Fashion, Fillyjonk

Friday Fatshion: Lucie Lu

Here’s a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes work here at SP: Practically every email thread among the five of us, whether it’s about blog biz or work gripes or righteous feminist anger, eventually turns into a discussion of dresses. What can I say? We like dresses, and I think part of the reason we cohere so well as co-bloggers is that we have similar ideas about how internet goof-off time should be spent: baby animal pictures, clips of Morgan Freeman in The Electric Company, and looking at pretty dresses. Oh and looking at shoes.

Pretty dresses are not without their political dimension, to be sure. There’s the cult of femininity, and class issues inherent in clothing purchases, and the problems of the fashion industry, and the narrow ideas of what’s “attractive” and “appropriate” in clothing (which, as Snarky pointed out in the recent fashion thread, are strict for most women but even stricter for marginalized groups within that group). But there’s also room for those of us who like dresses to just get excited about dresses. So when a commenter stopped by to alert me to the new store Lucie Lu, I thought “you know what? It’s so rare that there’s a new plus size store with cute stuff. I’m going to review this place on the blog. We can unpack the semiotics of dresses later.”

Lucie was nice enough to send me a few things to review for you, and somehow they got through last week even though the mailman only fought his way to our house twice and only pried open our iced-over mailbox once. And even though I barely got dressed in the last week, I managed to put them on! Below the cut, some thoughts on this new store for those of you who like dresses or pictures of dresses.

Lucie is a former buyer for B&Lu, a store whose strengths and weaknesses we discussed in a previous post. My hit rate with B&Lu is probably 50%, but the half I keep I love — quality has varied, but they’ve reliably carried clothes with a bit of an edge but not a Torrid “ten pages of Twilight t-shirts” sort of edge, young but not Size Appeal “as many cutouts as possible as fast as possible” young. I have found that they’ve been going more juniors-y lately, though, just as I’ve been nearing 30. (Though to be fair, their last crop of new clothes has some much better stuff — don’t worry, I’m not quitting you, B&Lu.) Anyway, I have a feeling Lucie was responsible for sourcing a lot of the B&Lu stuff I kept and loved. She seems to have an eye for prints and detailing.

Here’s the dress that made me send a link around to my cobloggers saying “HELL YES”: the Audra dress in teal. Honestly, I kind of want this in the eggplant color too. The vintagey print is something that is hard to find in plus clothes. I am already having fantasies of wearing it to meet agents with the book proposal I haven’t written yet.

This is a faux wrap and the bit under the bust on the left side is a little wonky — I’m going to put in a stitch or two and it’ll be perfect, but if you don’t think a $42 dress should need any alterations, verbum sapienti. Good news for tall girls, though; I’m 5’7″ and, as you can see, the dress hits me just below the knee. I think you could be up to 5’10 or 5’11” before it started getting unprofessionally short, and even then it would probably look cute as hell. And the (synthetic) fabric is reasonably nice for this price point — not super luxurious or anything, but definitely not chintzy. I didn’t feel like I had to wear a slip to be comfortable. An important point on sizing: this is a 3x and it fits perfectly, even though my measurements are consistently an inch or two under the 2x measurements on the size chart. And even in the 3x, I think that at a 38F I am the MAXIMUM bustiness possible for this dress (it’s the interaction between the waistband and my bustline that makes the wrap a little off). Since 3x is the largest size available in this style, this means that if you typically wear bigger than a 16W in dresses, you’re out of luck for this one. (On the other hand, inbetweenies could probably be perfectly at home in a 1x, and having to tell people “sorry, the store where I got this has nothing that will fit you” has been a common and bittersweet experience with my B&Lu dresses.)

Here’s the Eau Claire dress in lilac. This one, you’ll be pleased to know, fits roomily and goes up to 5x, which is listed as a 54″ chest. (I’m not sure why some of the size charts have more measurements available than others — I think, given my experiences with the other dress, that they must be listing the actual garment’s measurements instead of the suggested measurements for the person wearing it. This is a bad idea, because while most fatties who shop online know our own measurements — we have to — we don’t always know the relative stretch factors of every type of fabric.)

The reason I am wearing a shirt under this is twofold: One, this is really what I wore yesterday, and it was cold as balls out, plus a bird got stuck in our chimney (third one this week!) and we had to turn off the furnace until we got him out. I am wearing essentially an entire stagehand’s uniform underneath the dress. Two, it is super duper low-cut. For sure I would have worn it without a camisole when I was 22, but if you are a grown-up and not trying to seduce terrible older men I definitely recommend layering up. Other than the low cut, though, this is hip — I love big screen prints like this one — while still being sophisticated. Oh, and I guess it’s also a bit clingy so that’s another reason for the shirt — but it’s soft-clingy, not flimsy-clingy. I suppose it’s not “flattering” in the Stacey and Clinton mold, but it is comfortable like pajamas (hence why I was wearing it yesterday, when I was still stuck in my house by epic snow and technically did not HAVE to get dressed) yet still looks very cute. I don’t care that much about “flattering” (which nearly always means “makes you look less fat”).

