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The Lowdown: Here at TBF—and in just about every group of real women we’ve ever encountered—one of our biggest shopping complaints is the lack of fashionable options for women who aren’t a size 8. Finding affordable options that you’d actually want to wear out of the house is even harder. And while Lane Bryant is great, it is not all things to all women—so we’re always encouraged to see alternatives for the stylish, curvy AND budget-conscious among us. La Grande Dame piqued our interest particularly because it is founded and run by REAL women who know the frustration of not being able to leave the dressing room with something fabulous that fits.
Our Review: We’ve been disappointed at first glance by plenty of plus-size retail sites—with items that are cheap, but just not as stylish as they should be. This is not one of those cases—the first item on the home page is a stand-out belted green silk dress that we’d buy in a second. Delving a little deeper, we found jackets, skirts, blouses, suits, and more dresses, all stylish, flattering and in sizes up to 24. The site is easy to navigate, with a section devoted to sale items (which, quite frankly, is where we always end up before long).
The prices? Okay, so it’s not Target. The aforementioned silk dress is on sale for $250, but it is silk and kinda fabulous—but in this economy, might be a budget buster for many of us. Fortunately, there are cheaper options that are worth a look as well—like this versatile and flattering Milly Dress”>Olivia Harper Milly Dress, for $149. Still too rich for your blood? Move on to this Ruffle Sleeved Dress by Zen Knits, on sale for just $34. The selection isn’t vast by any stretch of the imagination, but we found something we liked in every category, and that’s all that really matters isn’t it?
The site also shows a green side offering a “Round-Up” program to offset emissions resulting from shipping, and eco-friendly shipping tips, and their blog and subscription newsletter offer tips on plus-size fashion.
The Verdict: Yea. Not as budget as we’d like, but affordable overall, particularly for stylish wardrobe staples like suits and special occasion dresses—remember, you need to think cost-per-wear, not bottom line price, to find real value.