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There are plenty of fashion retailers that offer up to a size 10. A few that claim to offer a size or two more, but their size chart's measurements show they run small and their largest is still no larger than a 10. And then there are retailers that offer specifically plus sized fashion, though honestly not enough of them. But where to shop when you are midsize, AKA wearing sizes 12-16? It's surprising how few retailers offer this midsized size range.
For most of my adult life ,I have been midsized. I have worn a 10, I have worn a 16W, but the majority of the time I have fluctuated between sizes 12-16. I am also 5'3″ tall, so depending on what size and shape I've been at the time, I have worn petite and regular options in sizes 12-16. I know that a 14W is not like a 14 nor is it like a 16. I know that a 12 at some retailers fits more like an 8 and at other retailers fits more like a 14.
On top of this, a lot of retailers that offer midsize fashion cater to a more “junior” crowd. I am so happy that such retailers exist, but where to shop when you are midsize and a grown-ass woman? Where do you find looks for work, for social situations, and for weekends that fit both your frame and your lifestyle?
Below I will share where to shop when you are midsize and a grown-ass woman. I offer retailers that have clothing in sizes 12-16 that truly fits our midsized range and our grown person lifestyle. What's great is most of these brands offer sizes smaller and larger than this midsized range. I also share tips on how to get the best fit from your midsize fashion.
This post was originally published in 2021 but has been updated to reflect what brands are currently offering in midsizes.
Midsized versus Plus Sized Fashion
There is a lot of controversy about those who specify that they are midsized. It can feel as though these individuals who wear sizes 12-16 are trying to separate themselves from the plus size community. And I get that, there is a lot of fatphobia and fat bias in fashion and I am against adding to that.
However, as someone who has been a 14 and a 14W I know that midsize and plus size apparel are sized differently. Plus size fashion is designed with a plus size fit model and mannequin, midsized fashion is usually designed with a straight-sized mannequin and fit model, usually around a size 8, and then graded up to fit midsizes. This means you will find plus size fashion often has more allowance for curves, and is also often designed for a taller body.
Those who are plus size and midsized and under 5'5″ have experienced having sleeves practically dragging on the ground, bust darts and waist seams in the wrong places, and hems ending at awkward lengths. However, I know as someone who has worn both, they are as different of fits as regular and petite. And like petite and tall options, it's great when a brand offers both midsize and plus size options as they are separate entitites.
Before You Can Shop You Need to Know Your Size: Get Measured
It's impossible to know what size you wear with a brand if you don't know your measurements. Grab your kid, your partner, or a best friend and a tape measure. Yes, you can get crafty with string and a yardstick, but a flexible tape measure is so much easier and you'll use it so often it will be worth the money. And honestly, a measuring tape is less $5, and hardly ever needs to be replaced. Get one like this that has centimeters on one side and inches on the other so you are prepared when shopping non-US brands.
I said grab a second person because it is virtually impossible to get accurate measurements by yourself. Measure yourself wearing nothing except your regular underpinnings. Do not pull the tape measure tight; you want it comfortable but not loose. If unsure, it's better to measure larger than smaller for the best fit. You're going to want to get measurements for at least your bust, waist, hips, and inseam:
- Bust: While wearing your regular everyday bra or underpinnings (if applicable), measure around the widest point. Make sure the tape measure is horizontal and even around your body.
- Waist: This isn't where your favorite jeans reside, but where your natural waist is. To find your natural waist, bend to the side and place a finger where your body bends. Do not suck in and measure at that point, again making sure the tape measure is even and horizontal around your body.
- Hips: Standing upright with your legs together, measure at the fullest part of your hips and rear, again making sure the tape measure is flat and horizontal around the body.
- Inseam: This is the measurement where it really requires a friend. You want to measure from your crotch down the inside of your leg to where you wish your pants to end. If you try it yourself, you will have to bend to reach your ankles, which will alter your measurement.
For tailored items, you may also wish to measure the width of your shoulders, thighs, upper arms, and neck. But for most size charts, the four measurements above are the ones that will help you find the right size in that specific retailer.
Before You Can Shop You Need to Get Honest With Yourself
The size of your clothing has absolutely no bearing on your worth. I'm not saying that to be cute and politically correct. I am saying it because it's true. There is no standard sizing for women's clothing. One size 14 can be half the size of another brand's 14 (or even another 14 in the same brand!). There is no consistency within brands, from year to year, even within the same style of garment in the same color on the same rack in the same store.
It doesn't matter what size you were in high school, college, or on your wedding day. You are not the same person you were then, and that is a good thing. You are wiser, more experienced, you've lived life and there's no way you can gain all that without having changes to your mind, your heart, and the vessel that carries them. The best way to honor that brain, that heart, and the vessel that carries them is to dress that vessel now in clothes that fit, are comfortable, and make you feel more confident as you go out into the world and live more life and gain more experience and wisdom.
