We frequently find ourselves inundated with images of beautiful, slim women in chic and well styled second hand clothes but often the plus sized amongst us can really struggle to find anything but pleated black trousers and fugly skirts. Even as a charity shop blogger I do feel like I stick out like a sore thumb as one of the few larger ladies talking about frugal and charity shop fashion in the UK. However I am plus sized and have slowly found ways and means of finding nice plus sized clothes in charity shops.
Bagsy the baggy
Jumpers and tops that are supposed to be baggy on a slim woman can work well on a plus sized lady. I’ll often buy baggy and slouchy tops in a size 10 or 12 and wear them as a ‘normal’ top. No one need know that it’s meant to be baggy.
Even when I was a size 10 I couldn’t get a blouse to go over my boobs without gaping at the bust, so all my adult life I’ve firmly stuck to the menswear rails for shirts. Shop this section for lots of plus sized thrifted goodies.
– Basic shirts which go with everything…you can even wear them as a dress with the addition of a few accessories and a belt
– Knitwear. Thank heavens for grandad cardigans, waistcoats and tank tops.
– Shoes. Many plus sized women have broader and longer feet than average so embrace the brogue trend.
– Coats. Trenchcoats, duffles and even blazers are deluging this section of most charity shops. Buy them up.
– T-shirts. I showed you how to wear your husband’s t-shirt in a feminine outfit last year, it’s a firm favourite of mine
Do you spy a dress with nice fabric and in your vague size too? Score! Okay so it may be frumpy as sin but take another look. Can you take it up, change buttons or alter the neckline? I’m forever taking up hems and I have no problem with paying a seamstress to do more complicated work, they’re much cheaper than you’d imagine.
Ignore the size on the hanger or on the tag the shop have put on, look at the piece and see if is your size. I’ve found many a dress that fits me wrong labelled or on a size 10 hanger.
I carry around measurements of open spaces in our flat in case I should find the perfect item of furniture so naturally I do the same for my body. List your bust, hip, waist, height and leg lengths and don’t forget to carry a tape measure with you.
Know your fabrics
With certain fabrics we can all go up or down a size. I can happily buy two sizes smaller in jersey but I know I have to go up a size or two for man-made 1970’s fabrics. But my similarly sized friend has to buy jersey and stretchy fabrics in the exactly right size because the stretchy-ness doesn’t flatter her, however a kitsch polyester dress from the mid-70’s suits her no end. Know what works for you, experiment with different fabrics, get a feel for them.
Wear it on your waist
Embrace the trend that moves away from skirts sitting on your hips. Take a smaller sized a-line skirt which is designed to sit on a smaller woman’s hips and wear it high up on your waist – it looks fab with a belt. Because it’s a-line is shouldn’t restrict you elsewhere. I’ve been able to expand my search range into a good few sizes down using this method
Once you’ve got yourself some lovely items you may need to read my post about getting rid of that charity shop smell because I can smell ya from ‘ere darlin’.
Cashmere cardigan, Boden via charity shop, £2
Black bow tie, Vintage Village, £3
Blue vintage brooch, Charity Shop, £1
Knitted hair band, handmade gift, as worn here
P.S. Any tips you’d like to share?