By Michaela Deane
Do you have any resources for overweight people who want to start presenting as women? Traditionally feminine clothing is a scary, daunting world, especially as someone who’s plus-sized.
I can only imagine how frustrating shopping as a plus-sized woman is. As a slim woman, I sometimes take it for granted that I can walk into any high street store and it will always stock my size. Even at that, shopping can sometimes be daunting and tedious, so I can understand why it’s something you’re nervous about.
My first piece of advice is to fill your Instagram feed with other gorgeous plus-sized women. The media is over-saturated in white cis thin women and while this is frustrating, your Instagram feed is your own to customize. Use it to remind yourself that there are an abundance of beautiful plus-sized women out there; and from there you can figure out what kind of style you like.
Take note of what these women are wearing. What kind of cuts and fabrics do they wear? What looks good on them? How do they accessorize? What would you like to try out? The fashion world may be scary and daunting but it can be a lot of fun, and your clothes are a great way of expressing yourself. Some of my favourite plus-sized Instagrammers are:
A quick Google search for plus-sized clothes will give you lots of options, but your best bet is to ask actual plus-sized girls your age where they shop. If you see somebody wearing a dress you like, give her a compliment! I’m sure it will make her day, and then you can ask her where she shops. I asked a couple of friends and Twitter followers where they shop and this was the general consensus.
Forever 21 Plus online have sizing charts for everything, so if you have your measurements you’re good to go. They’re really forgiving with their fabrics and do modern clothes, unlike a lot of other plus-sized sections which can be aimed at 65+
ASOS Curve was the most frequently mentioned resource. Again, it’s shopping in the comfort of your own home and the measurements of the models are on the site. One woman mentioned that she was never able to shop for jeans before discovering this site because they never fit properly, but now she swears by it
New Look go up to size 18 in general, and 26 or 28 in their Plus section
Boohoo stocks very affordable plus-sized clothes, people mentioned their great prices quite a bit and they’re true to size as well
Pretty Little Thing do plus-sized clothes but the general consensus is that its more aimed at an women with an hourglass figure – huge hips and a tiny waist
Some others that were mentioned are InTheStyle, YoursClothing, Shein, Dorothy Perkins and Evans.
It wouldn’t have been able to write this column without the advice from some fantastic trans women themselves. I spoke to Aoife Martin, who told me her top tips when you’re clothes shopping for the first time.
Aoife said to remember that you have as much right to buy the clothes you want as anyone else has. While shopping can be daunting, most big shops train their staff in how to be polite and how to deal with trans customers. She said that getting the sizing right is the most difficult part. Size varies from shop to shop and most cis women will tell you that it’s a mystery too.
Aoife added that if you’re not comfortable trying something on in a shop then try it on at home. Most high street shops have a good returns policy and will happily refund you or allow you to exchange for a different size. Elasticated waist are your friend; they are comfortable and very forgiving. Skirts and tops are easier to find than dresses because proportions can be so different between top and bottom. Having said that, she finds that wrap dresses work really well.
She concluded by reiterating that while shopping can be daunting at first, it does get easier and you’ll develop a thick skin. You might think that people realise you’re trans, but so what? Be you!
Best of luck in your journey and I hope you find this advice
This is the first advice column as part of Its oGay: The LGBTQ&A. If you need advice on anything LGBT related, email our Agony Aunt Michaela at email@example.com or alternatively ask anonymously on Curious Cat