I wasn't figuring on starting a blog, but good information deserves to be shared. And everybody deserves a closet that makes them smile.
Modcloth was purchased this week by Jet.com/Walmart. This has led to extensive wailing and gnashing of teeth from all corners of my feed and friend-sphere. I’m with you in sorrow! But I happen to also spend a good chunk of my time shopping professionally for clothes. For those of you new here (everyone, hi!) I'm a professional freelance costume designer, costume crafts artisan, shopper, swatcher, maker-of-things and serious Finder of Stuff. My spidey-sense around thrift stores is occasionally uncanny.
So I figured – “Hey, why not give everyone some new options?” Below find a list of more than 35 vendors of different stripes to hopefully fill the ModCloth-shaped gap in your closet.
With this list I’ve tried to give y’all options for specifically replacing the general selection of ModCloth as I understand it: vintage-inspired options for daytime and dress-up, contemporary cheerful work-wear, whimsical fun and clever patterns, twee cuteness with foxes and bears and a bird on it, a sprinkle of nerdy/spooky/insert-subcultural-flavor-here, some sexy power-pieces, and wide size variety.
I’ve tried to hunt plus- and petite-friendly wherever I find them, and even some designated stuff for taller folk. Where there’s an across the board size limitation/complication (such as UK or juniors sizing) it’s generally mentioned. Since I'm working within the general Modcloth-alignment this list trends overwhelmingly towards femme-oriented looks. Where I’ve found good options for gents-of-center and more androgynous folk, those are noted. Stay tuned for a hopefully masc-focused pull list in the future!
I’ll be honest here, I haven’t done the Huge Big Deep Dive into the ethics of all of these companies and vendors, but where there’s an issue I know about I’ve noted it. Likewise when a vendor is doing Really Good Work, that’s mentioned too. Your ethics and intensity of need-to-know on the labor practices side of things are your own, and I highly encourage further research.
The Big List is essentially broken into Ready to Ship and Requires Turnaround Time sections, because as a costume designer, I find the time expectation an important thing to know. Not much point in ordering a dress for a wedding next weekend and discovering it's not showing up for three months! Plus, ModCloth was reliable for speed and availability. I've also given info where I find it on Returns and Exchanges, since they're almost as important as selection. (Thus, NO Zulily, that heartbreaker.)
The Turnaround Time section also includes Etsy merchants and independent artisans who have smaller operations or highly specific collections. They might also be more potentially customizable - get in contact and ask! Honestly, Etsy is a vast world of its own, and this would be a book if I went any further than I did. Go and explore, and get back to me with who you love to work with, okay? (Please!)
Check the Index Lists at the end of the reviews for specific collections of vendors tailored to your tastes and fit. I've broken the block up into Vintage Inspired, Contemporary, Workwear & Staples, Occasionwear, Casual Nerdy, Spookybilly* & Goth, Plus, Petite, Tall...etc. This way you don't have to hunt through 35 reviews to find what you're really looking for. (Unless you want to.) There's also some extra sites down at the end for you to explore on your own, since this was getting long, and I believe in adventures.
One last note: All opinions & flavor-text sass within are my own, gathered from scanning scads of sites while compiling this survey. In all cases, whether you take my advice or not, with any online shopping Your Mileage May Vary.
If you'd like the indexed and formatted, more easily searchable Google Doc, let me know up in Contact. I’d love your feedback on where you find the Good Stuff, and if any of these spots work out well for you, drop me a line in the comments. I love hearing about people's discoveries.
Now: Go forth and be fabulous, my darlings.
