Thursday, April 21, 2011

More Clothing Options for Western and Plus Size Women in Taiwan

About a year and a half ago, Catherine wrote a great blog post on finding plus size clothes in Taipei with a link to an article she wrote on various options.

I want to add to that today with a find and in my next post, a suggestion. The find:

Best Buy
Taipei, Shilin District (Tianmu), Zhongshan N. Road Setion 6 #764

It’s on the east side of Zhongshan and a short walk south of International Square and the American School (as well as a short walk north of the Community Services Center and some other schools), right underneath where Whose Books used to be.
Basically, they sell American clothes that either fell off the truck, were slightly imperfect or were overstocked from American shopping malls. This means that:

1.) 80% of it is horrible – stuff you’d never wear, but…

2.) …the 20% you would wear is well worth searching for because it’s made to American body shapes. There is a men’s section but women will find this the most useful as our body types have much greater disparities.

In the USA I never had to shop in plus size stores, but I’m used to it here, because I do realize the size and body type differential here. My issue with the other plus size stores in Taiwan is that, while great to have around, they’re meant for plus-size Taiwanese women…which is fantastic, except I’m not a plus-size Taiwanese woman.

The clothing at H&L, MiniMe and 5XL is made in larger sizes, sure, but it’s made for women who are shorter, less curvy, straighter-hipped and smaller-chested and narrower-shouldered than Western women, meaning that while it all “fits” me around the waist, it doesn’t “fit” me in other ways – busts are too small, shoulders too narrow, hemlines too short – plus size Taiwanese girls are still not necessarily 5’8”! So yes, there are places to shop at if you are a US14, but they won't help much if you've got height and curves to match.

That, and the clothing often follows Taiwanese fashions, which are sometimes fine but sometimes…just not my style. I’m not into the “let’s add lace and some glittered English words that say things like “HAPPY LOVE!” and SEQUINS, oh we need SEQUINS and this top needs at least twelve more ruffles and puff sleeves and ooh, let's take this romper, stick some tights on it, add a few extra lapels, rough it up a bit and add some raggy bits of fabric hanging goodness-knows-where and a zipper that can't be used” look.

Best Buy, after you sift through the stuff you’d never purchase, has more American looks – there are horrid ruffled tops but there are also unadorned necklines, hems that are realistic for taller women, and a dearth of glitter.

They also sell interesting costume earrings and some cool scarves.

It also veers away from the all-too-common “this shapeless shift tunic fits you! You can buy it! It fits you!” (yeah, because it’s a sack that allows for absolutely no waist definition - thanks but no thanks).

Other choices where I've had luck:

Danee/SkinJoy 100% Silk
Locations all over Taipei - there's one on Changchun/Songjiang and one at Roosevelt/Jingmei MRT Exit 3.

Don't go here looking for high fashion - go here for soft pure silk cardigans, camisoles and blouses (they do sell skirts, pajamas, pants and other items as well) for work if you work in an officey environment or want to buy something in your size that is high-quality and comfortable - great for under-pajamas clothing in the cold winter months with no central heat, and great for basic button-down cardigan-style shirts for work and blouses to go under suit jackets.

Wuchang Street Market Indian Import Store

Ximen/Taipei Main area off Wuchang Street near Bo'ai Road

From Zhongshan Hall (Ximen/Hengyang Road) facing Bo'ai Road, turn left and you'll come to Wuchang Street - down past Ximending this turns into a cinema street, and closer to here you can find Taipei Snow King. Cross Bo'ai and follow Wuchang until you see the entrance of a small covered market. A little ways in and on the left is a small Indian import store (you can tell by all the bellydancing stuff). The racks here are laden with good finds for women of all sizes. I bought one of my favorite skirts here and another friend bought a cool, embroidered-collar rust-colored wrap shirt.


Cahleen @ The Alt Story said...

I make a trek out to Best Buy about once a year for shirts. For jeans I've had luck at Big Train, but as my cousin has said, it kind of sucks that you have to wear stuff that says "Big Train" on it.

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

I go about twice a year - once for winter clothes and once for spring and summer duds.

I'm addicted to Old Navy sweetheart jeans and have found that Big Train just doesn't look good on me. Also, yes..."Big Train"...that'd be like 5XL emblazoning their shirts with their logo (which is kind of offensive as it is). Why not call it "Huge Caboose" FFS?

Sadie said...

Im heading to Taiwan next week and was wondering if Best Buy was still in the same place? very excited to be making my first trip there :)

Anonymous said...

The really sad thing about little to no selection in plus size apparel, is that it is 2012, You would think we would be a little further that that.

taiwanese girls said...

great info ... most of my non-taiwanese girl friends is having trouble finding clothing... they always complaint that most of the cloth is like XS from their country

Unknown said...

This may be the most useful website I've ever found on the internet. I'm the same shoe size, dress size, and height as you and just moved to Taipei (from Beijing, where things fit even less well), so this advice is ridiculously valuable. Your list of coffee shops and hikes is going to make settling in so much easier. Thank you so, so, so much.

jvduck said...

FYI the Indian stall is still there (I went today) but if you're coming from Wuchang St it's actually on the right now. Didn't see much belly dancing stuff but they were playing Indian music. Bought a great shirt there and will be back for more clothes soon.

Unknown said...

Went today to Best Buy. Great store. Parking is hard but that typical. Some pieces weren't my style but great selection. Owner is very nice and spoke English. Will definitely return. Worth the drive.