By Janness Koh
Let’s be honest here, most of us aren’t a size 0 model body and from what I see, demand for plus size clothing is increasing. In Asia, even when you are just on the chubby, slightly overweight side, you are considered a plus size. I’ve been chubby most of my life and it does not mean I have to sacrifice style for the way my body is.
I’m often asked where I get my clothes because they look so good and it’s difficult to find anything cute and decent locally that fits the curves without it looking like a tent or middle aged auntie. I’m sure many of us has walked into a store with the sales person checking us out with a scowl on their face thinking away how we won’t fit into something we were looking at. What makes local clothing retails think that just because we are curvier we can’t rock that bodycon dress or mini skirt? You do you!
I think it has been a long time since I ever shop locally, I always buy my clothes online or when I travel where clothes are for everyBODY. Also, plus size clothing here are so much more expensive that I just can’t bear to spend money on them. Below is a list of my favourite stores and I recommend signing up for their newsletter so that you will not miss any of their sales and exclusive offers.
ASOS has become my favourite online clothing store over the years and it’s probably rare that you have not heard of them. They ship for free internationally which is always great but now you can also return your merchandise for free and that removes the worry of something not fitting so you can order in multiple sizing to see which fits the best and return the rest for free.
Sizing and quality has been pretty consistent for ASOS own brand but I can’t say the same for the many other brands they carry. Their standard sizing goes up to a UK18 for most items and they even have a petite category for us short girls as well as a plus size category that goes up to a UK28! You can basically find everything from ASOS, even beauty products. ASOS periodically offers codes for further discounts so do keep a lookout for those and they already have a sale section where you can find pretty good stuff at ridiculously cheap prices.
2. New Look
New Look has sadly not survived the failing retail business scene in Singapore but you can still get them online and ship to Singapore for free with a minimum spend of £55. Sometimes they run a promotion that ships for free at no minimum spend. Also, if I remember correctly and if they still have it, there is a 20% discount for new users.
Their general sizing goes up to a UK18 and plus sizes up to UK32. New Look has some of the most affordable and prettiest pieces and all are great quality. I also really love their shoes with a wide range from sandals and heels to boots.
boohoo is one of the cheapest clothing stores I know and yet they often offer additional discounts up to 50% off, like WHAT? I often end up only paying less than £10 for a dress. boohoo charges a fixed £6.99 shipping to Singapore regardless of weight or value of purchase which isn’t that expensive at all. Best, find another shopping kakis and you can then split the shipping.
General sizing usually goes up to a UK14 or 16 while plus sizes up to UK24. The thing with boohoo that I don’t like is the inconsistent quality as some can be quite thin and sheer or even flimsy. Do take note that some of their dresses can be way too short and I had to just wear as a top. Judge for yourself based on the pictures and models but yeah that’s the risk when it comes to online shopping.
ASOS also carries boohoo but only a very small range. You can always check on ASOS first to see if they carry the item you want; if they do then you get free shipping! But sometimes boohoo has their own sale so it might end up cheaper even after paying shipping.
4. Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, Old Navy, Gap
These brands do not ship to Singapore direct so not going into too much details on them but you will be able to place orders and send them to a freight forwarder, except Charlotte Russe which you will need a freight forwarder like ezbuy to help you place an order. These brands also have sales going on all the time so I don’t tend to buy from them if there isn’t one.
Forever 21 – We do have them in Singapore but there isn’t a plus section in local stores because apparently they didn’t think Asia has any curvy bodies. Forever 21 is also very affordable but their quality is also hit or miss and I personally feel their style is for the younger hipsters and may not be age appropriate for me. They ship free in USA with minimum purchased of $50.
Charlotte Russe – This has got to be one of my favourites when it comes to dresses. They have really girly looking ones to classy to sassy; anything you need. Their plus size styles are great and I always wait until they have a sale going on from buy 1 get 1 at $10 to 50% off. I’ve bought dresses at below $10 before when I use a discount on top of sale prices 😉
Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic – They are under the same company so their website allows you to purchase across brands on the same site. Free USA shipping with minimum of $50 purchase as well. We have Gap and Banana Republic in Singapore but they are very expensive so I buy mine exclusively online. Old Navy is the most affordable among them and sizing can be inconsistent so a tip is to read up people’s review on the item you are interested in getting to judge in terms of sizing and quality.
OrangeBear is the only Asian site I have and buy from. They are based in Taiwan so fashion style is leaning towards more Japanese or Korean. Prices are reasonable and so is shipping to Singapore. I do find that the more you buy makes it more worthwhile for the shipping costs.
Their sizes range from Free Size which is typical for Asian sizing to a 3-4XL that is equivalent to about a UK20-22. All their items have specific measurements that you can check out for a more accurate sizing as well as a chart where they have actual people in different sizes try out the clothing and the size they wear so that you can have a better judgement of what you will be getting.
The only disappointment is I wish they had actual plus size models in the clothes on their site like the ones from western countries but again, because of Asia’s distorted beauty views, they only have stick thin and cute looking models.
Quality is also a hit and miss for this site and so is the sizing, it can be quite off sometimes.
If I have to list every store, this list would go on and on so here are a few other sites that are worth checking out:
- American Eagle – free shipping to Singapore with $100 purchase
- Missguided – free shipping to Singapore with £120 purchase or flat rate £15
- River Island – flat rate shipping at £10
- Torrid – Popular among plus size Youtubers, expensive international shipping
- Rebdolls – flat rate shipping at $19.95
I wish society isn’t as obsessed about being thin or criticising when someone is overweight or underweight. I’m sure everyone has in their life experienced before an already skinny friend telling you they need to go on a diet to lose weight and you feel like giving that person a good shake.
A number on the scale does not define a person and who they are. They may have problems you don’t know about and also, someone who is overweight does not necessarily equate to unhealthy, they can even be healthier than skinny people. Support body positivity, own your body, flaunt your curves on instagram #effyourbeautystandards (created by Tess Holliday).