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home>>beauty & fashion>>wardrobe basics>>plus size wardrobe>>Online Shopping Sites

Tips for Choosing the Best Plus Size Online Shopping Sites

by: Nancy Burke

The fact that your search engine might actually overheat from the amount of hits youll receive if you plug in plus size clothing is proof that the fashion industry has woken up to the tremendous plus size market. And, while we cheer the fashion industrys awakening that were all not a size 2, it has become a complex job to find shopping sites that match our style and budget. To help you choose the best online shopping sites, consider these three things: fit, fashion and finances.

If the Shoe Fits . . .

As they say, If the shoe [or bra for that matter] fits, wear it; but in the age of online shopping, if the shoe doesnt fit and youve ordered it online, its a hassle. Even though reliable merchants try their best to make returns easy, it is nobodys favorite pastime - especially when youve envisioned yourself looking all that in your new outfit. One of the best ways to avoid this unpleasantness is to look for sites that pay careful attention to sizing.

Its difficult to figure out your size when looking at images of clothing on a site, and while most online shopping sites have size charts to help you, they vary in their usefulness. Most sites call for measuring the basics: bust, waist and hips, but some sites offer fairly explicit instructions on how to measure.

For example, one site recommends when measuring hips (also nobodys favorite pastime), measure approximately 8 inches below the waist. But where exactly is your waist? The better websites get more specific and distinguish between your natural waistline and where you wear your pants. Some sites go beyond just asking for arm length measurements and explain precisely what they want start at the base of your neck directly in the middle of your back down to your wrist. Also, while most sites ask you to measure your bust line at the fullest part, others go the extra step of having you measure underneath the bra line.

With all online purchases, a great rule of thumb is if your measurements fall exactly between the sizes offered, choose the slightly higher size. The best online sources realize that every measurement clue helps, and its a good bet to choose merchants that share their sizing secrets.

Fashion is About Lifestyle

The second consideration is fashion. Finding sites that cater to your particular look can be a challenge. Some may be too hip, while others may offer too conservative pieces. Consider your lifestyle and your comfort level - Are you trendy or traditional open to anything or strictly sporty? We found one website that organizes some of the leading sites into basic styles and prices - www.Shapely-Styles.com categorizes sites using such groups as Hip & Trendy, Always Traditional and Denim Desires. They also choose favorite items from each of the merchants and have available a plus size fashion expert to answer questions about anything from finding particular items to recommending fashions that might flatter your body type.

But How Much Does It Cost?

The third factor to consider is finances. Are you looking for affordable, quality clothing or are you ready and able to splurge on a few special items? If a site also has a retail location, you probably are familiar with their pricing. But, many of the best online shopping can be found on internet only catalogs. The quickest way to determine the prices of a website is to choose a general category such as dresses and view the prices on the page. Just like reading the first page of a book before deciding if its worth a second look, take a glimpse at the prices on a random page and youll find out pretty quickly if it matches what youre comfortable paying.

The revolution of the plus size market and the vast amount of choices for full figured women is clearly a PLUS; however, navigating the websites can be a challenge. Sites with explicit sizing charts and those that fit your style and your budget are out there, you just have to find them. Marypat Burke, the fashion expert for www.shapely-styles.com, advises shoppers to choose sites with detailed sizing charts that match your lifestyle and wont break your bank.

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About The Author
Nancy Burke worked for the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York for over 10 years and is now a freelance writer and website designer.
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