Finding plus-size clothing stores shouldn’t take hours of Googling followed by sifting through racks of sizing at your average thrift stores: You should spend that extra time looking chic. And in NYC, it’s easy to do—there are chain clothing stores, boutiques and other shops stocking everything from luxe formal wear to flattering workout clothes, all styled specifically to help you look your best. Here’s where to start your shopping spree.
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The best plus-size clothing stores
Yes, we’d like our own personal stylist, please. At this shop, you get one-on-one shopping assistance for duds in all sizes from 10 to 28. The New York–based clothing line even has a starter kit of the latest trends for complete fashion newbies, with lots of sleek black pieces that are especially perfect for New Yorkers. The only catch? It’s by appointment only, so email them now to set up your shopping spree.
This women’s chain has been around for more than 30 years, but its often overshadowed by its Goliath competitor Lane Bryant. But Avenue’s casual, trendy apparel in sizes 14 to 32 shouldn’t be overlooked, if only for the impressive selection of LBDs (short-sleeved, ruffled, empire waist; $40–$80). There’s also denim galore, and a pair of jeans will run you just $20 to $80. Avenue aims to be a one-stop shopping spot and succeeds, stocking slimming swimsuits ($40–$150) and wide-width shoes up to size 13. There’s even a section for shape wear ($20–$60) and underwire bras ($20–$60).
This upscale Italian shop is chock-full of luxe fabrics, soft knits and high-end items in sizes 17 to 33, like sweater sets or cashmere blend vests. Loyal customers go nuts for the designer’s wool coats and smooth, laminated leather slip-ons in shimmery brown or dark navy. A lot of the dresses come with detachable sleeves, so you can decide whether or not you want to show your arms, but if you do choose to bare your beautiful biceps, the shop’s cocktail dress selection is on point.
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/thinkretail
If you think this super-popular rental site only caters to thin shoppers, you’ll be pleasantly surprised: It stocks hundreds of cocktail, wedding and daytime party dresses for larger ladies, including a beautiful black-and-white strapless gown by Nha Khanh ($60 rental; $695 retail) and a pinstripe ruffle off-the-shoulder dress by Eloquii ($30 rental; $111 retail); other swoon-worthy designers offered include Kay Unger and Theia, all available in sizes 14 to 22. Since you’ll be saving so much dough, consider it permission to accessorize like crazy: You can also rent everything from jewelry to handbags and scarves at a deep discount.
Designer Monif Clarke began her plus-size women’s line because she wanted to wear fashionable clothes but couldn’t find anything that fit. Her bright, breezy designs were originally sold online only, but she kept hearing pleas from her Manhattan clients to set up racks in her showroom. Today, her tiny Hell’s Kitchen shop attracts visitors from across the country, who flock there for her printed maxidresses ($104), flattering convertible dresses ($158) and edgy swimsuits.
As the great-grandsons of Lena Bryant (founder of the ubiquitous plus-size chain Lane Bryant), owners Nick and Michael Kaplan had some big shoes to fill when they set out to create what they call an H&M or Forever 21 for plus sizes. By the looks of Fashion to Figure’s Bronx and Brooklyn locations, he’s succeeded. The stores stock the usual array of trendy gear typical of fast-fashion chains. There are also plenty of bargain threads (starting at size 12) for those with more grown-up tastes, including a chiffon floral duster ($35) and flirty maxidresses ($39–$59).
Need a wardrobe overhaul for less? Ashley Stewart has a huge selection of trendy yet affordable pieces, like vibrant colored halter dresses ($70), jeggings ($27), and off-the-shoulder blouses ($40). If you’re worried about looking less than fashionable in key situations, don’t let outfit anxiety ruin the fun: All outfits are stocked in sizes 12-32, so you’ll look Insta-ready no matter what you choose.
This trendy plus-size chain stocks fashionable clothing and accessories from its house labels, as well as brands like Seven7 and Spanx. Helpful associates will guide you to the most flattering pieces for your frame and style; you’ll know you look good with luxe fitting rooms featuring adjustable dimmers that simulate office, daylight and evening light. Shopping for a date night? Pick up a babydoll or mesh kimono from Cacique, the company’s sexy private label.
This women’s boutique boasts the What Not to Wear seal of approval (it has been featured on the TLC show many times). Owner Lisa Dolan has built an international following for her fashion-forward designs. Though she stocks everything from formal dresses ($198–$298) to swimsuits ($98) in sizes 16 to 26, you'll want to come here for accessories that will make your outfit pop, such as a crocodile belt in black or dark cherry ($28) or a layered leaf pearl bracelet ($110), a flattering solution for women who struggle to find pretty jewelry that fits.
For taller guys, finding dress shirts with the perfect fit can be a real pain in the ass, but the gents who run Proper Cloth make it easy. The Soho loft, opened in 2013, features custom-shirting (available in all sizes) as well as a perfect guarantee: They'll alter or remake your first shirt for free if it doesn't feel like it was made for you. Walk in or make an appointment to get fitted, choose your fabric and even throw in a silk tie ($100) to match. Your new shirt (starting at $85) will be delivered within one to two weeks.
This Manhattan king of the Big & Tall franchise stocks everything from Michael Kors pullovers ($150) to Ralph Lauren suit separates ($398) in sizes up to 60 1XL. Stock up on preppy casual wear, including Lacoste sportshirts ($115) and Jack Victor sportscoats ($299–$748). Big men on a budget can find plenty to choose from in the clearance area on the second floor, where merchandise is 25 to 75 percent off year-round; start and finish off you rnew look with underwear and extras like sunglasses, pocket squares, and cufflinks.
Fans of Asian-inspired, timeless fashion will love the threads in Jane Suttell’s collection, which cater to a range of tastes in lines like Modern Minimalist, Boho Chic and Goddess Life. The pieces are simple yet elegant, from a mod flower print caftan in silk georgette ($325) to a faux leather knit dress ($525). While you might be able to find her threads at larger chain stores like Saks and Nordstrom, you’ll want to stop by if you have a special piece in mind: They’ve been known to put together entire wardrobes for frequent customers.