As I survey my closet for my most-loved clothing, I am starting to notice a common theme. They are all from the same brands that I always revisit because of quality and consistency of experience. So today I have decided to share with you my 3 all-time favorite brands.
I consider myself a curvy girl. I don’t quite fall into straight or plus sizes…. I am in that range of “in-between” sizes where I could find myself in either department depending on the store. I often feel frustrated because as far as design go, I find that straight sizes don’t always accommodate my curves, yet when I move into the plus section, they are noticeably big through my arms and waist and the length is comically long on my short frame. My weight has a tendency to fluctuate from size 10 to a size 16 all depending on how nicely my hormones decide to get along with stress. I am 5’ 1”, according to a doctor who so generously rounded up, and I have a larger on top body type, with broader shoulders and a fuller bust. I still own curve real estate in the lower half, it’s just that my upper half dominates the competition. So if you are anything like me, where you don’t fall on the extreme end of the size spectrum…I think that you will love these brands just as much as I do.
I remembered this store from the early 2000’s. It was plus-size alternative style and it spoke to the wanna-be goth girl inside me. I remember a friend bringing me there and I thought, “my mother would never let me out of the house in any of this.” It was sexy, tough, and held a foreign intrigue to my sheltered sense of self. A small store opened near me about 3 years ago and I ventured in to experience some high school nostalgia. But I discovered a pleasant surprise that the brand had evolved from its Hot Topic roots, to an all-encompassing lifestyle brand.
I don’t think there is anything that I have tried on that didn’t fit. Everything always fits and it’s just a matter of deciding if I like how it looks on me. Their sizes are not typical US women’s sizes. They run from 00 – 6 (which is 10-30). You can see their size conversion chart here on their website: Torrid Size Chart What I like most is that once you start shopping there is that it takes the psychological impact of the number out of the equation. I know a lot of us struggle with what is on the tag and tend to let it determine the garment we purchase. I feel this sizing system helps to identify the piece that fits without the inner struggle of being a double digit size.
Torrid does a great job of providing styles for every part of our life: Casual, professional, active, loungewear, intimates, bathing suits, accessories, and shoes. Three things that deserve a shout out: First, I’m obsessed with their casual selection. I find that I purchase most of my casual items here as they have a youthful, feminine vibe. The fabrics are cool, stretchy and cut to compliment a curvy girl’s shape. The only issue here is that I often find that many of the tops and dresses that feature a seamed waistline or an empire waist, do not compliment me the way they are intended to. I attribute that to how short I am and that their fit model is much taller than me. But there are so many options that I will always find something I can’t live without. Second: Their bras are ahhh-mazing! Whether I am a 38G or a 36DDD, their bras are my absolute, no fail undergarment. I like the microfiber sexy t-shirt bra for everyday wear and the mesh balconette bra for special occasion and under dresses. The cups are firm enough to shape but not padded in a way that adds bulk. The straps and the band are strong and thick enough to provide ample support. Third: All my work blazers are from Torrid. My favorite is their popular crepe ¾ sleeve blazer. The fabric is light and stretchy, it has a modern open front, and contours to your shape. I also have their ponte blazer with a single button enclosure. This fabric is heavier for cooler weather but still has enough stretch and structure for comfort and style.
With Torrid I prefer the in-store shopping experience. Torrid is on the pricier end of the full-figured brands so I prefer to try on and touch the fabrics before purchasing. I have ordered online and done the free ship to store. However, I feel their shipping takes unusually long compared to their competition and returning online orders is even longer. If you have a store near you, I recommend just stopping by and trying on a few things!
Okay, full-disclosure: I work for dressbarn, but this post is not sponsored in any way. I think dressbarn is a hidden secret right now. I would not have discovered it if I hadn’t gotten hired here. Dressbarn has done a lot of work to revamp its image from how you remember it. I hear it often, and have thought it myself, “oh yes, my grandmother shopped dressbarn,” or “my mother shopped dressbarn years ago…” Trust me, it is NOT your mother’s dressbarn anymore. Even in the last 4 ½ years that I have worked for them, I have seen it transform into a style destination with a more modern, chic, and relevant fashion aesthetic. The store is set up with misses and women’s sizes separated, and some locations carry petites. Traditional sizing is found here with misses and petites running from 2-16 and women’s 14W to 24W.