NOTE: Updated "Additional Stores" 5/15/17
*It occurs to me now that apparently "spookybilly" is a term I've been carrying around in my head for years, and that nobody else on the internets uses it. Well what the heck else to call the fusion of vintage/rockabilly-style items with bats and coffins and spiderwebby bits on them? (See: Oblong Box Shop) It's about time the Spookybilly genre got distinctive recognition and a fun name. (Ok, as noted, 'gothabilly' is also an option, but I think spookybilly is more fun to say. ;) )
Larger Vendors & Ready-to-Ship
Etsy Vendors, Small Indie Businesses, and Sites with Turnaround Times
Larger Vendors & Ready-to-Ship:
Details: Monster-big site of contemporary fashion choices, tons and tons of options, reasonable-to-cheap pricing. Good search functionality, and you’re gonna need it. Plus sizes, petites and tall sizes searchable and available. Vast quantities of accessories also. Think: Big Internet H&M, and then MORE.
Size: 00-24, variable by item.
Return/Exchange: Free within 28 days of delivery, including sale items.
Details: Unfussy, comfy-focused daytime and cheerful workwear - simple lines, bright color options, cashmere sweaters and great functional essentials. Comparable flavor but more limited selection on the gents-identified side of the collection. On the higher end, price-wise, but high quality too, worth the investment and they stand by their product.
Size: 0/2-18. Specific proportionally-adjusted petite collection available (not just shorter hems!)
Return/Exchange: Exceptionally generous return policy - 90 days full refund or a YEAR if dissatisfied for an exchange or store credit.
Note: Their Outfit Maker page is fun to play with, and consider the possibilities in a paper-doll way. http://outfit.bodenusa.com/
Details: UK-based swing, pinup and mod styles. Very ModCloth-comparable in terms of aesthetics, whimsical patterns and fun-whimsical accessories, though a more limited selection on the accessories front. Great occasion-wear, a little steeper price point.
Size: US 0-18, depending on brand. Check your sizing on their site for UK>US.
Return/Exchange: Refund within 14 days, up to 28 days for store credit. Exchange window 14 days, run through online store credit.
Details: For the rockabilly and swing kids - all the wiggle dresses, circle skirts and bowling shirts that you could possibly need to get your dance on. They stock Stop Staring!, Diva, Betty Page, Voodoo Vixen, Lucky 13 - the whole gamut, including dresses that are no longer in production. Check their “Specials!” section for some truly absurd deals on vintage fab. Since 1996, and so is their website...
Size: XS-4X, depending on brand and availability
Return/Exchange: 30 days from purchase.
Details: Fab contemporary plus-size daywear and occasion-wear. Thoughtfully curated selections, for work or party. Great jumpsuits and jackets! Petite and tall friendly, too.
Size: 14-28, specific petite options.
Return/Exchange: 30 days.
Details: Vast selection of constantly expanding customizable options for everyday and occasion-wear. Many styles and details can be customized to suit - from fully-customized sizing to changing necklines, hem lengths, sleeves...Constant discounts in email, constant emails, too. Can find great sale items hiding in the site. Oh, and they just started a specific denim-focused website, so go forth and Jeans.
Return/Exchange: No exchanges - refunds for orders up to 30 days, store credit 31-60 days. Use refund or store credit for exchange. They used to not refund for customizations, but it seems they’ve changed this! Yay! (If I’m wrong about this, someone please tell me and I will be sad again…)
Details: A bit of that Scandinavian/lagenlook layering time for the cozy-lovers. For the cheerful contemporary semi-Viking approach. And colorful housewares! Shipping from Sweden, but they also have a store in SoHo.
Size: 4 to 24, not so fitted
Return/Exchange: 30 days, full refund.
Heart of Haute
Details: Cute swing dresses in a wide range of styles, fun prints and patterns, as well as adorable knit tops. They also specialize in bridal parties. Some items in limited quantity & sizing. Check out their “Last Call” section for special items, and their sneaky “Sale Rack” for samples and irregulars for deep discounts.
Return/Exchange: Within 14 days of delivery for refund, up to 30 days for store credit. Sale Rac items only returnable for store credit.
Hot Topic/Her Universe
Details: I’m counting these as one unit since Her Universe is a subsidiary of Hot Topic. Fandom daywear fashions for all figures, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel license products and apparel. Buckets and buckets of accessories. Quality variable.
Sizes: XS-5X, depending on product and availability. Some HT products run small, YMMV.
