Shopping In China As A Curvy American Woman

When I started to pack for China, I had a big question: What is it like to go shopping in China as an average American woman? I had so much trouble finding information on it, that I’ve done some experimental shopping trips on my own in China! So here I am, back with results.

Here’s my size range: I’m usually an American 10-12 (medium to large depending on the brand) in clothing and a 10/EUR 41 in shoes!

Different Stores, Different Options


I’m almost always looking for the biggest size they have, even at my old standby store, H&M. The size runs at stores I’m used to seem different than what’s available in Europe or America. However, I have had luck finding bigger sizes at Uniqlo!

Mom & Pop Stores

I haven’t found anything in my size, unless I start opening my mind up to men’s clothes 🙁

Trendy Boutiques

I haven’t had any luck with dresses, pants, or skirts, but I’ve found 2 boxier, oversized tops that I like. My strategy on entering these stores is to look at all the tops, picking up only the ones that look enormous compared to the others.

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. An American size medium is a size XL in China, and many stores don’t carry XL, so overall I’ve had trouble finding clothing I like.
  2. Even though the size runs in China are very limited, and I’d say the average Chinese person is smaller than the average American person, the size runs that I see of actual women in China are not as limited as the typical size runs would imply.
  3. I have 2 choices when it comes to shoes: men’s or Taobao.

Stores I’ve Had Success With

  • H&M (size L)

    • This is where I’ve bought the bulk of my new summer clothing. If you’re looking for a trendier version of a basic, it’s a good option. Prices are equal to Western H&M.
  • Decathalon (size L)

    • Great for leggings, shorts, basic t-shirts, and sweatshirts! It’s a sports-oriented store, and a massive one at that. Prices are very affordable (about $12 for a pair of leggings).
  • Wal-Mart (size L)

    • Ew. I honestly despise Wal-Mart, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and somehow Wal-Mart has weaseled its way into the Chinese market.

I hope this gave you a bit of insight on what it’s like to go shopping in China as an average sized American woman! Happy shopping!

Thanks for reading 🙂 Talk to you soon,



Travel Vlogger YouTube Channel anxious girl fearless life

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2 thoughts on “Shopping In China As A Curvy American Woman”

  • I completely agree! I lived in Nanjing for 6 months last year. I am a small to medium in Australia, and could barely squeeze into anything at h&m or uniqlo. The sizes were definitely cut differently. I didn’t think Chinese people were all that skinny either – lots of them had very prominent bellies from all the oil and msg they consume. I don’t know where they bought their clothes. Bring absolutely everything piece of clothing and footwear with you that you will need when moving to China.

    • Haha I feel you, girl!! I was shopping the biggest mens’s sizes I could find at Western sports stores… something felt off. Don’t even get me started on being a US size 10 shoe…haha. Thanks for your comment!

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