So, how does Lucie Lu stack up to other plus size clothing shops online? Well, the main criticisms I heard of B&Lu were that there weren’t enough natural fibers and that the size range didn’t go high enough. If you care a lot about natural fabrics you are still out of luck with Lucie Lu — this stuff is definitely made out of Vaseline and dead dinosaurs, or whatever they make synthetic fabrics from. This doesn’t bother me a bit but I know it bothers some people. Sizes go up to 5x, but like B&Lu they run small and don’t offer everything in 4x and 5x. And even with a number of pieces going up to 5x, there are still some — like the Audra dress — that nearly size out even people who still shop in straight size stores. (I’m a pretty solid plus, but the majority of my clothes still come from Old Navy’s and Target’s straight sizes, and I am at the top of the Audra’s size range.)

In my personal opinion, stylewise the clothes are miles above most stores, on average. There are some dresses that are just not my thing, but when I discussed them with stitchtowhere from Fatshionista, she liked the same ones I didn’t dig — and she’s one of the most stylish people I know. I don’t like any of the skirts, but again, that’s a personal style preference — and I’m excited to see what could be non-mommish but not overly juniors-ish jeans. I generally find Lane Bryant and Avenue too matronly and Torrid and stores like Casual Plus and Size Appeal too cheap and young. There are happy mediums — but there aren’t lots of them. SM and I joke about how we need there to be a store called “Forever 32” that’s equal parts trendy and grown-up; Lucie Lu has the potential to be one of the few Forever 32s available in plus. But a store for hip plus clothes that aren’t just for teenagers is only a valuable resource if they actually fit plus-sized people. If you wear a 4x or larger by their size chart and like the stuff, make a noise in the comments! Newer shops will sometimes listen.

(One more tiny thought? More clothes on models! Fat models! The current ones at least aren’t fake-plus; they look to wear a 2x or so, but B&Lu was briefly using real and fabulous fat women to model and we loved it. And while most styles at Lucie Lu can be seen on models somewhere, the model pics are only posted on one color of the same style, so you have to go looking for them. This may change as the store is around for longer.)

95 thoughts on “Friday Fatshion: Lucie Lu”

  1. Oooh, this is exciting. I like a lot of the clothes here, and the prices aren’t that bad. And it sounds from what you wrote that a tallish in-betweenie like me could fit in the 1x stuff. *squeee*

  2. Those dresses look fantastic!

    but B&Lu was briefly using real and fabulous fat women to model and we loved it.

    Oh man, I miss those days. I used to be regularly knocked over by how foxy the B & Lu models were.

  3. Holy cow I need to buy from them RIGHT NOW. I will as soon as I get this fershlugginer grant proposal in. Thank you for telling us about this place!

  4. Just checked out the website… It looks nice, but I also wish they had more clothes on people instead of dangling oddly in midair. And I wish they had more skirts! I am all about the OMG SKIRTS, even more than the OMG DRESSES. Which, OMG. DRESSES.

  5. Damn you! (That’s my bank account speaking, not me.) I never buy clothes online but that teal shirt with the built-in shrug and the satin jacket and the green short-sleeved sweater and the lace top charcoal shirt…are all so cute! I am entering my weekend poorer now. I wish I was daring enough for that Aveen dress. If I had shoes for it, I’d get that too!

  6. Headless fatties! Hater. (Just kidding, know it’s for your anonymity.)

    Thanks for sharing the pretty dresses!

  7. Headless fatties! Hater. (Just kidding, know it’s for your anonymity.)

    Part of the idea of the cartoon faces was supposed to be that we could paste them on our own faces in order to not have to go all Headless Fatty. However that requires a halfway decent image manipulation program, which requires being at work, which requires less than three feet of snow. :)

  8. Oh, my. Damn. I love the style, I love the colors and prints … it’s *wonderful* to see plus-size clothing that tickles my fancy, it’s so very rare … and yet … and yet … the dresses are all too short. I don’t wear anything less than mid-length.

    Damn. Well, maybe some of the tunics, when I’ve got a bit more money to spend on clothes.

  9. I am pro any store that sells clothes that would make me feel like a Bletchley Park Code Breaker, which is what some of those cardigans would do.

    Decode Enigma, beat the Germans, and don’t forget about the welfare state! While wearing a fantastic sweater.

  10. Dammit, Fillyjonk! I’m trying very, very hard to stick to a tighter budget and then you point me at stuff like that????

    At least I can console myself with the thought that there are several pieces that are too small for me. Since when is it too much to ask that a plus size shirt cover a 45″ bust?

    @AnthroK8: I know! I bet you and I are drooling over matching sweaters.

  11. Twistie: I have red hair, which means I should get to have the green one. Also, I bet I have more ration cupons than you do. (The oversize button one, in paprika and grass, amirite?)

