When you’re a plus size person who happens to like clothing, shopping usually goes a little like this: You see something you love on a celebrity or on Instagram or in a brick-and-mortar store. You realize it doesn’t come in your size. You scour the internet for plus size brands that offer something somewhat similar. You find something you like—not the exact thing you’re looking for, but it’s cute. Then, anywhere from two to four weeks later, you notice every other plus size person you know wearing that same cute thing. This is just what happens when there are only so many brands offering plus size clothing at affordable prices. Overlap is inevitable.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can feel frustrating when you are trying to develop a unique sense of style. It’s why discovering a new, affordable brand that offers clothing over a size 14 can feel like a revelation. It’s exactly why discovering that iconic English store Marks & Spencer offered stylish, affordable clothing in plus sizes felt so exciting to me.
Not only does Marks & Spencer, which is best described as a fancier, British version of Target, ship to the US, but almost every single piece in their standard line is offered up to a US size 20. They also have a separate (albeit much, much smaller) plus size-specific line that goes up to a US size 28. It’s worth mentioning that going up to a size 20 isn’t even close to being as inclusive as it gets, but…it is a source of new plus size clothing, and for that I think it’s worth highlighting.
I became familiar with the brand and its plus size offerings on a press trip where I was able to not only see the pieces in real life, but to try them myself as well.
I first tried a prairie-style mini dress with a yellow floral print and paired it with knee-high boots only to have everyone on my Instagram asking where to get it.
I’ve had the same reaction to a floral, ruffled top that I wear just about everywhere these days. The best part? I’ve never seen anyone wearing the exact size pieces as me—and every time I tell someone who’s between a size 14 and 20 where I got either piece, they’re thrilled to finally have somewhere new to shop.
If floral prairie-style pieces aren’t your thing (I guess I was going through a phase?), Marks & Spencer has just about everything else you could want—from linen to leather.
These white linen pants are available up to a US size 28 (though they’re one of the few pieces that are, unfortunately) and come in short and long versions—a common, very convenient offering for many Marks & Spencer pieces. M&S even offers skirts in long and short sizes, which is a little less heard of.
This satin slip skirt for example is available to a size 20, comes in long and short sizes, and is super chic.
The store is also a great source for reliable, fashionable, fairly priced outerwear. Take this two-toned aviator jacket (also available to a size 20), which I know want to own immediately.
It goes without saying that it would be great if Marks & Spencer offered more pieces in their full plus size range (as of now they have less than a dozen), but if you happen to be between a size 14-20 and are struggling to find unique, stylish pieces that fit you (and are affordable), then M&S will be your new best friend.