I never mentioned why I was back in NYC last week! The honest truth? There was a superhero gathering and I was invited. 

ModCloth is pushing boundaries and changing the rules of the fashion world through their new and improved plus line, and I was honored to attend their “summit” on the subject. I know you all feel sorry for my long days of travel to and from Manhattan... It's such a sacrifice to spend my precious time meeting incredible women, sipping wine, and discussing the future of fat girl clothes... but someone has to do it. I bit the bullet for you last week (you’re welcome) and I’d love to share a few things I learned while there.

(I wore a hemmed version of this dress and all photos are thanks to ModCloth's adorable photographer.)

I’ve always loved ModCloth, because, y’know… who doesn’t? This perfect fit n’ flare dress covered in cats is proof that if you don’t enjoy ModCloth, you don’t enjoy life. To be real though, I didn't expect to leave the event inspired, much less in love. The behind the scenes story of plus clothing is eyeopening and this particular company's dedication to style equality caught my attention within the first 15 minutes.

I've always asked: why don’t we see more plus clothes? Why the hell isn’t the market for "larger ladies that want to look fly" being recognized? The complex answer is stigma, and the direct consequence is that there simply are not enough vendors to make them. This is something I've heard from other designers as well; it's a significant issue. Production companies that make plus clothing are few and far in between and usually do not have the know-how to make properly fitting garments. Period. ModCloth didn't throw up their hands, though. They have an in-house specialist (who is such a bad ass babe) and her job is dedicated to making sure that fat girl frocks are made sans armpit gap, square boobs, or sleeves that cut off circulation. They essentially send their own design "kits" to the outlying companies to ensure we receive quality clothing . THAT is how committed they are to Awesome. Admirable, amiright?

"Since 2002, ModCloth has been the premier online shopping destination for all things vintage-inspired from women’s apparel to retro home décor, the site offers unique items sourced from designers around the world. Studies show that the average American woman wears a size 14, which is the size cap for many U.S. retailers. Now, ModCloth is offering a wider range of clothing sizes (including 16/18-28/30) to ensure a seamless social shopping experience  for the entirety of their community. “Our community is asking for more sizes, and we’re thrilled to provide them,” says ModCloth Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Susan Gregg Koger. “No matter her size, shape, or style, we want to help every woman find designs that delight her and make her feel like the best version of herself.” ModCloth conducted an online consumer survey featuring a representative sample of more than 5,000 U.S. women of mixed sizes ages 15-65. The study concluded that a large portion of the market wears sizes that fall into what the industry defines as both standard and plus sizes, showcasing how a large portion of the market falls somewhere between the two. Additionally, many of those women are avid online shoppers.

Survey Highlights:
  • More U.S. women report wearing a size 16 dress than a size 2 and 0 combined.
  • ⅓ of U.S. women wear a mix of what is considered standard and plus sizes.
  • 57% of U.S. women wear at least some clothing in sizes 16 and above.
  • U.S. women who primarily wear plus sizes are twice as likely than those who don’t to shop online daily.
  • U.S. women who primarily wear sizes 16 and above indicate that they buy over 50% more of their clothing online compared to women who only wear standard sizes.
  • Almost ½ of U.S. women who predominantly wear size 16 and above report having bought clothing online in the past 6 months, compared to approximately ⅓ of those who never wear sizes 16 and above.
Offering a full range of clothing sizes is not the only way the brand is aiming to satisfy the needs of this underserved community. ModCloth showcases a range of models who wear a variety of sizes, including recruiting their employees and customers as models in their creative campaigns. Also, inclusive site features, such as their Style Gallery, invite community members to post their own outfit photos to share their looks with each other and, in turn, foster a community where all are welcome, regardless of size or personal style." -Source

There was also a lot of discussion about the online presentation of this new project which fascinated me just as much as the production. I’ll share their entire "summer look-book" at a later time when I can talk about the political statement it makes but I’ll share this bit with you now: ModCloth's all-inclusive attitude that plus ladies deserve the same options as “regular” sized ladies may SEEM simplistic…but it’s fucking revolutionary.