    Also, Lucie Lu apparently has a policy of hiring Norse goddesses, among others, as models. Awesome.

  12. Speaking of fatshion– does anyone have any good recommendations about blazers? I am in desperate need of a standard black, goes-with-everything blazer, but I’m having a hard time finding one that fits the ladies (I’m a G cup). I want something simple and under $100. Anyone have any suggestions?

  13. Thanks for the CUTE fluff. I can never resist buying retro stuff that I would have worn in the 8th grade. Had to buy that Tatum dress ASAP. Reminds me of one I used to have decades ago.

  14. I’m all about that stretch belt and the Aveen dress. But I don’t know when/where I’d wear them! I am just a suburban housewife these days.

  15. “this stuff is definitely made out of Vaseline and dead dinosaurs” GASP. Those poor dinos.

    Ok. Those are absolutely fabulous dresses on you. I am more of a skirt and pants kinda gal mostly because I have such a time finding dresses that fit me well. I’m way bigger on the bottom than the top so I end up compromising and either there’s too much fabric around my chest and shoulders or the material is clinging desperately to my ass where it should be all flowy. Still, I get sucked into pictures of pretty dresses and spend my dollars and I think I will again. Because those are cute.

  16. I’d be interested, if the mods ever feel like sharing, the thought processes you went through that led each of you to decide whether to be anonymous or not. I can think of good reasons but Kate made a different call, so I’d be interested to hear more.

  17. TOC, I know we’ve talked about our pseudonymity before in several threads, but the short version is: professional reasons. We are all in jobs where writing what we do here could be less than helpful to our careers.

  18. Also, I hope this isn’t an inappropriate place to say this but I’d told some people here about my impending surgeries so I want to say that the last round seems to have done the job and I’m finally hopeful that I won’t need any more operations.

    A special shout out to any Hennepin County taxpayers in the house, thanks guys!

  19. According to their site wide sizing info (link in their footer), the size charts on each item are, indeed, the item’s size (not the size they fit).

    It would be nice if it said that on each size chart, though, for people who don’t see the footer link first. Or if they just titled the charts “item measurements” rather than “size chart.”

  20. Whee! Those are all soooo pretty, and may I just say that I covet your hair color and am extremely jealous of it? Great post, FJ!

    “this stuff is definitely made out of Vaseline and dead dinosaurs” GASP. Those poor dinos.”
    Hee-funny story. When I was 6 or 7, I was putting away clothes with my mom. Being curious, I asked my mom where the things to make the clothes came from. She told me about cotton and such, then decided to have a little fun. She held up a sweatshirt and jokingly said “Now, this is made of polyester. Just think how many poor polyesters had to die to make this shirt. Doesn’t it make you want to take better care of your clothes?” I, being a small child with an overactive imagination, pictured polyesters as cute little fuzzy creatures halfway between cats and rabbits, and started crying thinking about the poor dead polyesters. It took my mom about twenty minutes to get me calmed down, and to this day whenever we’re looking at clothing, we’ll make jokes about the number of polyesters that died to make the garment.

  21. OK, so it’s totally not under $100, but this Compos’d blazer looks awesome. And has a really cute lining. I got it at Nordstrom while desperate for a suit for a career fair. They were pretty much the only store that had anything worthwhile.

    Of course, the first Nordstrom store I went to had no blazers at all in plus size. Only pants. Huh.

    For Seattle types, the awesome Nordstrom was in Alderwood Mall and the FAIL one was at Northgate.

  22. Decode Enigma, beat the Germans, and don’t forget about the welfare state! While wearing a fantastic sweater.

    Thank you, AnthroK8. I’ve been grading all day and that made me laugh out loud.

    (Almost as hard as a student who wrote in a paper “I’m a movie Cana sour.” *headdesk*)


  23. Looooove that first print! And the chandelier too.

    Oh I love interesting vintage-y prints so much but am usually too timid to wear them myself, being kind of excessively neurotic about my clothing and appearance, so usually I indulge my love via stationery and papercraft supplies.

  24. @fillyjonk – can I ask where you got those boots? Heredity + years of Irish dancing has left me with calves that are sort of intense. They’re defined, shapely and strong and I love them. But they do not make boots for my intense calves and yours look hot and also like they’re a little roomier than the average boots. Please say on the internets!

  25. SM and I joke about how we need there to be a store called “Forever 32″ that’s equal parts trendy and grown-up


    Srsly, that would be my holy grail of shopping. I am 31, and a corporate lawyer, so I would really like to be able to wear clothing that is sophisticated but still with a bit of flair. Thank goodness for Fresh Ayer, suburban Philly’s answer to Lee Lee’s Valise, or I’d never have anything cool to wear.

    In any case, thanks for introducing me to Lucie Lu, FJ! Some of those cardigans look right up my alley.

