Last Saturday, Ron and I attended a fashion show held by the Taiwan Textile Federation (紡拓會). The show featured several Taiwanese women’s clothing brands, as well as work done by fashion students. One of the participants was miniMe, a Taipei-based plus-size clothing brand.
miniMe was one of the featured brands in a story I wrote last January about plus-size clothing stores in Taipei (please note that miniMe’s East District store has since moved to 34, Ln 51, Daan Rd Sec. 1, Taipei City, 台北市大安路一段51巷34號, (02) 8772-6918). I think that in terms of style, tailoring and marketing, miniMe is one of the more forward thinking plus-size clothing brands in Taiwan. Its name might seem a bit strange to English-speaking ears, but it is a departure from the plus-size brand naming convention in Taiwan. Other stores include the letters “XXL” or the phrase 大尺碼 （dàchǐmǎ, plus size) in their names; miniMe’s name focuses on how they want their customers to feel in their clothes (trim and pretty). And they use models who are actually plus size and who have a variety of body shapes (in the US, “plus size” models are often only a size 8 and still need to have the standard tall, hourglass figure).
In Taiwan, plus-size generally refers to women who are a US size 12 or above. A lot of mainstream women’s clothing stores, like iRoo and Epanouir, carry only two sizes (US size 6 to US size 8). Boutiques and stalls in night markets and trendy areas like the East District (東區) have even smaller sizes, but they market to a younger crowd. As you can see in my article, there are quite a few chains that cater to plus-size women (as well as at least one shoe brand, Sandy Ho, that markets to women with larger feet), but the selection is still limited.
I often hear from other women expats that they are worried they won’t be able to find clothes that fit in Taiwan. Women in Taiwan tend to be smaller than they are in, say, the US, but there is still a large variety of body types and sizes here. Honestly, I don’t think it’s that hard to find clothes if you are a US size 8 or below, and if you are a size 14 or above there are several chains you can shop at. Granted, you don’t have the plethora of options you would have in the US, but there are things out there. It’s the women who are size 10 or 12 who have a hard time finding things. I was going to write about how growing up in two cultures that value extreme thinness as a marker of beauty and character impacted my body image, but I’ll save that for another day. Suffice to say, I think that only you (and perhaps your doctor) can dictate what your size and body shape should be, and everyone should be proud of what they have and work it.