A Primer on Plus Size Clothing in the Philippines

When it comes to clothing, there are certain things that you just can’t compromise on. Color, style, price, quality— each of these things might be essential when it comes to picking the right piece for you, but at the same time, these all have a workaround.

Your shirt only comes in orange? Build the rest of your outfit’s palette around it. Those distressed jeans looking a bit too wear and tear for your liking? Move on to the next pair. That jacket you’ve been lusting after ending up too heavy on your wallet? That’s what membership points, credit cards, and deferred payments are for. The seams on that skirt looking a little lose? Luckily there’s another shop across the street that offers the same look at better quality for a decent price.

Every problem has a solution when you’re clothes shopping, but unfortunately some problems are a little tougher to fix than others. There’s nothing that feels more like a truly personal blow than walking into a clothing store, finding an outfit that hits all of the marks— perfect color, hip style, affordable price, and good quality— but misses one of the most important ones: size.

Body Talk

Like it or not, human beings obsess over their bodies. From muscle definition to smoothness to whether or not you’re packing on the pounds, there are a hundred little things to worry about. Our bodies are so closely tied to how we see ourselves as people that sometimes the slightest comment or dig about how “weird” or “not normal” we look is enough to ruin a whole day.

According to a study conducted by Australian news and commentary site The Conversation, women are less likely to compare themselves with print and TV ads and are more likely to be affected by the images they see when scrolling their own social media accounts. Body image issues can hit closer to home for some, and sometimes it feels like there’s nothing worse than not being able to find something cute to wear in your size.

Bigger bodies have always existed, but it seems like sometimes they’ve been run out of history altogether. In previous centuries, clothes were tailored specifically to a single person, but the advent of mass-producing ready-to-wear clothes just highlighted one of society’s worst-kept secrets: “thin” is “normal.” NBC News reports that luckily that idea seems to be changing.

Big is Beautiful

Thanks to the advent of ready-to-wear clothing, brands began to rely heavily on advertising their items to make sure that people would buy their clothes over competitors’. Even in the earlier years of the clothing industry, models were slim and leggy, and hardly any brands offered clothing for bigger women or men. Even brands like Lane Bryant that purportedly catered to “fuller” women emphasized the slimming nature of their designs.

Happily, the conversation around plus-sized clothing has evolved in recent years, and even Lane Bryant has shifted their stance. Many people are now pushing for the idea that standards of beauty aren’t focused on one body type, but instead can expand to include all.

Image from Maxine on Facebook.

While the visibility and availability of plus-sized clothing has been advancing in recent decades, in the Philippines the shift to include larger sizes has been a little slower. As this piece in The Philippine Star states, a lot of it is due to the lack of visible representation or plus size role models. But thanks to a growing conversation around size, the momentum is definitely growing.

Fashion in the Philippines has definitely been the center of a lot of focus in recent years, and that means a lot more diversity in brands. While some still cater to smaller sizes and slimmer models, there are tons of brands that seem to take the motto, “bigger is better” to heart. Here are just a few of them.

Maxine

Maxine first started out as Maxi way back in 1999 in SM Department Store. Founder Shirley Enriquez wanted to create chic, casual clothing that was aligned with current trends but fit the bodies of larger women, but she wanted to create an aura of beauty and sophistication, hence the name change. Her background in retail, love for fashion, and instinct for style absolutely shine through in the clothes, making Maxine one of the best available plus size brands on the market right now. Maxine focuses on rich hues, not just pastels, and strives to transform runway clothes into trendy, wearable outfits.

Facebook

Love Curves PH

Love Curves PH is another clothing store that the fashion-savvy woman should look out for. Founded by Jennifer Q. Go in 2011, Love Curves designs clothes with the wearer in mind. This means that they refuse to hide curves behind unflattering cuts and bulky, but instead design to emphasize and accentuate shapelier forms. From casual tops and bottoms, to sleek and sophisticated officewear, to incredibly elaborate formalwear— Love Curves has it all.

