Monday, July 30, 2012

Guest Post: The Here and Now of Plus Size Clothing

Our guest post today is from Maureen (Moe) Wood, who has been the Editor of the Large and Lovely site at BellaOnline  for eight years and has a plus size shopping blog where she shares My Favorite Things. Moe is one of the most knowledgeable and approachable experts on plus size fashion in cyberspace and beyond.  She just celebrated her seventeenth wedding anniversary and is working up the nerve to dye her hair blue. Yikes!!

Many women today still believe there are no clothing options available for plus size women. I think the problem with this belief lies in our old world view of shopping. This last decade and especially in the last five years the internet has played an enormous role in plus size shopping and retailers like Ulla Popken have not ignored its importance, although some companies (and shoppers) have been slow to embrace it.

I would like to say, gone are the days of walking into the store to shop but plus size women really never had that option to begin with (there was a lot of settling) and I do not think that will change.  Instead of whining about it I think we all need to embrace it.  The opportunity for plus size women to shop at "hundreds" of stores has never been more exciting, all without having to leave the comfort of their sofa.

I think part of the issue is a certain fear of shopping online; especially those with little online experience --sizing issues, being ripped off, etc. With sizing issues, well we complained about those at stores too. Everyone does. If trust is an issue then the safest way to begin online shopping is to start with companies that have been around for a while, read their profiles and definitely read recommendations from other shoppers.

The best thing plus size specialty retailers did for plus size women was to open up an online shop for their businesses.  Now we can shop across the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and even Denmark for clothes we could not even think of buying in our home towns.

The best companies are all too willing to answer questions and help online shoppers to make their shopping experience rewarding either through email, online chat or over the phone.

All that being said about how wonderful internet shopping is, unfortunately there are still some sub-groups of the plus size market that are lacking.  I think the most under-represented women are those who are plus size and petite.  I would really like to see a plus size petite clothing company make a big marketing campaign -- along with fashion show, etc. Until then they will have to search a little harder than the rest of us.

Another sub-group that has suffered are the women in the larger sizes, above 3x. Their clothing options over the last twenty years have been horrific but there are some really nice brands delivering fashion in extended sizes.  One of the things I love about Ulla Popken is that they have an offering of clothing that goes up to size 38. I consider Ulla Popken to be the quiet brand.  They are not in your face with provocative ads and they offer a classy functional style that is well made -- dare I say reliable.  If it were not for the internet I would never have had access to what they have to offer and definitely not have had the opportunity to meet Babe.

For the most part I think we are open to what the future of plus size clothes shopping has to offer but I think we still have one foot in the past and we need to bring it into the here and now if we are to take full benefit. We need to let go of the old ideals of how to shop so we can look good and actually enjoy our shopping experiences on our own terms.


LaurB said...

I read Babe's blog because her book was so helpful. I am in my 50's, and work at being attractive like so many other women who are plus sized. I decided I need to make peace with myself and dress my body in as flattering a way as possible without shrinking into the woodwork.
This post was inspiring, and I have added your blog to my favorites as well.

Babe Hope said...

Wow LaurB- thank you so much for the positive feedback!

As an Ulla customer, I really appreciate the strides Ulla has made in the last couple of years, more contemporary styling, better, fit and fabrics and an affordable price. I only wish I had been privy to that when I wrote my book because it has inspired my wardrobe exponentially.

Thank you for supporting my blog where I reference Ulla merchandise to make my points. This has been a match made in heaven!

LaurB said...

Well, I never really bought Ulla P clothes except for one beautiful top I found at a Marshall's once. I will be paying closer attention to it now. I spend a lot of my money at J.Jill and Chicos.
I bought your book on Amazon after doing a search for plus size fashion in books, and was so happy that you were close to my age and size and really DO understand our challenges. I am looking forward to your next you have a date of publication yet? I also want to tell you that my husband bought me the Trish McEvoy makeup organizer after I read about it in your book! It was my favorite Christmas present. Awesome.

Babe Hope said...

I am not planning another book at this time. I'm loving my partnership with Ulla Popken and getting my tips out through this blog, Babe's Picks and, I'm so excited to say, through our upcoming video series.

We are planning several short videos for the first portion of 2013, so I hope you'll check them out through

I'd love to hear your feedback!

Thanks for writing and making me feel appreciated! Happy New Year!