  26. Yah my calves are intense too, I have the double whammy of fat +muscley (though almost certainly not Irish dancing muscley, yowza!). The boots are Lindsay by Lumiani and I love them — mostly. I never expected to want brown boots until I realized that they would completely revitalize my wardrobe, and they do. But they’re pull-on boots so while they’re comfortable, I can’t get jeans into them — even though I probably would be able to if I could zip them over my jeans and let them relax a little, instead of having to try to find a way to stuff jeans inside them which is not gonna happen. Anyway, my calves are like 17, 17.5 inches and these are just this side of too tight, but I’ve only had them a few weeks and one of those weeks I practically never left the house so they haven’t had MUCH time to break in.

    BTW, aleks, glad you’re on the mend!

  27. And surprisingly, it’s not too expensive.

    It’s weird, I look at a lot of clothes, but am still positively tightfisted about the expense. I forget somehow that most dresses are not in the “Old Navy sale” price range… and I’ve spent so long bitching about crappy $40-$60 dresses at Torrid that I also forget that’s not an unreasonable price range for clothes that AREN’T crappy. Of course everyone’s mileage varies depending on what they can and want to afford, but it’s true that on the scale of nice things available in plus sizes, this store falls low on the cost axis and probably higher on the quality axis than other stores at the same price point.

  28. I really like the purple one, though the fact that it’s a chandelier hanging from your breast is a little puzzling. I’ve a neck tie with a similar style of screen print and now wish I had one that really matched that.

  29. though the fact that it’s a chandelier hanging from your breast is a little puzzling


    Oh, also:

    may I just say that I covet your hair color

    You can have it! I think it’s Redken.

  30. Ohhhhhh Friday Fluff. How I need you. It has been a day.

    I’m just going to hang out here for a while, okay? Nuzzled in between the dresses in the closet. Trying on the Fatshion shoes.

  31. could anyone catch where dracula, er, i mean morgan freeman, said he takes a shower?

    In a grave! Electric Company’s dark, man.

  32. OMG thanks!! So many options! And those boots are tall and gorgeous. I think I need to go and measure my calves now though. I have no idea how big around they are.

    My dream is one day finding a perfect jeans – boots combo. My dream is slightly inhibited by my non-profit salary and grad school plans, but I will persevere.

  33. Ooh, the first dress is so pretty! And works really well with the boots. Normally I’m a bit suspicious of prints because of how they can distort over boobs if they’re stretchy, but this one is lovely.

    Hopefully Snowpocalypse will be over soon so that people can stop feeling trapped in their houses.

  34. Harriet, yeah, no kidding. I still don’t understand how Buzz works, and it doesn’t seem to affect me at all because I only use Google Reader to read (so there’s nothing for anyone to see), don’t have a Google profile, etc., but reading your post made me panicked and angry by proxy. (Everyone should read Harriet’s post here, and then don’t talk about it in this thread because by god she needs a break!)

    I suppose this isn’t the greatest fluff thread for relaxing in if you don’t wear a plus size… we could find dresses for you?

  35. DRST: You are very welcome. I traffik in Doctor Who references. And dresses.

    Harriet: You are fully welcome to try on my shoes (hanging in the closet in those shoe-pockets you hook onto the back of a door). I counted today and I have an unconscionable number, really, and I expect all the summer ones are getting sad because they are unworn.

    Boots and hair! I remember reading FJ’s comment somewhere about how she let go of When I Am Thin I Will Wear Red (Hair). And I had a moment of… yeah. Because I eventually just went and got my hair dyed red and have had it that way for a few years and I love it. And I am still not thin. Those boots are hot. I have a brown pair of Timberlands that were worth every single brass-zippered penny.

    Aleks: It is my very great pleasure to pay taxes so you can have surgery (but hopefully no more surgery!). I am glad you are on the mend.

  36. Aleks: so glad you are on the mend! Virtual cup of tea and fuzzy blanket from me.

    Harriet: I saw that your post got picked up by Gizmodo, and I had such mixed feelings! OTOH, yay for more Harriet Jacobs in the blogosphere! OTOH, omg the last thing I want is for some Gizmodo-commenting doucheweasels to heap victim-blaming on your spectacularly shitty day. Please hang out here as long as you like, and have some virtual tea yourself.

    Baby elephants all around!

  37. @Fillyjonk – Blazer Tips. This is going to sound random, but fairly recently I bought a man’s Ivory Tuxedo (like a formal dress tuxedo) and my word it looks good on. I bought the smallest one they had so it wouldnt be drowning and look very mannish, and it looks terrific and not boxy or anything. I wore it with jeans and heels and a t-shirt. I later saw some in a magazine in virtually the same style but they were about $900 instead of the £45 I paid. Result!
    Also, while we are on the subject of clothes, does anyone else sometimes open the wardrobe only to discover that absolutely NOTHING suits them or fits them AT ALL, when only the day before everything had been perfect? I did it yesterday and had to slap myself about the face and try to snap out of it. I hate that – I think it must be hormonal.
    “The clothes that looked fine yesterday now look like a bag of shit” syndrome I think its called.