Don't shop for what you will be after you do that diet/couch to 5K/cleanse/get that Peloton. Shop for you right now. And if your body changes, your clothes can too. I'll get into that later in this article.
You may also like: the best clothing retailers for women over 40
Where to Shop When You are Midsize and a Grown-Ass Woman: The Best Retailers That Offer Midsize Fashion (Sizes 12-16)
It seems that size 10 is the cutoff point for many trendy brands, sustainable retailers, and designer labels. Or, if they carry one or two sizes higher, their measurements show that those sizes actually fit more like a 10 or smaller.
However, I have a list of great retailers, some you may know, and some that may be new to you, that offer midsize fashion that is great for grown-ass women and cater to a range of needs and personal style aesthetics.
Where to shop when you are midsize and you're looking for a cocktail dress or formalwear:
Dillard's: This department store that has quite a footprint in the south also has a great online selection of cocktail dresses that are stylish, not boring, but designed to work with a grown-ass woman's body and needs. Offering sizes 0-18, Dillard's also has a good selection of petite cocktail dresses in this size range and a decent selection of plus size cocktail dresses.
eShakti: eShakti has a range of fashion, from sundresses to denim, but I think this unique retailer really shines when it comes to cocktail dresses and formalwear. With standard sizing up to 5X and the ability to have custom pieces made to your unique measurements, eShakti lets you customize necklines, sleeves, hem length and more for incredibly reasonable pricing and simple returns.
Georgia Hardinge: Georgia Hardinge came onto my radar when the designer was on Season 3 of Making the Cut. I fell in love with her styles made to work with a range of bodies and her gorgeous cocktail and formal dresses. Georgia Hardinge offers UK sizes 6-22 which is equal to US 2-18.
Kay Unger: Kay Unger crafts formal and cocktail dresses and jumpsuits that are modern, low on frills, and elegant. Prints and solids, Kay Unger is known for silhouette (you may have seen the brand's jumpsuits with overskirts sold at department stores like Nordstrom) and most cuts work with a standard bra. Kay Unger offers sizes 0-18
Mac Duggal: Creating some of the most beautiful formalwear, Mac Duggal offers everything from cocktail dresses to evening gowns in sizes 0-30. Mac Duggal is a great destination for mother of the marrying dresses and wedding gowns for the grown-ass woman. You can also find Mac Duggal at department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.
Where to shop when you are midsize and you're looking for workwear:
11 Honoré: While 11 Honoré closed their independent online boutique, the fashion line is now available at Dia. Offering elegant separates, dresses, suiting, and loungewear, 11 Honoré excels in work-friendly looks that are stylish but not too trendy starting at size 10.
Ann Taylor: Ann Taylor has gone through a lot of changes in the past decade, but they continue to be a workwear destination for classic suiting and office-friendly separates. Ann Taylor has their collection available in sizes 00-18 with petite and tall options.
Argent: If you're tired of the basic suiting available at most retailers, but still want to look polished and professional at the workplace, Argent is for you. Great color modern silhouettes of suiting separates and knitwear in sizes 0-20.
Halogen: Halogen is an in-house brand at Nordstrom that offers reasonably-priced workwear, loungewear, weekend wear, outerwear, and much more. Halogen carries their “straight” sizes up to XXL/18 and usually carries the same exact items on a separate page in plus sizes.
Hobbs: Hobbs London offers elegant, well-crafted suiting, dresses, and separates with a feminine yet classic aesthetic in sizes 2-16.
J. Crew: Some of the best suits I own are from J. Crew. They have great tropical-weight wool, tweeds, ponte knits, and beautiful work-friendly separates in sizes 000-24 with petite and tall options.
Lauren Ralph Lauren: With the best selection at Macy's, this offshoot of Ralph Lauren offers work-friendly suiting and separates as well as great dresses and knitwear up to size 20.
M.M.LaFleur: M.M.LaFleur is a favorite with those in upper management and C-level positions for its comfort and ease while exuding a level of polish and professionalism. This is a great destination for non-suiting workwear as well as weekend attire in sizes 0-18.
NIC + ZOE: NIC + ZOE has been a favorite for years for great work pieces, interesting sweaters, and well-fitting wardrobe staples. Their collection is available up to size 18/XXL but also most styles come in petite and plus sizes. NIC + ZOE is also available at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's.
Talbots: Talbots is a favorite of mine for suiting. They don't carry a lot, but what they do is high-quality fabric, classic styling that will last more than one season, and I appreciate they have sizes 0-24 with petite and curvy options for their suiting separates (sadly they no longer have tall in suiting).
