When I recently asked for volunteers for some pinup styling consults, I had a couple of plus size ladies message me privately asking if I could recommend any wardrobe options available over a 40 inch waist.
I struggled initially - my immediate thought was Pinup Girl Clothing’s expanded plus size range, but when I went to the site I realised what limited clothing they had was all sold out.
I’ve been trying to put together a list of online pinup/vintage repro shops, and one of the areas I’d like to cover is plus size clothing - and not just the token 1X and 2X options that stop at 36 inches.
I’ve listed options I know of, some of which aren’t definitively or obviously ‘pinup’ but which have plus size items that could definitely be styled for a pinup look. If you know of any others, please drop me a note so I can add them to my list!
I’m going to start by saying we’ve tried to make plus sizes available up to 53 inches at Betty Le Bonbon, but ended up capping them for our most recent order of circle skirts due to lack of interest - we had one request for a 49 inch skirt and another for a 47 inch skirt, but all other orders were in the 30-40 inch range, so that’s what we focussed on ordering in a large number. We will be taking preorders in future (our preorders determine our size range), but as a small business we quite literally can’t afford to take a punt and hope people will order our larger sizes if we make them available - so, as I said, we use preorders as a way of establishing which sizes we need to make available for each run of clothing.
1. Heart my Closet provide custom garments with a pin up/1950s feel. They’re also very affordable - custom made garments under $100 is insane!
2. Bettie Page Clothing go up to a 4X, or 38 inch waist. However, in my experience Bettie Page Clothing is very generously sized - I dare say you could fit a 40” waist into their 4X, especially if the fabric is quite stretchy. I purchased the 3X for my 36” waist and it was hanging off me - I now size down. Pictured is Rebel Wilson in Bettie Page Clothing’s Alika dress.
3. Modcloth have a curvy range that goes up to size 4X (43 inches). Sizes will vary depending on designer, obviously, and the range is only a fraction of their full range.
4. Collectif go up to a US 22/UK 26 … unfortunately I don’t actually know what those sizes are precisely and can’t find measurements on the website.
5. Hell Bunny go up to 4X/40 inches. Many of their dresses have shirred/elastic backs and halternecks, which generally means you can slink in if you’re a touch over the size chart (guilty of this) - however most of the dresses are cotton, so if the dress isn’t elasticised at the back, you won’t be able to push it.
6. ASOS Curve go up to an Aussie size 26, or 46 inches at the waist. While not specifically pinup or vintage inspired, many of their dresses can definitely be styled that way, and the Curve range comes with belts to match plus size clothing.
7. Unique Vintage go up to a size 4XL (their plus size ranges from 1X-4X), depending on the brand of dress. Rather uselessly, their entire plus size range is modelled by rake thin models, so good luck imagining how the dress will look above a size 6.
8. Pinup Girl Clothing have recently returned to stocking a limited range of 3XL and 4XL clothing*, though it seems to sell out fast. I noticed the plum Erin is presently available in 3XL and 4XL at present, while many others are listed as sold out.
9. Perhaps stating the obvious given their reputation, but Domino Dollhouse cater exclusively for plus sizes. This particular dress was available up to 48 inches (though now sold out). From what I can see, the top of the size range depends entirely on dress, but they’re consistently very generous.
Not pictured, but Vivien of Holloway dresses go up to 38 inches (very much true to size though), Stop Staring similarly go up to 38 inches, 20th Century Foxy go up to 38 inches. If you’re insanely wealthy, Dita Von Teese’s Muse collection for David Jones went up to something like an Australian size 20 (around 40 inches, possibly more?). City Chic are also exclusively plus sizes, though their range is really more … well let’s say on trend than pin up, but I’ve seen Cara doing her magic on the pieces she owns.
*Pinup Girl Clothing, like Bernie Dexter, started out with a range of plus sizes (up to 4XL for PUG, 2XL for Bernie), but due to lack of interest from plus sizes, gradually phased them out. Happily due to popular demand, PUG are once more working on expanding their range (no pun intended), though the future of Bernie’s small plus size range is in serious doubt (I know I’m not the only plus size who has emailed Bernie begging her to reconsider so fingers crossed she’ll come to some sort of arrangement!). It’s worth speaking up and letting businesses know that you’re interested in their clothes coming in larger sizes, but for the love of god don’t just pay lip service - money talks!
Who have I missed?
I have three Bettie Page dresses, all of which are 4X. There is no way I could have sized down in any of the them - the Alikas in particular (I have two) are quite tight in the arms and would not have fit at all in a 3X. The bust is similarly verging on no more room. My measurements are 46-38-50.
Hell Bunny dresses can be very generously sized - check the size chart for each dress as they vary widely and a good store will provide the exact measurements for each (like Sinderella’s Shrine). Just thought I’d throw that out there. :)