The Plus Bus boutique is a ‘dream closet’ for plus-size people

478
Jen Wilder (left) and Marcy Guevara-Prete (right) pose inside the The Plus Bus Boutique on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 3, 2021. Lila Hempel-Edgers/The Occidental

For a while after first moving to LA, Myjah Moon said she just didn’t feel sexy — but when she went to The Plus Bus for the first time in August, the blue-sequined outfit she found for her birthday photoshoot brought her confidence back.

The Plus Bus, a plus-size consignment boutique on York Boulevard, is an explosion of color. According to Marcy Guevara-Prete, co-founder of The Plus Bus, the shop offers both new and used clothing from size 12 and up — anything from fast fashion to luxury brands and vintage items. To get store credit, a customer can trade in their gently-worn clothes; information on what the boutique accepts is listed here.

“[The Plus Bus] is healing for people because there are still many people in this world who are bigger bodied who don’t even know they can dress cute,” Moon said. “They’re still shopping at these stores that are not serving them. You can actually look really good, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.”

According to Guevara-Prete and Jen Wilder, the shop’s other co-founder, The Plus Bus began after they connected on Facebook and realized they both had closets overflowing with plus-size clothes. That led them to host a clothing swap in 2015, which had great turnout. With lots of clothes remaining, they saw an opportunity for a store, according to Guevara-Prete. She said The Plus Bus moved to York in 2020 after five years operating out of a small warehouse, which they now use as a photo studio and sewing room.

The exterior of The Plus Bus Boutique on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 3, 2021. Lila Hempel-Edgers/The Occidental

Moon described the experience of going to The Plus Bus for the first time as being similar to a pilgrimage.

“I appreciate [The Plus Bus] because you’ll go to some stores and people will look at you funny, especially because you’re a bigger body,” Moon said. “They sometimes don’t even look at you as human.”

According to Guevara-Prete, there is no comparable shop in LA that offers in-person resale shopping with exclusively plus-size options.

“If you could imagine a big girl’s dream closet — you go into The Plus Bus, and it’s literally that store,” Moon said.

Wilder said people come from all over the world to visit the store, and almost every week, someone tells them The Plus Bus has changed their life. Guevara-Prete recalled a woman from London on her honeymoon, who came to the store in tears and said she had never been to another store like it before.

“[The Plus Bus] is a vessel, a vehicle to get people to cherish, love and neutralize their ideas about body and really change what body image is for young people,” Guevara-Prete said.

The interior of The Plus Bus Boutique on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 3, 2021. Lila Hempel-Edgers/The Occidental

Guevara-Prete said she aims for The Plus Bus to be a place of community and freedom from diet culture.

“Fatness as a punchline and fatness as something othered is still such a pervasive thought process,” Wilder said. “Our little voice does make a difference in the people that find us.”

The Plus Bus has hosted beach days, a Halloween confidence workshop, a fat babe pool party at Occidental and a masquerade ball.

“I remember walking into the masquerade ball [dressed head to toe by The Plus Bus] and I saw others on the dance floor, and I just jumped right in because it was a vibe,” Moon said. “[I haven’t been to] a club where you see a bunch of big girls on the floor dancing.”

Moon said her favorite items she has bought from The Plus Bus include a puffy jacket, Patrick Starrr bedazzled jeans and a sequined bucket hat.

“I call [the bucket hat] my happy hat,” Moon said. “I wear it if I’m feeling down or wake up and don’t feel like getting dressed. I’ll put that hat on because every time I wear it, people compliment my hat.”

Guevara-Prete said there is power in fat people having the option to trade clothes at The Plus Bus since they may grow up without the experience of sharing clothes.

“At a sleepover at [someone’s] house, in good faith, [someone] would be like, ‘Oh, do you want to borrow pajamas?’ but they likely would be too tight,” Guevara-Prete said. “I would usually end up borrowing a friend’s dad’s pajamas.”

Wilder said some people who come into The Plus Bus have families that constantly comment on their body. In contrast, The Plus Bus is a body positivity zone; after visiting the shop, people can tell their family about what they learned at the shop about how to appropriately talk about bodies, according to Wilder.

Guevara-Prete said she has seen demand from people across the nation, and her goal is for The Plus Bus to have 75 stores one day.

“Yeah, it’s clothes, it’s sequins, it’s cotton, it’s tie-dye but it really is so much deeper,” Guevara-Prete said.

The interior of The Plus Bus Boutique on York Boulevard in Los Angeles, CA. Nov. 3, 2021. Lila Hempel-Edgers/The Occidental