Return/Exchange: Within 30 days of purchase, and can be returned at stores or via mail.
House of Foxy
Details: UK-based vintage-style repro, including awesome colorful ‘40s high-waisted swing pants, wiggle dresses, and smart blouses for days when you just want to be Trixie from “Call the Midwife.” (Answer: ALWAYS.)
Size: UK sizing, check your conversions. US equivalents 4-20.
Return/Exchange: 28 days for refund, no exchange info.
Details: UK-based cute swing dresses and vintage flair, for more in the realm of whimsical prints and stuff that makes you feel like a clever AND fancy princess. You want skirts with hem-printed cityscapes? This is your jam, darlings. Also, cheap petticoats.
Size: XS-6XL, but note: They run SMALL because they use UK sizing. Check your conversions, 6XL is probably closer to a 4XL (Where a 4XL = 18)
Return/Exchange: Return for refund within 14 days of delivery. No info on exchanges.
Details: Contemporary day wand workwear filling in the colorful pants/shorts and cheerfully patterned loose blouse section of your wardrobe. Great quality for good mix-and-matchables.
Size: XXS-XXL (00-18) with petite and tall sizes too.
Return/Exchange: In store or shipped, 45 days for refund. Easy exchanges.
Details: Extensive, affordable stock of fast-casual, party and formalwear. Not plus-friendly at all.
Size: Juniors sizing throughout, so be aware. “S-XL” really is 0-10.
Return/Exchange: Free return shipping w/in 7 days, refundable/free exchange within 30 days.
Details: Contemporary to fashion-forward day and workwear, sorta between that Modcloth and H&M/Zara vibe. Simple lines, mostly plain fabrics without much embellishment - on the restrained simplicity-to-severity spectrum. Some interesting styles and funky silhouettes to play with, depending on your personal tastes. Actually, some great, more androgynous stuff in the “office wear” section, too. “Violeta” is their plus-size line - a bit breezier and more limited, but there’s some great blazers and jackets, more workwear.
Sizes: XXS-XL, main Mango 1-16, Violeta 8-22. I’m just going to go out on a limb here and assume stuff on the main Mango side runs small, looking at the cut and style.
Return/Exchange: Within 30 days of purchase by mail or in store.
Details: Fair-labor, Chicago-based, ethically-run company working with artisans in India and Nepal incorporating traditional techniques, awesome prints, and fun, vintage-flavored tops, skirts and dresses. Natural fabrics! They get a lot of love.
Size: 4-14, generally, with a limited selection of “curvy” styles up to 24/26.
Return/Exchange: Return with refund before 30 days, store credit after.
Pinup Girl Clothing
Details: Vintage styles all over, tops, skirts, dresses and fun print collections. Swimwear, too. Great plus-size options, some specifically tall- and petite-friendly selections - even some maternity-friendly. Their wiggle dresses are the sexy on every person I’ve seen wear them, all kinds of body types.
Note: PUG came under fire for a culturally appropriative “Chinese New Year” collection, shot without any Asian models and featuring a dragon print in the Year of the Rooster...They apologized, removed the collection, and re-shot the remaining pieces with an Asian model, although the items remain for sale. YMMV on what constitutes appropriate apologies and action taken on appropriation.
Return/Exchange: Returns refund up to 14 days, store credit up to 30 days. Exchanges free up to 30 days. Must call or request for return.
Details: Fun occasionwear and casuals for the Goth and Spookybilly set, funky housewares and accessories. Great vintage-style shoe section.
Size: XS-2X (2-20) Variable by item, I think.
Return/Exchange: Refunds/returns free before 20 days. Credit before 30. Final after 30 days. A little fussy-sounding, no refund on sale items.
Details: I will never step on anyone’s desire (much less my own) to look like Sibyl Trelawney/the world’s most magical high school art teacher/the queen of breezy tie dye and chakra alignment, and so, welcome back to the Pyramid Collection. If you’re at all like me, you probably spent an inordinate amount of time back in the whenwhen reading their catalogue cover-to-cover, and let me tell you they have not changed, hurray! That said, taking pieces on an individual level, with some hunting there’s really a little something for just about everyone in there, alongside the delightful flavor text...Tunics and leggings, bat-collar blouses, Victorian boots, chunky gemmy jewelry, vibrators, palazzo pants, capes, cute sweaters with foxes on ‘em. The works.
