Every once in awhile we get an email or an Instagram message (some kinder than others) asking why we do not carry plus sizes here at Adored Vintage. I thought it would be a good idea to share the reasons we don't (at this time) and also to address some of the specific responses we have received. I truly hope this Journal post is helpful for you.
Lack of Brands That Fit the Adored Vintage Aesthetic That Offer Plus Sizes
This one is fairly simple and the most prevailing reason we do not carry plus. I attend fashion tradeshows several times a year and while I do find brands that carry plus sizes, the style of the garments are pieces I would never bring into the shop. I am not sure why so many plus size garments have to be caftans, boxy tops, and shapeless silhouettes.
I am very picky about the garments I bring into the shop and I try to be mindful with silhouettes that celebrates a woman's feminine figure instead of hide it or overly expose it (goes back to my vintage selling roots). Some garments silhouettes will look differently once it is plus size, so this poses another challenge for finding garments. So while it's even challenging enough to find modern day clothing that fit the romantic, feminine, and timeless vintage inspired aesthetic for Adored Vintage in regular sizing it is even more of a challenge to find garments that are plus sizes that fit my criteria for Adored Vintage.
I do not want to bring plus sizes into the shop for the sake of carrying plus sizes as that doesn't sit right with me. I would love to be able to bring in garments that extend from XS to XXL, but since we are a retailer and do not make our own clothes, we can only bring into the shop what is being created out there.
Bringing in Plus Size Requires Additional Investment
Most people do not realize that Adored Vintage is a micro company. Actually, as I am writing this I (yes, me Rodellee, the owner/founder of Adored Vintage) am the only FULL TIME employee of my company. No, you did not misread that, hehe!. My team is 4 people. Two part time gals, and two very part time gals that work remotely.
Sourcing, researching, and photographing plus size requires additional investment in funds and time that at this time my small company honestly cannot afford. It costs time and money to source and research brands and the garments. It costs additional money to hire plus models (plus there is a serious lack of diversity with modeling agencies both in race and body types here in Portland, Oregon). Also side note, some modeling agencies list women with 38" busts as plus/curvy... which to me is not plus.
When I started to sell modern clothing, it was quite a slow process to make the decision and I thought and mused about it for probably an entire year before really diving in. You can read a bit about my process and decision making in these journal posts:
"Defining Vintage Inspired Style for Adored Vintage" which was in 2018 and the one even before that post back in 2017 "Setting Intentions, Defining Adored Vintage".
Purchasing modern clothing requires a lot more funds than selling vintage clothing. There are minimums I have to meet and I am purchasing several pieces at a time instead of just one vintage garment. In one month I can easily spend over $12,000 on inventory just for modern clothing whereas when I sold only vintage, I would spend maybe a few thousand dollars a month. The same applies to bringing in plus size clothing and there is no guarantee it will sell (like there wasn't a guarantee the modern day clothing would take off when I started selling it two years ago).
Bringing in plus size clothing is an investment and like any good investor, data and research should show that any decisions made will have a good ROI (return on investment) for the company.
Our Current Customer Base Is "Smaller" Due To Selling Antique and Vintage Clothing Online for over 10 years
Adored Vintage started as a hobby in my living room back in 2004. I sold antique garments from the 1900s to authentic one of a kind vintage up to the 1970s, (sometimes I would dip my toes into the 1980s...the 1990s was highly controversial as being "vintage" back in the 2000s, oh my!)
The average sizes of antique clothing are about a modern day 00 to 2, garments from the 1920s to 1940s could possibly go up to a modern day 8 but most are about a 0 to 4, up to the 1970s it could be 0 to 8.
So over a decade of selling one of a kind vintage clothing means our current customer base is use to vintage clothing sizes since the average size of a woman in the past is smaller than the average woman of today.
I started selling modern day clothing in the summer of 2018 (about 2 years ago) and as our customer base slowly grows and shifts the garments we carry will slowly shift with the needs of our customers.
What You Can Expect For the Future
Back in the summer of 2018 when I made the decision to start focusing on modern day vintage inspired clothing instead of only antique and vintage garments, I was still only planning on doing about a 50/50 split of modern and vintage. Now the modern clothing makes up about 90% of our inventory and I hope in the future to do about 10% plus size and 10% bump/mama friendly clothing, 60% modern, and 20% vintage. We're just not there yet because of the reasons highlighted above, but please do know I am actively searching for brands that carry extended sizes to bring into the shop that fit the Adored Vintage aesthetic and pricing. It will probably be a slow process, but I am ok with that because I want to be proud of every single plus size garment I choose for the shop.
Common Customer Responses & Other Challenges
So usually when we receive an email asking why we don't carry plus sizes, we give a short version of everything I have highlighted above and will sometimes send links to styles at other shops and brands that are plus. The response we sometimes receive fall into these two categories:
"But those are too expensive for me..." Anthropologie ($125-$200), Doen ($250-$400), Christy Dawn ($185-$225)
"That's not really my style" (Too trendy, too shapeless, not Adored Vintage aesthetic)
And therein lies the challenge for me also. Sourcing modern vintage inspired plus size clothing at our price points (average dresses are $68-$75, tops $48-$58, skirts $58-$68) is not an easy task!