I’m a medium sized woman. Not slim but not plus sized. I’m busty and curvy with hips and a round tummy. I’m an inbetweener.
I don’t like shopping in most high street fashion boutiques. I feel like a fish out of water as soon as I walk through the door of Kookai or French Connection. If I dare to venture in to an uber-now fashion store I usually only manage a cursory glance at the racks before I’m out of there as fast as I can go. I decided many years ago that these kind of stores are not intended for women like me.
I am much more comfortable browsing a large department store where I am left to my own devices. Where no-one is watching over me as I test the stretch in jeans or eye up the waist band in a skirt to determine how restrictive it will be by the end of a long day. Or when I hold up a dress to see if the size 16 is really more like a 12 and will cling to me in all the wrong places.
But I really like clothes – I enjoy shopping and love the thrill of finding an outfit that makes me feel great both inside and out. The advent of online shopping has opened up many doors. I can browse the world to find styles that I like in the size that I want without leaving home. But with that freedom has also come many disasters when items were just not at all as expected. I’ve returned many pieces, and others have gone straight to the charity shop after I’ve worked out how hefty the return shipping costs are.
In recent years I’ve become more conscientious about where I buy from online. I prefer to stick to Australian shops because the postage is less and returning items is much easier. And I try to buy from stores that I know size consistently and use quality fabrics. I can’t stand wearing anything clingy or scratchy. My preference is for relaxed fitting clothes in natural or soft fibers. My personal style is layered and floaty – think maxi dresses and loose tunics with leggings.
I’ve searched high and low for online stores I love. This is a list of my current favourite Australian online clothing retailers – their quality is consistently good and they have great customer service.
Queensland based store that stocks gorgeous midi and maxi dresses plus lots of versatile everyday basics. Regular and plus sizing in loose styles made from great fabrics. Free fast shipping in Aus when you spend over $100.
Queensland based online store with sizes from 8 to 24. Lots of lovely elegant clothes with something to suit most tastes. They have a nice range of more formal outfits suitable for special occasions. Free shipping in Aus for orders over $45.
Kobomo is another Queensland company that designs its own clothing range and manufactures in ethical workshops in Thailand. Their clothes have a laid back vibe with lots of loose layers and natural fibres with sizes up to 22. Express Post shipping costs $7.50 in Aus or $25 worldwide. Pick up is also available from their Noosaville store.
White Haven Emporium
White Haven Emporium is home to the PQ Collection of wonderful dresses (including the famous Miracle Dress), tops and bottoms that are designed to flatter all body shapes and feel great to wear. They manufacture all their own garments ethically in China and ensure workers are paid a decent living wage. Free shipping in Aus on orders over $80.
Adelaide based Karma East started life trading at markets and festivals. Now they have both a retail boutique and online store selling ethically sourced boho gypsy style clothing. They stock a refreshingly unique range of printed cotton dresses, tops and pants in sizes up to 4XL (depending on the style). Some of the dresses are quite short and work well with leggings. Shipping is in Aus free if you spend $150.
Lovely flattering clothes for all body types in sizes up to 4XL. The collection includes a range of basics perfect for every day. The website has great photos showing the clothes on larger women which is so invigorating to see. They have four physical stores in Brisbane and stockists all over Australia.
Gorgeous soft bamboo clothing with a great range of basics that I find myself putting on over and over again because they are just so comfortable. Bamboo is a sustainable fabric that feels great to wear and drapes beautifully. Sizes go up to 3XL and shipping is free in Aus for orders over $50.
Birdsnest has a wide range of clothing with something for everybody for just about every occasion. The website tries to make it as easy as possible to find the right fit for your body with great filters to find items that suit different physical attributes such as a round tummy or big boobs. They stock plenty of well known labels in regular and plus sizes. Express shipping in free in Aus if you spend over $150.
Taking Shape is a well established national chain of stores with an online presence. They stock a wide mixture of clothing for size 12 up. Some of the fabric patterns are a bit busy for my taste but they have recently increased their great basics range, started stocking lovely modal and linen fabrics and also introduced some taller lengths. Free shipping in Aus for orders over $60 or collect in store.