complaining? Are they supposed to feel appreciative of the fact that H&M doesn’t shame their figures like Abercrombie and Fitch does?

Well, I hope that’s not the case, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.

It’s important for girls to feel like they can walk into a store and find something that actually fits. Sure, most things we wear these days don’t fit as well as they could because we rarely have our clothes tailored, but let’s be real: Smaller girls have a much easier time finding clothes that fit, period.

This top is available at Torrid, a popular retail store that only sells plus size clothes. | Torrid

This top is available at Torrid, a popular retail store that only sells plus size clothes. | Torrid

I’m tall with a pretty large bust and, while they’re nothing to call home about, I have pretty decent sized hips. I’m currently floating between a size 10-14 depending on the store or brand, but finding clothes that fit properly can be a pain. Depending on the material, I can usually fit in the largest sizes at stores without plus size lines, like American Apparel or Urban Outfitters. But sometimes plus size apparel is a safer option for me: If there is an XL available, I’ll go for that over the size large in a heartbeat. But what about girls who don’t have the privilege to rely on plus size clothes as a style preference? What about girls who are tired of only relying on Old Navy and Torrid for their wardrobes and wish they could just stroll into the nearest Urban and buy an overpriced t-shirts without feeling alienated?

Don’t get me wrong; like I said, there are some retailers who are looking out for plus size ladies. I’ve already referenced H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy and Torrid, but other options include Target and even Mod Cloth, which is awesome if you love vintage style clothing. However, I think that one of the coolest sources for plus sized clothing is ASOS Curve; they have such a large selection, the sizes range from a US 14-24 (UK 18-28) and the clothes are actually really great.

But still, relying on a handful of stores to offer clothing to girls and women who have larger frames is really absurd. I just hope that in the very near future we can walk into our favorite store, look at the size tag of a really cute dress and head straight to register instead of putting it away with a dejected sigh.


What do you think about the availability of plus size clothing? If you’re plus sized, what are your favorite places to shop? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Niccita

    Hi we are all plus sized ladies at NICCITA & our stuff is great, combed cottons, silks & lush fabrics. Please check out our new on-line store http://www.niccita.com.au has just opened at the end of March 2014. : )

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  • FoxxyRoxxy

    It’s really depressing to go clothes shopping. It’s seems like the plus size stores are becoming traitors by including sizes 10-14.( I honestly don’t believe that a size 10-14 is plus sized. That’s healthy/perfection to me but whatevs). It seems like the cute stuff they have more for sizes 10-18 and less for girls like me who are a 26/28. I used to be able to find my size like THAT in a plus sized store. It’s disappointing when are store that ‘specializes’ in your size is making you feel like an outcast.

    In a way it contributes to our self-image problems and low confidence. And I get it, “You’re beautiful just the way you are! Don’t let anyone change that.” but when you have to hide your beauty in ugly frumpy grandma clothes cover in fruit or flowers, It makes me feel terrible. I’m wearing clothes from 2009 not cuz I want but because I have to. The one pair of cute shorts that I have are torn and ragged because I couldn’t find another pair that was (keyword:) REASONABLY PRICED or in my size. It feels like I’m being punished for being big and being forced to wear ugly clothes to hide myself. It’s frustrating because I know for a fact that most of American is “overweight” or plus sized, yet we only cater to, and portray a small few. I had to stop reading romance novels because it seemed like only skinny people could fall in love! It’s stinks like rotten eggs for sure.

  • sarah

    I feel you. Especially in Canada it is really difficult. I am almost 6 feet tall and not on the skinny side although i dont have big legs i still find it hard to find jeans. I went to the states shopping and found a torrid store and my god you have no idea how lucky you have it over there. Those are one of the only pairs of jeans that i have bought in a long time that fit me in the length and are comfortable! I find there are many more options in the states for plus size girls and girls with big feet (; all the power to you though

  • Catherine

    “It was a bit like bra shopping: The larger the bra size, the more beige and ugly your options become.”

    THIS HAS BEEN THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE FOREVER. Whyyyyy can’t we have cute bras?!?!

    • FoxxyRoxxy

      I wish I could heart this! I feel you!

    • zoeyhoran

      I feel u 2

  • Sasha P.

    I shop at Dots and Deb, cute clothes, whole sections dedicated to plus size.

  • Ashly

    I get what you mean, and it also upsets me that some clothes come only in plus size. All clothes should just come in a true range of sizes, not just the smaller ones or the bigger ones. I’m really small, naturally, and I hate it when I see cute plus-sized clothes. I know this is not a very popular opinion but that’s what I feel.

  • Rose

    Well it’s also a problem for really small girls I have yet to find a single pair of jean that didn’t require a belt for a DECENT fit. I only have 5 pairs of jeans, only 3 of them were bought from a store 1 of which I bought over a year ago. I still shop in the kids Abercrombie and fitch for clothes 90% of the time and I still take forever finding clothes there….not many places sell extra small and 000 anymore! In the places that do, not many of their clothes come in that size. I used to give away clothes every year when I was younger now I just can’t do that because I grown out of nothing and grow into nothing. Shoot, I still have clothes from Justice!