Instagram | Facebook

hof+

hof+ is the brainchild of beauty vlogger Helen on Fleek, and despite its relative newness in the market, it’s definitely one plus size clothing brand that shouldn’t be passed over. While vlogging, Helen realized that her audience wasn’t just makeup junkies, but also women who related with her struggle of finding clothing that not only fit but was fashionable and affordable as well. hof+ focuses on encouraging body positivity, and Helen is of the belief that curves should be flaunted, not hidden. The pieces in this line are all about instilling self-confidence, and that’s definitely a vision anyone can get behind.

Instagram | Facebook

Float Swimwear

Image from Float Swimwear.

With more and more brands offering plus size options, you now have a number of choices for casualwear, officewear, and even formalwear. But the holy grail of any girl, especially in the tropics, is a little harder to find. Probably the hardest clothing item to decide on is your swimwear; with everything on display, it’s hard to find one that feels secure, is stylish and flattering, and won’t fall apart after a few days at the beach. Luckily, Tracianne Estrada of Float Swim has created the perfect blend of form, function, and fashion— and for curvier girls in the Philippines, Float is top of the line. [Float Swim offers swimsuits in 2XL and 3XL], and their stock is wildly diverse, including bikinis, one-pieces, maillots, and rash guards. All of their styles are well-considered and flattering, and they fit like a dream. Put them on your list for some summer fun.

Instagram | Facebook

SM Woman Plus

One of the best places to find plus size brands in the Philippines is actually SM Department Store. SM carries several plus size brands in its department stores, but in recent years it’s also put together a homegrown brand of its own. SM Woman Plus is a fairly recent addition to their lineup, but it has almost every type of casual and business wear that a woman might need. From graphic printed t-shirts to blouses to pants, they offer almost everything you need to put together a solid outfit. SM Woman Plus has also been working on spreading their advocacy of body positivity and size acceptance through print and video ads, and they recently invited Pinay divas Radha, Frenchie Dy, and Bituin Escalante to promote their line of women’s plus size clothing.

Available in all SM Department stores. | Facebook

SM Men Plus

From SM Men Plus.

While the SM Woman Plus line has been around for several years now, the options for men are unfortunately a bit more limited. Although men’s sizes tend to skew larger than women’s, there’s still a lack of range when it comes to stylish yet affordable plus size menswear. Luckily, SM Men Plus recognized the need for trendy yet comfortable pieces for larger men, and the brand was put together a couple of years ago to answer this need in the market. The brand was launched with famed plus size model Zach Miko as the first brand ambassador, and in 2018 SM Men Plus introduced three achievers in their respective fields to promote the brand: professional basketball player Greg Slaughter, restaurateur Luigi Muhlach, and famous foodblogger Alexis Deocaris.

Available in all SM Department stores. | Facebook

Maxwear Philippines

Image from Maxwear.

Before SM launched its SM Men Plus line, the stalwart of men’s plus size fashion in the Philippines was Maxwear. It’s one of the first and longest-lived brands that caters to bigger men without sacrificing style for size. Larger sizes in men’s brands tend to veer towards large, baggy, shapeless t-shirts, but Maxwear goes the opposite route and offers men stylish cuts in trendy patterns. Even Luigi Muhlach now wears more prints and bright colors thanks to their availability, and when it comes to his advocacy for fashion for all, Maxwear fits the bill. For anyone looking to check this brand out, there’s no cause for worry! Maxwear is available in SM Department stores nationwide.

Available in all SM Department stores. | Facebook

For more tips on fashion, travel, and lifestyle, check out the rest of the posts on Daydreaming in Paradise.

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Shirley enriquez

Hi. Thanks for the wonderful feature! Maxine strives to empower women of all shapes and sizes.

We would gladly support any collaboration on this advocacy 🙂

Shirley
MAXINE