Online stores can be a favorable option for plus-size women looking to bypass the emotional roller coaster that comes with finding an outfit in person. But options are limited, sizing can be confusing, and customers can’t try on garments before buying. It’s time-consuming and often costly to ship back clothes that don’t quite hit the mark.
Amy Skerratt, founder of local plus-size clothing boutique The Extended Shop, dealt with that experience time after time. “My friend who’s a size 6 had a job interview the next day and she didn’t like anything in her closet,” Skerratt says. “We went to the Green Hills mall. She was able to find something, which was great, but it then dawned on me. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. If I had a job interview tomorrow, I would have had to schedule two to three weeks in advance because of what I would wear.’ I didn’t have that luxury or privilege to just walk in and try stuff.”
Skerratt decided to create a solution for a problem the world has been slow to fix. She founded The Extended Shop to cater to women who wear plus-size clothing and want to make a fashion statement. Skerratt started her shop on Instagram in 2021 and gained a following by participating in markets like Porter Flea. In June of this year, Skerratt opened her brick-and-mortar in Capitol View near downtown.
Even though more brands are now creating plus-size lines, larger people still face barriers when trying to access these clothes. “I remember walking into Loft after they announced [the new plus-size line], and I was so excited,” Skerratt says. “Then I went up to a sales associate and I said to her, ‘I saw that you guys expanded your sizes. I would love to try some stuff on.’ She said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s only online.’ Like, what the heck. Why?”
The Extended Shop sells casual attire like cutoffs and fun T-shirts; business attire like silk blouses and pencil skirts; and little black dresses, boldly colored crinkle pants and floofy maxi dresses perfect for a night out. It’s a great place to shop for basics too, like jeans, tank tops, jackets and button-downs. The boutique carries sizes up to 5X.
Skerratt says other women in her friend group shared the same struggle. This isn’t new to her — in her younger years, she struggled with her broad shoulders and never saw bodies like hers represented on mannequins in stores.
“I never fit into the brands and stores that my friends did growing up,” she says. “I remember always paying attention to that feeling. I knew the feeling of going into a boutique and only looking at accessories or jewelry because in different boutiques I couldn’t try on the clothes.”
She’s harnessed that emotion to open a store where women can visit without dreading the shopping experience. “I grew up with parents who were pretty entrepreneurial, and they fostered that in me,” Skerratt says. “When I was thinking about what my business would be or what would that look like, it truly came down to a desire to find a place to shop for myself.”
Originally published by Nashville Scene