Being a plus size woman has never been easy in a society that is obsessed with thinness — and shopping is one of the struggles many of us have had to deal with for years.
Plus size women don't have many brick and mortar locations where they can go and try on clothes to see how they fit — we usually have to guess at our size and order things online.
But this might change really soon — thanks to Modcloth.
Online retailer Modcloth has opened a permanent brick and mortar location in Austin, Texas. Every item of clothing in the store is available in sizes XXS - 4X.
Modcloth has been well known for being an extremely body positive online retailer. The brand has gone out of its way to represent body diversity.
After ending the segregation of sizes on their site by including their plus-size range as part of their regular collection, Modcloth has opened this store in Austin so their customers can try on clothes IRL.
Once I knew I had the opportunity to try on clothes in my size, I ran to the boutique. When I walked in, I was immediately struck by how beautiful the store was — and surprised by the diverse size mannequins throughout the store.
I was so confused and excited at the same time. I don't think I had ever seen a place like this. Was I in true body positive fashion heaven?
I probably spent 10 solid minutes staring at the middle mannequin, which represented a body similar to mine.
I couldn't believe it. I'd never seen a mannequin that looked like me before!
As a plus-size shopper, my instinct was to walk to the back corner of the store to shop — because that's usually where places hide my size. But I didn't need to do that here.
The back section ONLY featured a plus-size mannequin, so I thought to myself "this is where the plus-size clothes must all live." I asked the sales associate and she reminded me that everything in the store — except for one-of-a-kind vintage items — was available in ALL sizes. The plus-size clothes and straight size ones were all mixed together.
WHAT IS GOING ON?!
The sales associate handed me a small sheet of paper where I was told to add the product number of the items I wanted along with the size.
I was so used to the "traditional" shopping experience that I immediately gravitated towards the bigger mannequins — I had to constantly remind myself that the smaller mannequins also wore clothes available in my size.
Once I had picked out a selection of things to try, I headed over to the prettiest dressing room area I had ever seen. Each room was named after the wallpaper inside it — I chose the golden polka-dot changing room.
Surprisingly, I was actually excited to go into the changing room.
I couldn't remember the last time I was able to physically try on THIS many clothes. I was about to go ham.
The first item I tried on was this white midi dress that I instantly fell in love with.
This dress was definitely designed for a women with bigger boobs — something I never would have known without trying it on.
If I would have bought this dress online, I would have returned it. But after trying on the 2X (which didn't close), I realized the 3X was the best option for me. I would definitely have to get the dress tailored around the chest — something which wasn't a deal-breaker for me.
Next, I tried this '90s throwback dress in a 3X — and fell in love.
It fit PERFECTLY.
Cultivated quirk work dress ($80, Modcloth)
I've always wanted a button-up maxi dress, but nothing ever fit... until now.
This dress hit me right in the feels. The fit is a bit oversized but it isn't anything that can't be fixed with a cute little belt.
Quite clearly charismatic dress ($90, Modcloth).
But I didn't stop with dresses — I also tried on a range of tops and bottoms, and this denim skirt actually changed my life.
When I shop for denim skirts, I usually size up for comfort. I originally tried on the 4X skirt, but it was extremely big on me — but when I tried the 3X, it fit perfectly. I can't remember the last time I had the option of requesting a 4X and then having to size down. I finally had options to find the best fit for me.
Once I found the perfect denim skirt I had to find the perfect top — and I did!
Yep, I ordered it in a 3X.
Pros and convertible button-up shirt ($40, Modcloth).
Denim jumpers are one of those items I always have to avoid because I never know how they are truly going to fit. So once I saw this one at the location I tried it on.
The 3X fit perfectly after adjusting the arm straps.
Central Park chic denim jumper ($95, Modcloth)
And because who knows when I'd next have the chance to try a denim romper in my size — I went for it!
I tried this romper in a 3X, but the sides were a little deeper then I would feel comfortable with. You might see my underwear if I wore a crop top under it. I felt lucky and so happy to have been able to know that before I bought it.
Make Shortall Work of it denim romper by Fervour ($60, Modcloth)
Though I was sad I'd have to wait a few days to have my items shipped to me, the store also had accessories and makeup you could buy and take with you.
All in all, visiting Modcloth's Austin boutique was transformative. The last time I had so many options to try on was when I was a child. For years I have been stuck shopping online and risking it all, hoping the clothes I bought fit me... but now I see there's a better way.
After seeing how Modcloth was not only able to incorporate plus clothing into their collection, but made it available in this store for everyone to try on... I was shook. It was amazing. I really hope that other brands learn from the amazing job Modcloth is doing to serve women of all sizes.
Unfortunately, it's not a perfect system. This boutique is only in Austin, so if you don't live in Texas, you're out of luck. And not being able to walk out of the store with the clothing you want is a little annoying, too.
I walked into the Modcloth store, but after trying everything on, I left buying almost $400 worth of clothes. Me to every retailer that doesn't want to carry plus sizes in their brick-and-mortar location:
Straight size women aren't the only ones with money. And the sooner stores learn this, the better they'll be.