  38. @stitchtowhere, I’m 5’5″ and long-legged – I take a 33″ inseam in jeans – so … I suspect it’d still be a bit shorter than I like. Yeah – I just checked the dress length and it’s 43″ in my size, which would be right around my knees. Oh, well. Nice thought, though.

    Speaking of being tightfisted about clothes, I’ve become more so over the years, and just recently I realized that I’ve been estimating costs according to what I’d pay for books and the like – that is, whenever I look at the prices, I translate it into categories like ‘new hardcover,’ ‘trade paperback,’ or ‘decent reading copy of a 1940s Weird Tales,’ and so on. No wonder I have such trouble buying new clothes.

  39. @paintmonkey – Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. One day I love everything in my closet, it all fits, it’s perfect, it’s me… the next day it still all fits but I haven’t a thing to wear. I haven’t even been spending too much time lusting over custom dresses on Etsy (I swear!), it just happens.

    @Eucritta I’m 5’9″ and my inseam is way shorter than yours… I think I understand now why everything is odd lengths on me. (5’9″ and 30ish”.)

  40. Yay! This came just in time as I am in need of a new-preferably not black ’cause that’s all I seem to ever buy-dress for my vacation to LA in March. Baby elephants + cute, reasonably priced clothes = the next best thing to an actual Valentine on Valentine’s Day weekend.

    Re: Vaseline and dinosaurs – does anyone know of any good sources for larger sizes that have more natural or organic fabrics? And, also do we know where the LucieLu garments are made? Just curious.

  41. @fillyjonk:

    No, no, no, this is just great. This is a place full of nice people talking nicely about things that are of absolutely no relation to me. Me? Oh no no no. Let’s hear more about *you*. It is awesome!


    You don’t know the half of it. The fucking NYT wanted to talk to me. I get to slog through 300 comments every 8 hours (I don’t envy you guys!). All the attention is making me very, very nervous, since more readers = more chances for people to attempt to discover my real name, and, also, goddamn suckiest comments and continual emails ever. Until things get back down to a tolerable level, I’m putting my blog to private, since filtering through “u r fat no wonder your husband left you ha ha ha die” isn’t what I planned for my Valentine’s Day weekend.

    So yes, keep the innouous clothing talk going, I am going to just sit right here and fall asleep to it.

  42. Harriet, how awful! I want to invent a cyber-moat full of hungry cyber-alligators.

    And I want to bring fun, innocuous clothing talk! I have no awesome dress links at the mo, but I have bought 2 neckties from this site as gifts; they are awesome and gorgeous, and the chandelier dress reminded me of them:

  43. I don’t know how to not feel really sad about it when faced with the fact that I’m too fat for plus sized clothes such as these.

  44. @Windsparrow – It really stinks that you can’t have the clothes that you would like. I wish there were more things out there for every size so everyone could have what they want in whatever size they want it – it’s most unfair and you deserve to have precisely the clothes you want. I feel pretty silly now when I read my previous comment above.

  45. I was looking at some of their clothes and there’s this super cute shirt. . . Only the measurements are weird. It says it fits small so buy a size up and a 3 is for a 42″ bust and that’s their biggest size. I know that I have a 41″/42″ bust depending on the day and the bra. Now, I have never bought plus sizes before, but when I’m buying straight sizes, unless I’m somewhere like H&M’s teen department and the clothes won’t fit over my boobs, a large or an XL will do fine. Is this much overlap normal between straight and plus?

  46. @FJ But they’re pull-on boots so while they’re comfortable, I can’t get jeans into them —

    I just learned the coolest trick. Last summer I bought a pair of blue jean capris… very straight legged and formfitting. They’re perfect to tuck into boots because the fabric doesn’t reach down to the largest part of my calf. Boots zip up like a dream and even my pull-on types go right up over them. I am looking for a pair in black to wear with my riding boots, but I may just buy some black straight legged jeans and cut them off.

    BTW, isn’t Vaseline made out of dead dinosaurs?

  47. Blarg. I didn’t really like anything on the site except for the cardigans. I tend to love bright colors and I’m not so big on patterns. I’m an IGIGI girl, I guess (when I have the money). I love that they have clothing based on more than one body type and that they have a guide that shows what will look good on you. And that they go up to a size 32. :)

    I didn’t know a whole lot about fashion growing up and it took me a long time to really get the idea that it was ok for me to wear whatever the hell I wanted and that fashion was what I decided it was, not some rule imposed from the outside. Part of that was due to the crappy selection I had for so many years. Thank goodness for fatshionista and designers like Yuliya Raquel!

  48. @paintmonkey – my closet is sometimes replaced by its evil closet twin from the world of misshapen frumpiness. Then the next day it is back, with an innocent closet smile as if nothing ever happened.

