Shopping in Reykjavík: 8 friendly stores to big bums and boobs

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a year and a half now but somehow I never get around to it because I’ve been afraid of what you might think of me. You see, I’ve been at war with my body for over 20 years. It started off with me feeling like a troll due to genetic problems that caused me to be taller than everyone else. The genetic problems in question were the genes from my dad, who’s almost 2 meters tall, and it has lead me to a place where I’m now outside the social norms of what is considered beautiful.

My body and I are in the process of burying the hatch though and with a new-found serenity I’m going to accept the things I cannot change (the short term version of myself) and hope for courage to change the things I can change (the long term version of myself). Like courage to write a post without shame about the fact that according to society I’m totally abnormal.

This is what a socially abnormal woman and her best friend look like in 2012 – Photo: Johan Fredrik Olsson

A part from having this big bum that sometimes causes me troubles, I’m also rather tall for a woman: 178 cm (which is 5’10 I think). I’m also an Icelandic Valkyrie and we are just not as petite as our South-European or Asian sisters. So even way before I became a “plus-size”, I had problems finding clothes that fit. By the way, I’m totally against the term plus-size when it comes to clothing, I think it should just be clothing and don’t see the need to categorize it any further. A top is just a top, no matter what size it comes in.

So why am I telling you all this? Because when I travel I want to have an idea before I arrive at a new place about stores that welcome big bums and I know I’m not alone in this. So I thought I’d share with you where this Icelandic troll shops.

Avoiding the plus size

Just because I’m not skinny I don’t want to look like a tartan potato sack and therefore I tend to stay clear of the “plus-size” stores where the aim of the game seems to be to hide the body instead of making bigger women look good. Instead I look for normal-size stores that have either a fuller range of sizes or flattering cuts that could work on me. Here are some of the stores I frequently visit, most of which are either in Kringlan or Smáralind.

Vila

I love Vila because their stuff is all about what’s hot now and their clothes come in sizes from XS to XL. They have a lot of loose fitted tops and sweaters that would look good on anyone and their prices are pretty decent to boot.

You can find Vila both in Kringlan and Smáralind

Vero Moda

Vero Moda is cheap and although I don’t fit into everything there, I can usually find nice sweaters and tops there at affordable prices. Their range is also XS to XL, depending on collections.

You can find Vero Moda both in Kringlan and Smáralind

Dorothy Perkins

Dorothy Perkins is a UK high street store that carries sizes from 6-22 (UK). They have a decent range of jeans and trousers with flattering cuts and different lengths which is good when you have long legs. They have a little bit for everyone.

You can find Doroty Perkins at Smáralind

Debenhams

Debenhams is a British department store. It’s a little bit more expensive than the rest of the stores I’ve mention but if I’m looking for a fancy dress, that’s usually where I start. They also have a great underwear section.

You can find Debenhams at Smáralind

Hagkaup

You should be warned that it’s not cool at all to shop at Hagkaup but they usually have cheap tank tops and stuff in all sizes and colors. Their line True is a cheap knock-off jersey line and sometimes you can find reasonably priced basics there that could come from anywhere.

You can find Hagkaup in Kringlan and Smáralind

Lindex

I’ve never bought anything in Lindex in Iceland but in Sweden I go there to buy tights mostly. They also have a plus size line called Generous that sometimes has nice stuff in between. I also have a few cardigans and stuff from their normal collection so if you see something you like – just try it on.

You can find Lindex in Smáralind

The Red Cross store in Laugavegur

This is my favorite store in Reykjavík at the moment. Always when I go there I find some funky dress or shoes I love and the best part is that it’s dirt cheap. Plus you are helping a good cause.

The Red Cross store is in Laugavegur, across the street from Tiger.

Volcano Design in Laugavegur

I don’t like everything in the Volcano Design store and I’ve never bought anything from them but some of their clothing and the fabrics they use are very forgiving and it’s all very Icelandic so you should probably check it out.

Volcano Design is in Laugavegur.

