Being a plus size fashion blogger, this post initially started out as me just wanting a place where I could direct my readers to when they ask about the fitting of different outfits I’ve posted, but instead I decided to ask my followers and fellow shoppers what they thought of the fit and quality of UK plus size fashion brands. The results where overwhelming, especially as I just wanted a couple replies to support my personal opinions, but soon over 250 people had responded with an incredible insight into the plus size fashion world. Here you will find the results of my survey, which brands come out on top and which brands are falling behind….
The Fit of Plus Size Brands
So, I wondered what people actually thought about the fit of the plus size brands I had personally tried and there were some rather surprising and interesting results. I think it’s important to note that some of the smaller brands had incredible comments about them, but they’re just not known to many. Some of the more popular brands actually ended up being the most frustrating as their fit wasn’t perfect, and sometimes, it was far from it. Top of the fitting scale was Yours Clothing, George at Asda, ASOS Curve and New Look Inspire which are all larger and more well-known brands, and I have to agree that I am a consistent size in all of them. All of these brands had comments in my survey about trying different styles, being trendy and fashionable, which could be why they put more thought and have more consistency with their sizing, although there were quite a few negative comments about these brands not carrying any or all of their styles up to a size 32.
Simply Be is a brand that is constantly having backlash for their inconsistent sizes, but is that because they carry so many different brands that would all have their own sizing chart? Or is it because they’re just inconsistent overall? Well according to over 25o people and comments from over 90, the general consensus of Simply Be clothing is that it’s overpriced, not always of a good quality, and a few comments were made about the staff they choose to represent their brand in-store, the word ‘judgemental’ was unfortunately used.
It was actually quite interesting to see how the staff and online presence of brands effected whether people would buy from them or not. It turns out the good customer service in-store at Yours Clothing attracts more, but the poor social media tactics of Pink Clove and Scarlett & Jo have actually lost them customers, which isn’t ideal when they’re not the most known of brands.
Evans is quite an interesting one as although they turned out to be the most popular, with every single person having tried them, they also turned out so be one of the worst for sizes. My Mum and I have always been the same size in Evans so I do find this really surprising, could it also be because of the introduction of different brands with their own sizing charts? Let’s look into it more….
More often or not when describing the fit of plus size brands, it’s usually telling people that the fitting is spot on, or they have to size up. This is usually because brands only use one fit model, and don’t try things out on shorter fats, or fats that carry their weight in different or not in the ‘wanted’ places such as boobs and bums. You’ll probably have seen and if you’re in the industry, heard of it a lot about the lack of different fit models. However, although this chart does show that in most cases sizing is hit and miss, or you do have to size up, for Evans a lot of people have to size down. Potentially because Evans carry a lot of baggier, boxier styles that people are trying to make look more fitted? I do find that with brands that are more true to size, there is room either way. I’ve owned clothes in a 22 from Yours & Scarlett & Jo before that have fitted fine but I could tell they were too big. I’ve also owned size 18s from New Look that fit well. I personally don’t mind this about a brand as it means if I really want something and it’s out of size, I have more of a chance of getting it either in a size up or down depending on the style, but I realise not everyone will find this.
Brands that I personally think you have to always size up in include, ChiChi Curve, Lindybop, BBW Couture, Navabi, Silly Old Sea Dog, Gemma Collins and any bodysuit from Boohoo Plus. There are no brands at all that I personally think you definitely have to size down in.
The Quality of Plus Size Brands
It’s looking good for New Look Inspire, ASOS Curve, Yours Clothing and George at Asda, not only were they the best fit but they’re also the best brands in terms of getting quality for your money. These are brands that I constantly spend money on, so I can 110% agree! However, it’s not just the big brands that came out on top. One of my personal favourites, ChiChi Curve had nearly everyone who has tried them agreeing that the quality is well worth the price, it was the same for Navabi and Studio 8 which were described as ‘what you expect’ from a more expensive and designer brand.
It was interesting how many comments came back saying that people only shopped with certain brands ‘when they have a sale on’ as then the prices are ‘more what they should be.’ Comments like this were made about pricier brands such as Simply Be, Evans and Scarlett & Jo, but more surprisingly they were also made about more average priced brands such as Lovedrobe and Pink Clove. The sales that ASOS Curve, Navabi and Studio 8 have were complimented but their customers definitely don’t wait for them to shop.
