One of the areas that Canada lags behind the US in terms of availability and variety is plus-size clothing options. And it's not hard to understand why -- Canadians tend to be slimmer than Americans. (The average Canadian woman weighs 19 pounds less than the average American woman.) If you are a plus-size shopper in Canada, here's a quick look at some of the best retailers we've found:
- TheBay.com - I'm continually surprised by the volume and breadth of the plus-size section at TheBay.com. They have styles from Ralph Lauren, Style and Co, Calvin Klein, Jones New York, Tahari and other brands, and there are very frequent price reductions and sales. There's a mix of splurges ($285 silk blazer!) and steals ($17 Ralph Lauren turtleneck or $20 Jones New York tee).
- Addition Elle and Penningtons - the cornerstones of Canadian plus-size shopping. They can have great deals, but I'm often irked by seeing that $7.50 shipping charge at checkout. They accept returns in-store, which is handy if you happen to have one nearby. Prices are moderate -- you'd be hard-pressed to find a single apparel item over $90 (outerwear excluded).
- OldNavy.ca - not a true plus-size retailer, but their standard sizes go up to XXL (in tops/dresses) and 20 (in jeans) which is larger than most retailers. They offer free shipping over $50 and regularly run sales, coupons and other promotions. Old Navy's US site has a dedicated plus-size section with sizes up to 4X, but shipping and duty from the US can be pretty steep.
- LandsEnd.com - huge plus-size selection and most items have a lot of customer reviews, which I always find helpful. A wonderful resource for plus-size swimwear as well. Although they're a US brand, they have free shipping promotions at least once a week and those promotions include Canada. Can be a bit pricier (it's not uncommon to see a $70 shirt) but with the quality of the clothing merits it -- and regular promotions and free shipping bring the prices down.
- Lola + Gigi - a boutique-style site with apparel from Kiyonna, Lundstrom, Melissa Masse and others. Items are gorgeous -- but can be priced as high as $695. The sale section is worth keeping an eye on -- there are sometimes very discounted items available.
And if you're open to cross-border shopping the options open up even more, of course. Now tell me -- who did I miss?