Large-size dressing can take different directions. There are the women who stick to basic career clothes; others favor a look with a cutting edge.
Christy Wolfe, in the production and traffic department at Trahan, Burden & Charles advertising firm, works in a creative environment where a tad of attitude in a wardrobe is not amiss.
"I tend to dress down, a style left over from my days in advertising art departments. Some of it is left over from art school days. I wear my cowboy and biker boots all the time, but with conservative cuts and colors.
Ms. Wolfe is 5-feet-8 1/2 and wears clothes in the 20s, depending on the cut. "I like to feel tall, and the long, easy skirts and boots accentuate my height. I move better.
nTC "Large clothes are getting better with more natural fibers and less polyester content, which is a major consideration with me. And the over-size look of the past few years was a boon," Ms. Wolfe says. "My best basic pocket T-shirts come from Banana Republic -- the men's cuts. For example, the men's extra-large are a good weight and cost around $18. In a specialty store they may be flimsier and cost $25."
She keeps her eyes open for a good buy. "I shop all the time, skimming the sale racks for major markdowns. I'll find a skirt reduced to $21 and then go and pay $85 for an unusual pair of earrings. I really blow my budget on accessories -- one size fits all you know."
Jackie Smith is putting her experience in shopping plus sizes to work. Her company recently down-sized and she was left without a job. Now she is gathering the beginnings of a plus-size consignment business which she plans to run out of her home.
"I had to career dress for my job. Putting a suit look together took a big bite out of my budget even though I shopped wisely. I'm not faddish, so I would shop the sales in March for winter clothes that would last many seasons." Ms. Smith now plans to help other women on a budget put a wardrobe together. "I've been a plus for 10 or 12 years and my size has fluctuated. There are other women out there who have good clothes they no longer wear, and I plan to introduce them to each other. It may be a nicer way to shop considering that some stores still hide large sizes in some far corner behind the kitchenware."
But she has seen great changes. "When I worked downtown, I frequently shopped August Max Woman and made contact with a sales person who was always very helpful. That's when I stopped trudging through departments that carried a size 8."