5 Tips for Online Shopping as a Plus-Sized, Modest-Dressing Woman

For women who wear plus-sized clothing and prefer to dress more conservatively, keeping these helpful hints in mind the next time you open up your laptop can help you have a better overall shopping experience.
June 22, 2021
9 mins read

If you’re a plus-size hijabi (hijab-wearing Muslim woman) or simply choose to dress modestly, then you know the feeling of spending hours online searching for clothes that meet your needs. You go through page after page, website after website, hunting for anything that’ll help you create a cute outfit. But there always seems to be a catch when shopping for modest clothing. Perhaps a dress marked as “maxi” is still too short for your liking, or maybe the perfect long sleeve shirt ends up having a random cut-out in the back. To avoid such frustration and annoyances, read on for some advice to improve your online shopping experience as a plus-sized, modest-dressing woman.

1. Know Where to Look

Being aware of which sites to shop is the first step to having a successful online shopping session. There are lots of modest clothing brands out there, but they can be expensive and therefore inaccessible to many shoppers. On top of that, most modest clothing stores don’t cater to plus-size women, thus adding more stress and frustration for plus-sized women. Additionally, it can be difficult to find modest clothing options on websites that do cater to plus-size women. Knowing which websites to search through when looking for clothes can help alleviate some of the stress. Online stores like Shein, Boohoo, H&M, Missguided, Modanisa and others can provide you with a whole new and improved wardrobe.

2. Make the Most of Filters and Search Tools

Although it’s hard to find what you’re looking for on plus-size online stores, it’s not impossible. Many websites have built-in tools and filters to help you search for the perfect fit. Before beginning your search, make sure to have a list of your priorities in mind. Maybe you really want to buy a long dress, even if it doesn’t have long sleeves. Or maybe you’d be okay with a long-sleeved shirt that had a plunging neckline since you could wear a tank top underneath. Knowing ahead of time what you want and what your non-negotiables are can save you from a lot of frustration when shopping online.

Once you have your priorities set out, you should use the filters on the websites to include only the things you actually want to browse. For example, if you’re shopping for dresses on Boohoo, the “Style” drop-down menu within the filter tool can allow you to select only maxi dresses. This simple choice saves you from having to scroll through dozens of short, cut-out or bodycon dresses, which you probably wouldn’t be looking for if you’re a modest-dressing woman.

Other sites have even more specific search tools: H&M allows you to filter your selections based on your preferences for type of neckline, sleeve length, garment length, pattern type, color, type of fit, and even the occasion you’re shopping for. Such detailed filters can help you to find exactly what you’re looking for and save you time and disappointment.

3. Know Your Body

A clothing item may look great on a model, but it might not look exactly the same on you — and that’s okay! People have different body types, each with their own shapes and types of clothing that flatter their figure. Even though no one body shape will perfectly match yours, using these types of charts can let you know what clothing styles to shop for so that you’re satisfied with your purchases.

Another helpful tip when shopping online for modest clothing is to pay attention to sizing guides. They typically include ranges for bust, waist and hip measurements, along with the offered sizes that match these numbers. Be sure to have your measurements handy before shopping, as websites tend to vary slightly in their sizes and the corresponding body measurements. If you prefer looser clothing to achieve a more modest look, you might opt to size up.

Many websites also include the size that a model is wearing in the product description. If you have a similar body type to the model, this can be a good indicator of how the clothes will fit you. Even if you don’t have a similar figure to the model, you can still use the information as a guide to give you insight into how it’ll fit you. This is where knowing your body shape (or combination of body shapes) is useful, as you can compare yours to the model’s and base your shopping decisions accordingly.

4. Always Read the Reviews

Before adding an item to your cart or wish list, make sure to check the reviews from other customers. Compare the photos attached to the reviews with the advertised product, ensuring they are of the same quality and detail. Also check whether people recommend you size up or down and pay attention to any mention of fabric quality or product malfunctions. Since people have purchased the items before you and have likely already worn them at least once before reviewing, these reviews are a valuable resource to decide whether or not an item is worth its price.

5. Stick to Your Budget

It’s important to know your budget before you start shopping. Many sites include an adjustable price range in their search tools, and you can also sort your search results from least to most expensive. Filtering your results to match your budget before you even start scrolling can save you from becoming attached to items you can’t afford, as well being disappointed when you can’t buy it. Be sure to also take advantage of sales, discounts and deals. Unidays offers an ever-growing collection of discounts and deals for college students, making it a great first stop when shopping online.

You might also consider creating a designated email for the sole purpose of signing up for mailing lists; being on a mailing list guarantees that you’re always up to date on the latest sales while keeping your regular inbox from becoming flooded. It also makes it easier for you to glance through each email separately during your downtime, and then you can have them ready for whenever you want to shop. Scanning through the sale section of a website first is useful as well, as you might find what you’re looking for at a fraction of its regular cost without having to search through separate departments.

Recalling these tips the next time you go shopping online for modest clothing is sure to help you have a much more positive overall experience. With summer underway, remember to use this advice to put together the ultimate wardrobe for a safe, healthy and unforgettable summer break!

Salma Heram, George Washington University

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Salma Heram

George Washington University
Biology, minor in Korean and Public Health

Salma is a sophomore at the George Washington University and lives in Richmond, Virginia. When not juggling her college course load, she loves photography, writing, exploring different cultures and trying new foods.

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