The average American woman is a size 14, and about one-third of American women are size 16 or larger. And yet, until recently, finding stylish plus-sized clothing has been difficult for many big women. Women who are taller than average can face an even bigger challenge when shopping for attractive clothes that fit well. It's time to learn more about clothing and accessories for big and tall women.
Even though more than 30 percent of American women are size 16 or up, they often can't find what they need in national chain stores and must visit specialty shops for plus-sized clothing. Though the market for plus-sized women's clothing has improved, finding well-fitting and attractive clothing for women who are taller than average can still be a challenge. For instance, Lane Bryant and The Avenue have stores for plus-sized women around the country, but there are few brick-and-mortar stores dedicated to tall women. Tall women often find that many manufacturers don't know how to design and style clothing for tall women. The designer may get the inseam right on slacks, for instance, but fail to understand how to size blouse sleeves for tall women's longer arms. The best option for finding specialty clothing for tall women is often through on-line retailers.
Casual or business attire clothing for plus-sized women can be found at retailers such as Lane Bryant, The Avenue, or in Fashion Bug's Plus size section. The chain Torrid offers younger, hipper fashions for plus-sized teens and twenty-somethings. The website Junonia.com specializes in workout and exercise clothing for women size 14 and up, and igigi.com specializes in sophisticated clothing for size 12 and up. While brick-and-mortar stores such as J.C. Penney's sometimes have clothing labeled as fitting tall women, there are few stores targeted specifically to tall women. A variety of on-line retailers cater to tall women, however, including tallwomen.com, tallwomensclothes.com, and tallcouture.com.
Accessories, too, are often not designed with big and tall women in mind. For instance, plus-sized women can often wear shoes from national retailers but find that boots are cut too tight to fit wider calves. Stockings, trouser socks and tights must also be designed differently for big and tall women. Many fashion-conscious big and tall women find that on-line retailers are the best resource for these accessories. For instance, welovecolors.com is a retailer of socks, tights, and stockings and has an extensive collection of tights and socks for plus-size legs. Duoboots.com specializes in custom-fit boots and can fit calves up to 21 inches in diameter.
The cut-off for what constitutes specialty clothing for big and tall women can vary from store to store and from one manufacturer to another. Many national retailers consider any woman over 5-foot-4 to be a candidate for their "tall" clothing, while on-line specialty retailers may consider a woman tall only if she has an inseam of 36 inches or more. Plus size clothing cutoffs may be size 12, 14 or 16. Women who are on the larger end of the plus-size spectrum may have trouble finding attractive and well-fitting clothing even in shops and catalogs targeting big women. For instance, many plus-size catalogs cut off at 3X or about size 24. Finding clothing for women in the 4X to 6X range or for size 30 and up can be especially difficult. They often have to look for keyword such as "extended sizes" to find clothing that will fit. One on-line retailer that has a special section dedicated to extended sizes (up to size 32 or 6X) is swakdesigns.com.
Clothing for big and tall women has historically had a reputation as being dowdy. However, with the advent of stores like Torrid and on-line retailers like B&Lu, hip and young-feeling clothing is more widely available. There are on-line communities and blogs dedicated to plus-size fashion as well. One of the more popular blogs for plus-size fashion is fatshionista.com. For tall women interested in fashion, there is amazona.com, an international blog dedicated to tall women's style.