Return/Exchange: 100% satisfaction guarantee for refund, exchange or store credit, window of time unknown. (Ask your pendulum.)
Details: Anthropologie-ish bohemian printed blouses, dresses and such for way more appealing prices. Pretty curated, so not the widest selection, but some nice stuff in there. Based in Savannah, GA. Some good accessories and jewelry.
Size: Some limited sizing depending on item availability, mostl S-L with a few XL, 0-14
Return/Exchange: Within 14 days of delivery, call for authorization.
Details: Sweet, sometimes pastel-oriented cute contemporary to vintage styled affordable daywear. Not plus-friendly at all. (Their “curvy plus section” is currently a whole THREE shirts, I mean, really.) Probably good for petites.
Size: Juniors sizing across the board - call it sizes 2-10.
Return/Exchange: Within 30 days of ship date.
Details: Fun, fly, fab. Plus-friendly stretch and knitwear-focused, with dresses, jumpsuits, swimwear etc. Fiercely sexy, for being a boss all over the place.
Return/Exchange: Free exchange up to 14 days later. Refund if shipped w/in 7 days of deliver.
Details: Great, wide selection of contemporary daywear, outerwear and jeans. A bit limited in occasionwear. Extensive sale section for wardrobe-building. Plenty of footwear options, in wide sizes and calf-friendly boots as well! UK-based, but US sizing.
Size: 8-28, shoes up to 11.
Return/Exchange: Within 30 days full refund with tags, etc.
Details: Vintage-flavor goth spookybilly collection; where that vintage flavor includes the late 90s. Assorted brands (Oblong Box Shop, Collectif, Tripp etc) for the rockabilly vintage coffin-aficionado. Including accessories, makeup...spiky harnesses, shoes with bat-wings, etc. I wish their extensive gents section was more fun for the masc-of-center folk, but afraid it’s comparatively humdrum. Sorry, friends.
Size: S-XXL, but no measurement details. YMMV.
Return/Exchange: 30 days full refund.
Details: The name-brand you probably know for night-out swing and vintage-wear. Their dresses are everywhere, cut well, with great-quality fabric generally featuring at least a bit of stretch forgiveness. A bit spendy, certainly, and their sale section is not much of a discount to speak of. A number of vendors on this list stock them, too, so no harm in price-hunting...
Size: 0-18ish. They reliably run small, though, so heads up & check your measurements against their size chart.
Return/Exchange: Within 7 days of delivery for refund, store credit +$5 or exchange.
Size: 2-14 and 1X-4X, realistic sizing
Return/Exchange: 30 days refund/exchange
Details: Good selection of daywear and casuals, brand-interpretation stuff for the subtle nerdyfolk, more grown up than Hot Topic, though one of their subsidiaries. Cute swimwear! Footwear in wide sizes. Good price point and Ive seen surprisingly good quality on some products.
Size: 10-30, with their own sizing system
Return/Exchange: In store or shipped, within 60 days of purchase.
Details: Retro and vintage-styled dresses and separates. Selection of styles in different fabrics and colorways, but when a fabric is out, it’s generally gone for good. Great quality materials, pretty spendy across the board though.
Size: 0-24 depending on availability
Return/Exchange: Within 15 days w/o restocking fee for refund/exchange, before 30 day s with restocking fee.
Details: Retro-styled daywear and an extensive party/formalwear section. 1920s through 1980s themes. Their own brands and others (Nataya, Stop Staring!, Tatyana, Betty Page, etc.) with good searchability. Wide price variety. Extensive shoes and accessories. Decent customer service, good quality.
Size: 0-24, more or less. Sizing details vary by brand, but you can check them on each garment’s drop-down tabs, which is GREAT. Have your measurements on hand.