Where to shop when you are midsize and you want on-trend style not geared towards teenagers:
BACAAL: A line by designer Cynthia Vincent, BACAAL offers sophisticated on-trend fashion in sizes 10/12-26/28. Expect luxe fabrics, rich colors, and silhouettes that can take you from weekend to a cocktail party.
Banana Republic: In the past couple of years, Banana Republic has reinvented itself and has an effortless, elegant vibe that takes silhouettes, details, and color themes from the runway and translates them for work, weekend, and beyond. Banana Republic offers sizes 0-20 with petite and tall options.
Kate Spade: Kate Spade has a feminine aesthetic that regularly incorporates concepts recently seen on the runways. From dresses to separates to fantastic bags and accessories, Kate Spade offers their entire collection up to size XXL/16.
Mara Hoffman: Mara Hoffman creates that effortless “oh this thing?” style that is so on trend right now, but in silhouettes and fabrics that look fabulous on all generations. Mara Hoffman offers its entire collection in XXS-XL with select styles up to 3X.
Sézane: Sézane has become a favorite of mine for knitwear, and for finding feminine fashion that is on trend but not too trendy to be chic in your closet for years to come. Sézane is a sustainable fashion brand available in sizes 0-16 and XS-3X.
Tamara Malas: If you want creative and fun and quirky but still feeling right for your grown-ass self, you must check out Tamara Malas. Offering colorful and joyful fashion in sizes 6-32, this is an ethical slow fashion brand popular with fashionistas.
Universal Standard: Universal Standard is by far, the most size inclusive brand. Every single style they offer is available in sizes 00-40. I am a fan of this brand and it's classic with an edge aesthetic; click here to see all the looks I've worn from Universal Standard.
Veronica Beard: Veronica Beard has a modern yet extremely wearable aesthetic popular with many grown-ass women celebrities. Veronica Beard offers their iconic blazers as well as denim, dresses, and separates up to size 16.
WRAY NYC: WRAY is a New York-based, inclusive, fine art inspired clothing line full of cool prints and silhouettes. While some pieces may skew young, there are plenty of styles perfect for grown-ass women. WRAY has a great size range, offering 0-24 and XXS-6XL.
Where to shop when you are midsize and you like a classic aesthetic, but don't believe classic means boring:
Eileen Fisher: Eileen Fisher has been a fashion staple for those who like a versatile and high-quality wardrobe. Known for natural fibers and modern silhouettes, Eileen Fisher is a sustainable fashion brand that comes in sizes 0-18 and 16W-24W.
Everlane: Everlane carries clean, simple silhouettes that are a mix of classic and a bit of on-trend edge. An ethical fashion brand, Everlane carries sizes 000-20/22.
Garnet Hill: With a focus on luxe fabrics and breezy styling, Garnet Hill offers their in-house fashions as well as select pieces from established brands in sizes 0-18.
Halsbrook: Halsbrook offers tasteful dresses and separates with a preppy aesthetic in sizes 2-16.
Seasalt Cornwall: I'll be honest I hadn't heard of Seasalt until they contacted me offering to send me some product, no strings attached to announce they now ship to the US. I am impressed by the quality, the classic yet not boring style, their sustainable and ethical practices, and the great size range (US 2-28 with petite and tall options).
Talbots: The O.G. for modern classic style, Talbots continues to be one of my favorite places for chinos, Breton striped tops, blazers, sweaters, and wardrobe staples that are chic yet classic enough to transcend trends. Much of my wardrobe is from this retailer that offers a great size range (0-24), petite options, and is one of the few retailers that offer plus-size petites. Click here to see all the looks I've worn from Talbots.
Where to shop when you are midsize and you love color and print:
Anthropologie: Anthropologie offers fabulous prints, great colors, and unique pieces to update wardrobe basics in sizes 00-16 with several options in petite. Anthropologie also offers several options in plus sizes 16-26.
Boden: While Boden's petite selection ends at 12, their regular sizing is available up to 20 and includes fun and colorful options of dresses, suiting separates, knits, swimwear, occasion pieces, and fabulous accessories. Boden is a favorite of mine for those quirky yet sophisticated pieces that elevate my entire wardrobe.
FARM Rio: FARM Rio is a sustainable fashion brand that offers some of the coolest prints and silhouettes for dresses, sweaters, and separates. Available up to XL, FARM Rio in my opinion runs large and is a great choice when shopping for vacations.
Johnny Was: For those who love color and a boho vibe, this fashion brand offers both with elegance and quality fabrics in sizes 4-16.
Joules: With a colorful yet classic style reminiscent of Boden, Joules is a favorite of mine for sweaters and the cutest raincoats in sizes 2-22.
Karina Dresses: Karina focuses just on dresses, and creating dresses to fit your body and lifestyle. They offer a range of styles and prints in sizes XXS-4X.
