Being overweight is a challenge for anybody. Not only do you face societal stigma (and maybe even judgmental looks) on a daily basis, but finding clothes that are in style and fit correctly can be very, very tough.
This challenge multiplies when you’re an overweight person who’s into vintage clothing. Anytime you have an interest in fashion, you may face some subtle backlash from retail workers and slimmer fashionistas alike. The “ideal” body in today’s fashion industry is virtually unattainable for many women, and when you’re overweight, scorn is unfortunately common.
If that isn’t enough to deal with, anyone who’s spent any amount of time shopping in vintage stores can tell you that there are few (if any) plus-sized options available. Maybe clothing in the past was made for smaller sizes, or maybe those items that persist are smaller. Either way, finding vintage clothing can be next to impossible in bigger sizes.
For those who are smaller, it’s possible to take in a dress or skirt, but unless you have an exact fabric match, it’s not possible to add fabric to make a given piece bigger. So what are some ways to shop vintage when there aren’t many things in your size?
Go for Accessories
Many of us love a vintage-influenced wardrobe, but very few people have a wardrobe that is made exclusively of vintage items. If you have trouble finding vintage clothing, it can be easier and less frustrating to find a selection of vintage accessories. Scarves, belts, shoes, bags, and more abound at vintage boutiques and thrift shops, and chances are you’ll find a lot of these compared to dresses, tops, and skirts that fit.
When you want to place emphasis on the vintage elements of your wardrobe, pairing things you’ve gotten at vintage stores with a relatively neutral base can work well. For instance, if you have a patterned scarf and dark leather boots, you can pair both of these with a solid-colored dress – navy blue or black is often fairly demure and can really work to show off a scarf, etc. If you prefer, you can select a dress that picks up on one of the subtler colors of the scarf, etc. Whether you get the base outfit at a thrift shop or purchase it new, it can be a great and relatively inexpensive way to show off some truly unique vintage finds. If you have a non-vintage base dress, you don’t have to worry about it distracting from the vintage appeal of your accessories.
If you aren’t sure what to pair with vintage accessories, talking to vintage store employees, flipping through magazines, or running a google search can give you some answers. The advantage of having a vintage clothing collection made primarily of accessories is that you can mix and match accessories, pair them with different base outfits, and more. Your possibilities are virtually endless when you go this route. As you get more comfortable with your outfit-designing abilities, you can get progressively more creative in your design choices. Anytime you have friends who are just as into the vintage hobby, it can be a smart way to collaborate and expand your ideas together as well.
Keep Searching for Clothing – Expand Your Horizons
Although we’ve emphasized the difficulty of finding plus-sized vintage clothing thus far, it’s important to note that it isn’t impossible by any means. However, local vintage shops typically have smaller selections of mostly smaller-sized items, so it can be hard to find something that fits.
But we do live in the internet age, and this means that you have an opportunity to expand your horizons when it comes to vintage shopping. Whether you look at craigslist or WardrobeShop, utilizing the internet can help you to access hundreds more clothing options.
In addition, the endless specialization of clothing boutiques brought on by the abundance of online sellers means that you’ll likely be able to find at least one seller of vintage clothing that’s made specifically for plus sizes.
However, it can be hard to know how something will fit you until you try it on, so it may be wise to try to order form companies that have a reasonable return policy. When you can shop somewhere that lets you return items for store credit, you ensure that you’ll soon find something perfect for you without losing money.
Essentially, finding vintage clothing when you’re overweight can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. When you’re willing to look long and hard for that elusive, perfectly-fitting vintage piece of clothing, chances are you’ll find it sooner rather than later. In the meantime, amassing a collection of vintage scarves, belts, shoes, and accessories can be a great way to build your wardrobe.
So what do you think? Is it best to stick to accessories or to stay in pursuit of that perfect top, dress, or skirt? Being a vintage shopper who is also overweight is never easy, but it certainly can be rewarding. With some patience and some diligent searching, you can end up with a truly impressive collection of one-of-a-kind vintage clothing and accessories.
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