When I was in my teens, way back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, I lived in a very small town that didn’t have any stores that catered to the plus size teenager. There was a Kmart, Bon Ton, JCPenney and Fashion Bug. They did have “womens” departments (that weren’t even to close to age appropriate), but that was my only option. Their juniors departments only went up to a size 11 and I was a 14/16. While all my friends were wearing American Eagle, and Aeropostle, and all the “cool” brands of the time, I was forced to wear clothing that was marketed for people twice my age. Being a plus sized teen was rough as it was, and not having the options to be able to even attempt to fit in, made things even worse.
That is until I was about 13 and discovered a Deb Shop that carried a plus size section, about an hour and a half away from me, in Dubois, PA. I had died and gone to plus size fashion heaven. There I found jeans, the one thing I longed to fit me well, that were in my size and long enough for my 5’9″ curvy figure. At last! I begged my mom to take me there as often as we could afford it. Deb Shops did wonders to raise my self esteem as a teen, and that’s something you can’t put a price on. Sadly, all 295 Deb shops closed their doors last year (2015) due to bankruptsy, but they still offer plus size fashion for teens online at debshops.com.
Size equality has come a long way since then, but we aren’t even close to having the same clothing options as those under a size 12. Over the years, many major clothing companies have slowly started offering small plus size sections. When I say small, I mean that dimly lit section, in the very back of the store that contains about 4 racks of “additional sizes,” (I’m talking to you Maurices.) But, (GASP) there are even some retailers that exclusively carry plus size fashion, and it’s a glorious experience. My teenage-self’s mind would be blown! The following list includes my favori0te retailers that carry PLUS sizes, as well as companies that carry them exclusively (in no particular order.) However, Torrid is without question, my #1 favorite plus size retailer. So there’s that.
Also, let me know if there is a company YOU love that I missed or think I should check out, and feel free to add to the list.