Where to shop when you are midsize you're looking for jeans:
Chico's: I find Chico's denim to be really great for quality, fit, and style. Their Girlfriend silhouette is not too tight, not too loose, and great for curves. They offer denim with genius technology such as white jeans that resist stains and strategic seaming to lift and smooth the figure. Chico's carries sizes 0/2 through 20/22 with petite, tall, short, and long options.
Democracy: Great stretch, great weight, and technology that lifts and smooths without sacrificing comfort. Democracy is a reasonably-priced denim brand that offers sizes 0-18 with petite and tall options.
Good American: Especially if you have curves, Good American is a great destination for on-trend denim that fits well. Offering sizes 00-24, Good American carries a size 15 which is great for those who find a 14 a bit snug but a 16 too large. Good American also carries long lengths.
Madewell: Offering all the on-trend silhouettes but cut in misses fit, not juniors, Madewell is a popular denim destination and offers denim sizes 23-52 with petite, tall, and curvy options.
PAIGE: PAIGE has been known for years for its denim, but the brand also sells great dresses and separates. PAIGE offers up to size 34 for jeans and 16/XXL for their other apparel.
Talbots: Talbots is a sleeper hit for high-quality denim in on-trend silhouettes and washes in sizes 0-24 with petite and tall options as well as curvy cuts. Talbots' Modern Ankle Jean is a personal favorite.
Universal Standard: Universal Standard has an extensive selection of high-quality denim in sizes 00-40, and several styles come in a variety of lengths.
Where to shop when you are midsize and need petite or tall options:
J.Jill: J.Jill is a fantastic place for pants and separates in petite and tall and the retailer offers sizes 2-28 with almost all of their styles in sizes 2-18 available in regular, petite, and tall.
Lands' End: While known best for outerwear and swimwear, Lands' End carries jeans, leggings, tees, and much more in petite and tall sizes 00-18.
Soft Surroundings: If you love the boho vibe with a bit of polish, Soft Surroundings offers petites in sizes 2/4-18.
You may also like: Retailers That Offer Petites Over a Size 10
Let's Get Real… No One Fits Off the Rack (or Out of the Shipping Bag)
The number one way to look stylish and sophisticated is have your clothing fit. And the number one way to have your clothing fit is to have it tailored to your unique body shape.
Clothing is cut based on a fit model, and especially if you are midsized, that fit model likely doesn't wear the same clothing size as you. Fit models are often a size 6/8 and then clothing is graded up or down for other sizes. Even if you are by chance the same size as a brand's fit model, that doesn't mean the two of you have the same shape or placement of curves.
There is nothing wrong with your body. Nothing. Again, it doesn't matter what size you were in the past, what your fitness routine or choice of what you eat is now or then or in the future. What matters now, and you deserve to wear clothing that works with, not against your frame.
And from experience, I can tell you that when your clothing fits your body well, you will like how you look in it so much more. You will find you have better posture, the parts of you that you wish you could hide won't be as much on focus and the parts of you that you love will be accentuated so well. Well-tailored clothes will improve the relationship you have with your body.
But to have well-fitting clothes goes beyond being honest with yourself and measuring yourself. It means finding a tailor (or seamstress, or a local sewist who offers alterations). This can feel daunting and difficult, but there's a good chance such an individual is residing in your community or a neighboring city or town.
Dry cleaners can often do minor alterations like shortening of sleeves or hems. Bridal shops are great resources for finding local individuals who do alterations, as are those who are in the pageant circut. Check Yelp and ask for recommendations on NextDoor and your local Facebook page. Your local theater likely has someone who helps them with costumes; ask if that person offers tailoring as a side job. Your neighborhood fabric store or craft shop may also know of someone in the area who performs alterations.
When you find someone, start small. Take a pair of trousers or a dress to be hemmed to a better length for your body. Bring the shoes you plan to wear with the garment and wear the underpinnings you'd wear underneath. If you find the work done well, try another piece.
The more you meet with your tailor, the better that person will understand your body and style needs. And the more you will come to trust when that person says an item cannot be tailored, or should be tailored in a different manner than you envisioned in your mind. Also, a tailor is there to help adjust your wardrobe to your body as it changes. Pieces can be reshaped, taken in, shortened, and occasionally let out or customized to still look great but fit better. This partnership with your tailor can be even more valuable than my list above of midsize fashion brands in achieving the best style for your unique self.
You deserve to feel good in what you wear, no matter your size, age, or shape. While it may not be as easy to find great fashion as a midsized grown woman, I hope this list of retailers and these tips will help you find the wardrobe that works with your body, personal style aesthetic, lifestyle, and grown-ass women desires!
Dana Kitchen says
I find Kut From the Kloth as a great denim brand! I have been midsized my entire life and jeans are a struggle! Just in case someone out there finds another brand helpful. Kut has been a lifesaver! And is more affordable than some others I’ve liked. Thanks for this article, Alison (and for the update!)!
