My Transition to Plus Size Stores

I have not always been “plus size”. In fact, there have been times in my life in which I wore a size XS.

I found it very difficult to transition from “regular size” clothing to plus size clothing. I have a mirror and a scale so I know when I gain or lose weight. However, it’s not like there is a hard and fast rule about what weight you should be when you shop at certain stores.

What happened to me, and what I think happens to a lot of people, is that I would go to the stores I shopped at regularly and realize that nothing in that store fit me.

The first time this happened, I was at Dynamite and Garage. I pulled my usual sizes and headed to the fitting room. Very quickly I realized that not a single item I pulled was going to fit. I went back out onto the floor of the store and pulled anything I could that I thought would fit loose. I did eventually find something to wear at Dynamite. However, it was not really what I had been looking for and the entire shopping experience I had that day was very deflating.

I then decided to start shopping more at American Eagle. I had always liked the fact that I found American Eagle clothing to fit a lot more loosely than the same size at other stores. This worked for me, however, I needed to wear the largest size American Eagle carried.

Before I knew it, it was fall and the only clothes I owned that fit me properly were summer clothes from American Eagle. I was in school at the time and on the first cold day of fall I put on a school logo hoodie and a pair of dark jeans. It was so difficult for me to get these jeans on. When I did finally get them over my hips I was very uncomfortable but I thought I would be able to manage for the day of classes I had. About an hour into my school day I was so uncomfortable and it was very unbearable. I actually left school on a break between classes and did some shopping at Old Navy.

I remember I was really happy when I went to Old Navy because I did not have very much money to spend and I didn’t know what size to buy but I found a lot of clothes that actually fit me and they were very inexpensive.

I wore my new Old Navy clothing for the rest of the fall and winter.

God bless my mom because she recognized that I really needed new clothes and for Christmas that year she bought me some RW&Co clothing that not only did I need to balance out my wardrobe but I also needed for different job interviews and presentations in class.

I had a job lined up when I finished school but I didn't really have any summer business casual clothing. Luckily, unlike in the fall, I did have some money set aside that I was able to use to purchase new clothes for work.

I went shopping with my mom, and the first store she suggested we go to was a Laura store that carried both petite and plus size clothing. I had never been to an actual plus size store prior to this.

I assumed that I would be the smallest size in a plus size store - which was not the case. At the time I was a little bit upset because not only was I now officially shopping for plus size, but I had incorrectly assumed I would be on the “small” end of plus. Both of these realizations hit me a little bit hard.

That being said, I quickly realized that although it was expensive, Laura was a great store to shop at for different outfits I needed for work.

Another store I was able to find success at was Reitman's. I remember buying three different colors of blazers there.

As I said, I did have some extra money to spend on clothes but it was still not a lot of money. So to balance out my expensive Laura purchases I wanted to buy some inexpensive items from Old Navy so I would have more options.

That summer, I was working my first job in my field armed with all of my new clothes. I was happy because people complimented me on a regular basis because I was so well dressed for work.

The following fall and winter I started to shop at Additionelle and continued to shop at Laura and Old Navy.

Overtime, Additionelle closed (now part of Pennington's) and I realized that Laura was too expensive for me to afford for most things. Therefore, I was doing the majority of my shopping at Old Navy.

For a long time I had really enjoyed shopping at Old Navy. However, overtime I felt as though their clothes were just big baggy blobs. I started finding it very difficult to find clothing that I wanted to wear from Old Navy. It was one of the few stores I was used to shopping at and everything was so inexpensive. I bought the same dress in two colors because I needed two different dresses for two different events. It was when I purchased the two dresses that I decided I really did not like Old Navy any longer and I needed to find other options. I just felt like a big, unattractive, and unfashionable blob when I wore these two dresses.

I remember feeling upset because I didn’t know where to shop to find cute plus size clothing and I hated the feeling of being unfashionable.

On a whim, I decided to make a purchase on the online store SHEIN. I really did not know what to expect because their clothes were inexpensive and made in China. They also do not have brick and mortar stores, so you are taking a risk because your only option is to purchase through their app.

I am SO HAPPY I decided to make my first SHEIN purchase because I was happy with what I ordered and it quickly became my new favorite store to shop. When I started to shop at SHEIN, I felt really fashionable for the first time in a very long time and it was such a good feeling.

Another store I discovered around this time was Maurice’s. Friends of mine had mentioned Maurice’s but I had never shopped there. The first time I went to Maurice’s I loved everything immediately upon walking into the store. Maurice’s is kind of a middle ground in terms of price. It is in the middle of being expensive and inexpensive.

My mom bought me my first dress from Pennington’s (which I loved). Again, I had friends mention that they liked Pennington's over the years but I had never shopped there. I actually have still to this day not been to one of their physical stores because I do the majority of my shopping online. I do really like Pennington’s but I still like the Additionelle stuff they carry more than the Pennington’s brand.


The transition from regular stores to plus size stores can be very emotional. Not only did a feel badly about myself because I had gained weight. I was now in a position in which I needed to shop at completely new stores that I had never been before which I found a little bit daunting. It also took me a long time to find stores that I liked and whose clothes made me feel good about myself. The whole process was a huge transition for me. All in all, I believe it is important to dress well, dress for your body shape, and dress for the body you currently have and I am finally in a place in my life in which I feel comfortable with that.

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