  • Eefs

    I can see exactly where you’re coming from, I have a friend on the bigger side of the scale and whenever we go shopping I always feel a bit guilty because of the amount and variety of clothes I can try on compared to her. But in saying that, I am quite petite and being just over 5ft means that finding clothes to fit me can also be incredibly difficult, especially finding jeans that fit. Even with tops and cardigans I feel that some shops (particularly H&M) only cater for model height girls, like 5ft 5″ and above. It’s extremely frustrating to have nearly every top I try on sitting below my bum! 😛

  • Hailey

    I’ve been a size 14/XL for as long as I can remember and it’s rare that I could squeeze into anything smaller. My being a plus size has nothing to do with my weight and everything to do with the way I was born. I have a really big rib cage (so much so that my parents thought there was something wrong with me when I was born) and wide hips. I love the way I look, but sometimes shopping makes me feel really bad about myself. I don’t like to go into plus sized stores because I never like any of their clothes, but half of the regular stores I go into don’t carry my size. Personally, I find it ridiculous that having different clothes for bigger sizes is even a thing. Stores should carry larger sizes for everything they have, no questions asked. I like Aeropostale, Ardene, and Hot Topic because they have my size in everything and I don’t have to go into a specific section on their websites to find cute clothes.

  • Maddie

    This is a really good article. While I myself am very petite, I have a lot of friends who struggle with that same issue. A store we found on vacation in California that sold some great plus sized clothing options was called “G Stage.” Being my size is hard to find clothes, too though. I’m 16 and still fit into most of the kids section at JC Penney. It’s embarassing. Sure, it comes in handy when I’m low on clothes and I can borrow my 7 year old brother’s soccer shorts(yup, we wear the same size), but it’s almost as difficult to find something for myself as it is for finding plus sized clothing! Average size isn’t really average anymore, clothing retailers don’t seem to have picked up on that very well yet.

  • Carol

    This is also a problem for people considered petite. I am short and “petite” however the clothes in the petite sections (if there is one in a store) almost never fit. I have had to hem every single pair of my pants since middle school because even the “short” pants are at least a few inches too long.

    I think that the problem is less with plus sized clothes alone and more with the clothes available for anybody.

    • FoxxyRoxxy

      So true. It’s like if you don’t fit the model they have, you’d have better luck making your own clothing.

  • Angel

    I range from a size 16-19 depending on brands and cuts. It’s SO hard to find decent clothes for my shape. I feel I have a kind of weird hourglass figure but with a muffin top blaring in between with means my shirts have to be loose and I have super thick thighs too. I recently gave up on shorts because I haven’t found a good pair in so long. And I hate it cause shorts are my fav esp. since I live in TX. I truly just can’t wait til I’m older and earn the type of paycheck I want so I can get tailor made clothes!

  • Jillian

    As a plus size girl, I know the frustration that comes with trying to find clothes that don’t make you look like you went through your mom’s closet or find bras that make you look like you are not wearing one. I use to get my clothes from JCPenney. Then, I discovered Fashion Bug…unfortunately, the chain closed down last year. But I love Dress Barn, the plus section of Debshops, & Maurices. And while they are a little pricey, the bras and underwear at Kohls and Macy’s are perfect.

  • Artemis95

    As a plus sized girl, finding clothes has always been a problem for me. I’m on the larger size, between 16-20 depending on brand, fabric, and cut of whatever it is I’m buying. And a 44 G bust normally bumps me up to a larger size than I would otherwise need just to properly cover my breasts. And the problem gets even worse with formal wear. I go ballroom dancing. A LOT. Because of this I need nice dresses that will will stay in place after a lot of movement, since I’m not sitting down for hours. I have walked into over 10 dress stores that have taken one look at me and told me to leave because they didn’t carry above a size 12. One woman even had the nerve to tell me that I need to be realistic and remember that I wouldn’t really be going many places that I could wear any of their clothes. EXCUSE ME? And once I finally find a store that carries my size, the dresses are usually strapless. Curvy girls with big boobs can’t wear a strapless dress while standing still without risking a serious wardrobe malfunction. Mostly, I’m just tired of how stores treat me because of my size. I know not everything will look good on my figure, but a lot will, and I wish stores would start carrying more clothes that look awesome on curvy girls.

  • clare

    I honestly don’t see how this is surprising… Plus sized girls are more rare to find so stores don’t want to invest more of their money into making clothing for a less variety of girls.

    • Hailey

      I don’t know what world you’re living in, but plus sized girls are everywhere, even if they may not look like it.

      • Sarah Anne

        Amen To That Sister

    • FoxxyRoxxy

      Since when has it been hard to find a plus sized girl? I dare you to go to any mall by you and count the plus girls walking by. unless you are in some secluded community, you will find a lot. And that fact that America has an ‘obesity’ problem goes to show that most of AMERICANS are probably plus sized! I bet if stores carried larger sized then you would see more larger people shop there. We shouldn’t be excluded just because it doesn’t seem like we’re there. We’re here! We’re just looking through the window, admiring the variety of clothes that we can’t fit. What’s the point of getting our hopes up and going in when you know you’re gonna leave empty handed and feeling terrible?