Helpful as you always are!
Sizing was looked at differently when I was a young teenager. And yes, there were still a few remnant dinosaur species roaming about. Anyhow, back then anything up to a size 12 meant that you looked OK. Anything above that, when odd number sizes were sold, a 13 and up was FAT. I don’t know why there was such a sharp demarcation at 12, but that’s what I remember. If you wore at 10 or 8, you were HOT.
To add to size confusion, I have looked at the published measurements for back then. A 12 was quite a bit smaller than it is now. No wonder my fantasy and that of my equally heavy buddies was to get into a size 12. I did do it once but it meant taking the then popular legal, prescribed, diet pills, which were in reality amphetamine. Of course I lost lots of weight. I had no appetite and a false sense of energy. I think the pills were damaging so that was not a great idea.
I know you mentioned this recently but I feel like I have to chime in even so. You used the phrase “grown-ass woman” around nine times in this post alone. To me, this is not an attractive phrase. Chalk it up to an age difference perhaps, but really – use your words. I know you have others.
Alison Gary says
As I share in my About page, I use this word because it’s hard to find another to describe the women I am writing for. The word is used as it is used for the term badass. Bad = not good. Ass = jerk, donkey, or buttocks. But badass = a tough, uncompromising person. A grown-ass woman is a woman who is grown and proud, who is a badass or on the journey to become a badass. Wardrobe Oxygen is for those who are proud to be grown-ass women.
My son got married this past weekend and I rediscovered VonMaur department store. It is based out of Davenport, Iowa and is a midwestern gem (I live in the Chicagoland area). They had a huge selection, the store was as neat as a pin (Nordstroms and Macys could take a lesson here) and the salesperson actually checked on me in the fitting room in a regular basis. I purchased every item for my wedding ensemble from them and will be returning often although I live much closer to other well known shopping malls and stores.
Alison Gary says
Would love to see you do a post on J. Jill. They have recently started included curvier models on their website and have sizes up to 4X. Petites, regular (up to 4x) and tall are available in pretty much everything from what I can tell.
Thank you. What a great resource and inspiration.
I’m loving my first view of Seasalt Cornwall! It’s giving me Old Navy vibes, but sustainable and grown up!!!!
beth byrd says
I am a grown ass, mid-size woman. Frankly I could care less about the terminology … what I do care about is how very helpful this post is!! Thank you so much, Alison.
I discovered your blog earlier this year and I am hooked!
Sally B says
Thank you for this post! I am in Canada and alot of these names I have never heard of. I did use E Shatki once for a custom dress and I absolutely loved it! At the time I had implants and they were able to make my dress to fit my bust perfectly with my size 10 body. I will be checking out some of these sites to see if they ship to Canada. This blog is a keeper for me!
What a useful post! I’ve sometimes tried to turn to plus size clothing because of my 38E bosoms, but at 5’2″ and let’s just say a size 12 in pants, that obviously hasn’t worked. It’s one reason I sew (shout out to Cashmerette patterns, which was one of the first independent pattern companies to fit beyond a B cup). It’s really helpful to know how the sizing runs on various retailers.
There IS a way to measure yourself accurately! Try the Easy-Check self-measuring tape, available through Islander Sewing Systems at:https://stores.islandersewing.com/a-easy-check-measuring-tape/
I came back to this post as a starting point for some spring shopping and found that Ava James NYC is going out of business! Sad!
Just wanted to thank you for this post, Allie – as a ‘cusp’ sized woman, I feel as if I often slip through the cracks (cusp of petite vs regular height, straight vs plus sizes, narrow vs wide foot, straight vs curly hair… The list goes on, lol… )
Now if only more of these retailers would carry clothing in natural fibres – a girl can dream, lol!
I am 66 and totally get ‘grown-ass’, it’s cheeky and true. I see it as a descriptive of any age not just mid life persons who identify as women. Lots of early 30’s managers consider themselves ‘grown ass’ and mid 60 retirees who don’t! So the way I see it is ‘grown ass’ is a state of mind. Some days I need and want ‘grown ass’ and other days I’m in my LLBean zip up fleece robe and don’t really care…arrrgh a few too many days like that this past year! BTW grown ass is a heck of a lot better than ‘mature’ or ‘womanly’. So tired of the frump a dump, matronly, ‘I have had my colours done can you tell?’ mentality on ‘certain age’ blogs. Thank you for this article, although I am in Canada most of these brands are available on line or in a bricks and mortar store. We now have Athleta which has petite in mid size but fed up with JCrew, a lot of their petite garments end at size 12. Tops are ok for me but my grown ass butt needs more room!
Alison Gary says
Thank you, Allison!
L H Carter says
Thank you for this informative post for middle-sized clothing for women. (That sentence makes me feel like one of the Three Bears.)