  49. I’m pondering deeply the idea that Vaseline is made from dead Dinosaurs. It does seem rather an undignified end to it all… Having said that, Vaseline IS useful, and I don’t remember a time where I popped a Velociraptor into my holiday luggage just incase a new shoe rubbed. So, if Dinosaurs died so we could have Vaseline, then I think we probably have proved Darwin’s theory rather well.

    Incidentally,I spend my internet goof off time doing all kinds of crap but I do like looking at clips of the late great Raul Julia. A truly fantastic specimen of a man…the “Gomez goes off” clip on Youtube shows him in all his sadly missed eye bulging glory. Ahhh, dear Raul.

  50. @ Fillyjonk – OMG you look fantastic in those dresses ::swoon:: (crush level admiration). It’s good to know that Lucie Lu serves the Inbetweenies well (for my own interest, ahem).

    @ Sweet Machine – How is it that baby elephants are so fuzzy and grown elephants are not? I am pro-fuzzy animals.

    @ paintmonkey – I, too, have found success in blazer shopping outside the realm of departments designated for females. My absolute favorite blazer was purchased at Daffy’s in the boy’s husky department – the sleeves are perfect, it flares just enough at the bottom, fits awesomely. Plus, wearing a husky blazer brings back happy memories of my best friend in elementary school who also famously wore an husky blazer as part of his uniform. And yes, it happens frequently that all my clothes are suddenly hideous and horrible and look terrible on me. I don’t know why that is, especially if I haven’t changed size or color, why would my clothes have changed?

    @ PG – Yeah, it’s totally normal for Inbetweenies to overlap plus and straight sizes to a considerable extent. It’s done that way to make our life more “varied” and “frustrating.”

  51. PG: I think we determined earlier that they provide the garment measurements, not the person measurements. So they mean a 3x has a 42″ bust, which if it’s stretchy — well, for comparison my favorite t-shirts are like 18″ across when laid flat, or a 36″ bust. You do the math. :) It depends a lot on fabric and how you like to wear your shirts. (Which is why it would be much more helpful if they provided rough figure measurements based on the fit model instead.)

    On the other hand, I had a hearty laugh at this dress from Modcloth, which goes up to a “3x” which is a 36″ bust and a 32″ waist. Stop Staring dresses and other vintage repro aren’t much better. I’m sure it’s not news to anyone that women’s sizing is wacky.

    peregrin8, Toybreaker made the dudes’ ties for my wedding! We got individualized ones — electronics for the ham radio operator, exhaust pipes for the mechanic and a geometrical figure thing for the mathematician — but if we’d been having a matching-ties kind of wedding I would have loved to get some of the groom/groomsmen sets she has listed. There are even lovelier designs now than there were when I ordered! It seriously makes me wish I had to wear ties.

    ETA: Lorem ipsum tie! SM, can we get it for Mr. Machine?

    ETA 2: Oh man, why did they not have this when I was wedding shopping? Dan should probably have it anyway. For, uh, job talks.

  52. peregrin8, one of those is the very tie of which I spoke.

    Krishji, I imagine that elephants are born fuzzy in honor of their mammoth ancestors. I was born fuzzy for similar reasons.

  53. I like the LucieLu site – glad to know about it! Thanks. The dresses stand out to me, too. Such cute prints!!

    For inbetweenies and up to maybe 2X, take a look at the Swedish designer Gudrun Sjoden:

    Her XL is about an 18.

    She used to have a couple of stores in California, years ago, and she really tries to be size-inclusive. You’ll have to translate your measurements into metric, though. Also, a lot of things are generously cut.
    And, the prices aren’t as high as they seem – I think they include VAT which American customers don’t have to pay (that’s what my catalogs say – I haven’t ordered anything in a while).
    Her stuff is beautiful and holds up for years. I have one thing in my closet that’s decades old. My mom has several decades-old items.

  54. “it’s most unfair and you deserve to have precisely the clothes you want. I feel pretty silly now when I read my previous comment above.”

    @Paintmonkey – Thank you for your sympathy. We all have days when whatever is the closet, even the stuff that fits and is one’s favorite, looks drab, sad wrinkled, doesn’t quite sit right.

    Except for cats. They always look and feel their best. Whether they are in their pajamas or dressed to the nines, they go about confidently like the divas they are. And have you noticed? Cats have the body acceptance thing wrapped up, already. Even fat cats are accepted and loved by those around them, without lectures, without shame. Oh, to be a cat.

    P.S. I typed that paragraph while a cat was sitting on my forearms.

  55. Even fat cats are accepted and loved by those around them, without lectures, without shame

    I wish that were true, but my former roommate insisted I take my fat cat to the vet for diabetes testing because he appeared to be drinking a lot of water to her. =( My fat cat is in perfect health. He’s just fat. So there.

  56. @Eucritta, Valerian – I’m just over 5ft2 and my inseam is 31 inches (usually 33 in heels). Which is wierd in that technically I’m a petite, but if I try to wear petite pants they’re like waders on me. My pants length is ideal for my friend who’s 5ft7 (we have experimented with this).

