Back in August, one of our favorite bloggers, Rosey Blair, wrote a blog entry about how her boyfriend’s mom bought her a shirt. It resonated with me. It’s still resonating with me, 4 months later. I have been the girl at the sleepover who was too fat to fit in the matching pajamas. I have been the girl who goes shopping with a friend and looks at scarves and shoes and necklaces and home goods, because we went to a store that only carries up to size 16 so I have to pretend like I’m only interested in accessories. I have been the bridesmaid that was terrified of finding a matching bridesmaid dress in my size. (In every case, my friends picked size inclusive dresses without my prompting, which I’m so thankful for—but the initial fear was there.) I’ve been that girl. I am that girl.
Rosey ended her post with a call to action:
So please, if you’re a straight size person and you want to do something profound – buy your plus size friend or family member a piece of clothing.Rosey Blair, “My Boyfriend’s Mom Bought Me A Shirt“
I want to expand on that today, by providing some tips for how to shop for your plus size friends.
Find out where their favorite clothes are from.
If you find out where your friend normally shops, that can help you figure out where to start your shopping search. This can be done with a simple question: “That’s such a great top, where’s it from?” or “Where did you get that dress you wore the other day?” Or, you can recruit her significant other or roommate into helping you out. Ask them to sneak into her closet and snap a few pictures of the labels of things she wears frequently. That will give you an idea into the brands she likes AND the size she wears in that brand, all at once!
Go shopping together.
If you’re trying to be sneaky about buying them clothes as a holiday gift, ask them to go shopping with you for Black Friday or holiday sales in general. You can even go under the guise of shopping for other people. Suggest stores that have a good plus size selection, or even stores that only carry plus sizes. Turn the shopping trip towards them by looking at some cute things on the plus size rack, and saying they should try them on. Shop with them, help them find things, get a feel for what they like. And find out their sizes while you’re at it: “want to try on this top? What size should I grab you?”
XXL ≠ 2X
Listen, sizing is super weird, and I can’t begin to understand it. All I know is that an XXL is hardly ever (read: never) the same as a 2X. If your friend is a 2X, make sure the gift you get them says “2X” on the tag, since an “XXL” size is usually full of lies. (The same is true about “XL”: XL ≠ 1X.)
Ensure it is easy for them to make a return.
The only thing worse than a gift that doesn’t fit you… is not being able to return it. Make sure you include a gift receipt, and ideally the recipient can return or exchange it without needing your help or mailing anything in.
Ask them what their size is.
Literally, just ask. It doesn’t have to be weird or awkward unless you make it that way. This might ruin the element surprise of your friend getting an item of clothing as a gift from you, but it’s the best way to ensure you’re not buying them something that won’t fit them. If you’re comfortable asking, you could get her measurements to further guarantee that whatever you buy her will fit by comparing it with a website’s size chart.
Learn where to shop for stylish plus size clothes.
Finding out where they like to shop is a great start. A few of my favorites include:
- Torrid / sizes 10 to 30, in-store and online
- Eloquii / sizes 14-28, online with 7 brick-and-mortar locations
- Loft / sizes 14-26, mostly online, select stores carry their plus line
- Target / sizes X-4X, online & in-store
- Kohl’s / sizes 0X-4X, online & in-store
- Anthropologie / sizes 1X-3X, online only unless there’s an A+ line pop-up shop in your local store
- Old Navy / sizes 1X-4X, online only
- Lane Bryant / sizes 10-28, online & in-store
I picked out a few items from some of the above retailers to give you some ideas!
1. Old Navy Oatmeal Cardigan / $20
I own a similar sweater from Old Navy in the same color, and let me tell you it is SOFT. It is also flowy and perfect for an “oversized” look. The sweater is true-to-size, mine is a 2X, so I would imagine the cardigan would be the same.
2. Target Moto Faux-Leather Jacket / $45
I own this jacket, and I am obsessed with it. Everyone needs a faux-leather jacket, and if your friend doesn’t have one, maybe you can be the one to give it to them. It’s true to size, mine’s a 2X.
3. Comfortview Cameron Wide-Calf Over-the-Knee Boots / $40
I have search far and wide (ha, get it) for wide calf OTK boots all season long. I tried everything. Sometimes the boot part wouldn’t fit over my wide leg, other times the boot part fit but the shoe was too small. Summer found these boots from WomanWithin for me, and I was happy to discover that not only did that have a W width, they also have WW (extra-wide). I ordered a 10WW and patiently awaited. When they arrived, I was happy to discover they fit… and then wore them to dinner and they fell down all night long. They were too wide! I ordered a 10W and they are juuuust right. I’m thrilled. If your friend has been coveting a pair of OTK boots, these might be the ones for her. They come in black, brown, and burgundy, and on WomanWithin they are currently on sale for $40—72% off of original price! They’re also available on Amazon in limited sizes/colors at various price points, for those of you that prefer the 2-day shipping.
4. Torrid Sweater Dress / $39
One of my favorite dresses of all time is a sweater dress that Summer found me while scouring the racks at Dirt Cheap. The on I found isn’t that one, but a Torrid sweater dress definitely won’t disappoint. A sweater dress is a closet staple, perfect for the colder months. This one comes in olive, eggplant, and heather grey.
5. Kohl’s Button Down Skirt / $28
I once got a button-down skirt in a Poshmark bundle for super cheap since I was buying other items. I thought I would never wear it and end up reselling it. Boy was I wrong. I picked it as one of my items when Summer and I did the Faux Fall 10×10 Challenge, and it has become one of my favorite items in my closet. Buttons can be a little tricky, because of their tendency to pull open, so I suggest you size up if you think your friend might be in-between sizes. It comes in brown and black!
6. Old Navy No-Peek Flannel Shirt / $33
Remember how I said buttons can be a little tricky? Old Navy solves that problem by making their button down shirts “no-peek”—there are two buttons on the inside of these shirts in the chest area, preventing the awkward “my boobs are making the fabric in between the buttons start to pop out” moment. I own this flannel shirt in two colors, and I love it. I suggest sizing up: my flannels are both 3X.
7. Eloquii Sweater Cardigan / $140
I have been coveting this sweater dress / cardigan from Eloquii ever since Rosey posted about it earlier this fall. It’s amazing because it can be worn with the buttons closed as a sweater dress, or with the buttons open for a perfect 3rd piece. It’s a little pricey, but if you catch Eloquii on a good sale, it can be 50% off or more. It comes in both camel and teal. It’s definitely on my Christmas wishlist. (Do you hear that, Mom?)
8. Loft Floral Bell Cuff Blouse / $65
A gift guide by yours truly wouldn’t be complete without a floral top. I fell in love with Loft’s plus line last holiday season, when they had some major discounts on top of already on-sale items. I love their tops and think they’re perfect for work. I’m especially a fan of this floral top because it’s got a little bit of a shine to some of the leaves, making this a perfect holiday go-to.
Your plus size friends would love to receive a thoughtful item of clothing this Christmas. We hope this guide helps you think about what to buy them!
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