Another confession: I think alllll my pants are from dressbarn. This is one of the things dressbarn gets right every time. Their denim is super soft, with just enough stretch and comes in different fits, cuts, and washes. Depending on the season, they are available in different lengths too! For a career pant, I’m in love with their Secret Agent pull-on trouser. It’s like wearing a yoga pant but with a professional look. I talked more about it in this post: “Basic “B”” I also think that the Super Stretch Pant deserves a little praise. I have seen it in full length, ankle length and a cropped length. I adore the ankle length version. It feels like pulling on a refined looking legging and they are reminiscent of a cigarette pant style. Dressbarn pants tend to run large so if you are in between sizes than I recommend to purchase a size down.
I could also dream about owning every denim jacket they ever come out with. I never wanted a denim jacket because all the ones I ever tried on were stiff and scratchy. Not dressbarn jackets! They are super soft and stretchy and they feel just as good as throwing on a cardigan. There is always a new wash or one with new embellishments coming out….and I need every single one of them to feed my new denim jacket obsession…now if only my wallet would let me.
Dressbarn does affordable quality really well. They are moderately priced, and offer loyalty programs and email/text coupon sign-ups so you can take advantage of their amazing discounts. You can go into a store and get friendly stylist advice and walk out looking like a million bucks for a fraction of the price! For the “in-between” curvy girl, the size selection is great. I can shop both sides of the store when I fall into the size 14 or 14W range. The 14W is cut a bit wider in the bust and hip area….which makes 14W dresses almost perfect for me. Dressbarn is marketed toward the 40ish woman, but the wide style selection is fashionable for the mature 20 year-old and all the way up! What I love about this is that 1. It is a brand that will grow with you throughout your lifetime and 2. It is the ultimate mother-daughter shopping experience because you will both be able to find styles you like.
New York & Company / Fashion to Figure
I have been an avid NY & C shopper since I was 18 years and needed professional clothing for my first full-time job. That is 12 years of loyal shopping! I don’t think that credit card has ever seen a 0 balance to be honest. It has been a brand that has grown with me through my young adult years. This brand does “on-trend” ready-to-wear very well. I know that if I am looking for what is on trend now, or what the next trend coming is…they will have it. Their sizes run from 00-18 for the majority of their product selection. Recently they have launched “extended sizes,” celebrity endorsed plus-size collections, and acquired plus-size brand Fashion to Figure. They also feature petites and tall on their website. Their style will appeal to a wider market. You can shop professional wear with 7th Avenue, casual with Soho, and you can feel flirty with the sweet, feminine Eva Mendes collection, or rock a trendy street style with the Gabrielle Union collection.
I had been following Fashion to Figure on Instagram for a long time….can you imagine my excitement when it became a part of my favorite brand? I have purchase a few items to try it out and I instantly fell in love with the fit and quality. FTF sizes are much like Torrid. They run 0-3 and cater to US sizes 12-24. The pieces I purchased were all size 0 and they fit perfectly. HOWEVER, FTF 0 fits much snugger that a Torrid 0, so if you are torn between sizes definitely order a size up. The garments are cut to accommodate a curvy woman in all the right places. There is no way that a size 12 (FTF 0) would fit me anywhere else…but here FTF does a full- figured woman right. Fashion to Figure caters to the extroverted social lite. I envy the girl that has the exciting life to wear these sexy, flirty pieces.
Online ordering is super easy and fast! I’m also not afraid to try new things because returning is as easy as putting the item back in the bag and sticking the preprinted return label on it. This is great for me because the closest NYC store is an hour away from me.
The size 10-16 girl is someone, in my opinion, that has gone under represented. The current body positive movement has been fabulous in drawing awareness to body diversity, but we feel left out because we don’t really look what you expect plus size to look like. Yet, we don’t really relate to straight sized media either. Plus-Sized models are usually within our sized range…but in reality…even they aren’t plus-size….really just the average American woman. Better yet, drop the plus, drop the department descriptions, and just provide quality, fashionable clothing for all body types.
There are many more brands emerging with amazing options for us. I simply wanted to share with you the three brands that fill my closet. They are easily accessible, affordable, and accommodate a diverse size range with on-trend fashions. I would love to hear from all of you what brands you love to shop with! I’m always looking to be surprised by something new!