I personally find the highest quality of clothing from ASOS Curve, Yours Clothing, Navabi (my £400 God of a coat for one), ChiChi Curve, Studio 8, Lavitta, and dare I say it…Evans.
I wouldn’t say any of these brands have been of a consistently low quality but I’ve had some shocking experiences that do need a mention. I’ve had the odd very low quality item from Boohoo Plus, Scarlett & Jo and Simply Be, some of which have bobbled, lace has frayed, they’ve shrank immediately or are unwearable after the first wash. I realise that this can be just a one-off but the same brands did have multiple comments regarding this.
General Feedback on these Plus Size Brands
A lot of these brands had well over 100 comments each as the comment section was completely optional and just if the person filling out the survey had anything to add. It actually became the main reason I wanted to get this post out so fast as I personally don’t think brands connect with their customers as much as they should. I don’t think they listen and that means that they don’t actually change. Plus size fashion brands as a whole aren’t doing enough, some don’t even look as if they’re trying and these are the brands that people had the most to say about….
Negatives: A lot of comments about poor quality, that everything is overpriced, lingerie is generally very poor, the clothes can be old fashioned and frumpy. Most say that they only buy things in the sale and that Evans don’t listen to their customers.
Positives: The go-to place for wide calf shopping on the high-street, the cut/special collections are sometimes favoured but not always and their seems to be a few comments on the good quality of jeans.
Personally: I think Evans are rapidly improving, their styles are more up to date, the quality is what I’ve always known, high, and I find myself shopping there more and more.
Negatives: Most people seem to find Simply Be overpriced and they really don’t have a good experience with sizing. The quality seems very hit and miss, and as well as the comment beforehand about staff, people don’t find there’s enough choice in stores. It was suggested that a few brands including Simply Be higher their prices because they have a credit option and people are most likely to buy because of the convenience.
Positives: Simply Be comes across as a trendy and fashionable place to shop with high quality clothing (sometimes) and people generally seem to like it when they work with bloggers on campaigns.
Personally: Now we have a Simply Be in Meadowhall I am always going in to find the latest things out, although I rarely ever come away with anything, but when I do buy from Simply Be it’s mainly for the brands they stock. I’m not sure if I own anything at the moment that is Simply Be though….
Negatives: Most people were upset that ChiChi Curve doesn’t offer their beautiful dresses to anyone past a size 24, and with their sizing coming up small, that means that no one past a 22 can enjoy them. There aren’t many negative comments about ChiChi as mostly people just want to be able to wear them in a bigger size and want the straight size range available to plus, which I agree with!
Positives: They’re beautiful, high quality dresses that are well worth the money for special occasions. People also love how they do stock some straight size dresses in plus, rather than making something completely different and potentially getting it wrong.
Personally: I’m a massive fan, I just wish the same as above, that they had ALL the straight size dresses in plus as I would play Princess every single day. See below for an example and you can find out more about that dress, here.
Negatives: Even though people found that the quality of Boohoo Plus’s range was on point for the pricing, it was more in a ‘you get what you pay for’ kind of way, as most people were complaining about the fit, quality and lack of selection in the range.
Positives: The only positives really were that they’re trendy, affordable and fast fashion.
Personally: I’ve had a few key pieces from Boohoo Plus that have lasted really well and I wear regularly but more often than not I’ve not been happy with the styles being too low or just unrealistic of most women, even straight sized women.
Negatives: As I previously mentioned, the seriously slacking and offensive social media tactics of Pink Clove have lost them quite a few customers. It turns out fat people don’t want to buy from a brand that publicly shames fat people, who knew? They even provoked me to write THIS guide for brands.
Positives: Even though the brand had lots of comments about good quality, prices, styles and the fact that they’re fashion forward, it seems Pink Clove need to seriously rethink their online strategy.
Personally: Whenever brands try and do something controversial I can’t help but want to bang my head on the desk. The World is a lot smarter now and not everyone believes ‘all publicity is good publicity’ – it’s a shame as I STILL own some really lovely dresses from them but before I put my hand in my pocket, I, like most, need to see a real change in their online presence.
Negatives: Most people have to size up one, if not two, they don’t cater past a size 26 and the quality isn’t the highest.
Positives: However, there was SO much love for Lindybop as they offer such beautiful, vintage styles at affordable prices. Most people do find their perfect fit even if they have to size up and although Lindybop have incredible sales, nobody actually commented that they only buy in the sales, meaning people are more than happy to pay the full price because they love the clothes that much.