I also had a personal moment of clarity while there, but that is going to need it's own post as well. I think I'll call it "Schrödinger's Con" or something equally weird to make you curious about a topic that most certainly won't change your life, though it changed mine. Pins and needles, I know. After the small blogger get together, ModCloth opened up the space to the public for a cute-as-hell "Pop-Up Shop" where you could come rifle through racks of dresses, drool over shark printed leggings, hang with cute NY girls, and take pictures in a designated "Selfie Square". There was a line several blocks long for a reason.

While I appreciated the invite to participate in this discussion, I am even more grateful for a company that dedicates it's time to fighting for our right to party. If you have my back, I have yours, and that is why I'll be a ModClother for life.

What are your thoughts on the lack of plus vendors? What can be done about it? What is a potential solution and where do we start?


  1. Ooooh I can't wait to hear more Jes!

  2. I was just recently recommended your blog and you are by far my favorite plus size blogger already! So relieving to see a woman that celebrates her body and is not afraid to use the f-word. (Fat, that is.)

    Keep going!

  3. I admit I'm a bit jelly (because, hello, NYC!) but I'm also SUPER DUPER PROUD of you for everything you've accomplished lately! You are amazing! Keep it up!!

  4. I think a lot of women who buy what the market considers larger clothes are aware of the stigma when they shop at the mall market stores. They have a hard time finding clothes which are made for their shape instead they find simply a larger version of the small size. There is also a stigma of going into a store which sells clothes for what the market considers larger size. There is a store for men of larger girths called the Big and Tall store. If a man has a self image problem preventing him from shopping there he can tell himself he is going because he is taller than most or his muscles are just too big to be contained in a normal mans t-shirt. Maybe what women need is a store called Hot and Hotter which sells clothes for the more curvaceous woman than what the market allows.

  5. I'm super encouraged to hear this! I always liked the look of ModCloth's designs, but the last time I'd given a serious look to their wares was before there was a plus sized line, so my assumption was along the line of, "Cute, but I'd never..."

    That said... I'm in general a person who doesn't like to shop for clothes online. I'd much rather go to a brick and mortar store, try on everything, make my decision and be done with it... When I buy things online and they don't fit right, I'm notorious for being lazy and not shipping them back on time.

  6. Hey Jess. I work at a Winners in Canada which is like a TJMax in the states. About 4 months ago my location did away with the plus size section, and the only plus size stock shop is 1 out of 4 locations. To me it's a crime. 40% of our staff including me wear plus size. The reason from head office is that the lines and designers we carry no longer are making plus size clothes. I always let our shoppers know that they have to complain and call the customer service line, voice themselves and let Winners know that they no longer feel like their business important to them. I'm hoping it will do some good.
    It's great to know that there is another resource for plus size wears and can't wait to see whats available.
    Thanks Cassandra

  7. I agree there's a gigantic lack of vendors for plus size clothing, and the way we start to change that problem is exactly as you've already begun. Modcloth seized an opportunity they realized from research, and from voices such as yours in our big internet world.

    We could also solve the globalization sourcing problem by creating more US companies to manufacture clothing for all sizes, killing two birds with one stone. SO MUCH of our clothing is imported from countries with shitty working conditions who aren't interested in building clothing lines for plus-size people because it changes too many of their cheap processes in place.

    I love Modcloth, and I hope to see big changes within and without the clothing industry thanks to their catalyst move. Rock on! Also, you are incredible, and you have really helped me fall in love with myself since I found your site. Thank you. xoxoxo

  8. I am SO all about this that it's not even funny. My face was like :O the whole time reading this. I can't wait to see all the awesome plus sized goodies that come out of modcloth in the coming months!

