would seriously give my right pinky finger for a nice, simple plus size t-shirt dress that was made in America and was a neutral color. I swear it is the unicorn of my sartorial life
Never one to leave such a challenge un-answered, I set out to see what I could find. I narrowed my search to items that are contemporary, somewhat minimalist in aesthetic (simple, architectural, interesting, not too colorful…) and tried to find things that were made of organic cotton or other eco-friendlier materials.
Well, I nearly gave up. I honestly don’t understand it, but it’s nearly impossible to find “contemporary” plus-size clothing that is made in the US, and even more difficult to find plus-size organic cotton pieces, that aren’t Eileen Fisher, that is. Of course, Eileen Fisher has both of those bases covered, but only if you’re willing to pay for it. If you can afford it, then, absolutely Eileen Fisher is worth investing in. And seriously, if you care about made in the US and/or organic cotton, it might be one of your only options.
There’s also Mei Smith. I’ve been following Mei Smith on Instagram for a while and LOVE that founder Ayanna Wu Celestin saw a desperate need for plus-size minimal fashion and sought to fill it:
She wanted to provide something different in terms of merchandise and presentation. With exclusive collaborations with straight sized brands, Mei Smith speaks to the woman who wears a 12+, wants to build her wardrobe with minimal, quality pieces, and wishes ultimately to wear the same designer pieces her friends of “standard sizes” wear.
Mei Smith works with two of my favorite independent US-produced designers, Shaina Mote & Hackwith Design house, to produce garments specifically for the plus-size community. They’re the same pieces, just extended sizes, in the same fabrics and high-quality attention to detail. And of course, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the aesthetic. Neither of those brands are “cheap” however, but I can absolutely vouch for the quality of Shaina Mote, and hopefully I’ll receive my Hackwith design house order today and be able to comment on her quality. She also carries US-made Benjamin Jay and Danish-brand Carmakoma which is cool, but not made in the US, or particularly eco-friendly. Ayanna also told me that she is looking forward to working with more contemporary designers that produce in the US soon to expand her offerings. (she has a lot of great items on sale right now…please take a look and support her if you can!)
In the meantime, here are some of the things I found that suit the aesthetic I was looking for, and are made in the US, some using organic cotton:
JUNAROSE tank dress | $49 at Nordstrom, organic cotton blend, NOT MADE IN THE US
Karen Kane t-shirt dress | $130 at Karen Kane (really really like this)
Rachel Pally long caftan dress | $260 at Rachel Pally
Eileen Fisher Bluesign certified (sustainable) black tank dress | on sale for $209
Some Etsy options (honestly, you have to look very hard to find aesthetically minimalist pieces on easy, but here are some I liked) – and anyway Etsy is good because you can usually find a designer who will do custom pieces for you:
Plus size eco-friendly sundress in lots of colors | $95 from Shopkobieta
organic cotton/spandex blend hooded cloak | $118 from phantomlovely
Striped organic cotton dress | $90 from VioletStar creations
bamboo/organic cotton Corina long tank dress | $135 by Yanadee
bamboo leggings | $95 by Sewmoe
More plus-size made in the US resources – not all are very “modern” or contemporary, some are more “trendy” than I like, but if you weed through those optionsp, there are some good basics available:
Eileen Fisher plus-size eco collection
Rachel Pally white label
Fresh Produce (some okay stuff…)
Making it Big (love this dress)
ModCloth has some plus-size items that are made in the US
NYDJ produces some items in the US (jeans mostly)
Now, your turn…what are your favorite plus-size made in the US and/or eco-friendly clothing designers? resources? Please share!!