Being a minority of any type is not an easy task. Regrettably, most of the clothing and other wearables that are out on the market are aimed at the “typical” white American of European descent, with no regard given to how that style or shape might look on someone else. While there seems to be a bit of progression in the area of African American stylings, there hasn’t been much done yet with Asian American women’s clothing, so you have to be a little clever in your search for clothes that fit.
Perhaps the easiest way to find an outfit that fits is to buy one that’s made by an Asian American designer. After all, if the clothes are made by someone who knows what it’s like to
them, it can be an amazing thing. One excellent source for Asian American designers is found on this list from AArisings
, which shows over 90 clothing stores and sites that include items designed by Asian Americans. This might be ideal, but it’s understandable that these designers and sites are not going to have all the items you need to make up a wardrobe.
If you’re looking for a great store, I’d recommend Talbots. (Both the online site and offline shops.) This store has many different classic styles, and most of them are available in petites as well (under 5’4″). They also have sizes that run from 2-24W. Tailored looks tend to work well on Asian Americans because of their thinner (not necessarily skinny) frames and differing proportions from caucasians.
Another issue that Asian American women can face is finding plus sized clothing. Not all Asian Americans are petite, that’s a fallacy, but they aren’t all within designers’ normal sizes either. Big Red Chair is a great resource for finding plus sized clothing, with many links and articles about finding larger clothing. Especially of note is the petite plus size section, which can be helpful if you are on the short side but not necessarily thin.
If all else fails, you can always have items that you really like altered at a cleaner’s or other tailor. This option is good if you find something that you just can’t live without, but isn’t available in your size. You could even go so far as to get items completely made for you. One site that states they can do this is My Custom Tailor. You are able to create a custom measurement profile on the site and have your articles of clothing created to your specifications. This isn’t cheap, a regular button down shirt costs about $38, but you do have your choices of styles and fabrics.
Shoes can be tricky as well, due to some Asian American women needing smaller and more slender styles. A great shoe store for anyone with a hard to fit foot is Zappos. This online shoe seller has sizes all the way from the super small size 3 AAAA to size 12 and up wide widths. Narrow widths can be the hardest to find, but this store has them in abundance. You can get dressy, casual and athletic shoes here.
Don’t despair, you too can be a fashion maven with a little bit of searching around!