Return/Exchange: Refund before 14 days, store credit up to 30 days. No restocking fees on store credit.
Details: Gorgeous, high-quality vintage reproduction wear. Iconic “Hollywood waist” pants, a few styles of dress in different fabrics, gents’ jackets and shirts. Beloved by the theatre community for Those Pants especially, but a high price point. Returning to storefront in NYC soon!
Size: As available, but they do custom, I believe.
TaT: Unknown, but get in contact.
Details: Fandom-inspired wearables for sometimes-subtle daywear, non-licensed stretch and knitwear items inspired by Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Hamilton, etc. Long-waisted in the dresses, generally. Clever styling. Sells out FAST consistently, so check her Instagram and site for pre-orders.
TaT: Item-dependent - many pieces are available for pre-order and will ship when ready. Stock items ship between 3-5 business days.
Return/Exchange: 7 days from delivery plus 5% restocking fee, free exchange if size available.
Hanna Broer Design
Details: Comfy undies and swimmies, cute patterns. Organic, eco-friendly. Vermont made.
Details: Bold, fashion-forward plus-size fab fashion - a contained collection of focused looks for unapologetically killin’ it wherever you go. Flip-sequin jacket, metallic high-waisted pants and crop tops, pleated-hip skirts and jumpsuits, fiercely awesome models. Their “Pool Side Pieces” caftans literally crashed my Chrome from sexy glory of iridescent sheer and sequins. On the pricier end of this list.
Size: 10-28, with their own internal sizing system
Return/Exchange: Within 7 days of deliver for exchange or in-store credit only.
TaT: Made-to-order items, 21 day turnaround plus shipping. Rush available for additional $50.
Details: Cute vintage-authentic style blouses, dresses and skirts, bright patterns. Portland, OR.
Sizes: XS-L (tend to top out at 44 bust). Shirts can run a bit short. Sometimes limited stock, but great quality.
TaT: 3-5 Business Days, plus shipping. Possibly dependent on availability?
Details: NYC-local customizable, body-positive, ethical, affordable fashion basics for all people in physical bodies! Daywear, intimates, party looks and sparkly convertible jumpsuits.
Size: XXS-6X and up. Fully customizable.
Note: Items are made-to-order, expect a 12-14 day turnaround plus shipping time.
Return/Exchange: Pretty much a one-woman operation, so no returns, only exchanges within 10 days of receiving. Check your measurements before ordering!
Details: Sometimes shopping for yourself just sucks. Or you’re busy. Or this whole list is overwhelming and you’d rather go watch Netflix. I support you, friend. Try StitchFix - set up your personal style profile (feel free to get detailed in the notes), maybe send them your “Things I Like” Pinterest, and they’ll send you a box on the regular of items to try on. No purchase necessary, though each Fix costs $20, which goes toward anything you do buy. Easy to return the rest, and exchange as well. I’ve gotten some sweet blazers, and they’ve done VERY well by me and some other folk I know in the pants department. (For the record, I hate buying pants more than anything, so this is high praise.) Pricing is scalable, but not on the cheaper end - good quality however. Also a good way to try out new style ideas. The Stylists do listen to your feedback, so make sure to give them some when you fill out the online checkout commentary in order to better tailor what arrives. Here, have a referral code!
Sizes: 0-24W, XS-3X
TaT: You can schedule a Fix per your needs - every 2-3 weeks, monthly, or every 3 months. You can also just manually request a fix.
Note: See also Dia&Co for plus-size subscription fashion size 14 and up. They’re newer and I haven’t got much info, but presume the same idea as StitchFix, with comparable pricing. https://www.dia.com/
(Not Thoroughly Profiled in This List Because Honestly Folks, I Just Got Tired and the Internet Is Big, Also Featuring Reader Submissions. They're in the Index Lists, however.) Asterisks for Orli's Picks. ***
Vintage Style & Vintage Inspired
Contemporary Styles, General
Work-Wear & Staples/Basics
Spookybilly & Goth
Plus - Limited Options