Alison: This is your site. You are the writer and content creator. You get to choose the vocabulary. We get to choose whether to continue to read your posts.
Kate: Yep, mid size sedan. Sometimes I look like one and sometimes I feel like one. I laughed at your quip.
Rebecca; I have heard of the term “small fat” and causes me to think of how tall and how much of a diameter qualifies for that designation. Another chuckle.
Seasalt Cornwall: What a great name. Disappointed to hear about the return difficulties.
Alison Gary says
See some of the other comments, it appears the Seasalt Cornwall experience varies and if you contact them, it’s worth your time for a better experience!
Useful article, thank you! I am in this size range and appreciate focusing on brands where the cuts are likely to be somewhere between squeezed on and cut for someone who may have my torso size but larger arms and legs.
Alison Gary says
I’m glad you like it, Ali!
Allie, this is such a great article with incredible resources, thank you so much! I agree with your thoughts about so-called straight sizes and plus, and why there is a legitimate need for some other category, whether you call it cusp, midsized, or wait, how about “average” since people in this size range are generally considered the average sized woman in the U.S.? I have stood in certain stores with a 10, 12, 14 pieces in the same style in front of me – with maybe one inch width difference between sizes in the torso – but with the same size arm circumference! That’s why midsize, average, cusp, whatever should be a given.
As to “grown ass” – the idea that someone read your article and commented specifically on that and nothing else – WTF. You’ve used the phrase enough that your regular readers know what you mean, and if you’re new here, welcome! Allie is as real as it gets on the internet and we are lucky she cares so much to bring us this information – for free!
Alison Gary says
Thanks Anamarie, I am so glad you like the article!
Sarah Graham says
Thanks you so much for this amazingly helpful resource! I will come back again and again
Alison Gary says
I’m glad you like it, Sarah!
Thanks for this resource! I’m not sure why all the fuss about “grown-ass.” Also a great reminder about tailoring. For anyone who is in DC proper, Cheryl A. Lofton & Associates, https://cheryllofton.com, is my tailor and is excellent. Great to work with and will have a frank dialogue with you about what is possible and what is not, creative solutions, and cost.
Alison Gary says
Thanks for this recommendation!
Thanks for the is helpful post and resource!
Alison Gary says
I’m glad you like it, Kathy!
This is a great resource! 5 stars!
Alison Gary says
Alison, thank you for this helpful, informative post! I love learning about brands I hadn’t previously heard of. I laugh every time you use the phrase “grown-ass woman” and feel like you are a friend telling me to get my grown-ass body out of my old, pilled sweatpants and into some clothes I feel good about!
Alison Gary says
LOL happy to be that friend!
Jane Asper says
Great post, love your blog! As for “grown ass,” I think this phrase has had its moment. To me, it sounds like
an adult person trying to hard to be young and hip. I am not conservative in any way, I just am tired of that phrase.
I agree. English is not my first language and I am kind of confused by it. Does it just mean women over 40?
No it doesn’t mean women over 40 per se. It means a person who is old enough to look back at their younger self and decision making and see where they could of/should of/would of made different choices. There are grown ass men and grown ass other people too. There are many ways to phrase that concept.
It is an idiomatic expression and not everyone has to use it.
Alison Gary says
What would you suggest as an alternative? Grown on its own sounds odd (and brings some strange people from Google). I don’t believe it is a specific age, I no longer wish to only cater to those who are over 40 if individuals of other ages desire more grown of fashion. Open to suggestions!
Just wanting to chime in that I’ve been reading this blog since I was in my late teens yet still considered myself to be ‘grown-ass’ then, & still do (am nowhere near 40)!
I agree that it’s a state of mind – I just wasn’t interested in trends or having my sartorial preferences dictated to me, even back then. Comfort & modesty have always come first to me, colour & fit second, with trendiness third (though not last!).
Not everyone prioritises their clothing in that order though, & that’s ok – just there’s a certain level of confidence in yourself required to stick to your guns regarding what you want. I’ve always been that way (not just with clothing), which is why I often came across as older than my actual age. Hence feeling ‘grown-ass’ from my teens (though I’m sure my parents begged to differ at key points during my teenage years, lol!)
Hm. I have to agree that “grown ass” sounds a little like an older person trying to be hip; I have also wondered if it mostly applied to size 10 and up. Which is not me — and I’m fully aware there are plenty of other creators who cater to smaller sizes and one of the reasons I read the blog is it offers a different perspective.
However, the “grown ass” phrasing and usage has left me feeling a little like maybe I don’t “count” if I didn’t sufficiently increase my size range as I aged into midlife… though maybe that’s just a side effect of the inclusive size range focus and common usage of the term here.
