In Retail Hell, wanting Plus-size Retail Nirvana? Me too.

Barbara Speer Long Top from Walkers of Pottergate
Barbara Speer Long Top from Walkers of Pottergate

I absolutely hate Spring and Summer.  Oh, not actual Spring/Summer of course, just the annual need to replenish my everyday wardrobe with basic 100% cotton tops, in black, in my (plus) size.

Quality design and manufacture of basics in plus sizes – always tricky.  Black in spring/summer – always problematic.

Now, in a new and unwelcome development, I am finding it harder and harder to obtain 100% cotton jersey for the warm seasons, even at retailers where it has been the norm in previous years.  And no, for everyday wheel-life use, cotton mix,  modal, viscose, polyester or rayon will not do.  Precious fabrics, non- jersey fabrics – hopeless.

These qualities are non-negotiable for me.  My aesthetic look is unremitting black; my back and butt permanently, and too warmly, cushioned in my wheelchair demand breathing, non-itchy fabrics; poor quality and manufacture is destroyed in minutes by carers&wheelchair bits catching, pulling and tugging.

And, I haven’t even got on to price yet … not sure I will; it’s too depressing.  My everyday clothes live it hard and I weep for the £££ I spend.

I am hunting and hunting in all my regular haunts.  The closest to my idea of every day plus size nirvana is the top above by Barbara Speer from Walkers of Pottergate, retailing at £145.  Actually, I do love the look of this top – casual, comfortable, easy – my ideal.  If the measurements work for me, I shall snap it up, despite wincing at the cost, assuming it is still in stock – and that’s another gripe because as well as scarce, when found, my nirvana items sell out as quick as you can blink!

I’d like to swear really.  The whole process is so dispiriting.  All I want is everyday wear – a few reasonably good looking, well-made, feel-good, over-sized, long, black cotton tops, like the one above,  at a reasonable price.

Do you feel me?  I am currently in retail hell.  Where is my retail nirvana?  Please let me know if you’ve found one …


  1. Spashionista

    For everyday, “disposable” clothing have you tried Forever 21? ttheir Plus section goes up to a 3X and you can’t beat their prices. Yes,, the clothes are cheap but if you’re that hard on casual clothing it may be worth it for you to take a look 🙂

    Spashionistta (Alicia)

    1. Elle@plusblack

      Thanks, Alicia. Yes, I am hoist by my own [style] petard here as the mass market, inexpensive, product, I find, is generally poor in design, make and quality so I tend to avoid it. My outlets of preference for basic black tunic/tees has been the US Lands End and JJill online stores which have, to date, provided a reasonable 100% cotton offer. My main gripe with both was that black has always been in short supply over summer and, for Lands End, their increasing propensity to add bows, frills, buttons and pockets all over the place. Both sell at a comfortable $50 – $80 price point which is about £ for $ once I add carriage and import duties. However, for the past two years both have largely abandoned 100% cotton for a cotton/modal mix which added to the shortage of black is leaving me with few, or no, options. I have resorted to using a designer/maker in the UK but that costs about £150 per item. So, I am stuck moaning and whining about price for the style and quality I like. Apologies for that and many thanks for trying to help me out. 😀 Elle

      1. Spashionista

        No apologies necessary at all 🙂
        I’m a “fixer” so I tend to offer suggestions in hopes something I say may be helpful. As I write this I’m perusing two online stores – one of which suggests I’m as big as a house and the other perfectly within the norm. I just want decent clothes, I don’t care what size the tag reads. I don’t wear my clothes inside out so nobody sees it but me!

        Spashionista (Alicia)

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