Le Garage Sale feels illicit in a great way: Austin's Palmer Events Center rippled on August 27 and 28 with visitors systematically breaking down this massive semi-annual boutique sale vendor-by-vendor. With more than 140 of them spanning clothes, jewelry, shoes, backpacks, and home goods, that may have taken some thorough shoppers the full two days. And somehow, people in Austin don’t seem to know much about it.
Visitors on the first day or VIP presale get the first pick, but visitors on the second day get dramatic price advantages as vendors slash them and become more open to bartering, especially in the final hours. Ticket prices often drop 90 percent. Unfortunately, shoppers looking for extended sizing are competing for limited stock; but it may not be as bad as they’d expect.
Unlike a sample sale, which usually maxes out at size 6, this event is for boutiques bringing their regular wares and overstock. When CultureMap went to investigate, there appeared to be 41 vendors carrying at least one plus-size item, which we defined as starting at extra large or 12. A few vendors carried up to 3X, and 2X was not uncommon to find. A list compiled by the sale includes every vendor carrying extended sizing, although without seeing the items, this may lead to disappointment (one-size kaftans that run small, for example).
Shoppers looking for plus sizes shouldn’t be relegated to Shein. Although the selection at Le Garage did not include much of the hyper-trendy design of the fast fashion company constantly recommended to bigger shoppers, the sale overwhelmingly avoided those styles in straight sizes, too. These stores may not carry all your needs, but a haul of few great pieces from Texas sellers sounds like a win.
CultureMap went to every vendor on the first day, starting at 11:30 am and picking through as many offerings as possible in five hours. We made a note of every plus size we could find, narrowing down to the top 11 based on availability and quality. It is not only possible, but probable that we overlooked some harder-to-find vendors with larger sizes, or vendors whose larger stock was gone by the time we arrived.
Our goal was to discover which vendors are available year-round, somewhere in Texas. This list includes 11 recommendations to shop online, visit in person, or look for during the spring sale. These are all Texas businesses that don’t just claim extended sizing — they actually bring it. So, let’s go shopping.
11. Holley Clothier — Austin
A new vintage project from Austin interior designer Erica Holley curates a small number of unique pieces in a wide range of sizes. Holley says she grabs bigger waist sizes when she sees them, knowing typical vintage shortcomings, which recently included a “3X or 4X” corset.
10. Blur Boutique — Hutto
This boutique was somewhat limited in range, stopping XL and 14 dresses, but it had a notable selection within those sizes. These designs are boho style — still drapey and colorful without dipping into the more folksy, amorphous styles that overtook the sale.
9. Be. — Cuero
The selection advertised online for this boutique in Cuero (Southwest of San Antonio) is more folksy than what they had at the sale, which included lots of stripes, sweaters, and contemporary basics. There was a good selection of 2X items, and jeans up to 31.
8. Jenn Lee — Houston/Bali
This “eco-luxury resort wear” designer works with Balinese artisans to produce beautiful cotton and rayon cover ups that look as great over a regular brunch outfit as a bathing suit. The shirts are one-size and can be worn unbuttoned. Shorts and drawstring pants are marked L/XL.
7. Spring Frost — Austin
Spring Frost operates one of the sale’s best selections of contemporary designer clothes that look the part. The size range at the sale is limited and only seems to reach 14 with some digging, but the online selection is varied and interesting, and includes a good number of XLs.
6. Man Outfitters — Austin
Le Garage Sale is lacking in men’s options, but Man Outfitters had a great distribution of sizes, with about as many XL and XXL shirts as any straight size section. This outdoorsy seller carries recognizable high-quality brands including Howler Brothers, the North Face, and Cotopaxi.
5. The Gift Solution — Austin
This shop carried a wide variety of styles up to 3X, which mostly included the embroidered peasant style blouses that are popular at this sale, especially in larger sizes. This was also one of the most affordable shops, and included a larger stylistic range than shown on the website.
4. Good Company — Austin
This designer-owned Austin boutique operates three locations catering to women. Styles are varied, but include mostly business-casual neutrals with collars or draping. At Le Garage Sale, Good Company carried some one-size items, some XL items, and shorts marked 42XL.
3. Diamonds & Rust at Side Kitsch Vintage — Austin
A vendor from one of Austin’s wackiest vintage stores — for both furniture and clothes — brought a range of styles up to XXL to the sale. Side Kitsch always has bright prints, sparkles, cool leathers and suedes, and unique cuts. It also carries fun men’s and unisex styles, and lots of accessories.
2. Bizzy Lizzy — Houston
Bizzy Lizzy knows its niche, which is that ubiquitous embroidered peasant blouse. However, in a sea of sort-of-awkward floral chaos, pieces from this vendor show a lot of restraint in color and pattern without leaning on neutrals. These were some of the sale’s highest-quality 3X clothes.
1. Alana Kay Art — Fort Worth
This creative store is run by resin artist Alana Kay, who prints her works on dresses, activewear, accessories, and home decor. The wrap dresses in particular are joyful, unique and go up to XL. Kay says the manufacturer is working on restocking up to 3X. These are true statement pieces.