Recently, the family and I took a small road trip to Nashville, TN. This was a family focused long weekend (meaning not much shopping for me) BUT I did make a point to make time in the schedule to stop into the Draper James store located on 12th. A few followers had reached out asking me if I'd do a try-on in store of the Draper James plus size line because they were curious how things fit. I was happy to oblige! (Heads up - there is a coupon link at the end of this post, so make sure to check for it after reviewing the in store try-on below!)
Let's talk first about first impressions. The store is beautiful, inside and out. The blue and white striped wall on the the exterior of their store is the perfect backdrop for taking your picture while in town. During the pandemic, they have limited the number of people in the store at one time (which I appreciated!). At times there was a small line out front, but there was the friendliest staff member from Draper James standing with us at the door letting people in as others exited.
While this is not something I would normally note about my shopping experience, I think with this review, it makes sense to mention it: The staff member that was working the front door was plus size herself and wearing a beautiful Draper James shift dress (out of stock in plus on the website). Seeing someone that looked like me (well, she was younger and taller, but you know what I mean!) instantly felt welcoming to me as a customer. Like we, meaning plus size women, are not an afterthought, but instead, part of the team. I did notice in their small store front displays facing the street, they had no plus size mannequins to SHOW they carried plus sizes. Had I not looked up their plus availability online before going, I likely would have been more hesitant to go in (or quickly settled for a headband - because a headband always fits!).
Once I was in the store, I felt a bit of anxiety, as I always do when shopping a new brand and store, not knowing how it would work. Things that went through my mind included: Where is the plus? Is it in the back and I have to ask for it to be brought out? Is it on some side rack? Is it (shockingly) hanging with the regular size clothing? I imagine I'm not the only plus size shopper that thinks this or has had these experiences. I know in the past it, thoughts like these have prevented me from even going in to a store (or back to a store) because I wasn't sure if they carried anything for me or if they wanted me to shop there if my options were so hard to find.
My shoulders quickly relaxed as I started browsing the first rack (looking at the back item of each hanging group) to find that plus WAS included in the main shopping experience, hanging right there with the smalls and mediums. Everything was extremely well organized and I could quickly flip through the racks (focusing on the back) to figure out if they had my size (24 or 3x is the top of their range and my size). I very quickly had 3 items in my hand to take back with me as everything was beautiful!
I should note, the price point of Draper James is higher than I would normally spend. I think part of this aversion to a higher price point is my experience as a plus size shopper. When you can't see the items, and you can't feel the items, and you have been conditioned to think you will grow out of something or it won't hold up to your normal wear and tear from your larger body - why would you literally invest in a brand and piece of clothing at that price point when something for half the cost might be available??? I'm not sure I have the answer for this, but I can tell you the clothing felt different to me, even while I browsed on the rack. It felt better; richer; more special.
As I continued to walk around and collect things for a try-on (I had quite the haul going), the friendliest (average sized) store associate approached me and asked if I'd like a fitting room. I'm sure this was not coincidence, because it's happened to me before, but she thoughtfully put me in the larger "family" size fitting room that they had there in the store. This was the first fitting room I had been in (thanks pandemic) in over a year - and it felt good to be back!
As I started setting things up, Abby (we were on a first name basis now) pleasantly kept popping in with new things she was finding for me to try. She was SO tactful about her approach. She must have looked at all of my sizes (tags) when she was helping me initially get set up in the room, because she only brought me back things in my size, a 3x/24, from there on out. She said "I can't wait to live vicariously through you as you try this all on". I mean... stop. Just stop. Did a kind, beautiful, average size sales associate just say to ME that she wanted to live vicariously through ME during the try-on?!? Size inclusion, folks. It wasn't just on the tag or on the rack, it was in the experience.
I left the store with 3 favorites in mind: the robe, the striped sweatshirt and the popover dress (pictured above). I decided I would wait a bit to consider my options knowing I could shop online and I now had a wonderful idea of sizing. With price points that are higher, I (luckily) am able to be a bit more thoughtful about my purchases. I had such a great experience, I wasn't limited to buying just the one or two things that fit (like I have experienced with other brands), but this time I had choice! I knew I wanted to buy something, but I also knew I needed to keep things in check because my life as a mom, at the baseball field, with few other occasions to attend right now did not justify a large haul. I'll share at the end what I ended up grabbing! For now, let's get to the try-on!
All items pictured below in the in store try-on are a 3x or size 24 (the top of the Draper James size range). I tried ANYTHING on that they had in store in my size. No 3x/24 was left unturned! For reference, my measurements are: 52 inch bust, 47.5 inch waist, 58 inch upper hip, 63 inch lower hip. I'm 5'4" with an inseam of 27.5 inches and a true pear shape.
First up is this ORM fan favorite, the Louise Robe in Navy Gingham. It's also available in Raspberry Gingham on the website and is on my wishlist. These robes would make the perfect Mother's Day Gift!
Sleeveless Button Down Top in Gingham. A bit tight across my lower hips, but could easily tie or tuck to make up for that. If I was a 22/24, this would work.
Kelsea Sweatshirt in Awning Stripe, in Navy. On the website, this doesn't show a dropped shoulder. I felt like when it was on, the shoulder seam was dropped.
Kelsea Sweatshirt in Awning Stripe, in Draper Blue. This is the same as the sweatshirt above in navy, just a lighter blue color.
Martina Popover Dress in Spring Ditsy Floral (currently not on the website). The same dress is on the website in regular sizes. It's offered in the color pattern: Cherry Blossom. There is a plus size spring ditsy floral dress that is knee length and available on the website (that was not offered in store). That option is here! (I've ordered it to try at home!)
Love Circle Dress In Poppy - on sale.
A chambray knot headband.
The Louise robe in navy gingham.
The Kitty Knit Spring Ditsy Floral Dress.
A straw hat (on sale)
And a new pair of Hilary pjs.
I know many of you were interested in the Louise robe (pictured above) when I shared it the other day in my Instagram feed! Thanks for all your love on that post! If you ordered it, or anything else from Draper James, please reach out and let me know how it works for you! I'd love to hear about your experience!
If you haven't ordered yet from Draper James,
you can use this link to save $15 off your first purchase of $75!
Hope you all enjoyed this new to me, size inclusive, in store try-on at Draper James! It's important to note, this post is not sponsored by Draper James, just me sharing my personal experience with you all.