I have plenty o’ hang-ups about my body, as you all know, but when it comes to shopping, I’ve got it pretty easy. I’m a size 8 just about everything, including shoes, which means that my biggest woe is that my size is often sold out. But I’m not petite or plus-sized or tall, my feet aren’t small or large, my calves aren’t wide or narrow … I’m shaped more or less how manufacturers want me to be shaped.
But I know that many, many, MANY women are challenged to find quality, stylish clothing that fits their marvelously unique forms. Many of you are petite or plus-sized or tall, or have feet that are small or large, or calves that are wide or narrow … and while I can’t help you out with brick-and-mortar recommendations in your hometowns, I can certainly round up a few online resources for those who require specialty sized clothing and shoes.
Before we dive in, a couple of caveats:
- I have shopped with clients at a few of these places – both in person and online – but I haven’t road-tested them all. I’ve done my best to scope them out for variety, styling, and pricing … but if you’ve personally shopped with any of these vendors and had horrible experiences, please speak up! I’m hoping this post will open up a conversation about resources, and fully expect you to chime in with feedback.
- I have done my best to represent as many specialty size categories as possible. If you are not represented here, keep two things in mind:
- I did NOT leave you out on purpose.
- If you are a member of a group that was not mentioned in this post, why not contribute a few resources for other women in your same group? Where do YOU shop for clothing, shoes, or accessories?
So! Let’s get this party started, eh?
SPECIALTY SHOE RESOURCES
- Barefoot Tess – A truly spectacular array of large-size shoes
- Pretty Small Shoes – Great selection at this UK retailer, and they do ship worldwide
- Zappos Wide Shoe Section – Several online shoe retailers have wide width sections, but Zappos has great variety and is easy to search.
- Zappos Narrow Shoe Section – Ditto above
- Fitzwell, Naturalizer, and Ros Hommerson – Of all the wide calf boots available out there, these three brands consistently design my favorite styles. Sleek, simple, and classic.
- DUO – A great resource for both narrow- and wide-calf boots
- Endless for narrow calf boots – the biggest selection I’ve seen, though be sure to check site measurements against your own. Their definition of “narrow” is broad, no pun intended.
PLUS SIZE RESOURCES
- Igigi – My absolute favorite source for plus size workwear with personality. A relatively small selection and not cheap, but worth it.
- Kiyonna – Runner up for plus size workwear. Not quite as awesome as Igigi and a similarly small selection, but definitely good duds.
- Talbots Woman – Plus size conservative workwear, including suits. It’s great quality stuff, my friends.
- Bare Necessities – Bras from 36C to 54 H. (Considerably less impressive selection for panties and hosiery … any recommendations?)
- I had a reeeeeally tough time locating petite-specific shops that pleased me. However, retailers Ann Taylor and LOFT, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Talbots, MetroStyle, Nordstrom, Macy’s, J.Jill, Land’s End, and Kohl’s all have petites sections.
- The Little Bra Company – Small bras and panties for the petite woman
- Alterations Needed Forum – This lively forum has user reviews of dozens of products and shops. A great resource!
- Many mall stores offer pants and skirts in tall lengths, but fail to provide tops or dresses. Check Ann Taylor and LOFT, Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, as well as most department stores.
- MetroStyle – Covers the gamut, including handful of darling tops.
- Tall Couture – Although their selection of tops doesn’t look particularly fab for the long-of-torso, and a few dresses look decidedly short, this shop has a great selection of ADORABLE blouses, and lots of great designer names
- Long Elegant Legs – Many styles are a little staid, but this seems like a good source for basics.
TALL PLUS RESOURCES
- I have sent my plus clients to both One Stop Plus and Woman Within for basics, and both sell tall plus merchandise, which I’ve linked to here. But I’ll tell you upfront that neither makes me as exited as Igigi and Kiyonna do. These options are fine, but not great. I’d LOVE suggestions on tall plus resources, if anyone’s got ’em!
PETITE PLUS RESOURCES
- Talbots – REALLY great selection of office-appropriate and casual pieces.
- Land’s End – Tiny selection, but the only place I’ve ever seen that offers petite plus swimwear.
Once again, I make no claims that I’ve been completely comprehensive and encourage everyone to contribute: What are your resources? What have your experiences been with the vendors listed here? Any local shops you’d love to plug? Tell all in the comments!
And if you’re looking for blogs that discuss specialty sizes, here’s a little roundup of my faves:
Barking Dog Shoes – More focus on shoes for problem feet than specialty sizing, but this is my absolute favorite shoe blog for actual, pragmatic shopping advice. (No Louboutins here!)
Alterations Needed – I cannot say this enough: This blog is the most fantastic resource for petite women I’ve ever found. Ever!
Fab Finds Under $50 – Kimberly talks about style for women of all sizes, but does a truly stellar job of covering plus size fashion on a budget.
Loving the Reflection – Courtney says it all right in her bio. “I am about 5’4” tall, wear anywhere from a size 24-32. Being on the higher end of the plus size spectrum makes it extra difficult to find stylish clothing with a budget-friendly price tag.” But friends, she always looks stylin’. And I mean ALWAYS.
Image courtesy Barefoot Tess – those babies are available up to size 14. Nice.
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