I grew up obese so all I ever knew where the smaller sections in stores and even remember shopping at 'older ladies' stores when I was in junior high. Since most plus size stores even in the 80s weren't geared towards those under 60 or at least that was my impression. Things did change over time and a few stores popped up here and there and Lane Bryant realized it faster than anyone that there were more younger plus size women. So I shopped at Lane Bryant mostly. I felt comfortable going to one store (well except when I got to the point that their size 28 pants were too small for me). As I lost weight, I continued to shop at Lane Bryant up until about 2.5 years ago when their clothes became too big.
2.5 years ago I stopped shopping in stores for the most part. I would order things online or sometimes sneak into the misses section in the store, grab some clothes before someone kicked me out and then leave as quickly as I could. I've done fairly well with casual clothes and pants but my work wardrobe and 'not so casual' clothes wardrobe has been suffering. I am also going on a trip to central america in a couple weeks and wanted some things for that trip.
I went on a business trip. Whenever you have to pack clothes, your lack of decent clothes is highlighted. Business trip ended up with me staying across the street from one of the largest malls in the US. I went shopping. My goal was to shop at smaller stores (no department stores) and to mostly look at sales items but I'd be willing to pay full price on some thing if I really liked it. I should say that I'm certainly not skinny as a 14/16, slightly pear shape girl. My time was also limited so each trip was only a couple hours long.
Business clothes the goal. Unfortunately lots of places didn't seem to have what I was looking for. I went into a few stores, bravely but with frustration but went into Talbots and found a couple shirts perfect for work and on sale! The staff was very helpful and friendly. I did have to do a lot of self talk to get my self into the stores but it helped that I had a single focus in mind. I think Banana Republic was my most nervous store here. This day I also realize that there is no sales tax on clothes in the state. (bonus!)
No specific goal in mind but to just shop and see what I found. I went into J. Jill which is a store I love from their online store and although the stuff looks nice, somehow in the store they made everything look the same. I went into Coldwater Creek which is such an awesome store but a lot of their stuff is not quite work clothes, not quite casual clothes and not really what I was looking for in terms of my trip. I stopped into Bloomingdales because they carry a brand of bra I like and they ended up having my size in purple on sale! I now have a purple bra
I then went into Eddie Bauer which had 2 guys working there. I buy stuff from Eddie Bauer online so it is some place I'm pretty comfortable with in terms of their clothes and cut. And although I buy Large with them, they do have XXL in their store which I thought was good. They had tons of sales so I bought some tops and got a jacket! Not only was everything I bought on sale but they gave me 20% on top of it. It was funny because I actually ended up not realizing the time and the store was officially closed so I apologized and they said as long as I was buying, they were open.
This was the day I was going to hit as many stores as possible in a short period of time. I had a 3-4 hour drive ahead of me and didn't want to close out the stores at 9pm and being too tired. Should I also mention that I got up at 5:30am and had gone to the gym?
With some trepidation, I walked into Victoria's Secret. Now this is funny because I buy their stuff online with no problem. The ladies were really nice, I needed bras and they put me in a dressing room with an assortment of bras my size to try. Of course at this point I should mention that when I was at my highest weight, I was a 46B, today I'm a 38D. Don't ask me how that works. Anyway, they were great, got a couple good bras, bought some panties as well.
I went into Anne Taylor which I always love but they tend to use a lot of silk and wool which I don't wear but most of their sales items contained one or both of those! I didn't see anything that really struck me that I wanted although I love their clothes in general. I ended up going to the Loft as well and bought a couple shirts there that were on sale.
I thought about going into Express but with the booming music, I figured it wasn't for me
I went into The Limited but didn't really find anything I liked. H&M also didn't have anything I cared for.
I went into White House/Black Market amused by the idea of Black/White clothes and I have to say that although the store was small, the sales people and others made me feel really comfortable. I think this store was my favorite in terms of the entire shopping experience. They had a few things on sale and I ended up buying what is now my favorite top, a couple other tops and a pair of jeans.
After WHBM, I went into J. Crew and that was a disaster. I don't know why but I felt like the sales people were looking at me. They were all really young, very thin girls. They didn't say anything to me as I walked into the store but a lady that came in a minute after me, they approached and asked her if they could help her. Now normally I don't care for help but it was just odd. Anyway, they didn't have any good sales and I didn't care much for what they had.
Anyway, I was passing near The Gap and then had the thought of "hmm wonder if I fit into their clothes" which I pushed out as a silly idea and stepped in. Their sales staff was friendly but didn't really care for anything there although they had some good sales (shirts for $6-$15 and saw some pants for $10).
I then walked into Chicos which was frustrating at first, seeing all the size 0, 1, 2, 3 clothes. Then I looked at the clothes and realized they were using their own sizing. I decided to bravely ask about the sizing
Anyway, ended up with a pair of size 2 pants and a size 2 shirt. Don't ask me what those translate into because I have no idea.
I then decided to swing by Eddie Bauer one last time, bought a couple tank tops and then headed home.
Basically a pretty good shopping trip, got some decent clothes. It also helped that since I went on weekdays, the mall wasn't crowded so I think that helped me some although I would've liked to blend into the crowd somewhat