  9. I have noticed the great selection of plus sized items at modcloth. Kudos to them!

    The Fictionista

  10. I usually feel that it's hell trying to find clothes in the "plus size" section in most stores. Forever 21 for instance has one small plus section and is filled with how shall I say some pretty unfortunate choices. I always see adorable clothes in the other sections and have always wondered why they don't just make plus versions of those instead of having different clothing altogether for their plus size section. Even when I do find something i have to take it in here and take it out there. Apparently being a Plus size gal means only having one body shape, Just in different sizes. I would love to make all my clothes or order them on line (which I have finally started doing) But whats a girl to do when she needs to pick up a pair of jeans, ones that aren't mostly spandex and only sold in skinny leg which 5 mins into wearing are sliding down your butt every time you move. No thanks! So hurrah To ModCloth for being so wonderful. I am looking forward to putting my hard earned dollars towards a company that has got the right idea about making gorgeous clothing for all women. No matter what shape or size they are.

  11. such an awesome/informative post! stoked to know that modcloth is an inclusive/loving/incredible company behind the screen!

  12. I love the clothes Mod Cloth produces. Unfortunately they still need some tweeking in the fit department for plus size. I've had to send back nearly 90% of my purchases because the bust was too small or my normal XL or XXL does not fit their XXL. :/ But it's SO hard to find plus size clothes that don't look like a 70 year old woman would buy it. I hope to hear more and hope they are correcting their fit (I know my smaller friends have the same problem with their clothes not just me)

  13. I've always been incredibly bothered by the lack of vendors, and I'm so pleased to see that the industry is making such incredible strides! Well, at the very least, I'm pleased with ModCloth for this! Fat people deserve the chance to dress well, and I'm glad that people are finally seeing it!
    Seriously, though, I'm so enthused. To the point where I'm going to start hoarding my money like a dragon for something cute from these awesome folks. One day, man. One day.

  14. This looks blooming awesome! What an amazing collection of gorgeous ladies! I love Modcloth. I just wish they had a UK site!


  15. It has only been very recent when plus size clothes started to exist in this country. I mean age appropriate ones. There was a lot of big sizes in the department store, but they always made me look like a grandmother. As a result, I always wore clothes that really made me look older, or boyish.

    There is definitely a lack of vendors that cater to the big girls. I am always happy to see new ones come out and try to support them as much as i can.

  16. Modcloth for the win! I'm interested to see their ad campaign. Also that polka dot dress looks killer on you, you adorably beautiful lady!

  17. This is so great to hear. In Idaho, now that Torrid has gone out of business, my main options have been Old Navy and Lane Bryant for store shopping, and while I like the price of Old Navy, the variety leaves much to be desired. I make some of my own dresses, but my skills are limited, and I do NOT want old lady tunics and flowy pants. I'm young! I want to be sexy and cool, not kindergarten teacher shift dresses and gross polyester flappy shirts. Thanks for keeping us updated on the posts.

  18. Seeing all those beautiful plus size clothes on Modcloth, after the initial excitement, left me with one feeling, sadness. I live in Canada, and I don't have a lot of disposable income to spend on my clothes, so I'm always left looking at the amazing retails that sell in other countries and wishing desperately that I could risk the customs, shipping and returns fees. Plus size clothing is in an awful state in Canada right now, so I'm just hoping Modcloth increases their availability here because there really are some beautiful items on there.

  19. First, that picture of you is freaking fantastic :) I loooooove anything polka dot, so that dress is to die for.

    Second, I am excited to hear about Modcloth investing in expanding to include larger sizes. While I have not actually heard of the brand before (sorry, I live under a rock), any additions to the options of where I have to shop are great. I'm not usually fond of shopping online for anything because I'm way too impatient for that, but I don't have too many stores to choose from where I am. The two main ones are Lane Bryant, and Maurice's (half of the store is dedicated to plus size... I love it!). While those options are wonderful, I can't always afford $40 per shirt. That's what is so frustrating when shopping for bigger sizes. Stores jack up the prices like crazy. I also agree with some of the other commenters that the clothing is usually cut wrong as well. I'm kind of an awkward size, and EXTREMELY pear shaped. So my bottom half is bigger than my top, except those arm flabs :) however, I am also fairly large in the chest area. Just not enough to completely fill out a plus size top. It's quite annoying to then try to shop smaller sizes because they are TOO small... Gah. It ends up looking like, as my mom would say, "trying to shove 10 lbs of shit in a five lb bag". Anyways, I'll definitely have to look into Modcloth's website.

