Eye-popping clothes and patterns for curvy women: Stealth Shopper
Voluptuous Clothing plus-sized shop wants to “empower young women through vibrant, flattering and stylish clothing.”
Voluptuous Clothing, 636 Queen St. West.
Intimidation factor: Minimal, though sunglasses are advised. It is a cavalcade of eye-popping colours and patterns.
Number of salespeople on floor: One, a patient young woman named Rayna.
Response time: Immediate. She greets me like a prospective BFF.
Vibe: Addition Elle meets Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Price range: From $19.99 for gold cross earrings to $460 for a cocktail dress.
Rating: Three Michael Jackson tunics out of four.
“Voluptuous.” The word undulates off the tongue. Oxford Dictionary’s definition is “curvaceous and sexually attractive. Relating to or characterized by luxury or sensual pleasure.”
What’s not to like? And who wouldn’t want to be called voluptuous instead of stick figure?
Voluptuous Clothing plus-sized shop was founded in 2000 by Angela Samuels, a social worker turned plus-sized model determined to “empower young women through vibrant, flattering and stylish clothing.” The Queen St. West location has been open since April, having closed shop in Scarborough. They also have one in Ajax.
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They have me at the white tunic with gold braid down the front and sleeves. I dub it “Sergeant Pepper.” Rayna, the sales associate, calls it “the Michael Jackson dress.” Whatever. It costs $110 and made by the Goodtime line because big girls just wanna have fun. And the boutique is fun, like a ride at CNE amusement park.
“We don’t follow rules here,” explains Rayna, dressed in an LBD and cool cross earrings.
That would explain the crop tops. “Big women can wear crop tops,” she insists. There is a cute black-and-white graphic one ($45) under the front counter.
Sizes start at 14 and go up to 24. Their mandate is young, contemporary clothes. This is not office wear: They carry cutoffs to cocktail dresses. Khaki shorts with studs are $39.99; the crochet tops would rock at Coachella (Valley Music and Arts) Festival; and a rugby dress with a hoodie by L.A. label Zenobia is for the cool kids on the block.
Get your funk on in a sexy black top with gold chains on the shoulder that is very Versace for only $49.99. An orange-and-tangerine graphic tunic top could pass for a Missoni but is $59.99.
But there are basics like sleeveless white blouses that would work well under a blazer, though the blazers here tend to run more to denim rather than black wool. Still, a red-and-white striped tunic could easily pass for J. Crew preppie.
I am seeing lots of acid wash. Everything from a romper to shredded acid-wash jean shorts. Don’t tell me it’s back. Yikes! I am having an acid flashback to The Bangles. That said, a young woman shopping for an ensemble for her birthday tries on a pair of drawstring acid-wash jeans under a black long tunic with sexy slit sides and totally kills it. She seems bent on sampling all the goods in the shop. Rayna really knows her stuff; she keeps pulling out options, from a coral mini dress with a skater skirt to a teal maxi. There is tons of inventory and the accessories are on-trend and well-priced. A versatile faux croc gold clutch is $49.99.
I covet the snakeskin jumpsuit in a jungle of vivid neon colours. There are jumpsuits galore, including a black number with netting on the front cut in a deep sweetheart neckline that is very disco dolly. And a short-sleeved leopard-print dress with forgiving ruching across the tummy is spot-on.
As I leave, the birthday girl is still trying on outfits. Buy the sexy black tunic, my dear. It’s a piece of cake.