So by now, we’re all aware of the devastating news that Modcloth was purchased by Jet.com, who is owned by Walmart. So, in other words, Walmart now owns Modcloth. YIKES. This is a severe blow to the plus size community, especially the babes on the higher end of the size spectrum. I am so sad for you all (and myself, too!).
Aside from the obvious speculation about the question of future quality and cost, a lot of people have been bringing the age old question of ethics into play. I’m not here to tell you what I think is right or wrong. Heck, I even think the question of “ethics” is a privilege of the straight size world. Considering the severely limited (and exxy) access of fashion in the plus sphere, most of the foundations of ethics (aside from a baseline of human morality) is a luxury we are simply not afforded. Yet. (Viva la revolution)
When I started researching possible alternatives to shopping at Modcloth, I hoped and expected to be able to put together a pretty extensive list of shops and boutiques that would perhaps come close to being able to fill the hole that not shopping at Modcloth will cause. Especially, as I mentioned, for those above a size 22. After all, asides from the small range of in-house Modcloth pieces, these garments are all coming from somewhere, right?!
Well, I mean, right – obviously. But they are nigh on IMPOSSIBLE to be found outside the King Kong grip of Modcloth. I speculate that is because a lot of the small brands who happen to manufacture into the plus size range ONLY DO THIS for Modcloth because:
- they are guaranteed a huge and immediate audience, and effectively assured sales. And/or;
- Modcloth has made them participate in a contractual agreement of exclusivity.
That’s rough, and where does it leave us? Up shit’s creek without a paddle, my dear friend. (Although, have I mentioned that i’m hard at work behind the scenes preparing to launch a plus size clothing venture?? Add your email and keep up to date, here!)
As I mentioned, I’ve scoured the webz far and wide, and I’ve been looking for specifically quirky and cool (and some vintage/vaguely rockabilly) styles. Although nothing (at the moment) might fill the void of Modcloth, I hope you might find this list small companies helpful. And hey, it’s nice to help the indies out, too! Oh, and this list is in NO PARTICULAR ORDER!
EDIT: There has been an overwhelming response to this post, and it warms my heart to think some people might be inspired to hunt out new places to shop. There have been lots of comments with further suggestions, so this list has been edited to add SIXTEEN additional suppliers, as well as get rid of one (Bernie Dexter, just FYI) whose owner supports neo-nazi activity. Nope, you don’t get our money.
The comments section here and on social media is filled with healthy debate on sizing and quality, so have a read around and as ALWAYS: please triple check all size charts for yourself. We all know a 4XL somewhere is different to a 4XL somewhere else, and I am only one person… I’m trying my best, but you’ll need to ensure sizing etc for yourself.
Also, I do have a DESIGNERS AND SHOPS I HEART page right here that has lots of other great places that aren’t necessarily “Modcloth-esque”, so if you’re looking for more shopping inspo, check that out, too! xx
One of my very favourite dresses in the whole world is by this brand, and I got it off Modcloth! I’m so happy to know they are available otherwise. They go up to a 4XL and have the most lovely fabric designs. Edit: I know own 3 Retrolicious dresses. Check this other one out!
2. CHI CHI CURVE
UK brand. More formal dresses. Up to UK 26 which (I believe) is a US 22. 15% student discount.
Also higher end styles, up to US size 28. Not specific Modcloth vibes but definitely some overlap.
Eshakti have some total Modcloth-esque gems, PLUS the ability to customise measurements and finishes. They have free returns, even for international (or so my experience in AUS goes!), and a current promo of $25 gift coupon + 10% off + free shipping. Check them out, they go up to a 36 (that’s what i’m talking about!). Here’s a cute one that I own.
5. HELL BUNNY
Some Hell Bunny stuff is heaps cliche and a bit garish. No judgement if that’s your thing (cos it’s totally mine), but for some people, they don’t always pull prints off with the same ease and class that Modcloth usually does. That being said, there are still heaps of SUPER ADORBS THINGS to be found! They go up to 4XL but it’s been a few years since I tried anything on, and apparently they run a little small these days?
6. HELLO HOLIDAY
I’ve been a sideline fan of Hello Holiday for a while now. They are a super indie version of Modcloth (so, baby Modcloth) in terms of aesthetic, actually use a plus size model (hurray!), and (from what I know) do lots of great stuff to make sure they are inclusive, feminist and all round rad. According to their size chart, they go up to a 4XL, but do check your measurements (obviously)…
7. JOOLZ FASHION
This is a local (Melbourne, Australia) gem that I just have to include because she does some exceptionally beautifulk stuff ranging from asymmetrical vintage beauties (right), to cotton Modcloth vibes (middle – and yes, that’s me!), to stretchy all-over printed deliciousness (left). Whatever your needs, Joolz has got you covered up to a 6XL.
