Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shopping in the Great White

This weekend's Shopping Cart feature has lead me to thinking about one of my most often thought of fashion dilemma... Canadian Plus Size retailers.

I discovered this site; http://www.plussizefashion.ca/ which lists what is available to Canadian women wearing plus size but frankly, more than half of them are still just American sites who just happen to ship to Canada. If these retailers want Canadian customers, why have none of them set up shop here?

That is my real question.

Why do we have only a handful of retailers carrying plus sized clothing (and 3 of the 5 that come to mind are all owned by the same company.. but more on that later!)?
In recent years we have seen some of the US favorites like American Eagle, H&M or Forever 21 (which does have a plus size line but doesn't have a store on the east coast OR carry it in most of their shops???) but not one of the major plus stores have opened up in the Great White North.

...I hope it's not because people like me use phrases like 'Great White North'?!!

So if we want great items from places like Torrid we have to order online. I've done this & the shipping was quick but... expensive. Torrid offers free shipping deals all the time to their US customers but doesn't extend the same courtesy to us Canadians. They also don't offer us a flat fee for shipping (like say the UK's ASOS does - $14!). I paid almost $40 in shipping for my last order.
It really does not cost them much more to ship to us in Canada, so why not offer free shipping? I mean, we will probably have to pay giant duty fees on our purchases anyways, so make it easy on a girl, Torrid!
Forever 21 stores have reached Canada but not the east coast AND to make matters worse a) only a couple locations carry the plus line & b) they don't even carry the full plus line on the Canadian version of the website! (Check out a previous post all about that!)

Okay okay, enough about what we can't get (for now...*sigh). What CAN we get? Where can we big Canadian girls, walk in & buy something? Here are the big hitters;
  • Pennington's - plenty of locations & an online shop (flat shipping, free returns). These tend to be large stores in plazas carrying wide selections of items... problem is they tend to be almost all for the older demographic of plus size's. You can occasionally find something fun & current there though.

  • Addition Elle - Guess what? This store is owned by the same company as Pennington's!  It tends to sell higher end (higher priced) items that are more for the 20-40 demographic.  They also carrying a younger line called MXM. Probably my favorite thing to purchase there, besides camisoles are dresses & bras. They have an extensive assortment of bras & panties.

  • Reitmans - Canadian chain that carries petite, regular & plus size clothing. Specializing in casuals, denim & cotton basics. Oh & guess what? This company owns Pennington's & Addition Elle! Strangely I find their jeans are better fit & at half the cost.

  • Old Navy - we are all familiar with this large chain, owned by Gap. Their sizes in Canada only go up to 20 though (...while their US counterpart goes to 30!).
  • Walmart - I don't really think I need to describe this hallow hell, do I? hahaha

I think our only salvations at the moment are Etsy & the speciality boutique. Beautiful shops & people who have the sense to know & care that there are women beyond the size 12/14. But I'll have more* to say about that in another post.

So what are your shopping experiences like, plus sized, east coast, west coast, online - I want to hear it all! Share in my misery (or rant)! 

In Montreal, wearing Torrid, Addition Elle & Winners

*If you are an east coast shop owner or Canadian website who would like to talk to me about what you have to offer plus size shoppers please feel free to to contact me - I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I have a lot to say about this same topic....if I can get myself back to my blog and posting I'll do a post about where I've been shopping! I'm a MAJOR cheapskate! LOL! So I will not pay much if anything for shipping, and the clothes I buy have to be a pretty good deal too or I won't buy. But I've got a few places now that I'm ordering from regularly. As big of a city as Calgary is F21 doesn't carry their plus sizes here either and our choices for plus size are pretty slim.

  2. Hey! I nominated you for the "One Lovely Blog" award. Check out my blog for more details. www.curvycanadian.blogspot.com

  3. Hi Em, I just found your blog, it is so fun! Sherri here from www.plussizefashion.ca and blog www.shopplussize.blogspot.com. I appreciate you mentioning my site and I agree with you. It is very frustrating and the reason I started the site. I don't have any proof but I have often think the reason US retailers don't come here is the cost of shipping, duty, and taxes. There isn't enough profit margin for them at the end of the day. I do believe it is getting better though. As plus size women, I think we do have to make an effort to support independent retailers so they can continue to provide us with different and unique pieces. The ones that come to mind are...
    www.sexyplusclothing.com -online store and a retail store in TO.
    www.dress911.com - online only
    www.satinwoods.ca - online only
    www.lolaandgigi.com - has a studio
    www.maximumwoman.com -online store and a retail store in TO.
    I know all of these stores work really hard to offer a wide selection of quality products and provide great customer service.
    Thanks for letting me add my 2 cents :)

  4. Hi Ladies! Stefanie here, owner of www.sexyplusclothing.com and SexyPlus Clothing in Toronto. We've just opened a beautiful boutique in downtown Toronto specializing in sexy, sophisticated styles and lingerie in sizes 12+. Our goal is to offer the selection, value and style which is hard to find in Canada in plus sizes while still being affordable. We do everything we can to help our customers feel comfortable and cared for. As a new store, we certainly appreciate any word of mouth and if you would like to blog about us, we're ready for an interview and can provide tons of pics for your article. At your service, Stefanie 416-920-2878