Living in Canada, there are limited options for Plus Sizes in brick and mortar stores. In my experience, the clothing is overpriced, doesn't hold its shape and has a short lifespan. There are some better quality boutique stores, but the size selection is smaller and the price point is much higher. Online shopping offers more options, but with the added headaches of duty, brokerage fees, customs charges and expensive shipping. In the past, I've bought stuff that didn't fit and kept it because it would cost too much money to return it.

Lands' End is a refreshing oasis in the desert of plus size options. With warehouses in Canada, there's no worries about a $50 charge when the package arrives. Returns and exchanges are easy. And the customer service and quality is unparalleled.

The clothing is definitely not trendy and it's fairly conservative. It's flattering and it retains its shape. I've never had anything fall apart on me. There are no holes like in my t-shirts from Pennington's or Torrid.

Here's a list of some of my favourite Lands' End items:

The Fit & Flare Polo Dress

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This dress is almost universally flattering. The longer sleeves cover the upper arms and the flare starts right under the chest. I like to belt it at the waist seam to emphasize the flare. It's a lovely breathable cotton that's not too lightweight. I own this dress in 5 colours and it's pretty much my summer wardrobe. Throw on a cardigan or jacket if it's cooler or dress it up with some jewellery and wedge sandals for a night out. It's not available currently, but you bet your britches it'll be out in time for summer.


The Drifter Sweater

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I own this particular version and it's still available here. It is so comfortable and warm. The problem I have with most sweaters is that the knit is too light and too loose - they don't really keep you warm in winter, so I have to wear sweatshirts and hoodies. This is a nice, well-knit sweater that isn't drafty. And this is only one of the many drifter sweaters available. There are cardigans and pullovers in a variety of textures, styles and patterns. Many of them are on sale right now. It's definitely something I would recommend if you live in a colder climate.


The Wool Coat

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This is my coat. It's not available anymore, but they have a number of others for sale. I love this coat so much. It's not a dress coat, but it's tailored enough that it can do in a pinch. It's got a good quality zipper, 4 huge outer pockets (there are slash pockets behind the button ones) and those lovely wood toggles. I love coats like this because I grew up on Paddington Bear and now I have my very own Paddington coat!


The Swimsuit

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Lands' End is well known for its flattering swimwear. The fabric is thicker than normal suits so it won't wear out as quickly. They offer swim shorts and swim tees which can act as cover ups or as swimwear over your normal suit. I know I have a hard time getting into the pool because I'm not happy with how my body looks. You can fully cover up and still go into the water. It's great for things like canoeing and kayaking as well. And this year they have swim leggings! I want them soooo much.


The Party Dress

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This is the greatest party dress. It's cotton with slight stretch and finished to make it look a bit silky. It's got that lovely flattering fit and flare shape. And it's machine washable. It's a beautiful, breathable machine washable dress that you can wear to a wedding or a garden party or tea with a duke (okay, maybe not). Last year's patterns are still available in extremely limited quantities here, so if you're interested, it's best to buy now. They'll be gone by Friday.


Lands' End can be very affordable if you know when/how to shop. On The Counter puts up limited quantities of certain items every Saturday and then discounts them by 25% on Monday, 50% on Wednesday and 75% on Sunday. I have bought cashmere cardigans for $30 and dresses for $6.

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Pay attention to the sale and clearance sections. Clothing will go out of stock and then come back into stock. If you catch it, you can get a steal. I got my party dress and my wool coat this way - I thought they were sold out but they popped back into availability.

They have really good sales. Sometimes it's on a certain regular priced line (outerwear, swimwear, etc.) or it's an additional percentage off on sale items or clearance items.

So my advice is to look at all the new products. Subscribe to the emails. If you find something you like, wait for a sale or a further discount until it's at a price you can afford. Check On The Counter on Saturday morning.

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Good luck and happy shopping!