Every holiday season, we are inundated with sales ads. From colognes to clothing, shoes to homewear, jewelry and beyond, big box stores are trying to cram big box deals down our throats. What’s usually missing? Body diversity, people of color, and small businesses.
The thing about big box stores is that they want to put their customers into boxes as well. No matter how large the box, people simply do not fit into them.
How many ill-fitting pieces of clothing do you really want in your closet? Why not spend a few extra dollars to purchase better-made items that will be in your closet for years to come rather than buying more fast-fashion pieces, which are made with an expiration date of sorts in mind? Ditch the polyester cold-shoulder top and invest in classic, well-made pieces with true staying power.
This season, make better choices for yourself and those whom you love. Back businesses who are producing goods under an ethos which reflects your own values. Buy from people you genuinely want to support and who work hard to support you by providing beautiful clothing and wares suited for your body and lifestyle. Support small businesses. You can start with some of these amazingly stylish options.
Zelie for She is the creative child of Los Angeles-based designer Elann Zelie. Zelie creates spectacularly gorgeous bohemian and vintage-inspired designs for sizes 1-3x. In this shot, petite plus model Nancy Ramirez models a gorgeous silver Zelie For She dress with matching faux fur coat.
2. Copper Union
Model Kanda Mbenza-Ngoma wears a gorgeous Copper Union shift. Copper Union designer Claire Doody is based in Portland, Oregon. With an eye for voluminous skirts, modern prints, and bold colors, Doody creates beautiful casual and party wear for plus size bodies up to 5x.
Atlanta-based Jibri designer Jasmine Elders unapologetically loves bold silhouettes and big curves. With a signature shape that builds its widest peak at the hips rather than hiding them, JIBRI eschews rigid beauty expectations and actually celebrates the plus-size customer by highlighting the parts that make us different from straight-size customers. The result is modern, fashion-forward, and comfortable luxury.
Designer Brandon Kyle has impeccable style to share with the world. He plays with silhouettes and draping in a way that most menswear lines are afraid to, putting him ahead of the curve by not trying to hide those of his customers, regardless of gender.
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Model Alexa Raegun models a Bawdy Love harness bralette in the “Dickinson” model along with matching “Dickinson” bottoms, named for poet Emily Dickinson. Created by designers Candace Frank and Gwynedh Van Allan, this Seattle brand creates kinkwear for all genders and sizes that can be worn as super sexy, fashion-forward accessories.
6. Plus BKLYN
Fashionista Alexis Krause wanted a place to shop for eclectic plus-size clothing for her size 22 frame. Not finding what she wanted, Krause created her dream boutique: Plus BKLYN! Available online and in person, Plus BKLYN carries a variety of awesome brands like Junarose, Lilli London, Retrolicious, and more.
San Francisco-based designer Yabette Swank wants to bring eco-conscious options to people of all sizes and genders. Swankety Swank offers versatile minimalist pieces made from hemp, soy, vegan silk, and other eco-friendly materials. Available up to a size 4x, any size beyond will be enthusiastically created to your measurements.
Courtney Smith creates beautiful plus-size clothing with an eye for true luxury, ranging from L to 4x. All ads are shot with women of color, highlighting the beauty of an under-represented and under-served population by creating spectacular vignettes of sparkling and plush luxury.
9. Grass Fields
Grass Fields is a gorgeous collection of African clothing created by twin sisters Christelle and Michelle in Cameroon and the UK. Manufactured in Cameroon (by employees making 3 times the average salary), the fashion-forward designs use gorgeous fabrics created in Nigeria, Benin, and Cameroon created for women, children, and men.
With every design available in size XS through 6x (with larger sizes custom-made), New York-based SmartGlamour caters to many bodies. Affordable, fashionable, and customizable, the clothing created by designer Mallorie Dunn hopes to empower customers with pieces made for their bodies.