Shopping online is a daunting task made even more daunting when, a majority of the time, it's your only option. Such is the case for shoppers who wear above a size 14. No matter how puzzling it is considering the fact that the average woman in the U.S. wears a size 16 or 18, many retailers and brands that do offer plus sizes don't sell them in their brick-and-mortar stores, thus leaving those in the majority with no other choice but to gamble with online shopping.
There are plenty of reasons shopping online is frustrating, including but not limited to confusing sizing, even more confusing imagery, and pesky added costs related to ordering pieces and returning the ones that inevitably didn't work out. And those are just the highlights. So to make the act of buying clothing online versus IRL less painful as we approach summer, I called on a few of my all-time favorite creators and asked them to test-drive and review four brands that 1) primarily sell their size-inclusive pieces online and (2) I've heard amazing things about. Hint: They all seriously came through.
Ahead, check out what four creators really thought of ASOS's, 11 Honoré's, Mara Hoffman's, and Ganni's size-inclusive offerings, and shop the looks they expertly crafted for the occasion.
"The Teedra shirtdress is a phenomenal staple to have in your closet. 11 Honoré knows what it's doing when it comes to design and fit. This piece fits true to size, and with the fabric being thick, structured, and (most importantly) stretchy, it is comfortable enough to wear all day! Wear it on its own with accessories like I did, or layer it over denim for a more casual look."
"Though this might look like a dress, it is actually a two-piece set, which I appreciate even more! My favorite thing about the Nelly skirt is that it is long enough to cover me while still looking and feeling like a miniskirt. Being 100% cotton makes this set light and breezy to wear—perfect for a summer day! I paired this outfit with sneakers for a more casual look to grab coffee with a friend."
"For quite some time, I've been a huge fan of Mara Hoffman. It felt like she spoke to me with each collection that came out. Everything was filled with bright colors and patterns that matched my personality to a T. So when she debuted extended sizes, I was thrilled to see that she went up to a 3X or U.S. 20. That said, the measurements are questionable. When you take a look at the size chart, her 3X or U.S. 20 matches up with what a 2X or U.S. 18 should be. Sizing aside, the garments are absolutely gorgeous! I imagine myself having a perfect summer day starting at the beach or by the pool and ending with dinner and drinks in the city.
"For the day by the water, I decided to go with the Goldie Bikini set in cream. The fit was wonderful and hugged me in all of the right places without being too tight. The color and style were not my first choice due to Mara Hoffman providing the fun colors and patterns [mostly] in straight sizes for some reason. (The one colorful, patterned bikini in extended sizes was sold out.) Then, I decided to add the Alejandra Skirt for a pop of color to complete the look. The material is light as can be and flows beautifully in the wind. The top part of the A-line skirt, before it drops to the ruffles, is odd for a plus-size body, as it hugged me way too tight. I was able to roll that part down and bring up the rest of the skirt up to my waist, which worked perfectly. And I cannot forget to mention that the skirt has pockets!"
"After enjoying the day in the sun, I decided that dinner and drinks were the best way to finish off this glorious summer day. In the evening, I went with the Laura dress that features a popcorn texture and bright, beautiful colors resembling a painting of a rainbow. This sleeveless minidress fit nicely on my body without riding up whenever I took a step. I paired it with the Eleanor Top in Indigo, a long-sleeve button-down top, for when the sun went down and it got a bit chilly. I accessorized with gold hoops, black-and-white mules, and a zebra-print purse."
"I live for anything that pays homage to the '90s and early 2000s, so needless to say, I may have screamed when I saw this dress. In my experience, denim dresses aren't typically that interesting, but this one exceeded my expectations with its detailed buttons, two different color denims, and extremely buttery-soft texture. I was happy to find the nice weight of the denim made it lay very nicely, especially with the flared cut of the dress. The puff sleeves and neckline felt very flattering and elevated the look. I paired the dress instantly with my ying-yang Poppy Lissiman bag and charm bracelet by Black Currant Pop to play off the Y2K aesthetic."
"Something that Ganni does better than most is puff sleeves and gingham, and those happen to be two of my favorite things. On the hanger, I wasn't sure of how this dress would look on a curvier body, but I was pleasantly surprised to find how flattering it was and would be on many body types. The smocked bust and waist are also stretchy, which is a huge bonus when it comes to comfort. I felt somewhat ethereal because of the flow of the dress and puffy sleeves, so I grabbed my lacy headband by Fashion Brand Company, which reminds of a princess crown. To continue to play off my gingham-princess look, it only seemed fitting to add my silver Gucci loafers. What I loved most about this dress was how it could really be styled in an infinite number of ways depending on your mood or what's in your closet. Another way I would style it is with some chunky ankle boots or high-top sneakers and a leather harness belt for a more laid-back look."
"One thing is for certain: ASOS always delivers when it comes to its plus-size selection! I'm not ashamed to admit that I've spent hours bouncing between the different sections on the website, adding things to my wish list and fantasizing about all the vacations I'd take wearing each item. This summer is, of course, no different, so I took it upon myself (with the lovely help of Who What Wear) to test-drive some of my favorite sunny-season pieces.
"This dress is a Godsend considering it's actually a minidress on me! Nine times out of 10, when I order a dress, it's way too short to wear in public. This dress hits at the perfect spot and has a good balance of cute and cheeky but not so much so that you're scared of a panty flash LOL."
"These shorts actually fit SO well. They don't cut into your stomach when you sit down as so many tend to do. They hit at the perfect length where you're giving '90s model-off-duty instead of suburban-dad-at-the-summer-barbecue. The color is gorgeous, and the wash of the denim brings this buttery, stone-like texture to the shorts, which adds a lot of dimension to an outfit.
"[As for this cardigan, I give it a] 10/10! Although I'm devastated that I won't be able to wear her unless this heatwave breaks, she's gorgeous! The ribbing felt nice and thick, and the cut was super flattering. What's cool is the buttons are on a bungee cord–like hook, so there is give and sway to the piece when you move. This might be the closest I get to the dress-over-pants trend because I really loved the combo of the dark navy against the pale stone."