Alternatives are hard though. “Adult” seems to be most apt for what you are trying to capture but you’re trying to be more fun with it, which “adult” is… not. Practical, comfortable, suitable (in the “suits one’s life sense) are boring (though practical and comfortable without being stodgy are why I’m here). Mature and matronly sound dowdy… I’ll comment again if I come up with anything good.
And for those unfamiliar with Dillards, I second that it is a good retailer for midsize women. I used to live in Florida and shopped there a lot, and I still shop there online. And they have good sales, too.
Alison Gary says
They DO have good sales!
Alison, This post is filled with so much great information. Thank you!!! I’m not sure why people are focusing on the particular terminology you’ve used to express yourself here. I’ve seen these terms used on your blog and elsewhere for quite a while now, and I just interpret them to mean that whatever you are featuring is designed to suit the preferences and lifestyles of your mid-older-aged readers rather than women in their teens and twenties. Perfect! 🙂 I feel like I wind up going to the same retailers over and over again to find clothes that fit my style and also my rather short, middle-aged, and yes, “mid-sized” body. I am looking forward to checking out some of the new-to-me sites you recommended!
Alison Gary says
I’m glad you liked this post, Amy!
Wow, Argent has some beautiful things, but they are pricey. Still, I may give them a try.
On a side note, I’ve read that “fat acceptance” folks bristle at the use of “midsize,” saying it’s denial and we should call ourselves “small fat.” Really . . . do they understand that finding clothing when you’re on the cusp is a major challenge? If I shop at a plus retailer that starts at size 12, like Eloquii, I will almost always swim in that 12. But if I buy a 12 from a “regular” retailer, it’s hit and miss. I know accepting my body is a healthy thing, but I really want to lose some weight so I fit more squarely back into misses’ clothing and my shopping life is easier.
Alison Gary says
I don’t think that’s necessarily a good description either. Cusp I think makes sense, but I’m not in the fashion industry. We’re in the middle between most Misses and Plus, I’ll use midsize until they come with a better term!
I agree about Talbots. Best place for mid sized petite blazers and suiting. It’s sort of like a fixer upper house. You have to look past those grandma curtains for the good bones.
Alison Gary says
LOL great description!
Thanks for this great compilation. A minor correction — Talbots suiting does come in Talls (any longer). This is a (minor) crime, IMO.
I love MM LaFleur and appreciate your calling attention to them. They have a great resale site, as well. Plus, the company is woman-owned and walks the talk.
Finally, I’ve been looking for a formal dress and found both eShakti and Dillards, thanks to you. Much appreciated!
Alison Gary says
Thank you for this info about Talbots, I have updated it accordingly.
Teresa W says
Excellent post Alison! I will be referring back to this article as I continue my quest to find clothes that not only fit but reflect my style. I have been a long time reader of your blog but never post in comments. I want to say thank you for all the great content you put out. I always look forward to your Weekend Reads!
Alison Gary says
Thank you so much Teresa, it means a lot!
Another great piece! FYI Paige jeans also has petite sizes, available through Anthropologie.
Alison Gary says
Thank you for this, Cori! And for those interested here is the link to PAIGE petites at Anthro: https://bit.ly/3BCu6Bd
I’m fine with grown-ass and more amused by the term “midsize.” Makes me feel like a practical family sedan…
Alison Gary says
LOL great for the whole family!
Great post and I am looking forward to looking shopping some new sites. I wear a lot of CAbi and find them a good source as well.
Alison Gary says
cabi is a great resource! I didn’t include them because I no longer feature MLMs on Wardrobe Oxygen, but if one is comfortable with that business model the clothes are well made and consistently sized.
Kathryn Fenner says
Excellent post! Several new options to check out!
Alison Gary says
I’m glad you like it Kathryn!
Haha, I noticed the grownass term used over and over here and thought it as a bit much. I think of grownass as kind of sarcastic, like “you are a grownass woman, stop whining “. But language changes. Also I am 62 and very conservative in every sense of the word, so …
More important, I LOVED this post. I must confess to buying too much cheap Amazon stuff in recent years, esp,after gaining weight and not being sure if I will lose it or not. Alison’s photos always give me hope as we are about the same size, and she always looks terrific.
This is a great article! Thank you so much! I look forward to checking out the brands you mention. I have one caution about Seasalt. I ordered a pair of pants after reading about the brand on your blog. I received them and they did not fit. Returns were very difficult and I ended up donating them. Thus, this was a waste of money for me. The situation is that Seasalt’s “returns are free” using DHL, but there is not a DHL drop off spot within 50 miles of where I live. DHL has a pick up option, but not for international packages. I could have printed out a label and returned them using another service at my own expense, but I saw this as potentially very costly and did not attempt it. The Seasalt customer service group is not something that you can contact, in that there is absolutely no information on how to do that in their materials or on their website. Therefore, I could not obtain information from them on how to solve this problem. I will not be ordering from them again!
