Britteny Riordan started Luvsick about a decade ago to bring size inclusivity to the vintage market.
Britteny Riordan started Luvsick about a decade ago to bring size inclusivity to the vintage market. Credit: Courtesy of Britteny Riordan

Finding a good selection of clothes that not only fit but tell a style story is a challenge for most plus-size people. While mass-market retailers like Target and Macy’s have a much better selection in extended sizes than they did just 20 years ago, some of us want to be able to find unique pieces and not just settle for whatever fits from the clearance rack. And finding vintage clothing in sizes larger than 14 or XL can seem completely impossible, as though each and every plus-size item that was originally sold pre-1995 was zapped from the earth.

“The vintage world, much like the fashion industry, has ignored and neglected plus-size people,” said Britteny Riordan, the proprietor of Luvsick Plus, a Chicago vintage reseller that specializes in sizes 16 and up. “They made us think that these pieces didn’t exist or that dressing in vintage wasn’t for us and that’s just not true.”

 

 

Luvsick Plus Vintage
Mon-Fri, noon-7 PM, and Sat-Sun, 11 AM-6 PM
at Lost Girls Vintage, 1947 W. Chicago and
2710 N. Sawyer,
luvsickplus.com

 

 

Riordan started Luvsick for a senior class project about ten years ago, while she was studying at Columbia College Chicago. “I was always in love with vintage clothing, and kept a stockpile of pieces, even if they didn’t fit me,” she told me via e-mail. “I created an Etsy account for Luvsick and in the first few days I almost sold out of everything! I was instantly hooked!”

These days, Riordan sells plus-size clothes from a variety of eras, accessories for all sizes, and some housewares on Luvsick’s main site and Instagram. A few years ago, Riordan started attending and selling at local vendor markets, and made a connection with fellow vintage resellers Sarah Azzouzi and Kyla Embrey, who co-own Lost Girls Vintage shops in West Town and Logan Square.

 
A Luvsick display at Lost Girls includes accessories and vintage clothing.
 

“The vintage community in Chicago has always been very tight knit,” Riordan said. “If you’re selling at markets consistently you are bound to meet and connect with other dealers. That’s how I first met Sarah and Kyla . . . They always had the most unique pieces and really stood out.”

Riordan counts herself as part of a network of plus-size vintage enthusiasts who have enjoyed the expanded ability to connect and find new stock through platforms like Instagram. She shouted out several like-minded businesses focused on plus-size vintage that she considers friends of Luvsick, like Bad Moon (run by a former Chicagoan now based in Seattle), the Brooklyn-based Berriez, the Plus Bus Boutique in Los Angeles, and the Utah-based Fatties Vintage. All have presences on Instagram, and you can easily put together a mix of 80s and 90s work and party wear just based on their recent uploads.

For now, Luvsick is one of the few plus-size vintage resellers with a brick-and-mortar presence. When Azzouzi and Embrey from Lost Girls were preparing to open their first shop, a location on Chicago Avenue in West Town, they reached out to Riordan to do a pop-up at the store in an effort to be more inclusive for their customers. The collaboration was well-received, and Riordan’s Luvsick wares now have a permanent spot within both Lost Girls locations, giving Chicago shoppers an in-person opportunity to debunk the myth that stylish and retro plus-size clothes just don’t exist.  v