Personally: I haven’t found my absolute perfect fit with this brand yet (you can read about my struggles HERE), but they’ve assured me they’re working on their sizes, quality and expanding their size range too, so what more could you ask for from a brand?
New Look Inspire
Negatives: People seem really disappointed about the lack in customer interest which is suggested by the fact that they’re taking their plus size ranges out of most stores. Everyone just seems to want their straight size range making into plus sizes.
Positives: It’s the go-to place for fast fashion at affordable prices that last well and are trendy.
Personally: I buy a lot of staples from New Look including 98% of my Winter coats but I would love to be able to shop more of the range in-store, especially if they made the range bigger and better. I’ve actually gone to meeting with New Look Sheffield about their fits and styles of the Inspire range and what it is lacking but nothing seems to have changed….
Negatives: Not everything goes up to a 32 and that’s not what’s expected of a brand that tops quality and fit, especially with them being such a huge brand. Some people also commented on their inconsistent sizes, even between the 18s in the straight range, and the 18s in the plus range….odd.
Positives: Mostly, everyone loves ASOS Curve! Great quality clothes, extremely fashion with emphasis that they have clothes that really let you show off your curves and have a good range of different styles.
Personally: I am constantly on their website checking out what’s hot, what’s on trend and resisting buying everything.
George at Asda
Negatives: Even though they ranked well on both fit and quality, people still think they could be doing more. The swimwear section isn’t amazing, the sizes are off and some clothes aren’t designed well at all. People are also asking for the plus size range to cater for ALL plus sizes.
Positives: Good work range, good holiday range, great quality and it’s priced well, thumbs up!
Personally: I do buy a lot from George and I’m always checking the website as if there’s a real hot item, it’ll sell out almost instantly!
Negatives: Some people think the pricing is too high on the odd items and like most people with any brand, they’ve had the odd item that didn’t wash well. The combination sizes aren’t liked at all and overall people want different styles.
Positives: Yours Clothing seem to be getting bigger and better in terms of fashionable clothing at a high quality, they’re now stocking brands which means more choice, and in the odd case where people don’t think the pricing is right, they say it’s expensive but worth it. There’s a lot of good value basics and I really want to point out how good they are at picking fantastic staff to represent their brand, my local branch in Meadowhall is full of the friendliest and most helpful ladies that make shopping there a joy.
Personally: I’ve basically said everything above, but I see a lot of good things coming from Yours, they’ve even just launched an adorable and fashionable plus size maternity range!
Scarlett & Jo
Negatives: As mentioned above, social media tactics and their presence online isn’t winning customers over at all, but instead putting them off. Personal experiences with brands have also deterred a couple people in my survey from buying anymore and the general feeling is that the brand is too expensive and most wait for the sales or a discounts to buy. The odd comment is made about quality of clothing where one lady said, ‘I’ve had one dress that fell apart but another I’ve had for years and still going strong’ and I’m definitely in the same boat.
Positives: Although one person mentioned ‘old fashioned’, most do love the designs and think that they’re of a good quality and fit, it was also mentioned how friendly the clothing is for taller ladies.
Personally: Most of my wardrobe is Scarlett & Jo as I do love the designs but I do have to wash my clothes a lot less than I would like, simply because I don’t want the quality to fade. Thankfully I’m not a messy person!
Negatives: It seems like this isn’t the only brand where the people running it put others off buying from there, as it was mentioned a lot how Gemma isn’t the ‘best plus size role model,’ but other than that most people find her clothes on the smaller size and a tad overpriced.
Positives: There was awkwardly only two positive comments out of 29 about this brand which are that it is ‘great for when you want to be glam’ and that another lady thinks ‘Gemma Collins has real potential as a bbw designer’ and that she hopes she opens up a store around Northwest, I guess we will see.
Personally: I’ve tried a few dresses from Gemma and I’ve found them of a high quality, even if the style comes across as a little off, I’ve got another on the way so stay tuned!
All the data I collected was extremely interesting to go through and there is so much more going on here than I’ve talked about, but hopefully I’ll be addressing these issues later on. If you’re interested in seeing the full *unedited* results (I will take out ‘offensive’ comments purely out of respect for the brands) get in touch and I’m happy to share them with anyone, whether you’re a brand mentioned above or assosiated with them, or simply interested in using this data in your own article! You can reach me on Georgina@shemightbeloved.com.
I was hoping to be able to quote bloggers in this post, but hardly anyone left their links and Google Docs made it far too confusing to link the odd ones up.