Inside Australian Plus Size shopping.By
Shopping for a stylish plus size lady in Australia can be a mission! Most of the time it could even be considered a chore. Yes, dressing for curves is not an easy task at any point in the world, especially when you live on a somewhat secluded island in the middle of the South- Pacific.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud to be living in Australia. We have great beaches, culture, restaurants and some of the best clothing stores in the world…except when it comes to finding plus size stores for women in their 20′s.
We have about 3-5 plus size clothing “brick and mortar” stores that are abundantly located, yet only one of these stores targets a younger audience. Another handful of plus size boutiques, market stalls, or stores stocking a section of larger sizes are located few and far in between.
I like to refer to shopping for myself as more of a “Hunt”. I live about an hour out of the Melbourne CBD, where most of the amazing independent plus size boutiques are based. But who has the time (or patience!) to drive all the way into the city with not even a promise of finding the right item. It takes confidence to shop as a size 18 in Australia, to be stylish whilst only having a handful of plus size stores at your disposal is next to impossible. With no choice but to venture out of your comfort zone into non plus-sized stores to explore the possibilities. I have an eye for fabric and cut so can zero in on my target from across the shop (My eye is particular adapt to searching for a skirt with an elastic waist!)
For the average Australian women the only choice is to head to the local shopping mall, with fingers and toes crossed tightly. To begin my trip I zone in on my initial destination, making my way whilst dodging the “landmines” (small children) and “weapons” (trolleys and prams). Whilst in the store my aim is to try and be as inconspicuous as I can.
Now , if you don’t find what you are after and feel like dropping to the floor, kicking and screaming, like the toddler we all have inside us, you have only two choices. Choice one for myself is always to head to my local op-shop. I’m fortunate enough that my local opportunity (thrift) shops don’t get visited too often by the rest of the town. I adore visiting the older ladies there and interrupting their little gossiping sessions to say hello and ask about any hidden gems! Op-shopping for plus size is also not a task for the faint hearted, it can be purely relentless at times, but if you persevere you are always assured to find an incredible piece. 40 years ago it was normal to have curves and stores actually embraced this fact, so there are an abundance of plus size vintage dresses just waiting to be unearthed. Alongside a little modern day alteration, most pieces can be reworked into an absolute show stopper in just an hour or so!
At this point in time if I am still empty handed, tired, grumpy and adequately overwhelmed, my motto is “have no fear because the rest of the plus size world is here!”. Opening up my laptop screen I am met with a throng of international plus size brands happy to post right to my door! It is as effortless as spending an hour browsing through all of the alluring items and making a decision. More often than not, the items are on sale too thanks to the opposite seasons!
About now is the time I start crossing my fingers and toes, again, and hope that the item will look as amazing on myself as it did on the very persuasive site model. But, if not, it’s as easy as posting back (usually free) for a change of size!
I believe that countries outside our borders give us Australian curvy women a renewed faith in the plus size shopping experience. As much as i love and appreciate the Australian specialist plus brands and boutiques unconditionally , I still believe that we continue to look outside our country to completely fulfil our fashion needs. My ideal shopping experience in Australia would include a few new international plus size retailers coming to join, inspire and push forward our ever expanding Australian plus size clothing industry.
By: Ashley Rose www.thisisashleyrose.blogspot.com , @thisisashrose (Twitter)