For a more traditional take on Plus Size

Although I don’t shop there, here are a few stores that specialize in bigger sizes: Curvy.is in Nóatún, Hjá Hrafnhildi in Engjateigur, Belladonna in Skeifan, Zay Zay in Kringlan and Smáralind, Evans in Kringlan and Smáralind and Stórar Stelpur in Hverfisgata.
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8 thoughts on “Shopping in Reykjavík: 8 friendly stores to big bums and boobs”

  1. Evija says:

    You’re saving my life with this gorgeous post! 🙂
    I have been living in Iceland for almost a month now and i know very well how it is to be a big girl and feel awkward, trying to find something nice to wear. No, not just nice but really ass-kicking, because we have all the rights to look fabulous as well, just like those skinny girls. So this post will become my shopping guide for sure! 🙂
    I’m from Latvia, but unfortunately it’s pretty common that almost nobody knows a thing about our little northern-Europe country which is one of so called Baltic states. Anyway, in Riga, our capital city, i always shopped in Lindex because of their Generous line. I was too insecure to even step inside some other stores because of their way too small sizes. But now you’ve inspired me to go to Reykjavik for some shopping tour. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU A LOT for that! 🙂

  2. Beck says:

    Hi
    I am traveling to Iceland this winter and was hoping for some advice about shopping for larger woman’s sizes (22-24).
    Is Icelandic sizing based on European sizing? I have not yet found a size conversion chart that specifically lists Iceland.
    When shopping in Iceland, what signage in stores should I be looking for? Is there a “Plus Size” or “Women’s Sizes” phrase.

    Thanks for your help
    Beck

    1. mm Auður says:

      I think it’s both based on European and UK sizes – many of the shops here are from the UK.

      There are not a lot of stores that have a plus size section – you can find a department in Lindex called Generous but then you mostly have some stores that specialize in plus size clothing. Or some stores (like Debenhams) carry lines that have bigger numbers but they are not specially marked – you kind of just have to know these things. Gyllti Kötturinn in Dowtown Reykjavík is also known to have some bigger sizes in between.

  3. Linda says:

    I ???? your blog! Thank you so much for this information. I will be in Iceland in October 2015, now I know where to shop for clothing. You, the boyfriend, and the princess are adorable. Love, love, love your blog!

  4. Anita says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this information!!! 🙂

    I’m traveling to Iceland this September & was a bit worried about my size. I’m actually not uncomfortable with being a ‘plus size’ woman [I’m 5’10 & around 280lbs. & I agree that it’s a horrible phrase], but am more worried about sticking out like a sore thumb.

    Are there many ‘plus size’ folks in Iceland?

    It seems, as an outsider, that everyone is very health conscious…so I had this horrible thought that I’m going to step off the plane & everyone in the airport would stop what they were doing & stare at me, lol.

    I’m actually concerned about visiting some of the pools during our stay & having to shower in front of others. My husband, who is of ‘standard’ size, haha, is also a little prudish when it comes to the thought of showering in front of others. So we’ll probably stick to The Blue Lagoon or Laugardalslaug, which I’ve read both have at least one private show stall…hopefully that info is correct.

    We’ll be booking your walking tour for September soon, probably for our first day there! We have a 5am arrival, ugh.

    1. mm Auður says:

      There are plenty of plus size people in Iceland, according to some OECD statistics Iceland is one of the heaviest nations in Europe. Although I have bad days where I feel like a blob and nothing fits me I don’t ever experience anything bad really from me fellow citizens that makes me self-conscious. Once there was this kid at the pool that pointed at me and told his mom: Look at that big lady (I’m also quite tall and probably look like a troll to a 5 year old) and it pissed me off that his mom didn’t use this opportunity to teach him something and didn’t stop him from pointing at me either and saying this repeatedly. Then his grandma came and told him that was not polite and that I was a beautiful and that everyone is different. Which I thought was kind of nice. If I compare that to stories I read online about the horrible things bigger people endure I have to say this was pretty innocent 🙂

  5. Eline says:

    178 isn’t tall at all. Come back if you are 192, like me.

    1. mm Auður says:

      This is not a competition – 178 cm is tall in many places around the world and it’s taller than the average Icelandic woman 🙂

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