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For people who have never worn clothing larger than a size 12 or 14, understanding the shopping process of a plus-size person might be difficult. An easy way to describe it to a straight-size shopper is to imagine 75 percent of their shopping options disappearing overnight. For many types of clothing stores and brands (luxury clothing, in particular), the disparity between plus-size and straight-size options is even greater than this.
It's a common conception that plus-size stores offer dowdier, less-trendy options than their straight-size counterparts, and that others have hard-to-understand size charts that still makes it difficult to pin down a well-fitted garment. While this can sometimes be true, there's a sea of stores out there that offer so much more.
Meet the Expert
Knowing which plus-size brands and stores are the best-reviewed, most inclusive, and have the most loyal customers ahead of time is key to eliminating some of the stress that comes with plus-size shopping. Once you've figured that out, fashion and culture writer Gianluca Russo suggests examining any given store’s size chart to figure out exactly what size you’ll be wearing based on their measurements.
With that in mind, here are the best plus-size stores to shop if you wear a size 14 or above.
Best Overall: Universal Standard
Universal Standard offers every piece it makes in sizes 00-40, a range that is pretty remarkable (even in the plus-size market). Style-wise, it carries a mix of wardrobe basics and special occasion pieces that are made with both quality and fit in mind.
Size Range: 2XL-4XL | Shipping: Free standard shipping within the U.S. | Return Policy: Free drop-off within 30 days at "Happy Returns" locations; $7 processing fee for mail-in returns
Best Value: Dia & Co.
For those who aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to honing a personal style, Dia & Co cuts out some of the work by offering one of the only plus-size curated clothing boxes on the market. After taking a quiz, the service will send you a box that caters to your aesthetic preferences and lifestyle habits. Upon receiving the box, you can try on the items and decide what to buy.
Size Range: 0X-5X | Shipping: Free standard shipping in the U.S. on orders over $75 | Return Policy: Free return shipping within 30 days of your ship date
Best for Occasions: Wray NYC
Wray NYC makes it easy to find unique, artistic statement pieces in plus-sizing up to 6XL. The founder, Wray Serna, cut her teeth at Issey Miyake and Rachel Comey before venturing out on her own. Each of her zingy pieces take inspiration from painting, sculpture and more, and can serve you for occasions like a wedding party or a date night.
Size Range: 2XL-6XL | Shipping: Free standard shipping in the U.S. over $75; $8 ground shipping under $75 | Return Policy: Within 30 days of your order date
Best Loungewear: Old Navy
Old Navy’s loungewear will keep you comfortable all day long. From matching knit sets to henley shirts that you’ll never want to take off, it's selection is a trifecta: super size-inclusive, affordable, and ridiculously cozy.
Size Range: XXL-4X with tall and petite options | Shipping: $7 for basic shipping (5-7 business days) | Return Policy: Within 30 days of the ship date; free return shipping
Best Activewear: Athleta
Athleta's plus-size pieces are so high-quality and well-designed. Whether you’re into hiking, yoga, running, or just need some everyday leggings for on-the-go errands, Athleta will not disappoint. Our only complaint: The brand doesn't offer the most inclusive sizing, capping at 3X.
Size Range: 1X-3X | Shipping: $5 basic shipping (5-7 business days) | Return Policy: Within 60 days; free return shipping
Best for Staples: Nordstrom
For a one-stop shop that will give you the best of basics, undergarments, and everyday items in sizes up to 4X, Nordstrom is an excellent choice. Plus, the brand’s flexible return policy and customer service make it a pleasant and easy shopping experience, even if an item doesn’t end up working for you.
Size Range: 1X-4X | Shipping: Free standard shipping | Return Policy: Flexible returns; free return shipping
Best Work Clothes: Henning
Created by model and fashion editor Lauren Chan, Henning fills what was once a gaping hole in the plus-size market: high-quality, luxury workwear. From the brand’s impeccably designed blazers to its classic and versatile leather moto jacket style, Henning offers the best plus-size workwear you could find.
Size Range: 1X-4X, 12-28 | Shipping: Free shipping within the U.S. | Return Policy: Free returns within 14 days of receipt
Best Athleisure: Girlfriend Collective
For all of your athleisure clothing needs, Girlfriend Collective has options that are sustainable and inclusive, with many items made out of recycled materials and available in sizing up to 6X. It even offers maternity options in plus sizes.
Size Range: XXL-6XL | Shipping: Free standard shipping in the U.S. on orders over $100 | Return Policy: Within 30 days of ship date, $7 mail-in return fee and free drop-off returns or exchanges
Best for Jeans: Madewell
Madewell’s curvy denim line tends to be one of the most popular options for plus-size style bloggers and influencers. Available in standard sizing up to 28W, its jeans are versatile and affordable, with the majority of offerings sitting at price points under $150.
Size Range: 14W-28W | Shipping: Free economy and standard shipping for Madewell Insiders (free to join) | Return Policy: Free return shipping within 30 days of purchase
Best for Bras: Elomi
Though not every plus-size person has a plus-size chest, it can be incredibly difficult to find larger bra sizes that come in larger band sizes as well. Elomi bras go up to a 48 band size and a K cup. Shop the U.K.-based brand in the States via the Bare Necessities website.
