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General Plus-Size Travel Fashion Resources

general plus size travel resources

As a plus-size woman looking for crucial gear for my own long-term travels, I’ve found that good plus-size travel clothes are few and far between. Most versatile women’s gear, like convertible dresses or shirts, only work for people that are very thin, and many plus-size options, when you can find them at all, are designed for the retired cruising set, and not necessarily for backpackers.

Travelers come in all shapes and sizes, and I want to empower my fellow plus-size travelers to find what they need for their own adventures, whatever they may be. Over a few posts here on HPL, I’ll be highlighting different types of plus-size travel gear, starting, in this post, with good resources for cute plus-size clothes that won’t break the bank, and will help you look great while globetrotting!

In a good plus-size retailer, I look for the following qualities:

1. High-quality materials/construction: A lot of widely-available plus-size clothing is made of cheap, shoddy materials (Forever 21 comes to mind), so I mostly strive to buy higher-quality or better-constructed clothes whenever possible.

2. Tailoring for plus-sized people: Though many stores have a ‘plus-size’ section of some kind (though often small and dismal) the section is often a bit half-baked. Many just take clothes for straight-size people and then just make a larger version, with the same proportions. This doesn’t work very well for plus-size bodies, as weight distribution can be quite different. There are many retailers that have clothing that is specifically made for plus-sized people, instead of just adding the size as an afterthought.

3. Cute, trendy clothes: OK, this one’s kind of a gimme, as pretty much everyone looks for cute, trendy clothes no matter their size. However, it’s pretty difficult to find cool clothes in plus sizes. Though it now seems that many retailers are figuring out that people over a size US14 want to spend their money on cool clothes (shocker right?), many still only carry two kinds of plus-size clothing. Loud, big-patterned mumu-type clothing, or stuff with cherries printed on it (pseudo-rockabilly style). And while there’s nothing wrong with being into this type of clothing, variety of options is much appreciated.

Here are a few of my favorite plus-size retailers:

Asos Plus Size Clothing

ASOS: ASOS is a UK-based online retailer and center of my plus-size clothing universe. Their clothes are not necessarily cheap, but are well-made and last a very long time–I’m still wearing clothes from when I started buying from ASOS, over two years ago. They also have sales pretty often, so it’s worth checking the site regularly. The number one, A+, super thumbs up, best thing about ASOS, especially for travelers, is that they offer FREE shipping and return shipping anywhere in the world with a purchase over USD$30. Clothes are generally true to size.

H&M Plus: H&M’s plus-size section is limited, but steadily growing. There’s not a lot of variety, but it’s a good site to get decent-quality basics at reasonable prices. H&M is great for those whose travel wardrobes have a color palette centered on dark or neutral colors. The tanks and shirts are especially good, but they also have the occasional cute dress or skirt. Note that their sizes run a little small.

H&M Plus Size Basics

Target: Target is on the cheaper side of things, and really great for basics, especially maxi dresses, cardigans, and dresses with shoulders and knees covered (great to wear when visiting churches). Clothes generally run true to size.

Levi’s: For light-packing advocates, jeans are definitely considered a “luxury” item, but for some women, jeans are a must-have outfit staple that simply cannot be left behind. The debate has gone on for ages. If you’re going to weigh down your bag with a pair of jeans, they should at least be of good quality. Levi’s has real denim jeans (none of that weird stretchy business) up to a size 24. They also have high-quality jeggings, if that’s your cup of tea. Since Levi’s are made of denim, they will take foreeeeeeeever to dry, but denim also doesn’t require very frequent laundering. Levi’s sizing is pretty consistent…as consistent as you can get in women’s jeans, anyway.

ModCloth: Though they tend to be on the pricier side, Modcloth is very consistently cute, well-constructed, and has a variety of types of clothes in plus sizes. They mostly have dresses, and may be a good place to find your one “dress-up or dress-down” dress that you pack, like a maxi dress, or a “little black dress”. They do have a decent variety of sweaters, skirts, underwear, and nicer tops. They also have a great collection of bathing suits. This may be a bit expensive for the average budget backpacker, but if you have a ‘dress-up’ occasion to pack for, this is a great place to start.

I hope this will be helpful to my fellow plus-size travelling babes. Soon to come are more posts about different types of travel clothing: bathing suits, outdoor gear, underwear, and other things that will help you be well-equipped for your adventures!