Alison Gary says
Oh gosh, thank you for this. I had no idea and this is a good PSA for anyone considering them to be sure they have a DHL nearby in case!
Katherine Brown says
I’ve ordered from Seasalt before they had an international website and again this past summer, and both times my experience with Seasalt customer service was positive. The chat representative was able to provide garment measurements that aren’t available on their site (such as the shoulder-to-waist measurements on Pet/Reg/Tall dress sizes) and to track my DHL return and refund status. (I am fortunate to have a DHL nearby, so was able to take advantage of the free international returns.) The chat was followed up with email contact. I wasn’t thrilled with the DHL process, but I very much appreciated the Seasalt customer service support.
Alison Gary says
I am so glad to read this! I have had a great experience with them as an influencer, but I know that isn’t always indicative of how it is as a customer.
I’ve done the same (international customer ordering before & after their int’l website was established in 2020 + UK website renovated in 2021) – & can understand the frustration of the person above. However I have returned both through DHL (prepaid returns label) & through my local post office (out of pocket) & both experiences have been OK – ultimately quick delivery & refund, with the email to ‘contact’ them being pretty much what you’d expect it to be lol (not sure if I can link it here, but take a guess!)
Just wanted to share because, whilst I appreciate not having a DHL office nearby could be frustrating, I also don’t think it’s fair to judge them by this criteria if you did not even attempt to find out prices for sending returns through your local post office instead (there’s a reason they send their orders in mailing bags – both for sustainability but also to save you money, with not having to return a giant box(es)! *Cough* Nordstrom *cough*… )
I appreciate my experience may be different though, since I live in a nation where I’ve never experienced ‘home pickup’ for my deliveries & it’s perceived as ‘normal’ for me to have to take public transport to reach a DHL hub for self drop-off.
Hey there, I too had an epic trying-to-get-help experience with Seasalt customer service!
Short version: It was awful, it took a month to sort out, and because of the time lag I didn’t get an item I wanted. Customer service wasn’t responsive nor did they appreciate being asked to help someone internationally.
Long version: I ordered two tops, a great cut, so I got two in different colors. I got…two of the same color. I checked the order – it wasn’t me, it was a packing error. To try and resolve this, I messaged customer service once: automated response, no follow up. I messaged again a week later: automated response, no follow up. I tried calling and had one of the worst customer service phone calls of my life, and the person on the end of the line was perplexed, couldn’t help me, kept cutting me off, etc. (On international call rates.)
I finally got traction when I complained in public on Twitter, and whoever is managing their Twitter feed sorted me out. By then it was too late to get my other-color shirt and I had to settle for a refund.
After all this I may STILL order from them again, because they have my number as ‘middle-aged femme with intellectual pretensions’ and everything is natural fabrics of great quality. But I’ll be wary!
Ah, that sucks – I’m sorry! Was this by any chance during 2020 – 2022? I know they did a mass migration from their UK to international website, with many awry logistics during that time. Might be worth trying again?
(I have no stake in Seasalt by the way, just a brand familiar to me as a UK expat!)
That’s interesting. I guess it means that my location gives me different google results. It’s probably an inverse usage like using sick for really good. Thanks for responding and clarifying.
Robin (outlook) says
Yes seriously. Is this an American usage that’s considered to be positive about adult women? I’m truly curious. It’s not a term used in my part of the world. I really enjoy this blog and I’ve wondered what it means.
Alison Gary says
I’m surprised, as if you google grown-ass woman you’ll see it’s a term used everywhere, from major publications to blogs geared towards Gen X and Boomer women to Urban Dictionary.
Robin (outlook) says
Could you clarify your use of grown ass? I googled and found this explanation “ Means the same as “grown”, but “ass” is added to belittle the person or thing referenced. Usually used in reference to a “grown ass man”. (Note: it is important to distinguish between a “grown ass man” and a “grown assman.” The former is an adult male, whereas the latter is an adult male who likes asses.)
“Grown ass” is part of the “ass” family label of disrespect. Also included are “dumb ass” (see also: “stupid ass”), “lazy ass”, “punk ass”, “crazy ass”, “cheap ass”, and “broke ass”.
Alison Gary says
I’m not sure what you googled exactly because when I googled grown-ass woman I found examples such as:
As well as several songs using this term. It’s one I have both used and known for about a decade.
And for those who like the term, I have this keychain from a DC woman-owned leather goods company: https://www.shopstitchandrivet.com/shop/pithy-key-ring
I love your content. Does this count as growing pains for your blog?
Alison Gary says
LOL I don’t mind, it is a term some may not have heard if they don’t frequent the same sites/newsletters/podcasts/books I do. I think it has become a popular term with GenX and those not in that generation or who don’t follow Gen X content may not be familiar with it!