Spend an hour or two scrolling through myriad plus size retailers online, and you might fall into a little trap. As you gaze upon a couple of actually-on-trend trench coats or seaside-esque striped dresses, it will probably seem as though the plus size fashion revolution has begun. In a lot of respects, the options we've been waiting are available — sort of.
When you look a little harder, however, or try to get your hands on anything a bit more niche — think a low-cut velvet bodysuit like the one you saw at Zara the other day, or maybe some snake motif embroidered jackets comparable to those on this season's New York Fashion Week runways that are now popping up in fast fashion (and straight size-targeted) stores everywhere, and those rose-tinted glasses might start to crack.
Plus size fashion has evolved in recent years, leaving many fat fashion enthusiasts grateful to be the hell out of, say, 2007. But it's an industry that can still feel sadly small, swimming in a massive sea of size two to 12 styles. Coming far doesn't mean that we don't have a long way left to go so that plus size clothes exist for all sizes of the spectrum, at all price points, and in all style aesthetics.
With that in mind, here are 31 plus size garments plus size women desperately want more of, as shared by plus size consumers and influencers.
Amanda McGlennon of Cruella's Curves is yearning for more well-tailored cigarette trousers. They're "impossible to get," she tells Bustle. And with the exception of a few styles here and there in sizes 12 to 24, she's not wrong. It's time to get our retro on.
Writer and editor Georgina Jones wants "really, really low V-necks," she tells Bustle. The kind that are so low, you might need to go full-on Kim Kardashian and tape your shoulders and underboobs down just to avoid nip-slipage.
"I want high-waisted disco shorts/disco pants," plus size model Natalie Hage tells Bustle. "Think like, American Apparel disco pants."
Contrary to popular belief, many plus size dressers do, in fact, want to deck out their bottom halves in tight, structured, '70s rave-like trousers. We just haven't been given much of an opportunity to do so.
It's a sentiment that alternative blogger Margot Meanie confirms. "I don't want spandex leggings being hawked at me as disco pants," she tells Bustle. "I want these things! The structure, the fly front, the pockets on the back. The shine!"
It might seem like an out-there item, but these babies have been all the rage in the straight size market for about two years. And we want them bad.
Channeling your inner prepster via knee or thigh-high socks is still a trying feat when you are fat: An issue many influencers within the plus community online want to see fixed. Alysse Dalessandro of Ready To Stare, Ragini Nag Rao of A Curious Fancy, and Jen Wilder of The Plus Bus all tell Bustle that "thigh highs for big thighs" are tragically few and far between.
Makeup artist Jessica O'Brien tells Bustle that plus size maternity shopping was a total "nightmare" for her. "What I did find was expensive," she adds. "[And] a lot of the patterns and draping were just not what I wanted. I really loved wearing fitted tops and dresses while I was pregnant."
Plus Size babe Izabel Campana confirms the bleak landscape that is plus maternity shopping. "I am six months pregnant now and I feel that nice pants, stockings, party dresses (for weddings or such) are hard to find," she tells Bustle. Apparently, preggo plus size people should be happy to wear stretch-waist jeans, loose-fitting tees, and nothing more.
The idea that fat women (including while pregnant) would never want to highlight their dastardly stomachs is pretty antiquated and has long been proven false. Many of us sincerely do. We just need the threads that'll allow it.
From Margot Meanie in Canada to beauty therapist Siobhan Fellas in the U.K., plus size babes the world over are pleading for more alternative-wear. Fellas tells Bustle she wants "more alternative brands such as Killstar [to expand] their ranges," adding that it is "extremely hard to find alternative clothing in my size!"
From Victoriana goth vibes to skull-embroidered trenches to Lolita-like dresses, more outlets for our beloved oddities are undoubtedly needed.
Shoes in larger sizes and wider fits are a sartorial dream echoed by many. "My dresses are cute, but finding quality, comfortable, gorgeous shoes for my round feet is killing my style," Elizabeth Nuñez of BBW Generation tells Bustle.
