This summer, I want to feature a few well-known brands that have begun carrying plus size clothing. Many of these companies have existed for quite some time, but plus size shoppers ignored them because they thought the stores had nothing to offer. Fortunately, the plus size community has been speaking out and retailers have finally started to listen. Inclusivity is growing rapidly in retail chains across the US.
Duluth Trading Company is one brand that has recently expanded their women’s sizing to include up to size 3X and 24W. The company already offered extended sizing in their men’s line (which is common), but expanded the women’s offerings in the fall of 2018. Duluth Trading Company is known for its outdoor clothing and clever, slightly naughty ad campaigns. The brand has more than 50 retail locations across the US and a strong online presence. The store offers everything from workout gear, jackets, and durable outdoor clothing to shoes, undergarments, and work bags… and So. Much. Flannel.
Having Duluth on the scene for outdoor gear is fantastic! There really weren’t many options for plus size women when it came to feminine, camper-chic fashion. Most of the time, we were stuck shopping in the men’s section and just had to make it work. Duluth offers a wide variety of plus size styles and they are available to try on in the store.
One thing I appreciated about Duluth right away, was that most of the clothing in the store is offered throughout the entire women’s size range. There is no distinction between the plus and straight size section of the store. While some shoppers don’t like this model, because it requires more searching, I love it! It makes me feel like the store cares about the plus size customer when we are not cramped into a small corner. Instead, plus size customers are seen as an equally valuable customer.
I was able to find a huge armload of gear to try on. However, my fitting room experience was less than ideal. The rooms were definitely spacious, with plenty of room to hang merchandise, a bench, and room to maneuver while trying on clothing. The lighting was a bit dim and cast a strange hue on my skin. It was also incredibly hot in the fitting room. The air was not moving, and I quickly looked frazzled and gross. That does NOT make me want to buy anything, and is the reason I usually don’t try things on in a store. During my time in the fitting room, I was never acknowledged by a sales associate. I even walked onto the sales floor a few times in the merchandise and my bare feet, and no one batted an eyelash.
That being said, I did find several items of clothing that I really liked. The fabric and construction of the clothing is durable and breathable. Items are offered in a variety of materials, patterns, and colors. The clothing generally has a good amount of stretch, making the items easy to move in. There are thoughtful amounts of pockets in shirts, pants, and jackets. Many of the button-down shirts include a chamois in the button placket, which is a fun detail, and super handy for cleaning smudged sunglasses on the go. While the prices of clothing at Duluth are a bit high, it seems that the items are built to last.
My favorite item that I tried on was the Mist Master Jacket. This jacket is cozy and has so many pockets. It would be perfect for chilly fall afternoons and rainy spring days. I would totally ROCK this thing at the pumpkin patch!
My other personal favorite were these olive gardening dungarees. Overalls are back, and though I swore I would never go there… I kind of want to. These were so comfortable and would be adorable paired with a little tee for summer or a cute flannel for fall.
A Duluth staple item that I have been wearing for a while are the No Yank Tanks. These are fantastic layering pieces. They really don’t creep or roll up during the day. I used to buy them in a straight XXL, but now that they are offered in plus, they fit over my hips and bottom with a little more room.
Duluth offers a few t-shirt dresses and ponte knit dresses. These are super comfortable and have good movement. They could be dressed up for work, or made a little more casual for weekend chores. The t-shirt dress I tried on was a true plus size and fit really well. The ponte knit was a straight size XXL and was just a tiny bit too small for me. Hopefully, they will offer this in a plus size in the future.
Generally, button down shirts and tunics at Duluth run a little big. I tried on a 3X, which is my normal size. I would definitely recommend trying on a size down. The 2X was a much better fit. However, I have a flannel that I bought last fall that I feel comfortable in as a 3X.
The store only had one style of jeans in my size that day. This was the one item I found that seemed to run way small. I normally wear a size 22 in denim. These were ill fitting and didn’t seem to have a lot of stretch. I would definitely have to size up.
I tried on some activewear as well. I stay active by walking 5Ks and try to find good activewear that is supportive, breathable, and cute. I didn’t really care for either sports bra style I tried on. The black bra was the plus size offering they had in my size. It didn’t feel terribly supported and it didn’t hoist me up as much as I would want. The purple was a straight size XXL. While I like the look of it better, it had a traditional hook closure and was just a little small so it created a lot of back fat.
When it comes to active bottoms, they had a variety of pants and skorts to choose from, called the Noga Collection. They are stretchy and allow for a lot of movement. Each style also contains several pockets for storing your phone and your keys during outdoor workouts. Several of these bottoms could be worn as everyday bottoms as well… this is coming from a girl that doesn’t believe activewear is everyday clothing.
I tried on a few jacket type shirts and vests. While they aren’t my style, and are more suited to actually outdoorsy women, they were quite comfortable. This is another style that I think runs a bit large.
I definitely found that Duluth Trading Company has a lot to offer the plus size shopper. Their basic items like tees, tanks, and underwear are worth stocking up. As fall approaches, I will be adding flannels, jackets, and sweaters to my wardrobe from Duluth as well. I am grateful they are there to fill the gap for great, feminine outdoor gear. Keep speaking out plus size shoppers. We have money and retail America is finally hearing us!
** For St. Louis shoppers, our Duluth Trading Store is located at 1439 Bass Pro Drive, St Charles, MO 63301.