    Last, but not least... I wanted to say thank you. I found your website during a time I was feeling pretty low and I was immediately sucked in. Your sense of humor and the way you write is amazing. You are definitely someone I look up to. Since reading some of your posts (things no one tells fat girls so I will, in particular), I have become more confident in myself and don't feel the need to hide anymore. I may be big, but that doesn't mean I'm not beautiful... Thank you again for helping me get back to the point where I could realize it. You are amazing! <3

    1. I believe you and I have the same body. When you were describing yourself I was like omg this is me! It does make finding clothes pretty challenging. I feel your pain. I found etsy has a ton of great stuff that is cute and fits great. I have also found that a sewing machine can be a girls best friend. Keep rocking your curves grrl!

  20. I've always loved the designs that come from ModCloth, but have never purchased anything from them. I'm am officially a ModClother for life now!

  21. I just got back from walking around an outside mall for two hours, walking into a dozen stores and feeling like nothing, even if it was in my size, would fit right on my body. I'm a size 14 with DD cups. I'm also Mormon, so I'm somewhat concerned with finding modest clothes. I was feeling completely defeated and thinking I'll just wear men's v-neck shirts for the rest of my life. Thank you for reminding me that those stores aren't in charge of how strong I am. Women everywhere deserve to feel empowered, and I'm so glad that ModCloth recognizes that. We are all worth a million bucks.

  22. I've been hesitant to order from ModCloth because the clothes appear to be junior-sized. I realize they have plus options, but sometimes women are bigger without necessarily having the shape a plus-sized designer has in mind. This has been a lifelong frustration due to my outsized build. I'm 5'10." I really need clothes proportioned for taller women. I also have a large frame with a bigger shoulder circumference than some men. At my slimmest, I measure 40-26-40. At my heavier range (now) I measure 46-33-45. Plus-sized by the charts, maybe, but then not really due to vanity sizing and stretch fabrics. I'm actually curvier (more in and out) than Misses charts allow for, and most of my extra weight/size is hips, bust, and bone structure rather than waist and tummy. The Plus sizes seem to add extra room mostly in the middle, while still expecting women to have smallish bosoms and shoulders. Height is another problem, with many dresses and skirts hitting me mid-thigh.

    I can't really expect stores to design for me because I've never met a woman with my build in my entire life. It makes me feel freakish. My body fat percentage is only at the upper end of the normal range, yet I am big due to build. I was lean even back when I was a 40 bust and hip. Clothes have never fit right.

  23. I love that site! I have been a big fan of the style and plus sizes for some time. I enjoyed reading your post about it.

  24. This post makes me so happy.

    I have never understood why stores can't make the same clothes just BIGGER. For years, we've had to pay more for sack-like, ugly, polyester garments when we want the same stylish and cute items that are available to thinner women. I don't know why this has taken suppliers years to conclude, but AMEN! I always felt less than human having to shop in a department that seemed to be clothing suited for women who never wanted to leave the house again. It was frustrating and made me leave the store humiliated. I am a body positive person and the shopping experiences would just take it out of me. This is why I turned to online shopping, where I found great items, but definitely had to pay a higher price.

    I just hope they keep our costs on par with the "regular" sized items. I am tired of paying $80 for a dress when a similar item in the "regular" sized department is half as much. You can't tell me that's all for extra fabric. Come on. It's because we don't have a choice...if we want cute clothes, we have to pay the price and the suppliers know this. I just can't wait to have some better options!

    This is just lovely!


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