"Extra wide-calf boots are hard enough to find," Substantia Jones of The Adipositivity Projects adds. "But if one can afford it, they can be custom-made. Rain/snow boots cannot. I know of only one manufacturer that makes them to (in some cases) fit my 24-inch calves and size seven feet."
The thing is, killer style shouldn't have to end at the calves.
Garrison Vest, $85-$99, Haute Butch
Not all plus size women are feminine dressers, even if that's what we're often taught to be as a means of "making up" for our fatness. Unfortunately, most of the plus fashion industry hasn't quite caught onto this. As writer and poet J Applebee tells Bustle, "I've had to cobble together my #ButchLooks but it would be nice to just buy some in a shop."
Margot Meanie agrees, adding that "masculine or androgynous cuts for fat bodies" would basically be a godsend at this point.
Sartorial equality for plus sizes will only really be achieved when clothing for fat bodies is made in every single size, at every single price point. And that includes the high-end goods.
"What I would really like to see is designer clothes available in plus size," Amena Azeez of Fashionopolis tells Bustle. "I should have the luxury to walk into a designer store and find clothes my size." Fat babes are not "beneath" couture, and it's about time someone acknowledged as much.
Logic suggests that not all plus size bodies are created equally. Some of us are short, some of us are tall, and some of us lie somewhere in between. But most plus babes don't have the privilege of shopping petite and tall lines in the way our straight size counterparts do.
"At 5-foot-11, I feel like everything is too short for me and no dress has ever sat on my waist," blogger and photographer Kitty Morris of Kitty Rambles A Lot tells Bustle. "But I know at the other end of the spectrum, it's exactly the same and everything is way too long for petite plus folks."
11. Better Outerwear
Cuter options and a larger selection of coats and jackets is at the top of the list for several plus size fashionistas. Hayley Stewart of Curves & Curls tells Bustle, "I want better jacket options. And better coats. More out-there and interesting [rather than] black, standard, dull."
Amanda Koker of ASK Fashion agrees wholeheartedly, telling Bustle that "plus size outerwear that isn't frumpy" is her number-one want right now.
But it's not just about wanting more options: It's about wanting the trends, too. For Nancy Whittington-Coates of Sugar Darling, cropped jackets have been especially hard to find in plus, despite their current "it" status. The same is true of the elusive "satin silky dark rose gold duster jacket," as Cardifforniagurl's Michaela points out. The latter might seem pretty specific, but it was available everywhere in autumn 2015. If you were below a size 14, that is.
12. Graphic T-Shirts
For Emily D. Whitaker of Tormented Sugar, the lack of decent graphic tees in plus is pretty tragic. "I would like to find more good quality graphic T-shirts with cool art or illustrations," she tells Bustle. "Better choices for necklines; plungier and sexy!" More funky patterns and artwork ASAP, please.
13. Suits & Tuxedos
Women in suits and tuxedos, unapologetically breaking those gender norms, are always a glorious sight to behold. Unfortunately, the plus size options in this department are usually pretty bleak. But as Kimberly Chantler of Call Me Kim and Margot Meanie both confirm, there's definitely a market for them.
"[Plus size] business-wear is bland and boring," Chantler tells Bustle. "Gorgeous tailored and fitted suits," however, would be much appreciated. As would a fancy pants three-piece tux.
14. More Crop Tops
Real talk: Plus size bellies are beautiful bellies. And many of us want to show them the hell off.
As blogger Lottie L'Amour tells Bustle, "Long-sleeved, short-sleeved, boob tube: [Just] give me crop tops!"
Finding button-downs that actually button all the way down usually proves tricky when muffin tops, back boobies, or double bellies are in the picture. Surely taking the diversity of fat bods into consideration when designing such a garment shouldn't be so tricky, though.
"Shirts that actually button would be amazing," Twitter's Vicious_Circe tells Bustle. "I have a collection of plaid shirts that don't fasten around my hips." And Twitter user Wolyfe seconds her feelings, adding that "button-up shirts that fit hips and boobs" are rare as f*ck.
For quite a long time, shapeless and ill-fitting clothing were the only styles seemingly available to fat women. The message very much being, "Your body is meant to be hidden."
