My body type is curved, I have a large chest, a round bum, and a rounder stomach (which I love). I'm also plus size. This, for me, has meant that for the first 23 years of my life I didn't think I could enjoy vintage shopping as I didn't think anything would actually fit me. I was very wrong.
I found this out when a good friend of mine took me to a kilo sale in Hackney, where I went overboard and bought about 20 shirts for £15.00. Now that I'm a bit more seasoned in hunting for vintage things in person and online I want to talk about the myths and truths of thrifting in vintage sales as a plus-size person so that hopefully you'll be able to take part if you feel like it!
Some things will not fit and that is perfectly OK: one of the biggest things that put me off thrifting was that I didn't think anything would fit and honestly some things didn't, however you'd be surprised how much is left that will work for you. If you're good with crafting you can customise pieces to work for you too. Each body shape is different and beautiful and if something happens to not work for you don't be disheartened as you may find the next item you pick up is perfect. I've found multiple times my friend has picked things off the rail for me and, convinced I couldn't wear it, end up being shocked when it fit perfectly. Taking a friend with you can really make the experience less daunting and more fun, my friend has found so many pieces for me that I would've otherwise ignored.
The oversized trend is real and irritating: I've seen multiple straight-sized people pick up clothes designed for larger bodies and buy them to give them an 'oversized look' and while it's fine to try and shop for the style you want it's irritating for those of us who already have a smaller selection to choose from. I once saw a gorgeous blouse from the 80s with a tunic detail being held and examined by someone who could have any of the stock they wanted. I think they may have felt my eyes burning into their head and looked at me putting it back on the rack (I don't recommend the staring method however this one time it did work- that blouse is one of my faves ). A take from this however is that the oversized trend also works in our favour because more and more thrift sales will be stocking larger sizes that can be taken advantage of!
Vintage clothing doesn't follow conventions: One of the biggest things I've learnt from thrifting for vintage clothing as a plus-size woman is that there aren't any rules. We spend so long being conditioned that we can't wear certain items on bigger bodies that we stick to things that may not be really 'us'. The nature of vintage clothing throws those rules out of the window because you'll find a variety of weird and wonderful fashion that doesn't always follow the fashion rules we were taught. So buy whatever the heck you want, you'll look great either way!
Overall there's so much fun to be had experimenting with thrifting and vintage fashion, and it's also sustainable to reuse and recycle clothes. However, if thrifting is something that you still find intimidating or disheartening, The Fat Kid is a perfect option. They have second-hand pieces already picked out and measured purely for plus-sized peeps. I hope you all find pieces you absolutely love!
Writer: Sophie Bell