If you’re looking for unique and stylish dresses or summer wear that you can’t find at your local go-to clothing store or everyday fashion chain, allow me to introduce Etsy. Yes, I know, Etsy can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what shop you’re looking for or what kind of item you want. There’s just sooo much stuff there. Even searching for a particular item can still be overwhelming. Tons of shops will come up, not everything has exactly what you’re looking for, and finding a solid shop that consistently has nice and quality items to your liking is a bit difficult. But don’t worry; I’ve done some of the work for you. For the past week I’ve perused Etsy shops looking for designers who offer dresses, and clothes in general, up to 5/6X. I’ve happily found six great shops offering unique and stylish clothing, with enough range to satisfy your different tastes. Not only do these shops have good clothes, they also have great women running them! I talked to most of them (they want to see their shops featured too!) and was inspired by the fact that so many of them want to promote positivity and confidence in feeling good in our own skin. I am very happy to present their shops to you, and know that they will cater to your any need.
NAKIDBIRD / Handmade / Price Range: $40-$80 / Accepts Etsy Gift Cards / ✭✭✭✭✭
Like slouchy? I do, mostly just because it’s so comfortable while still being classy and fashionable. Etsy shop based out of Huntington Beach, CA, nakidbird features clothing designed and handmade by Margaret, the shop’s owner who says she has been sewing ever since she was a child. Inspired by “women who are confident in their own skin”, Margaret is “passionate about creating for women of all shapes and sizes.” Most of her designs are sheer and free flowing, spelling a slouchy look that never gets old and forms to any body type. However, she does offer a variety of other styles and designs as well, including tunic mini-dresses, chiffons, and long jersey maxis. Though most designs are neutral colors, you have a wide variety of options, from hot pink to charcoal to sunflower and turquoise. Some are color-blocked, like the black and white high-low tunic mini-dress featured here, and her high-low maxis are perfect summer dresses! All products come in sizes up to 5X/6X, and if it doesn’t say so on the product description, just ask her. I had an Etsy convo with her and she is super nice! Not only are nakidbird products affordable, but the designer is inspired by and promotes women who have positive body images, striving to create products that emulate this mentality. Thanks Margaret!
Find nakidbird here!
ASKFASHIONLLC / Handmade / Price Range: $11-$130 / Accepts Etsy Gift Cards / ✭✭✭✭✭
Like stripes or bright colors? ASKFasionLLC is a Boston based Plus Size Women’s fashion brand that launched their Etsy store version in 2012. Amanda S. Koker, Creative Director of ASKFashion takes pride not only in offering “kick ass plus size fashion” that brings out “the inner rock star of all plus size beauties” but also in being produced exclusively in the US. Most of the dresses are knee length con dresses made of ponte knit—that fabric that stretches to show off your curves and shape without squeezing too much or being distasteful. The color selection is a bit limited; all of the dresses are black with teal, blue, pink or white, in either stripe, floral or animal print. But the great thing is that their models give an accurate description of what the clothes would look like on YOU. The website says sizes 14-28, but ASKFashion told me they are currently going through a sizing update for the next season, and they are always willing to make any size that you need… all you need to do is ASK! For those who like this kind of style, these dresses spell sassy, confident and fun!
Find ASKFashion here!
KMKDESIGNSLLC / Handmade / Steampunk & Victorian / Price Range: $150-$250 / ✭✭✭✭✭
Summer dress turned fantastic, KMKDesignsllc is a mother daughter team from Stillwater, MN creating fashionable products inspired by Steampunk, Neo-Victorian, Lolita and Gothic styles. Initially a shop geared toward designing costumes, Sheridyn (mother) and Kaitlyn (daughter) eventually discovered that costumes were not necessarily the primary demand, but rather clothes that made people feel good about themselves. For this reason, this duo also specializes in plus size and custom made products that will make you “feel beautiful not self-conscious or uncomfortable about who you are.” If you aren’t one for mainstream fashion and like a bit more edgy, KMK’s jumpers (coming in a variety of colors and style inspirations) paired with a blouse of your choice are perfect for any sunlit summer fantasy. All of their sizing says up to 5X, but really they will make any size and take your measurements for a truly perfect fit. If you like your everyday world to include some fantastical elements, these designs are perfect for you!
Find KMKDesigns here!