Because things are progressing, we've definitely seen a decrease in these styles. Only trouble is, the problem was never with the styles themselves (so regularly deemed "unflattering" now). But rather, with the lack of anything else.
That's why Lindsay McAllister of Body Positive Babe is ready for "more shapeless, oversized stuff." Let "flattering" be damned.
Where are all the red corduroy pants? The turquoise cigarette trousers? The sea foam green jeggings? It sometimes seems as though straight size bottoms come in every color of the rainbow and beyond. But fat babes often get stuck in the same old blacks and blues.
Blogger Gabrielle of Naccessory tells Bustle that "tailored trousers of various colors and patterns" are her utmost wish. "I am constantly in jeans because I can't find that perfect trouser for me." Plenty of humans undoubtedly know the feeling.
It's not just the lack of color bringing folks down, though. Plus size pants are a grim territory of the market when it comes to almost all categories.
Arched Eyebrow's Bethany Rutter wants "good trousers made for actual fat bodies." Nomali Minenhle Cele seconds that. "I want a basic ass pair of black trousers with a slim leg, a button, a zip, (even pockets)."
As for blogger Em Smyth of Terrible Tumbles, "Fitted trousers that are not made of that shiny wipe clean black school uniform material (ideally available in many lengths)" wouldn't go unnoticed.
19. Shorter Skirts
Dear fashion gods: Please give us the chance to show off our chunky legs.
J. Sheri Atwell of Shapely Chic Sheri tells Bustle that she is, quite frankly, "tired of super long skirts." That's likely because at the end of the day, not having a thigh gap is no reason to hide your thighs.
20. Low-Rise Bikini Bottoms
While the fatkini revolution — largely popularized by GabiFresh blogger Gabi Gregg — has been a heavenly gift to the world for the past few years, most plus size bikini bottoms available to purchase are still high waisted.
Because there's nothing shameful about a fat tummy, however, there should be nothing shameful about getting it out in its entirety. But as blogger Bianca Karina points out to Bustle, "bikini bottoms that are not high waisted" are ridiculously difficult to find. Like, probably among the top five hardest things to find in plus.
You know that thing we were talking about? That thing about not all plus size bodies being created equally? Well, many plus size individuals don't have big boobies. Shocking, right?
"[Plus size] swimwear has really improved unless you wear a C cup or smaller," Re/Dress' Rachel Kacenjar tells Bustle. We know it's possible for swimwear to be made to accommodate all cup sizes. So there's no logical reason the same cannot be true of designs made with larger bodies in mind.
Ragini Nag Rao is pretty exhausted of polyester and man-made fabrics, of which almost everything in the plus market seems to be made of. "I just want my cottons and linen," she tells Bustle. Twitter user Kristine Aavang couldn't agree more, adding that "cute dresses in natural fabrics [and] no more polyester" is where it's at.
There's a frustrating contradiction existing within plus size fashion and the "rules" that so often accompany it. It goes something like this: "Don't wear loose or oversized clothing. They'll make you look bigger. And lazy." Which is then followed by: "But don't wear anything too tight. You don't want your rolls on display."
In actuality, a lot of unapologetic babes do want their rolls on display. "Snug-fitting, body-baring clothes of good quality are difficult to come by," Substantia Jones tells Bustle. "Landfills are brimming with cheaply-made [clothes]. But the well-constructed stuff, I never see."
Heather of She Loves Herself is also craving some form-fitting fabulousness. She wants "fitted dresses," particularly wrap dresses. "[I] feel like so many plus dresses are just baggy smocks," she tells Bustle.
"I can't seem to find shirts with thumb holes," Melissa McGowan, media research intern at Fattitude, tells Bustle. "I know it seems a random item, but I really want long sleeve shirts with thumb holes (and without a hood) and these seem to not exist for plus size women. But they're all over the place for straight sizes."
Specific it might be, but her final point couldn't be truer. These babies are all over the place for sizes XL and smaller. But our hands get cold, too.
Lingerie for plus size babes has definitely improved in recent years in terms of quantity available. But when it comes to variety in price points and general aesthetics? Not so much.