    Again, just goes to show how little sizes etc really tell you since everyone’s body is made differently.

  57. Also that mod dress Fillyjonk linked to…the medium has a 29 inch bust, and it doesn’t seem stretchy. Um, what? Their 3X would be too small for me in the bust, and I wear a size 6.

    Actually the entire logical process escapes me here. I mean, granted actual vintage dresses can be very small, but if you’re going to make reproductions for a modern audience why not make them to fit said modern audience? If you take a size medium as “average”, which is how most clothing companies tend to think of things…the “average” American woman does not have a 29 inch bust. Not even the average straight-size American woman.

  58. zOMG the baby elephant is cute! I already love elephants, but had no idea the babies were so awesome too! Cute overload – aiiieeee!!!

  59. Oh, and FJ you look awesome in the dresses. If I ever wore dresses I would totes get one of these, but I hardly wear the ones I have – partly because it’s hard for me to find footwear that works – serious bunion plus insistence on vegan materials means very few shoes for me. I have these awesome microfiber boots from WalMart that I got a few years ago, but since then my bunion problems have gotten so bad I barely wear them. I’m sure it’s all my fault and if I would just stop eating the bunion would go away :)

    Re other plus-sized stylish clothing – Max Studio goes up to a 3x, although it’s a small 3x. MS stuff is quite expensive, but I find a lot of it on eBay for much less AND the quality is amazing. I have a couple of Marshalls-purchased MS sweaters that I have had and have worn A LOT for 7 years and they still look new. For size reference, I’m an in-betweenie who wears XL in the stretchier or looser-constructed MS garments and a 1x in the tighter stuff. And I have a couple of 2xs that fit well too. So, uh, I guess that’s not that helpful – they are all over the map on fit.

    I recently discovered a designer named Alberto Makali – very colorful, flamboyant prints and sizing that seems to accomodate the larger end of the in-betweenie range … I have one dress that’s an L that just fits; a tunic that’s an L that is very loose and flowy – I almost fit an M in that style – and a button-front blouse in an XL that fits well whereas the L in the same style would not button over my 40″ chest. So, it would seem that the sizing of some styles would accomodate a 1x or 2x. Again, kind of expensive in the regular market, but I find the pieces at Nordstrom Rack and on eBay.

    I know this doesn’t help those of you who are above 3x, but I do want to share the stuff that works for people in my size range – I realized a number of years ago that a lot of my body hatred was stemming from the fact that clothes never fit – no matter what size I have been in life I have always had relatively big thighs, chest and butt and I used to just cry in dressing rooms because everything was too tight. When I finally started finding clothes that were cut for my body type I started feeling much better about my body – recognizing that my body wasn’t inherently bad, it just didn’t fit a particular sizing model.

    Speaking of which, for those of you who are 14 and up and long-legged, the Lane Bryant Right Fit jeans rock. They’re a pretty basic 5 pocket style, but they come in a tall length which is actually long enough for my 35″ inseam. I think they go up to a 26. And while the style is basic, on me at least the bootcut style is quite flattering

  60. Loving the pretty clothes. For Shapelings in the North Carolina area, Metropolis in Chapel Hill (near Southern Season) has nice things in a range of sizes, from straight to plus. (I don’t know how high the sizes actually go — I’m about a 16/18 and have no trouble, and what I’m trying on isn’t the biggest thing there, which is a nice experience in a boutique that includes straight sizes.) Some of the things (especially the all-silk line… wow) can be a little pricey, but the quality’s good, and the owner has a once-a-season major sale.

    It’s a small shop, so it sort-of-but-not-exactly works on the sample model. I was looking for summer dresses a couple of years ago, and he had one that I loved the cut of in something like 15 different colors/patterns. Like I said, it’s a small store — having the full range of sizes in each of the colors would have taken up most of the floor space. If both the size and the color you want happen to coexist in the same item, you just buy it and leave; if not, you tell him “I want this size in that color” and he’ll bring it in the next day or the day after. Also, if the owner is there and not busy (and he’s pretty easy to pick out — about the height and shoulder-width of a pro football player, with a George-Hamilton-quality tan, significant eyeliner, and outfits that make you wonder if you should really be trusting his taste in clothes): TRUST HIS TASTE IN CLOTHES. The first time I ever shopped there I was having a not-atypical shopping experience: pick out something I like the look of, try it on, discover that it looked much better on the hanger, take it off, get discouraged. Then the owner started bringing me clothes that I would never in a million years have looked twice at, and damn I looked good.

  61. Might I also recommend Viva La Femme, out of Chicago. Their store, and their online options are AWESOME for the shapely woman size 12+. I don’t have any affiliation with them, just a big fan.

  62. Oh please oh please rethink your size-range, trendy plus size specialty stores! I speak as one who also buys the majority of her wardrobe from Old Navy and Target (and can still fit into many of the straight size garments from each): if I am sized out of your trendy plus sized line, I’m not sure you’ve really identified the ‘plus-sized’ audience.

