Friday, 10 April 2020

Shopping Plus Size on the High Street

'Lets go shopping,'...the three words that everyman dreads but every woman loves, right!? As plus size woman I would 100% disagree with the latter! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE FASHION and I’ve always been confident in choosing the clothes I want to wear, however, I’ve always had a love hate relationship with the plus size shopping experience the High Street has to offer me. 

I always remember growing up thinking how amazing it would be to walk into a shop and buy anything you wanted from the rails. My friends could shop anywhere and for me to 'jump on' the latest fashion trend I had four limited options; Evans, New Look Curve, MK One and Etam! The one consolation to that is I never had to worry about anyone wearing the same outfit!

Fast forward 10 years, plus size fashion has come along way and for that I’m truly grateful. With brands, such as: ASOS Curve, Pretty Little Thing, In the Style, River Island, H&M, Simply Be, Navabi, Boohoo, M&S and Marina Rinaldi creating amazing plus size ranges we have more choice than ever before. Furthermore, with influencer Danielle Vanier creating a collection with Navabi that goes up to a size 32, ventures like these are something I would love to see more of in the future. 

Despite this, a large percentage of these brands are online only, making the number of physical stores made from bricks and water even more limited. When you finally find a one, you have to ask a sales assistant, 'Where is the plus size section?' Then, after they look you up and down, making you feel uncomfortable, they direct you to a corner at the back of the store. Once you’ve had a quick browse at the limited choice on the rails, you realise you can’t get too excited because your options are black leggings, stretch denim and tops with either cold shoulders or hanky hems. Once in a blue moon, you stumble upon a jewel in a crown, the one item of clothing you actually really want and after rummaging through the rail you realise it’s available to buy in every size but yours! I've given up asking the staff if they have any more sizes as the response you get now is, 'We can always see if it’s available for you to order online, you can get free delivery if it is.' The one consolation is that you don’t have to worry about going into the smallest changing room in the world, with the heating at boiling point, to then change from a pair of jeans, to a dress, skirt and top. Then, into another pair of jeans and dress before finally deciding that nothing looks nice on in this light. This leaves you with limited options, you either give them all back to the sales assistant and leave with nothing, or, take everything home to try on, knowing that you will have to bring them all back next week. 
I also still find it hard to believe that over the past year;
- Simply Be have closed all of their stores and reverted back to being an online only retailer and reduced its size range on selected products. 
- River Island have removed all traces of their plus size ranges form the limited number of stores they were available at. 
- New Look and H&M have reduced their available plus size ranges in a selected number of stores. 
- Evans has reduced its size range.

I fully understand that in today's economic climate, with the rising costs of running a business, it's more cost effective for brands to focus all of their energy online and, as much as the next person, I'm a big fan of shopping online simply because it's easy. There are benefits to having everything at your fingertips and the option of next day delivery is a clear winner, however, like shopping instore not everything is available in your size. 
The way I see it is retailers are removing something that there is a want and need for. Thus, making it harder for plus size people to have the shopping experience that all standard size people can enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for every brand that has a plus size range to open a store on the high street, or shopping centre. Although, I would like them to simply look at where they currently have stores, think about maximising the floor space and re-introduce plus size ranges where possible.

Yes, the future of the High Street is an uncertain one but if it's to have any future, plus size brands should be working together to look at opening a department type store dedicated to plus size fashion. The plus size fashion clientele are not going away, if anything our community is growing. What is great to see is that people are becoming more confident and proud of their bodies, having a place where you can shop without feeling segregated because of your size is surly a good thing, right?

As a plus size woman, the idea of walking into a store that has rails and rails of clothing dedicated to plus size would be amazing, something that presently we can only dream off!
Photographed by Ami | Ami Ford 

Dress: Asos Curve | Blazer: Asos Curve | Plimsolls: Gola via TK Maxx


1 comment

  1. You should try yours clothing. They have shops all over. They are fab! Dedicated purely to plus size fashion they cater to sizes 16 to 32 and nothing has that boring unshapely sack vibe that the likes of new look and Evan's always seemed to produce. They are also online so during this hellish time where we cant shop we can still buy online. I'm size 18 and wouldn't survive without this shop. As you mentioned Navabi is great also. But seriously if you haven't already try it helps me to feel fab all the time. And when finally the shops reopen you will have the friendliest shopping experience ever. ❤


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