BROWNBAGPLUS / Vintage / Price Range: $35-$60 / Accepts Etsy Gift Cards / ✭✭✭✭✭
If you like the vintage look, but have trouble finding cute vintage dresses in your size, check out BB+ on Etsy. She’s got a plethora of vintage looks for the sunny days. Take it from me, something especially difficult to find on Etsy is fashionable plus size clothing that is not modeled on tiny women, giving a good idea of what the product would actually look like. This shop called to me after reading Michelle’s blip on “body positive.” Michelle Delgado, original owner of BrownBagVintage, claims BrownBagPlus as her “rare gem”—a spinoff store to her seven year old vintage shop. Born as a response to messages from women thanking her for providing larger sizes and, most of all, using plus size models for her clothing, Michelle recognized the lack in the Etsy marketplace for plus size vintage. At Brown Bag +, not only will you not find clothes smaller than a size 12, you won’t find frumpy either. When shopping, Michelle always tries to find “potential cute” and most of her clothing receives a personal makeover to make any item readily presentable for today’s fashionista. The downfall? So far she hasn’t found much vintage clothing with makeover potential above a size 22, even though she wants to clothe everyone! Still, she keeps an eye out all the time…we can hope! In her own words, “This shop is a small step in the larger picture of body positive - everyone should feel good in their skin and our pieces will only accentuate that positive.”
Find BrownBagPlus here!
CITYPARKRUNWAY / Handmade / Price Range: $30-$40 / Accepts Etsy Gift Cards / ✭✭✭✭
CityParkRunway is a women’s clothing company based out of LA specializing in “comfortable and classy clothing for every body type and shape.” Their favorite materials are stretch fabric, jersey fabric, and lace and they have a variety of dress styles good for summer or a night out. Most of the dresses are form fitting, top to bottom, like the pencil and peplum dresses. But there are some half circle and full circle dresses found under the lace dress and skater dress categories that are free flowing from the waist down. It should be noted that every item in their shop is made of stretch fabric. Unfortunately, the model for all of the clothing at CityParkRunway is pretty thin, but it is nice that from first glance their site makes it known that they offer sizes from XS-5X. The neat thing is that they offer special lengths for “tall” and they have a pretty wide variety of patterned fabric. Everything is made to order, so they can customize anything from the get-go. Just pick a size and a color and they’ll start sewing! Personal favorite: the half circle sleeveless skate dress made with jersey fabric.
Find CityParkRunway here!
BUXOMBABESVINTAGE / Vintage / Price Range $80-$130 / Accepts Etsy Gift Cards / ✭✭✭✭✭
Ever heard the vintage myth “everyone was much smaller back then”? This is something Lindsay, owner of BuxomBabesVintage on Etsy, hears on a daily basis in her brick and mortar shop Frocks and Frills Vintage, based in downtown Wheaton, IL. Passionate about proving this is not the case, Lindsay wants to let the world know that vintage does NOT come from an era of some petite paradise, but rather that women of all shapes and sizes have always existed. “Their clothes (voluptuous women) are out there and it is my job to find them,” says Lindsay. In her shop, her goal is “not just to fill it with large sizes, but to find clothes with the potential to fit and flatter the body.” This is the key for any body type: finding clothes that flatter YOU, and accentuating your strong points. There are a lot of plus size shops out there that feature shapeless clothing to fit any shape, but that doesn’t mean they flatter or enhance. Lindsay strives to find wearable clothes that enhance. If you are in the Chicago/Wheaton area, all of the clothes can be seen and tried on in shop. As you know, because vintage clothes aren’t handmade by the owners of Etsy, searching for your size requires a bit of research and the measurements do not always conform “standard” sizing labels. All of the measurements for the clothes available are in her descriptions and she is super knowledgeable about how sizing works…if you need help, send her a message! She offers strictly sizes ~14 and up and has a variety of vintage day dresses, with more coming whenever she finds them!
Find BuxomBabesVintage here!
Chloë Ilene is a current student of Anthropology and French, with a minor in Dance. Dance and choreography are her passion, writing is her biggest hobby, and traveling and experiences other cultures first hand is a must-do in life. She is very interested in issues of identity and self-perception, in particular those of women, and strives to promote positive ideas of self and the construction of new narratives in society that will challenge and change current ideologies.