    I make this point not on my own behalf (as I said, I have other options, though for the record I would snap up that Keela sweater with the giant buttons in a heartbeat IF IT CAME IN MY SIZE!), but because the women who are most desperate for attractive, trend-conscious plus size items are the women larger than myself. I don’t begrudge the inbetweenies their opportunities; I know that inbetweenie-ness not easy, but nothing can be harder than being sized out of most garments and most stores and virtually all patterns (the latter is me, too; I can’t even make my own clothes easily, because pattern pieces sized up for my dimensions wouldn’t fit on the width of a standard piece of fabric!)

    I adore certain pieces I’ve picked up from B and Lu, but shopping there makes me feel guilty, because the store advertises sizes up to a 5x – and *I’m* the 5x. I couldn’t care less about the size numbers on my own garments, but if I wear the largest available size in the few garments that even profess to fit 5xs, what happens to the real 5xs? Calling yourself a plus size line and not addressing the audience that most needs plus sizes seems a bit of a tease. Please, please consider offering more items in larger sizes!

  63. Emily and others: There’s a contact form on the Lucie Lu website, and they do read their email. I really think newer stores and small boutique-style stores have a stake in listening to their planned customer base. B&Lu for example has been fairly responsive to requests to expand their 4x/5x offerings, and even has up to 6x in some new styles though it’s not a real 6x. I think if you make it clear that you are a valuable market, people who run small stores that need your business may perk up and listen even when Old Navy, for instance, would not.

    shopping there makes me feel guilty, because the store advertises sizes up to a 5x – and *I’m* the 5x.

    I don’t think it makes sense to feel guilty about it — do you begrudge straight-size people the ability to shop in straight-size stores, or do you just wish those stores would expand their offerings? I think you should buy clothes you like that are available to you without guilt — but keep supporting (verbally and financially) the idea of making them available to others, too.

  64. I went ahead and bought the Emme dress. The Audra dress is adorable, but the Emme fits in a little better with the stuff I usually wear. Thanks for pointing out this company!

  65. @atmosphere, others looking for boots that fit wide(r) calves: try I have two pair of their suede boots (yum) and one of the double-buckled boot (double-yum). They fit a 17″ plus calf width, and come in regular, wide, and extra-wide foot widths. Some of their boots will fit 18″ calves. Might be worth a look.

  66. I am jealous that none of those clothes will fit me. I am too small for the 1x. I fluctuate in size and right now I think I am around 10/12, a bit too small to qualify for inbetweenie. I want that Emme dress. I have been at various places on the size spectrum though and know how much easier I have it here and do not begrudge those of you who can wear these dresses.

    I don’t feel guilty that I can wear straight sizes now and that there was a time a few years ago when I couldn’t, and that some friends can’t. Angry that designers think that some people are deserving of wearing certain clothes and others aren’t because of their size, yes. But not guilty. And angry in equal measure that designer boutiques think that at my size I am too fat for couture. (Not that I could afford it!) I know that designer stores only display sizes up to 6 on the floor, maybe hide an 8 in the back, but certainly no double digits at all! I was a little bemused watching some of the Launch My Line contestants this winter, like Marilyn designing a clothing line she could never fit into. But finalists Merle and Kathy could wear theirs.

    WindSparrow, I hear you though. My partner has a parathyroid condition that she is not able to get corrected right now (doc wants to keep “watching it” even though it’s not going to improve without surgery, so she can’t get approval from insurance for treatment). A side effect is rapid weight gain, 80+ pounds in 18 months. She has gone from inbetweenie to the high end of the plus size stores and I’m getting concerned about what we will find for her to wear. I know she is discouraged with what she can find at size 3X and I fear it it is only going to get more difficult once she is sized out of many brands. Fortunately she is butch and will wears men’s clothing too, but professional stuff is getting tougher.

  67. I only visit here occasionally so maybe you’ve already covered it, but has anyone on here reviewed Hips and Curves? It’s plus size lingerie and they use big, saucy models. I always have an impossible time trying to find thigh highs that fit around my big ol’ thighs without cutting in and theirs are the best I’ve found (big selection also ones WITHOUT LACE and WITHOUT THE STICKY STUFF to hold them up, so you can wear them with garter belts!) I haven’t tried much of their other stuff but thought I’d throw it out there. They also have plus size, “full butt” (as in non-thong) crotchless panties, also impossible to find!

  68. I’ve only just found this site – thanks, all, for the gleaming rays of sunshine. Perhaps you can help me with my fiercest clothing issue: bras.

    I went to Intimacy a few months ago. Would love to buy their bras but at more than $120 per, they are well out of my affordability range. The wonderful ladies there sized me as a 40 I or 40J.


    I do have bodacious ta-tas but come on! I’m not close to being the biggest Grrl in the room. Where does one go when local stores might have a DD in stock as their plus size? And where do the REALLY big Grrls go?

    Thank you!!!

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