Summer is my favourite season of the year, hands down. Nevermind all the sunshine, ice cream and beach days—I’m all about the style.
After years of sorting through discount racks, plodding through endless aisles and ducking in and out of all kinds of malls, I have finally found an amazing round-up of plus-size fashion retailers. These ain’t your granny’s boutiques—like Swimsuits for All, today’s designers are all about embracing our sexy curves and wearing bold colours and prints that bring out our personalities.
The biggest issue I’ve come across to date? Scoring finds for under $100. I’m not on a student budget any more—I can afford to eat better than Kraft Dinner and buy (only) off the discount racks. But spending $200 on a casual summer look is not something I’m down with. So that is why, for you lovelies, I have put together the ultimate list of 10 summer essentials from some of my favourite retailers for less than $100.
#1 The Crop Top
I know. Right now, you’re probably all, “What?! You want a plus-sized gal to wear a crop top?” Yes. Yes, I do. Because if you’re like me, you grew up dancing in your room to Britney Spears with your shirt rolled up and tied into a knot. And now that you’re a grown woman, you can actually rock this look in a much more sophisticated way. Pair this striped number with a long, jersey-knit maxi skirt or a skater skirt (see below).
#2 The Romper
ASOS is a newly-discovered love of mine. I bought my first dress off the site when I saw Melissa McCarthy rocking this gorgeous number on a red carpet. I’m dying to get my hands on this playsuit. Word to the wise: The sizes are presented in UK terms, so it’s usually a good idea to go for a size up. Shipping is free, though, and send-backs are a breeze if the fit is wrong.
#3 The Mini(ish) Skirt
To be honest, I never considered wearing leather bottoms (anyone else having flashbacks to that Friends episode where Ross wears leather pants on a date? My nightmare right there). But this skater skirt is too perfect for a night out. Plus, no pants means no baby powder incidents. I also LOVE this $26 jersey-knit mini skirt (perfect to pair with a crop top) and this $39 ’90s style printed skater skirt.
#4 The Work-to-Play Dress
eShakti is one of my favourite sites for dresses, casual or formal. I can’t even remember how many dresses I’ve ordered, but my favourite is a green and navy one that looks just like this and fits like a dream. They offer custom sizing, but I’ve had better luck with ordering my regular size. Runners-up in this category: this $19 skater dress from Forever 21 (which I own in coral) and this $40 gorgeous kimono sleeve blouson dress from Laura Plus.
#5 The Shorts
I used to feel the same way about shorts as I did about leather bottoms. But these high-waisted ones are adorable and actually quite flattering when paired with the right top (a casual black tank top would do just fine). If you’re more into the denim look, these $54 embellished ones are perfect for summer.
#6 The Maxi Dress
Ah, the maxi dress. I’ve gone through too many long, sleeveless dresses in the past two years to count. So of course, I’m always on the lookout for a new one. This updated number with a sheer overlay is perfect for this season.
#7 The Jeans
These jeans have changed my life. Every pair before came with a gap above the butt, was too tight in the waist and too loose in the thighs, etc. Jessica Simpson actually makes a fantastic plus-size line that’s available at Hudson’s Bay and I often find these babies on sale (I’ve gone through four pairs in the past three years).
#8 The Kimono
Let’s face it: As much as we want to show off our tans, a spaghetti-strap tank isn’t always the best choice for the office. Keep it classy and stay cool with a pretty kimono, like the one above, or this $55 piece from Addition Elle. It looks great with shorts or jeans during the day or black wide-leg dress pants in the evening.
#9 The T-Shirt
I love a good basic tee, and I love the peplum look even more. Which is why I already ordered this top in black. Another fave is this $17 bold printed tee from Forever 21 (I snagged one a few weeks ago that says “BOSS” across the bottom and it’s my new fave summer top).
#10 The Printed Pants
Give me some flowy fabric with a drawstring waist and I am a happy girl. Put a fun print on it and I’m just plain delighted! If you’re looking for an injection of colour, this $55 floral pair from ASOS is super cute.
Happy shopping! And be sure to share your own favourite plus-size style spots with us!