Both Laura and K wrote to me hoping for some help with sustainable plus-sized resources. In my mega list post of sustainable vendors and sites, I do point out which ones include plus sizes and there are a handful … but not as many as I’d like. And certainly not as many as plus sized women seeking stylish, ethically made clothes would like.
To make things easier, I’ll call out the vendors and sites I know of here. I’ll also mention a couple of sustainable practices that aren’t brand-centric that may help you plus-sized folks who need super budget-friendly ways to make your wardrobes more eco-conscious.
Made in the U.S.A. Classic clothing designs with an edge, including great dresses and my all-time favorite denim. Many looks skew Boho. The brand typically has more plus-sized tops than bottoms or dresses, but all are available.
Many items made from organic cotton. Brightly colored and printed clothing, meant to be layered. Sizes go through XXL, which fits 22/24 according to size charts. Many garments are cut very loose, too, so if you’re on the cusp, experiment a little!
Many items made from organic fibers, and a plan to get to 100% sustainability. Eileen Fisher is expensive, no to ways about it. But the designs are unspeakably elegant and totally timeless, so if you can sink some cash into a few pieces you’ll likely wear them forever. Petite sizes also available.
Many jeans made in the U.S.A., but some specialty denim made abroad so do check product by product. Mostly jeans, but also some jackets and tops. In fact, NYDJ’s plus-sized tops are great if you love printed blouses … but again, some are imported, so beware. Petite sizes also available.
LISSA the Shop
Committed to supporting the fashion industry’s growing movement towards becoming a more mindful and responsible trade. Stocks brands that combine a unique and timeless aesthetic, who employ sustainable production methods, have quality construction and craftsmanship, and use natural fibers. Lissa started carrying plus sizes earlier this year!
Designed in Canada, produced and managed by a team of 300 women in Chiang Mai, Thailand. NB uses solar power in offices and factories and takes great care of its employees. Not all designs are available in plus sizes, but many are. Also find this brand at LISSA the Shop.
Hackwith Design House
You might hate me for including this brand because the designs are SO GOOD, and very spendy. Hackwith is a Minneapolis-based company making less than 25 of each item sold locally by hand. Minimalist basics, mostly oversized and/or flowy and the plus collection is out of this world.
Some items are made in the U.S.A. Printed dresses and blouses and casual tops at low price-points. Great for the plus-sized bargain hunter!
This Canadian designer makes her clothes from organic bamboo knits, and has some of the best asymmetric tunics and funky tops in plus sizes I’ve ever seen.
Making It Big
This company’s sustainability practices are limited to using low-impact dyes and printing catalogs on recycled paper, but they make clothes in sizes 1X – 8X. Woohoo!
Handmade, made-to-measure dresses, tops, skirts, pants, swimwear, and undies created by two gals in Canada. Mostly slinky jersey knits in artistic shapes. Petite, tall, and custom sizes also available.
Also Consider: Buying Used
I know thrift stores can be a dead end for plus sized clothing, but if any of your preferred brands end up on eBay or Thredup, you can procure pieces secondhand that way. Sustainable clothes don’t have to be brand new items made from organic cotton. They can be two-year-old polyester blouses from Igigi that have been donated and are ready for a new owner!
Also Consider: Handmade and Custom
Ureshii is a great option for custom garments, but a HUGE number of Etsy vendors are also willing to create custom items for their customers. If you find a piece you love but it doesn’t come in your size, message the designer and see what they’re willing to do for ya.
Also Consider: Cost Per Use
Part of what feeds the fast fashion industry is our willingness to buy, wear, and discard clothing in a matter of months. Or even weeks. If you want to be as sustainable as possible, but cannot afford any of these brands and can’t track down what you need used, focus on buying pieces you can wear into the ground, and then wear them into the ground. If you have to buy stuff that isn’t sustainably made – and you may have to, depending on your situation – then getting lots and lots of use out of it may help you feel like a better sartorial citizen.
A friend who has been on this bandwagon a lot longer than me reminds me often that the goal is to make better, less harmful choices whenever you can. Sometimes you can’t. But the fact that you’re mindful still puts you way ahead of a lot of people who are still plugging their ears and covering their eyes.
Hope this roundup has been helpful!
Image courtesy Diane Kennedy
**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details. Sustainable options are either used, handmade, made in the U.S., artisan made in non-sweatshop conditions, or made using sustainable/fair trade practices.