The 21 Best Mid-Rise Fashion Brands, According to a Fashion Editor
For mid-size shoppers like me, time in the fitting room usually turns into a Goldilocks scenario – the clothes are just a little too big, a little too small, but never quite right. With the fashion industry’s fixation on small sizes, existing on the larger end of the straight sizing spectrum can be difficult. When you wear sizes L/XL, you’re often too big to shop at standard stores, but you’re still too small to do business with plus-size brands.
As a small but curvy size 10/12 (Bust: 40″, Waist: 33″, Hips: 45″), I fit right into the size medium category. As a result, I don’t fits perfectly in most of my clothes. I’m tired of too tight XXL (yes, really) and embarrassing moments at my local Zara. I knew there had to be other viable options; I live in New York, for crying out loud! If finding cute clothes was hard for me, as a fashion editor living in a fashion capital, I knew others were struggling with the same problem. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite mid-size fashion brands.
Of course, every body is different, so I can’t guarantee that every brand on this list will be right for you. However, I can honestly say that these brands have given me confidence in fashion and helped me fall in love with my wardrobe all over again. Whether I’m looking for the perfect bodycon dress (AFRM, of course!) or new denim (Good American or Pistola, no doubt), the brands below always fit my curves, and I’m rarely the biggest size. on their stock list.
The one thing that could make me love these midsize companies even more? If they also grew to more *actual* size. Consider it a “thank you, more please,” as I stock up on the 21 brands below.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Bella in high school would scream if she knew that I now list Abercrombie as one of my favorite stores. In the brand’s heyday, I wouldn’t even fit into their biggest tween skinny jeans. Now I often find myself swapping things out for a smaller size than I expected. It sometimes takes a bit of trial and error, but the parts are definitely worth it.
Aerie is a great brand for midsize shoppers. I shop there for everything from swimwear to bras to sportswear, and the new terry line is especially on trend for summer 2022. Plus, they were one of the first brands to include mid-size models in campaign images.
As one of my most purchased brands of all time, AFRM is the brand I always recommend to my friends. Their stretchy, sculpting sheer mesh pieces come in the coolest designs (like this lime zebra print). Everything is true to size, but thanks to the stretchy material, you can comfortably go up or down a size if your go-to is out of stock.
I don’t know why, but for a long time I assumed Alo Yoga was not my height. Fortunately, I was wrong. I recently had a wonderful in-store shopping experience and now I’m well on my way to becoming an Alo regular. Next on my shopping list? A Kendall Jenner approved tennis skirt.
Turns out I spent almost 27 years sleeping on Ann Taylor. I received this skirt recently (fashion editor perks) and haven’t given it much thought. But since then, I’ve worn it at least ten times with a slew of crisp white crop tops; it is now a wardrobe staple. For parts fit for the job you can always switch OOO, look no further.
& other stories
When I want a standout piece that doesn’t feel too overwhelming, I know & Other Stories will help me strike the perfect balance. Silhouettes and fabrics are always elevated, so even when they go for a fun print or bold hue, I still feel chic.
Forgive me while I spend all my money on Aritzia’s Sculpt Knit tops. Satisfying elasticity and support, there are tons of different styles to choose from. My 34G chest often fits just fine in a medium or smaller – that’s how accommodating these babies are. It’s a bit of a splurge, but the power of a few good tops can change your entire wardrobe.
Banana is my safe space when it comes to high quality tank tops and tees because sometimes a crop top just isn’t enough. After you find your perfect fit (it’s the Roll-Cuff tank top for me), you’ll wonder how you ever got dressed without a few of these waiting.
Express has a few understated bangers, including chic partings and a Body Contour range that gives SKIMS a run for its money. I always size in their stretchier pieces and my sister (who is borderline size medium and up) finds so many hidden gems in them.
Good American has been such a game changer for my wardrobe. When it introduced denim in a size 15, the brand made it clear that it cared about those of us who struggle to find mid-range sizes that fit them well. Denim is their specialty, but the jumpsuits, dresses and special looks (like this jumpsuit!) are just as fabulous.
I literally buy all my suits from H&M and I want the world to know about it. My friends flock to Zara for coordinated sets, but H&M offers luxurious blazers and pants, often for a fraction of the price. I sometimes go up a size in their pants, but blazers usually run true to size.
I really fought the nap dress craze for as long as I could – but damn, these dresses are amazing. I recently bought three of these at a sample sale and bought even more from the brand’s website. You can definitely downsize these as they are extremely stretchy, not to mention comfortable and cute.
Buying luxury as a mid-size shopper can be tricky, so instead of jumping from one designer site to another, I chose Italist and filter by size. Italist offers brands like Burberry, Chloé and Versace up to size XXXL. You’ll never have that uncomfortable feeling of walking into a fancy boutique and worrying that they don’t have your size.
Never fully dressed
If I could only wear Never Fully Dressed, I probably would. Their wrap dresses won me over a few years ago, and their creative use of color and pattern keeps me coming back. I tend to size down this brand, but they go up to a 24, and many dresses can be worn multiple ways.
Allow me to shout this from the highest of buildings: do not sleep on Old Navy! I would say Old Navy has some of the best activewear in the game, often under $40. I recently purchased a size L jumpsuit from one of their many sales and wished I had gotten a size smaller. This shorter version is next on my must-have list.
It took me a long time to find the denim I love, but Pistola jeans are one of the few that actually feel good to me. Available up to size 33, they’re the perfect blend of subtle stretch denim and classic rugged denim, meaning I can look cute and sit up without choking.
pretty little thing
PrettyLittleThing is the only super-fast fashion site I regularly check out. I find their sizing to be more generous than most – they even have a Plus range and a range of shapes (designed with curves in mind). I love stocking up on their draped skirts for easy summer outfits.
I buy all my underwear from SKIMS (Team Fits Everybody), but their bodysuits, sweatshirts and dresses have also become staples in my wardrobe. I tend to wear a large in their size (which goes up to 5XL) and reach for that extra stretchy maxi at least once a week.
The size of Staud’s knitwear is so generous. I usually wear a medium in the iconic Shoko dress, while I size up to L or XL in many of their other pieces. This dress comes in fifteen two-tone iterations, but I’d recommend all the knits on the site, including the cute and chunky half-zip and the tight-fitting matching sets.
Tanya Taylor is my go-to contemporary brand for spring and summer dresses, with sizes up to 22. If a fluid, feminine aesthetic appeals to you, I recommend saving up a few nice pieces and layering them up. occasions.
Year of ours
Year of Ours is a sportswear brand that has really appealed to me over the past few months. Their Active Rib sets fit like a dream, and the material grips me without feeling too constrictive. I’m excited to buy myself a workout dress from their new Tennis collection for a sweaty New York summer.