Being a “fatshionista” on a budget anywhere can be tough, but Brooklyn is full of great finds for the plus-size shopper with a less-than-plus-size budget. From the designer stuff of W’burg pop-ups to the vintage of Re/Dress to just the chain-store basics, ma’am, Brooklyn’s full of cheap ways to fit your fashion needs.
PopUpPlus is a popup store for plus-size ladies in Brooklyn that shows up every now and then (the last one was in Williamsburg). They feature pieces from designers all over the world, and the deals go very quickly, but at the end of the store’s stay, the entire inventory can be marked down to 30-40 percent off. You can get $200 items for $140 or less, and these are things you’ll wear until they fall apart many, many years later.
At Fox’s, down on Kings Highway, you’re gonna have to dig, but the prices are just as low. They have Marc Jacobs dresses for $64 and Jessica Simpson boots for $35, but you’ll have to put in the time to find something both attractive and that fits, because everything’s mixed together. Fox’s, 911-927 Kings Highway between E. 9th and E. 10th Sts., Midwood
I recently heard about Smile For Every Sistah in You on Flatbush Ave. They carry some designer pieces like Monif C’s dresses, which can run $120-$200. But the real deals here are the accessories, where you can find sale items that will look fabulous with the dresses. Smile For Every Sistah in You, 581 Flatbush Ave., between Midwood St. and Rutland Rd., Prospect Lefferts Gardens
If you’re higher up on the budget chain, but you’re still looking for a deal, check out Lee Lee’s Valise. They specialize in sizes from 10-28, and their pieces are definitely designer. The key is here is keep your eye peeled for their sales. Pieces can normally go for $200-$400, but it’s not unheard-of to get a wrap dress or one of the dresses going out of season for 50 percent off. Lee Lee’s Valise, 368 Court St. at President St., Carroll Gardens
The mecca for the plus-size girl in Brooklyn for the past few years has been Re/Dress, and it’s just around the corner from Lee Lee’s Valise. Re/Dress has new, plus-size designer items and an incredible collection of vintage and gently-used stuff. Sizes range from 10 to 3X and 4X. We’ve scored $50 sequin pants there, and there’s a pair of leather chaps perfect for Halloween that’ve been around for quite some time. The serious deals are there, you just might have to hunt. You can also sell your used items for cash or store credit. Re/Dress, 109 Boerum Pl. between Dean and Pacifis Sts., Boerum Hill
The Vortex, a vintage store in Williamsburg, also has some plus-size pieces floating around. The prices range pretty broadly ($35-$200) and, again, be ready to hunt. But the place really is like the wild wild west: You never know what you’re going to find. We recommend spending an afternoon here. The Vortex, 222 Montrose Ave. between Bushwick Ave. and Humboldt St., Williamsburg
The Macy’s in Brooklyn has some good plus-size pieces and their selection is always better than Macy’s in the city. A $140 Calvin Klein dress can go for $40 (especially great if you love the way Calvin Klein fits you), a $300-$350 Tahari suit jacket can go for $150-170 and Levi’s jeans might be marked down to the $30-range. The other great thing about Macy’s? If they don’t have your size in the store, you can always look online. Macy’s, 5400 Avenue U. (Kings Plaza); 422 Fulton St., Downtown Brooklyn
The Lane Bryant at Fulton Mall reportedly gets all the leftover clearance items from other area stores. You should definitely sign up for their email alerts, too, because sometimes they do crazy things like offer 50 percent off the entire store or 50 percent off their Seven7 line of jeans—which knocks the prices down to around $40. They send out some pretty sweet coupons, too. Lane Bryant, 380 Fulton St., Downtown Brooklyn; other locations
In the same area, Ashley Stewart doesn’t always have the best quality of clothing, and not everything’s always priced right… but the sale section can definitely garner you some solid basics. And you might even find an buried item that’s been there long enough to have been marked down two or three times. You wanted some $29 or $34 cargo capris or t-shirts? Now they’re $19.99. The store also does some buy-one-get-one-half-off sales every season, too. Ashley Stewart, 1222 Fulton St., 488 Fulton St.; other locations
For really cheap items, you can always hit up Rainbow. Ah Rainbow. The home of the cheaply made skirt you’re gonna wear once and throw out. They’ve got a plus-size section that’s hit or miss, but you can sometimes nab things for $3, especially if the zipper is already blown out (you can always sew it when you get home). They can have nice knockoffs in the shoe section too, but $10 shoes will act like $10 shoes. Rainbow Shops, various locations
You may have tried clothing swaps before and left with nothing but a bangle because everything just wasn’t your size. Well, you can try the Brooklyn Plus-Size Clothing Swap (Disclaimer: I started it!) The group meets every few months to swap clothes over food and drink. You just bring clothes you’ve tired of, and take others in turn. Great if you suddenly find yourself a different size from one season to the next.
The choices for plus-size women are getting better and more diverse as the fashion world realizes that we’re not going anywhere, and we want to look good, too! What secret gems have you found out there in Brooklyn?