For pretty much my entire life, my mom and I would always stop off at WINNERS to go shopping. As we would bury ourselves in the racks, her in the home decor and me in the juniors section, our shopping cart would fill up. For many, WINNERS has become the go-to place for brand name clothing at incredible prices.
But something has changed, or rather perhaps it is my awareness of the issue. Previously when I used to go shopping with my mom, I’d attempt with all my might to fit into clothes that didn’t fit me, in the hopes that I too could have brand name clothes. But now as an older, self-identified plus-size woman who has a passion for fashion and self-awareness of her clothing size, I had to wonder if WINNERS was still a place I could shop with ease.
As I went plus-size shopping at WINNERS, I decided to check out the following stores…
College Park Winners
According to BlogTO, this is one of the best WINNERS in Toronto and to be honest, they are not wrong. The selection in this plus size section was pretty vast, albeit the style was fairly dated. What do I mean by that exactly? Shirts with lace and trim and beading. Jeans that had either a sprinkling of sequins or various grommets. And do not even get me started on the uneven hemlines, that are meant to “hide” certain aspects of your body. But I dug through the racks and pulled out a handful of items worth trying on.
Yellow sweater (wool or cashmere), $29.99
I really loved this sweater, but the fabric was so itchy. I loved the high-low hemline around the waist and the droopy arms. It would be such a comfy sweater for the winter, but I honestly don’t think I could deal with the fabric.
Military green jeggings, $24.99
Finding pants that fit and then don’t stretch out is the eternal struggle. While I love coloured jeans/jeggings and these did indeed fit perfectly (pictured paired with the yellow sweater), they bunched in the crotch. It created a weird camel toe almost, which meant the pants had too much stretch. You’d be replacing those in a few months and cursing their existence. Take this from someone who has been there and pulled up way too many pants falling down her butt in the middle of the street.
Navy blue floral Junarose dress, $29.99
Okay, real talk? I was low-key obsessed with this dress. It fit perfectly, was made from a cotton/poly blend fabric so it was breathable and was absolutely beautiful. No complaints about this dress other than I don’t know why I didn’t buy it. Really kicking myself here.
Pink patterned dress shirt with zipper detailing, $24.99 and Rebel Wilson denim (size 20), $24.99
I decided to try these two items together, and I have feelings. First and foremost, this dress shirt is something I likely would have worn a few years ago. The fit was actually totally fine, except the arms felt longer than necessary. But the jeans from Rebel Wilson were just a mess. They had this little detailing on the pocket, which I didn’t notice when I picked them up. Immediately, I was enraged. It was unnecessary and just awful. Plus, the pants gave me camel toe. These pants were everything that is wrong with plus size fashion. No wonder they are on sale from $128 to $24.99.
Navy floral dress with purple flowers and cinched waist, $59.99
I saw this on the rack and was immediately obsessed. It has a similar vibe/feel to the Junarose dress I tried on earlier, but this had more of an empire waist. Anyways, the thing that made me hate it immediately? There was a slip underneath the dress which had to go on first, and then the dress had to go on over top. Beautiful dress, but I put the dress on backward at first because I’m a human woman who doesn’t know how to dress themself. Can you imagine doing this every day? No thanks.
Yonge and Dundas Winners
According to BlogTO, this is one of the worst Winners in Toronto and once again, they were not wrong. I walked in and looked around attempting to find the plus-size section, and well: It just didn’t exist. I went up to a sales assistant as I saw some plus sizes mixed into the regular sizes and asked if there was a specific section. She told me no, and mentioned what was on the racks was just what they had.
Well, alright then. What I can say is this: the changeroom lighting at the Yonge and Dundas store was considerably better, so points for that?
Blue and Grey oversized blazer, $39.99
I actually really liked this and thought it fit well. I checked the label, and it was a cotton and polyester blend. I know that those have a tendency to pill the most, so I was uncertain of how it would withstand the test of time. But it was super cute on and fit well — this was a great plus-size shopping at WINNERS find.
Floral shirt in yellow and pink, $24.99 and Rebel Wilson denim in black (skinny fit, size 20), $24.99
So this outfit is everything that is wrong with plus-size fashion. A shirt with competitive patterns and an uneven hemline, with a tail in the back to cover your butt. A pair of jeans that actually fit, but then you look at the bottom and there are all these unnecessary detailings that go half-way up the leg. WHY!?!
Yellow knitted sweater, $29.99
I loved this knitted sweater so much and it was comfortable and not itchy. Honestly, I could imagine this being one of my go-to sweaters for winter. I loved the button detailing on the side that you could undo to reveal a shirt.
So what’s my verdict for plus-size shopping at WINNERS?
Well, it’s clear you can go shopping at WINNERS but akin to Value Village, it’s about the hunt. WINNERS will acquire overstock or items from brands or labels that are off-season or never succeeded for them. The taste in plus-size is questionable, at best. Right now (in my opinion) the plus-size sections seem to skew older, rather than younger. While WINNERS really prides itself on being a store for brand names, the only two labels I recognized while shopping in the plus section were Junarose and Rebel Wilson, which is great, but I went to two different stores. We need more than two recognizable brand names in those sections considering the straight size sections have so many recognizable brands. If you have the time to spend, check it out. But to be honest, Winners is hit and miss considering I only loved three out of the ten things I tried on.
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