8. LADY V LONDON
Lady V London is a UK straight size brand that edged into plus size (“Lady Voluptuous”) in collaboration with Georgina Horne of Fuller Figure Fuller Bust. The dresses are made in London, go up to a UK32, and are super cute and sexy vintage repro delights. EDIT: since writing this article I now own my own Lady V dress and cannot sing their praises highly enough! See blog post here.
9. LINDY BOP
Lindy Bop is another UK company that does vintage reproduction dresses. I’ve had issues (sizing is bizarre – blog post pending), so I seriously recommend googling reviews before you buy anything! They go up to a UK 26, and have some ridiculously good sales (and affordable shipping). Also note – some of it borders on adorable and tacky. That might not be your thing, but it sure is mine! Hehe.
10. PIN UP GIRL CLOTHING
I haven’t bought anything from PUG (yet), but boy there’s a lot I lust over. As the name suggest, they have lots of the classic pin up style, as well as the occasional goth kitsch. I read something about a recent fiasco with a Chinese New Year collection and some blatant (and poorly handled) cultural appropriation. I don’t know a great deal, but if ethics is your jam, be sure to read up before you purchase. They go up to 4XL. EDIT: there has been a lot of debate over the size and quality on offer by PUG. Some say great, some say terrible. Be sure to do your own research. ALSO: apparently the owner is kind of a shitty person, so again: do your homework if you have ethical issues.
11. STEADY CLOTHING
Steady Clothing is manufactured in the USA and has a small selection that goes up to a 4XL. It’s a bit of a bummer Tess Holliday is the only plus model on the site (stunning as she is, i’d like to see some other fat babes, too!), and the site could use some improvements in it’s level of user friendliness – there is no option to sort via size.
12. TATYANA BOUTIQUE
I discovered Tatyana Boutique about 18 months ago when I was living in Boston and visiting NYC recently. I swooned – hard. A few of the pieces I purchase are still treasured amongst my favourites – like this dress! They stock their own designs, and go up to a 4XL (but how I WISH they went bigger!!).
13. UNIQUE VINTAGE
For me, Unique Vintage is the “where have you been all my life” pick of the litter. They have SUPER CUTE STYLES up to a 6XL/32, Modcloth comparable prices, and the ability to sort via size AND era!! ADORE!!
14. VIXEN BY MICHELINE PITT
Micheline Pitt is THE vixen to end all vixens (ex-PUG designer), and her stuff goes up to a 4XL.
15. VOODOO VIXEN – CURVE
Voodoo Vixen is another UK straight size brand that edged into the plus market with the brand spin off “Voodoo Vixen Curve”. They were nominated for best designer at the 2015 British Plus Size Awards, and go up to a 4XL.
16. ROSE WHOLESALE
Very cheap stuff (ethics may be an issue for you), and although I found pieces up to 5XL, the size charts seem to run small, so definitely triple check. Also, different items seem to have different size charts, and the site is sadly not searchable by specific size – only general “plus size” category. Including because it was suggested, so some people may find useful. Also similar, Dress Lilly.
17. THE OBLONG BOX SHOP
Very pin-upy/retro reboot with some super cute horror kitsch stuff, and THE MOST ADORABLE plus size model! Sized up to a (genuine?) 4XL, she also uses high quality printing and fabric that (apparently) doesn’t need ironing!
Re/Dress are already listed on my Shopping Resources page, but deserve another mention because they do such excellent stuff, and have some very Modcloth-esque stuff. The owner, Rachel, does such an incredible and intentional job of representation, and their stock (both second hand and new) is all vetted by her, and totally cute AF. Also, they are stocking Retrolicious (and possibly other Modcloth suppliers – soon) and have a masculine and butch section. Fuck yeah.
These folks emailed me to be included on this list, and in the end I decided I would add them for a couple of reasons. 1. Super cute geek-girl prints. 2. Women owned and run (they both used to work at ThinkGeek) 3. They go up to a 4X with a 53” bust. 4. They don’t have a “plus size” section because they make all their dresses up to a 4X. Heck yes. That kind of thinking deserves acknowledgement. Edit: after this article went live, they very kindly sent me one of their dresses to say thanks and it’s on very high rotation in my wardrobe! See here.
20. CHERRY VELVET
Cherry Velvet are a Canadian vintage-esque clothing company that stock straight and plus sizes up to a 4XL. They have cute prints and some lovely, detailed pieces.
21. SMART GLAMOUR
I am absolutely kicking myself for forgetting Smart Glamour on the first iteration of this list (although they are listed on my Shopping Resources page). Mallorie (the owner/designer/creator of each garment/boss bitch) is doing such excellent stuff. All her clothes are made by her, and go from a TRUE size XXS-6XL, PLUS she will happily do custom measurements for a small fee of $20. The diversity and representation she offers is simply amazing. I own one of her dresses (this one) and it is truly so damn comfortable.