Written by Katy

Hailing from Seattle, Washington, Katy is a travel addict constantly seeking her next destination. Fresh off a two-month summer trip to Iceland and The Faroe Islands, she is now embarking on a year-long working holiday in Australia. Katy’s future dream destinations include Southeast Asia, India, Scandinavia, and Antarctica. When she isn’t writing about plus-size travel gear for Her Packing List, you can find Katy blogging about her travels at Six Bones. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. LT Kerr says

    Yay! I am so looking forward to reading this series. I travel hand carry only, not a backpacker due to back issues, and am a plus sized gal. Any tips you offer will be most appreciated.
    Thanks for the great start.

  2. Jessica says

    FINALLY! Thank you for posting this! As a plus size gal, who travels (I haven’t ventured to the backpacking relm yet, but hope to eventually) this post made my day! I hate trying to find clothes at different retailers and they are all “Clothes my mom or grandma wears!” Thank you!

  3. Kaci says

    Thank you! I’ve been hoping for an article like this on this site.

    If I can add to your list of clothing retailers, SWAK Designs makes high-quality basics. They’re pretty expensive unless you wait for a sale, but I’ve found that their clothes are long-lasting and generally worth it. Their skirts and dresses in particular are items I could see myself traveling with. And as a bonus, they go up to a 6x in most items.

  4. Sarah says

    I loooove ASOS, especially the free shipping and returns bit! Gap also carries up to a size 20 in store, and their bootcut jeans are also excellent–I took a pair on my last trip and wore it a least a week before washing each time, so that’s totally worth it to me.

  5. Shannon R says

    Thank you so much for this! I know we’ve all found solutions for the various issues that come up when Travelling While Fat, so hearing what others come up with is super-awesome, thanks!

  6. Tracey - Life Changing Year says

    Oh hooray for this post! I’m so sick of not being able to buy cool travel gear in larger sizes. I’m also annoyed that I can’t replace any of my clothes in South East Asia but that’s a rant for another day! lol

    • Katy McCourt-Basham says

      It’s definitely harder to find plus-size women’s clothes in certain parts of the world, but hopefully these posts will help you gear up with quality stuff so you won’t have to replace things too often! 🙂

  7. Heather says

    Thanks so much for this post! I get so frustrated trying on travel dresses and having the fabric cling in all the wrong places!

    • Katy McCourt-Basham says

      I know! I relaly hate when plus-size clothing is treated as an afterthought, and not actually cut to fit plus-size bodies. I guess on the bright side, it makes finding a great shop all the sweeter!

  8. Kim says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post. Looking forward to your future posts on this subject. Yes, plus size ladies like to travel in style as well!

  9. Kaitlyn says

    Im so happy you posted this very helpful! And i can’t wait for the bath suits ones!! Im in between regular and plus size so I find things are to small or to big its a real pain! But I’m starting to buy more things slowly because in July I’m starting my travels so I need more clothing lol

    • Kaylin says

      I’m kinda on the border between straight and plus size too! How annoying is that? Like I loooove H&M, and I like that they have a plus size section now yet I find that their biggest straight size is a bit snug for me but their smallest plus is a little too loose….. so annoying!That was as of a couple months ago though, and I’ve lost about 8 lbs since then so I’m kinda hoping that the biggest straight size will fit me now LOL

      • Katy McCourt-Basham says

        Being between sizes is totally frustrating. I’d definitely recommend trying ASOS. The free return shipping helps for being able to try a bunch of stuff and send back what doesn’t work without too much hassle, and the sizing is pretty consistent, so once you find the right size, it will fit almost every time!

  10. Jennifer says

    Katy, this is a great topic that is rarely addressed! Folks forget that plus-sized gals love to shop, and some of us are tired of only being able to buy cute accessories and boring staples. I can’t wait to see what else you come up with!

  11. Angela says

    Thanks so much for this – have been checking out Asos kimonos and think these are perfect for pretty-ing up a travelling outfit without taking up too much space in my pack!

  12. Bee says

    Oh, wow! Just what I wanted to see as a next topic here!
    Planning a trip to the US in late summer (with hubs) and I’m having hard time finding travel savvy stuff for plus-size me.

    I do wish that Modcloth had a EU base as well. I love so much of what they sell. But ordering from outside the EU means you pay a hefty amount of tax etc on the purchase and postage. Ugh!

    Can’t wait to read more!

