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Shopping in Singapore: Fashion for women with fuller figures

Sadly we can't all be as tiny as the lovely locals
Sadly we can’t all be as tiny as the lovely locals


It’s good in so many ways to be a woman of physical substance. For example, it’s been proved that taller people – both male and female – are seen by others as being more intelligent and more capable. Unfairly to smaller and possibly just as capable individuals, employers are more likely to take on taller people, and pay them more for doing the job.

Being much larger than the local population, however, can make clothes shopping a whole lot more difficult. There’s nothing more demoralising for a woman who was formerly regarded as normal in size to discover that something labelled size XXL won’t fit over her shoulders or hips.

It doesn’t help that many women expats are in their child-bearing years, and a couple of sizes up from their ideal weight – just the time when they really do need a trendy, flattering and attractive wardrobe.

Though I’ve had mixed success with online shopping, this could very well be the answer. Once you get a handle on the cut and sizing of a particular brand, it becomes less of a hit-or-miss affair, and you can generally exchange or even return purchases you’re not happy with.

As my British colleague Juliet Keyes points out: “There are lots of online sites such as Next, John Lewis, Debenhams and ASOS that now deliver to Singapore from Australia, the US and the UK. They have a Western fit and come in all the larger sizes. Singsale is particularly good for Australian brands.”

But for now, the Expat Living team has complied a list of their favourite shops in Singapore – with beautiful outfits for women of all sizes! See their recommendations below and flick through the photo gallery for examples of items.

“Isle in Chinatown (62A Temple Street #01-03) has maxi-dresses in all shapes and sizes for around $40. Firefly in Cluny Court (501 Bukit Timah Road) is another favourite, especially for cotton dresses, and Shopping at Tiffany’s (#02-03 Tanglin Mall) has a good range of sizes too. H&M (1 Grange Road, Orchard Building) is my fallback.”

Danielle Rossetti
Sales manager

“I’m always looking for exercise gear: Esprit sportswear is good for women with long legs.”

Judit Gál
Freelance yoga teacher

“I recommend Dorothy Perkins, Marks & Spencer, Esprit, Monsoon at Metro in Paragon (which stocks up to UK size 22), Kitschen at #02-198 VivoCity, Coast, Nichi at Somerset 313, Banana Republic at #02-4/7 Paragon and #B2-27/28Marina Bay Sands, Mango… and Robinsons, of course.”

Aileen Lane
Nutritionist and style consultant

“Aussie brand Witchery at Changi Terminal 1 and Isetan Orchard stocks great clothes up to size 16, and shoes up to size 41.”

Rebecca Bisset

“Check out Workshop Element @ Wisma Atria for both local and international brands – lots of interesting and classic pieces. UK chains Topshop and Dorothy Perkins carry up to size 18. Firefly and Anna Rainn (#01-27 Great World City) have great wrap dresses and beach or resort wear in a wide range of sizes. And ASOS.com has a Curve Collection.”

Yusrina Yusoff
Fashion editor

“I usually shop at Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Miss Selfridge and H&M, which stock up to size 16 or 18. Reasonably priced local plus-size boutique Kaylene at #04-16 Far East Plaza is good, and so is Hue Fashion at #04-56. I also go to York Boutique at #B1-14 Ang Mo Kio Hub and Big and Beautiful Girls (BAB) at #02-22 Bedok Point.”

Beatrice Ng
Graphic designer

“For a nice Oriental look, buy a kurta from Fabindia (#04-04/5 Paragon), British India, Mustafa (145 Syed Alwi Road) and all around Little India. They suit women of all sizes and are in so many gorgeous prints! If you don’t like the drawstring pants they come with, try them with jeans or leggings.”

Mary Murphy

“Laura Ashley at GWC has up to UK size 16 at least. B-licious does larger swimwear and Change Lingerie in Cluny Court stocks plus-size bras. For clothes swaps, try Your Clothes Friend Swap on Facebook, in aid of Habitat for Humanity; and F3 Image Consultants (f-3.com.sg), which hold swaps a few times a year.”

Harriet Empey
Copy editor

Even more stores to check out…

  • Oasis and others in Robinsons
  • Local chain The Station at Robinsons and Tangs
  • Local chain Bysi for inexpensive but well-made garments, usually lined and with good details; up to UK14 if you’re lucky
  • Promod at Paragon, 313 Somerset, ION and Tampines
  • Wallis at Paragon

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