Plus-Sized Shopping: Better Than Ever, But Still Limited

Stylish plus-sized women and men know that there's never been a better time to shop for larger clothing. Retailers at all levels, from high street shops to discount stores, have been expanding their size ranges to accommodate plus size shopping customers. Yet, larger men and women still struggle to find plus size clothing that meets all of their needs. Someone looking to show off her curves may be frustrated that the clothing in her size is designed to conceal. A woman shopping for a job interview might find that her nearest store sells mainly young, trendy clothing - perfect for a night out, but inappropriate for work. A larger man might be frustrated by trying to find anything in his size at all.


A survey of catalogues in the UK that offer larger sizes shows that while there are many options out there for shoppers, women and men looking for professional clothing, formal wear, or clothing in the larger end of the plus-size range have less to choose from. For women, the best overall retailers are the catalogues Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson and JD Williams. All three offer women many options for casual and professional wear, lingerie and accessories. Ambrose Wilson and JD Williams offer a broader range of sizes.


Next Directory only offers plus size clothing in sizes 24, 26, and 28, mainly knitwear, dresses, and casual pants and tops. Littlewoods also covers the casual side of plus-sized clothing, offering dresses and outfits perfect for sunny days or holidays. However, Littlewoods does offer, unlike other catalogues, a decent selection of formal wear in larger sizes. Evans has received a lot of attention for its fashion collaboration with Gossip singer Beth Ditto. Its clothing is colourful, stylish and inexpensive, and it also offers clothing up to size 32, a larger size range than other catalogues. However, its selection of workwear is limited.


For the larger man, Jacamo offers a wide range of both casual and professional clothing. Their selection of tailored clothing for men is surprisingly broad, giving plus-sized men more options for work clothing than their female counterparts.


There are other options for plus-sized shoppers, of course. Women seeking trends should look at Dorothy Perkins or the new plus-sized line at ASOS. Boden sells colorful, vintage-inspired clothes for those who wear sizes 14-22; including some pieces appropriate for work or formal nights out. However, tailored plus size clothing for larger women is still hard to find.


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