Marianne Mazza Styles is ready for "sexy underwear sets on the high street," she tells Bustle. "Every woman deserves to feel sexy, but [most lingerie retailers] don't cater to us."
We want the thongs, the bodysuits, the mesh, the lace, the glitter, the dainty features, the cut-outs and hip huggers. We want it all.
Yes, fashion brands. Many plus size humans work out. And no, they don't all want to do it in the darkest, most boring of garments known to mankind.
"[It] drives me mad that mainstream XL [sizing] goes nowhere near my size 18-20 hips," plus size babe Sarah Vogel tells Bustle. And leggings! [They're] not cut for big bums or tums. Note to retailers: FAT GIRLS EXERCISE TOO."
And just to reiterate: Many of them don't want to do it in solid hues or oversized tees from the men's section.
Writer and photographer Suma Jane Dark is ready for nice, minimalist capsule pieces. "Everything is either trendy to the point that it can't be worn for multiple seasons or designed in such a way that every piece is a statement piece," she tells Bustle. "It's very hard to put together a closet of basics. It's also very hard to have a more futuristic/modern aesthetic because most plus size clothing tends to be more romantic, sentimental/sweet, nostalgic in design."
Blogger Naomi Griffiths of Diamonds & Pearls also wants to get her hands on some pretty, everyday wears. "For me, I find just basics really difficult to get," she adds. [I want] a simple, classic blouse, nice tailored (not polyester) trousers in varying lengths, a nice crisp, well structured skirt, classic, well cut T-shirts that aren't full of terrible embellishments. Just really good, well made basics."
Sometimes simplicity is best, after all.
Writer and blogger Liz Black of P.S. It's Fashion thinks plus style has evolved enough that we can often find the individual pieces we're seeking. "But they are often boring and basic," she notes. When she went into a shop that happens to carry straight and plus options recently, "All the plus options were basic, dull. Same old floral frocks, solid tops, knit sweaters, a few graphic T-shirts. The rest of the floor (which is straight size), had similar basics, sure, but it was also filled with unique pieces, runway knock-offs, very on trend designs that you won't wear more than a year (or a season)."
Ushshi Rahman of Dress Carcass agrees wholeheartedly. "Like, I see Gucci knock-offs everywhere but the plus market," she tells Bustle. "And goddamnit, I just really want some snake motif embroidered sh*t right now (and not five years later, trickled down like warm, tepid water instead of at boiling point)."
As Christina McDermott of Kitkeen tells Bustle, "Clothes with shoulders which haven't been cut out" wouldn't go remiss right about now. Beauty blogger Mel of 30SomethingMel concurs, adding, "[I] see some lovely stuff, then notice it's got bloody cold shoulders. Pisses me right off."
There's a little trope out there that says cold shoulders slim down "too-fat" arms. But for many, that's just not even a concern. And if anything, the damn open shoulders ruin some otherwise gorgeous tops.
Plus size style isn't all about the clothes. Accessories factor in, too. And we definitely need more market-based ones. "One of the things I've struggled to find is belts," artist and illustrator Kat of Murder Of Goths tells Bustle. "Beautiful, decorative belts are in short supply."
Izabel Campana adds that she alway has a "hard time buying jewelry, specially rings and bracelets."
If we need bigger clothes, it should come as no surprise that we need bigger jewels and belts, y'all.
"Diversity of aesthetics" is Ushshi Rahman's principal wish for plus size fashion. "There's plenty of basic dresses, glam stuff, athleisure these days but it seems they focus on a trend or two and thats it," she tells Bustle. "Where are my minimalist goth pieces? Where can I get some raw cotton and unfinished leather? Where are the high quality artisans who do work that I love but wont go past an XL?
And therein, perhaps, lies the greatest issue of all. Plus size fashion has evolved, sure. But when you compare what's available to us with what is available in sizes XL and smaller, the progress becomes more difficult to glean.
Equality means just that: Equal in every way. We want all the price points, all the styles, all the sh*t so many designers still don't think fat people would ever want to wear. If style is a practice through which self-expression can be cultivated, then we deserve as much variety and experimental detailing and oddities as can be found on a runway.