Size Range: Up to 48 band size and K cup | Shipping: Free standard shipping on orders over $70; $5 fee below $70 | Return Policy: Within 60 days for full refund and within 61-120 days to receive a voucher; $6.95 return shipping fee
Best Swimsuits: ASOS
Plus-size swimwear is available in most major big box stores these days, but the options can be, well, basic and often involve swim skirts. If you’re looking for something that’s just as cute, sexy, and on-trend as any straight size option, ASOS has a great variety, with underwire styles for bigger busts as well as skimpier string bikinis.
Size Range: 12-26 | Shipping: Free standard shipping in the U.S. on orders over $50; $5 shipping on orders under $50 | Return Policy: Full refund within 28 days of delivery, ASOS voucher between 29 and 45 days of delivery; free return shipping
Best for Cottagecore Vibes: Loud Bodies
If you’re just tuning into the year's trends report, cottagecore is everywhere, and it seems to be here to stay. One plus-size brand that is zooming in on puff sleeves, corset bodices, and other romantic silhouettes is Loud Bodies. Try its sweet and ethically made pieces in sizes up to 10XL.
Size Range: 2XL-10XL | Shipping: Free standard shipping on orders over 150 EUR | Return Policy: Free returns on orders over 150 EUR
Best for Lingerie: Savage x Fenty
Rihanna's Savage X Fenty brand makes the case for fun lingerie in every size. The brand has it all, from the sexiest negligee you can imagine to cozy, romantic sleepwear in sizes up to 4X—and none of it is designed to “hide” anything, unlike some plus-size lingerie.
Size Range: 1X-4X | Shipping: $4.95 for standard shipping | Return Policy: Free returns within 30 days
Best Maternity: Motherhood Maternity
One quick Google search will show you just how few and far between plus-size maternity retailers there are. Motherhood Maternity seems to have the best variety of plus-size maternity wear, which includes swimwear, basics, and occasion wear that is so cute.
Size Range: 1X-3X | Shipping: Free economy shipping on orders over $99 | Return Policy: Free returns within 30 days of delivery
Best Bridal: David’s Bridal
There may be more plus-size gowns than ever, but when it comes to bridal wear that comes at affordable price points and in a wide range of sizes, David’s Bridal is simply the best of the best.
Size Range: 14W-30W | Shipping: Free standard shipping over $149 | Return Policy: Full refund within 7 days of purchase, $12.50 return shipping fee
What to Look for When Shopping Plus-Size
“Fit varies greatly from brand to brand," says Russo, so it's best to try on multiple sizes to learn what size makes you feel the most confident and comfortable. Taking your measurements and matching them to the size charts listed online can also help you narrow down your options, if you think you might be in between two sizes.
Russo says his biggest tip for plus-size shoppers is to find influencers and models whose style you want to emulate and note what brands they’re wearing and loving. “In the plus-size space, a lot of these online-only brands fall under the radar, so it’s easy to miss them,” he explains, also noting that simply Googling ‘best plus-size stores’ will give you a handful of big-brand plus-size stores but not the smaller, more experimental brands offering plus sizes. Following influencers who wear the same size or have a similar build as you means that you will likely get introduced to brands that will carry your size.
What is considered plus size?
When discussing clothing sizes, plus-size is typically defined as size 18 and larger. This is because many straight-size labels go to a size 14 or even 16, but don’t offer specific plus-size lines. Having said that, there are still many straight-size labels that offer a 10 or 12 as their largest size.
When it comes to whether or not someone considers themselves plus-size, though, it can be a bit different. Often, plus-size models are a size 12 or 14. Regardless of how someone defines themselves, what’s important to keep in mind is that the larger the size someone wears, the more marginalized and difficult their shopping experience can be. That’s why brands that include up to size 30 and beyond are so important.
What should you know about sizing when shopping at plus-size stores?
Just because a store markets itself as a plus-size store or offers some plus sizes, that doesn’t mean its pieces will fit the same way as another plus-size retailer. “There's no standardized fit chart; it can vary greatly from brand to brand, especially in the plus-size space where sizes are particularly scattered,” Russo explains. “This is because every brand fits their clothing on different models]"
How do you take measurements for clothes?
For the most accurate numbers, tap the assistance of a friend or family member to help you with your measurements. With a vinyl or cloth measuring tape, they can take three major measurements: the bust, the waist, and the hips.
For the bust, make sure that the measuring tape is flat and parallel to the ground and centered at the largest part of the chest. Don't pull too tight, especially if you wear even a minimally padded bra, as this will skew the number to something smaller.
For the waist, wrap the measuring tape at the smallest part of the torso. Record the number you see without pulling too tight.
For the hips, measure the fullest part of your lower body. Similarly record the number you see without pulling too tight.
Why Trust Byrdie
Olivia Muenter is a fashion commerce contributor for Byrdie, and she has been published in Refinery29, Bustle, Fashionista, Glamour, and Woman’s Day, among others. Her search for this piece covered plus-size retailers of all types. For criteria, she evaluated size range, customer reviews, return policies, varieties of inventory, and user-friendly shopping experiences.