The Thick Girl’s Ultimate Online Shopping Guide

The internet rocks. Sure, it made global communities possible, brokered love for the lonely and almost elected a President, but for curvy girls who get no love in retail stores the internet is the great equalizer. No snobby salesgirls, no knife fights over the one “large size” stores stock just to taunt you, and no emotional eating in the food court after discovering that not a single pair of jeans in the whole mall accommodates your entire ass. Yes, the internet rocks.

It really rocks when you bookmark some of my favorite, time-tested curvy girl fashion sites.

The first thing you have to know when shopping online is that most of the stores you know now carry bohemian attire options, just not in their actual stores. So if you see something you love at the mall, ask the sales staff if they offer it online. Then ask for an address where you can send your angry letter demanding that they reconsider carrying all of their sizes on the sales floor…but that’s another article.

This article is about feeling good and looking even better! We’ll begin with the grandmomma of them all: Lane Bryant. LB revolutionized fuller-sized retail by nixing the moo-moo and offering contemporary styles in sizes 14-26. Today, they continue that online at www.lanebryant.com. Also note that many pants are available in several lengths and they have just created a bridal and maternity line.

LB Mix, their new junior line, offers all the ‘Mean Girls’ style in sizes that real girls can rock. It’s also a great place for a cool graphic tee or some funky jeans, no matter your age.

Upgrade You

When your plans involve something a bit more exciting than jeans and career wear, you need that perfect little black dress. Or even better, that perfect little red dress! For that you’ll need Kiyonna (www.kiyonna.com). Slightly more upscale (read: pricier) than your average woman-sized retailer, Kiyonna earns every penny of it with great fabrics, attention to cut, drape and killer styling. Think investment pieces for sizes 12 and up. While this clean, easy-to-navigate site offers career and casual clothing, for me it’s all about the dress. Or rather, the dresses. They carry some of the sexiest and chicest dresses for curvy girls that I’ve seen.

However for the ultimate in practical chi-chi style, you must treat yourself to at least one Monif C. (www.monifc.com) creation. This forward-looking designer is a curvy girl herself and she makes high-end dresses for the rest of us. Monif C. is renowned for her use of jersey and other wrinkle-resistant fabrics that lovingly drape each and every curve while minimizing any flaws. At prices starting over $150 and running up to $300, they aren’t right for every budget. But when you factor in how much you’ll wear her signature convertible dress, it almost seems criminal not to buy one.

Do the math: number of times worn, multiplied by the number of compliments, divided by the cost equals sexy too good to pass up! And you thought you’d never use word problems in real life.

Funk It UP

Gone are the days when a size 16 meant grandma prints and elastic bands. For trendy styles and funky looks try Igigi (www.igigi.com) and Torrid (www.torrid.com). Both offer junior-friendly looks, great jeans, prom dresses and accessories that inspire the teenage girl in us all. But don’t be fooled by the youthful edge of these two sites. Igigi offers great evening and nightclub wear that no teenage girl should be caught dead in! Big girls can also sexy it up with Torrid’s more urban chic approach to clubbing: bustiers, strategically ripped clothing and form fitting skirts.

When you need great looking form on a budget, try Casual Plus (www.casual-plus.com). This site offers discount prices on cool summer wear, dresses and casual looks. Note: this is the only site listed I’ve yet to try personally. However, they have a solid shipping and customer service record and the prices are unbeatable.

The Downlow on Denim

The bad news? Shopping for jeans sucks no matter your size. The good news? Shopping for jeans sucks no matter your size. Denim is the great equalizer in women’s clothing. For a curvy girl nothing is quite as satisfying as seeing the size two cutie with the Orange Julius in her hand complain about not being able to find jeans.
For us the playing field is becoming a bit more level. Now when we talk jeans we’re not talking Mom jeans. I know you want the dark washes, the cool finishes, the sexy details…and a rise that won’t give you plumber’s crack.

I’m going to send you to one place first: Zafu (www.zafu.com). This fab site asks you a series of questions and then like a magic jean fairy, it populates dozens of denim choices that meet your specifications and are available in your size!!! When I tried it I got two-dozen mid-rise, petite and dark wash choices ranging in price from $35 to $258. When they figure out how to add in a man with a toolbox and a decent credit rating I’m buying stock.

After Zafu, I recommend Torrid for cutting edge styles, Eddie Bauer (www.eddiebauer.com) for tall and petite lengths in classic washes, and Baby Phat (www.babyphat.com) for urban super-stretchy sexy.

One last suggestion: when you find a great pair…buy two. You’ll thank me when your favorite pair is inevitably discontinued two weeks after you wear a hole in your only pair. I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on the size two cutie with an abnormal metabolism.

Undercover Sexy

In all this searching for the perfect look I’ll caution you not to neglect how you feel. There’s no better way to put that strut in your stride than to anchor all of your looks – classic, sexy, career, sassy – with the perfect underwear. Forget Vicky, thick girls have Hips and Curves (www.hipsandcurves.com). This awesome site doesn’t just offer uber sexy , yet functional bras, panties and sleepwear. It is a whole community, complete with sexy stories, real curvy girl pics, and costumes for, uh, Halloween. Yeah, Halloween. The folks over at Hips and Curves knows how to dress a real woman’s form for every whim and every season.

Curves Ahead

The truth of the matter is, clothing designers aren’t kind to women of any size. For thicker girls that’s even more true. Thankfully the Internet offers us choices we’ve never had before. Today you can find the latest styles, cool looks, designer wear and more in sizes that don’t try to squeeze you into anyone’s box. So support those who support chicks like us and remember to share your good news of a new find…after you’ve bought those back-up jeans, of course.