22. JOANIE CLOTHING
People have been asking for Joanie Clothing to be included, and to be honest i’d heard of them but I glossed over when I saw their size chart only went to a XXL. However, upon further inspection (this research is time consuming, just FYI) I see that XXL has a bust that goes to around 52 inches. I wish they extended further with sizing like that, but I think it earns them a spot on the list. Edit: since writing this list I have a few Joanie Clothing pieces, and can attest to the possibility of larger measurements hidden amongst their sizing! Check this cute dress.
23. SIZE QUEEN CLOTHING
No word of a lie, I absolutely ADORE Size Queen, made by one of the most beautiful humans in the whole world, Bertha Pearl. I had so many people recommend she be added to the list, and she absolutely should because her stuff is so colourful and fun and fresh, and she is all about representation and diversity. Sadly, her website redirects to her Etsy which is currently closed while she moves. Because of that, you’ll have to make do with this photo I took of her in PDX, as well as a few outfits I tried on (with my fierce babe pal, Danger Raegun). Give Size Queen’s Facebook page a like to stay up to date with her.
24. HEARTS & FOUND (ETSY SHOP)
Ok so somebody suggested this Etsy seller to me, and holy wow i’m in love. Such delightfully vintage cuts, and super cute fabrics. They even have an option where you can choose the style of dress from a bunch of tech drawings, and THEN select your fabric! Best of all, they go up to 4XL in set sizing, but also have custom sizing available. Edit: since writing this post, Hearts & Found have very kindly sent me quite a few pieces and I can’t sing their praises highly enough! Check out this blog post.
I debated including CowCow on the list because, although they have lots of fun prints, I don’t think of their fabric choice (a slippery polyester spandex) to be particularly Modcloth-y. BUT, enough people have mentioned them, and I also think their size and price point accessibility is most excellent. Rather than show you the generic thin-girl pics from their site, I decided to include some of my lovely internet and IRL pals donning their purchases. (L. Kath Read of the blog Fat Heffalump, C. Corissa of Fat Girl Flow, and R. Kelly Belly Ohio.)
26. BUTTON BUTTON DRESSES
These folks seem to be American or Canadian, and do totally bespoke pieces in heaps cute novelty prints!
27. SCARLETT & JO
Another UK vintage-esque clothing company that Georgina Horne is involved with (i’m not sure in what capacity, but definitely a brand ambassador). They go up to a UK32 (which I believe is around a US28 – huzzah!), and all the dresses i’ve chosen as an example below go up to that size. They have a specific “1940’s Dresses” categories that does have some super cute stuff!
28. HEART OF HAUTE
More super cute vintage dresses, up to 4XL, which have a bust measurement of 52-54 inches. As with everything, please double check all size charts!
29. INSPIRED INSANITY
Inspired Insanity have been suggested as an Australian boutique that stocks a decent range of plus sizes (apparently up to an AU30) in cool rockabilly/psychobilly styles like Hellbunny, Chicstar, and even their own in-house range! A seemingly cool resource for us Aussies.
MORE COOL SHIT, BUT ONLY FOR BABY FATS
I feel like these brands are worth including for you baby fats, but I’m sorry you don’t get pretty pictures cos you (sort of ‘we’) already have more access to resources. Here are some other cool brands I would love to wear if they happened to fit my large-bellied bod.
Living Dead have cool dresses to 2XL and leggings to 3XL
Sourpuss Clothing (who also seem to stock some Folter!) go up to a 3XL.
Iron Fist go up to 3XL and also do rad shoes.
Tragic Beautiful is a boutique that stocks the likes of Killstar, Chicstar, Hearts & Roses London, Sourpuss, Too Fast etc. Unsure on their size range cos the ability to search via size is either individual straight sizes, or just general “plus size” category. Hmm….
Starlet Vintage is a UK boutique that stocks a lot of the above-mentioned brands, AND has the ability to search via specific plus sizes up to a UK 26 (which is US 22).
MODE MERR – I struggled over whether to include these folks because their largest size has a waist of 97cm/38inches which is basically not plus size IMO. But I had so many people comment on social media for it to be included, i’m popping it down here in the baby fat section.
THE HOUSE OF FOXY make adorable stuff, but unfortunately only up to a UK24 (US20-ish). So sad.
TRASHY DIVA get a mention because their stuff is truly beautiful, but unfortunately they also only go up to a UK24. Lucky you, if you fit into their stuff! Oh and if you’re looking for some blogger inspo, The Glambasssador is an incredible beauty and often dressed in their stuff.