    • Katy McCourt-Basham says

      Oh no! Maybe if you’re going to be at one hotel for a while you might be able to have a package delivered there and pay for overnight shipping? There are a fair number of good in-store plus-size options, especially at big-box stores like Target and JC Penney. Nordstrom as well on the higher-end of things, if there’s one near where you will be. Have a great trip! 🙂

  13. Heather says

    I almost cried when I saw this post. I am a plus size girl who is studying abroad this summer and fall and I have been all over the internet looking at backing lists but it doesn’t really help if I can’t fit in any of the clothes. Thank you!

    • Katy McCourt-Basham says

      So glad to be able to help, Heather! There’s a ton of cute plus-size stuff out there, but the biggest difficulty really is knowing where to look. Have fun on your study abroad! 🙂

  14. Christa Lei says

    For budget travellers, I recommend Old Navy’s plus size section. Their stuff is cheap enough to be able to throw it away after awhile. I would not recommend wearing it in extremely hot weather, as the cotton from the shirts WILL rub off on you. However, their shirts are soft, comfortable and worth the buy. Their leggings and yoga pants are also my GO-TO, and you bet I brought all that stuff with me when I went travelling! Like I said, their stuff is cheap enough to throw away and buy new stuff on the road.

    ASOS is my go-to for plus size clothing. The majority of the dresses that I brought on my backpacking trip with me were ASOS dresses.
    That being said, ASOS Curve runs a little large sometimes.
    Modcloth is also really cute, but wouldn’t recommend bringing any of their stuff on the road, as it might get heavy/dirty. Though I love their stuff <3

  15. Fi says

    I’m loving this, being on the larger side and UK based, I often get frustrated with recommendations for clothes that only go upto a US size 14 or aren’t easily available in the UK. At last something about travel clothes that I can relate to.

  16. Kathryn says

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve found so much travel packing info is focused on young, thin girls – well I guess you don’t need to be that to pack mainly shorts and singlet tops but I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing that!

    Most of the stuff I’ve packed for my upcoming holiday is from modcloth. I love their clothes so much and it’s just as easy to pack cute clothes as ugly ones 🙂 Have you checked out Dorothy Perkins in the UK? They have some cute dresses too.

    Just note – ASOS now has a $30 minimum on free shipping.

      • Becki says

        I second Dorothy Perkins…I’m going travelling at the end of this month and the majority of my clothing is from there.
        Also check out New Look (UK store), their plus size range Inspire has quite a lot of choice and is good value. Asos stock a selection of the range but not the full thing.

        Thanks for these posts they’ve definitely helped me feel a bit more confident about travelling as a plus size girl.
        X

  17. Anne says

    In canada,we have 2 brand store for plus size and i just love them! Additonelle.com and pennington.com. hope it might help someone!

  18. Michele Wilde says

    Wow, your plus-size postings are great! I was wondering if I was the only ‘big girl” that likes to travel. Trying to dress modestly when you have gianormous boobs is very hard. I don’t want to dress like a slob, or man style, but a curvy figure gets attention no matter what you’re wearing. I feel like my carry-on is just the right size for my bras. Thanks for all the references, I’m checking them out right now. Keep those posts coming — good work, and much appreciated!

    • Katy McCourt-Basham says

      Michele,
      Thanks so much for your kind words! There are definitely plenty of plus-size ladies traveling all over the world! Dealing with big boobs is definitely a major struggle…especially having to carry more bras, as they’re hard to replace on the road.

      I’ll be making a couple posts per month about plus-size travel, so stay tuned! 🙂

  19. Karina says

    A great brand in Aus is TS14 (I think they have a UK range now). They make a lot of crinkle crush type tunics – easy wash and no ironing. I change their look thru a trip with different coloured layering tops underneath. And they suit all weathers as you just add longer heavier layers under them or a cardi over the top. Can look casual during the day but with a scarf or cheap costume jewellery and some ballet flats they are ready for dinner or theatre.

  20. Lynne says

    I second the TS14 posting – and yes the post to the UK and NZ. I’ve worn this label for a number of years now, almost exclusively as their designs are great, they fit well, the materials are generally very good and the clothes wash and wear extremely well. I take their small size (14-16), but the sizes go higher than that. Best of all the great buy from this season will pretty much always go with the basics from the season before. It all packs easily and they have great basics like plain and fancier tank tops and tank dresses for layering. Prices is very reasonably and they always have something reduced.

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