Shopping when you're a size 18 sucks


Shopping when you’re a size 18 sucks.

I have a beautiful client who is a size 18. We know what her unique Style Statement is, we’ve decluttered what she has that doesn’t make her feel good or look great, we’ve created a shopping list, we have a spending plan, we know her activities and lifestyle and we had a mission – get her ready for a two week trip to Costa Rica as well as update her usual wardrobe.

Kerry is from New Zealand like me and is a minimalist. She travels year-round, with only two suitcases and a backpack. She sticks to warm climates, so doesn’t need heavy coats or footwear, but still needs clothing that is versatile and multi-functional.

All we wanted was a cardigan (light wool, neutral color), beach cover up, three pretty blouses, a couple of feminine tee-shirts with visual interest (but no lettering as Kerry says enough people stare at her boobs as it is), two pairs of jeans (one black one dark blue wash), a colorful hoodie and a white light weight waist length jacket to cover her existing red and white spotted blouse. Easy, right?

We shopped for three days – multiple stores and very happy FitBits. We ended up with two pretty dresses that will travel well (something Kerry hadn’t planned on but she’s delighted), a light hoodie and two pairs of jeans. THAT WAS ALL WE COULD FIND! We’ll try again when she gets back from Costa Rica, but I’m absolutely furious.

Kerry was philosophical. She told me it’s not usually so bad, but that her go-to brands like Inc have changed buyers. The buyers should be shot.

I had no idea it was so hard to shop if you’re over a 14.

I am truly sorry that I was so ignorant, and I promise I’m going to research the hell out of this until I find solutions. Before we left the house we had asked other women, searched online and while out, we asked anyone we met who looked good and was Kerry’s size but we still struggled. So please, if you have any insider knowledge, let me know.

We tried Lane Bryant – where we found one pair of jeans, we would have bought two, but they were sold out of the ones we wanted. This was also where we found an apricot tie dye lightweight hoodie. We desperately searched through all their blouses and tops – large selection in her size but all were too long – and it’s not as if Kerry is super short, she’s 5ft 7. What’s the point of having a bum (of any size) if no one can see it? Plus, where was the clothing that makes you excited to try it on?

We did find a beach cover up at Old Navy, it wasn’t stunning, but at least it was a pretty color. I stuck my head inside Ross while Kerry was occupied but it had nothing much over XL (Kerry is a 2XL in that measurement). We didn’t get to TJ Max, due to time constraints. I prefer not to rummage in discount stores anyway if we have clear objectives, your chances of success are much lower. Kerry’s not a fan of second hand, so we didn’t check out consignment or thrift.

Macy’s at Northgate was where we found the two dresses – one pair of jeans also came from there. No luck at Nordstrom Rack (We only got to Factoria) and the clothing at Torrid, a specialty store aimed at larger sizes, was awful. Lots of shoestring straps (not helpful when you need to wear a sturdy bra) and why does being larger mean you have to be a frump! Target has a plus size brand Ava & Viv  – ugly.

We did find a lot of fun clothes on Forever 21 online (most larger sizes are online only, also bloody annoying) and they get points for being incredibly body positive with their models. Choices are limited if you don’t want plunging necklines or micro minis (hey, it slants young, good on them) and there were styles that I loved that didn’t come in non-plus sizes, damn it.

As Kerry pointed out, she sees plenty of clothes she likes – they just don’t come in her size.

Do you know what she said? “Calvin Klein doesn’t want fatties to wear his clothes.” Screw Calvin!

So…it will take me a while to calm down. I did find a consignment store called Two Big Blondes that I’m going to check out, I’ll get back to you. I’m not letting this go, I promise. Everyone deserves to look and feel great – and say “wear happy.” The mission continues!


Photo by Alex Sorto on Unsplash

1 comment


I'm a 1X and my favorite place to shop is CJ Banks. I go to the store in the North Bend Outlet Mall or buy online. Everything I get online from them in my size fits perfectly, although the style may not be quite right for my body (I prefer going to the store for that reason). Plus their prices are outstanding and the quality is very good.
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