Have you ever picked up a garment in anything over a standard XL and found it was significantly pricier than that same garment in just a few sizes smaller? Most plus-size women will attest to the fact that this is a recurring letdown — and one justified by designers and brands because of the extra material, and time, needed to make bigger clothes. Poor them, right?
It can be so disheartening to find a dress or blouse you love and think will be inexpensive, only to discover you're not granted the same cost because your body happens to be thicker. And it is this price raise as well as the general lack of options for plus-size women (which granted is slowly improving) that can make shopping seem really daunting. The thought of finding something cheap but decent in quality and style often seems like wishful thinking, and not really worth the energy because of the seemingly inevitable and forthcoming disappointment that it will unveil.
But budget-friendly options do exist in plus-sizes. A handful of brands are dedicated to providing just that, in fact. Some exclusively handle sizes 12 and over, while others cater to everything from a 0 to 28. And the wonderful thing is that there is actually a pleasant amount of variety. From the on-trend styles seen all over city streets to more indie, alternative and quirky looks, it's definitely possible to cater to your personality whilst not swiping the Visa or MasterCard into overdraft hell.
For on-trend fashion starting as low as $12 and rarely ever exceeding the $45 mark, Fashion to Figure is utopia. Founded by the two great-grandson's of Lena Bryant (a.k.a Lane Bryant), the brand lives up to the mantra: "You should never ask women to conform their figures to fashion, but rather bring fashion to the figure.” Think body-hugging, curve-showing, silhouette-enhancing styles, all designed to show the beauty of the fuller figure rather than ride it away.
Any 20-something has probably sworn by Forever 21 at some point during their lifetimes. Their styles have consistently been on-trend whilst preserving that teenage angst-meets-romance vibe most of us loved in high school. But if like me (I am not ashamed) you find yourself reluctant to let go of youth any time soon, F21's plus-range is pretty ideal, and cheap. Don't expect to spend more than $30 on anything.
The beauty of Boohoo is that they manage to design for a wider range of ages whilst still keeping things fun and quirky. Teens can delight in a pair of neon, tie-dye jeans, whilst 30-something working gals can find fabulous yet professional jumpsuits or color-blocked dresses. Prices can reach the $60 mark, but you're paying for a higher quality that'll probably last longer than some of the $12 items elsewhere.
At this point, most plus-size women (but probably all women who like online shopping) know all about ASOS. The revolutionary e-commerce site blends everything from '90s grunge to pretty-in-pink, and their Curve section is both high-quality and uber fashionable. But the prices can get steep, so that's where the Outlet section comes in, where items are reduced up to 70 percent. Ultimately, prices will range from a crazy low $12 up to the $200 range (for the clothes initially starting at $300 or more).
The British equivalent of Forever 21, New Look combines the pleasures of youth with a slightly working girl edge, and this holds true for their plus-size collection: Inspire. You can typically expect to spend around $20, making it the perfect match for budget-friendly shopping. The highlight: their styles are usually on-trend and make for easy day-to-night transitions.
When Wet Seal announced they'd be making a plus-size collection about a year ago, every plus-size '90s baby entered a state of euphoria. Wet Seal was the place to shop for most of us 20-somethings in those teeny bopper days, but since 1999, they've evolved into something far more. A mix of quirkiness, grunge and even a dash of professionalism makes for the ultimate shopping experience. That and their $20 to $40 prices, obviously.
At Yours Clothing you'll probably be entering $50 to $60 price ranges, but their quality is superb. With styles that would suit anyone from 19 to 39, their designs are a little more classic, and maybe even professional, but no less cute. Not convinced? Their apparel is often modeled by the beautiful Hayley Hasselhoff to boot.