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Hunting for clothes with some breathing room

By Cheryl Robbins

One of my Taiwanese friends recently remarked that I must be able to save a lot of money living in Asia. She elaborated by saying that it was not really possible that I could spend much money shopping for clothes, since not many stores carry my "western" size.
While it is true that I come in a larger package than most of the locals, I do manage to spend money on clothes. Though it is a bit of a hunt finding western clothes in Taiwan, there are a number of clothing stores for both men and women in Taichung which offer western-sized clothing items.
For those who have neither the time nor the money for a trip home or a trip to Hong Kong, here is a complilation of some Taichung shops which offer larger clothing for your western needs.

SOGO Department Store
No. 299, Sec. 1, Taichung Harbor Rd. (at the corner of Meitsun Rd.)
Tel: (04)323-3788; Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm daily
On the 7th floor, the men's plus size section is almost directly in front of you as you step off the elevator. Sizes go up to 52. Here, you can find button-down shirts ranging from $1,600-2,600, slacks NT$1,200-2,700, casual jackets up to size 3L about NT$2,500, sports jackets NT$5,000, etc. On the 5th floor is the women's section. Look for the Yin-hwa sign near the escalators. Sizes range from 12-20. If you need to or like to dress nicely this is a good place to come. But, expect to pay NT$5,000-16,000 per outfit.

Chung Yo Department Store
No. 161, Sec. 3, Sanmin Rd.
Tel: (04)225-3456; Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Pretty much what was said about Sogo holds true for Chung Yo. The men's section is on the 6th floor of C building. The brands are the same as those found in Sogo. The women's section is on the 3rd floor of C building and also carries the Yin-hwa brand and the Fu Lee brands (sizes 12-18).

Famous Store
No. 67, Chingming 1st St.
Tel: (04)327-5977; Hours: 12:30pm-10:30pm daily
This women's clothing store opened last July on Ching-ming 1st St., otherwise known as European Street or Tea Street. Sizes range from M-3XL and the clothes are imported from North America and Europe. Here you can find dresses, suits, blouses, etc. -- everything you need to dress for success. For non-sale items, prices average about NT$5,000. Sale items start at NT$1,980.

Hand & Foot
Kuo Chi Street, Lane 2, #23-4
Tel: (04) 633-2868; Hours: 11:00 am-11:00 pm
Clothes are imported from Seattle. The store caters to men and women and stocks sizes for everyone from toddlers to adults, though they are well-known in the Tunghai area for having large sizes. The manager stocks mostly sport/casual styles and nearly everything is under NT$1,000. The owner, Mr. Song, is very friendly and speaks English fairly well. He and his younger brother are co-owners of the Bibb and Jade stores.

No. 85, Chingming 1st St.
Tel: (04)327-8628; Hours: 12:00noon-10:00pm
This is another women's clothing store worth your time if you are on European Street. Semi-casual and dressier attire are available here. Pants go up to a 42 waist and they carry up to size 22 in dresses. Expect to pay an average of NT$3,000 for a dress or NT$1,000-2,000 for a skirt, blouse or pants. The store gets a new shipment at least once a month so, if you don't see anything you like the first time, try again later on.

Jade Sportswear
No. 91, Chingming 1st St.
Tel: (04)327-8628; Hours: 12:00noon-10:00pm
Located three stores down from Bibb and under the same ownership, this is a mostly men's clothing store. Here, casual and bargain items are the main clothing themes. I was pretty hard pressed to find anything over NT$1,000. On my last visit, I found sizes up to 36, though I have seen even larger sizes from time to time.

PK (Pants Kingdom)
No. 26, Taichung Harbor Rd., Sec. 2 (near Tatun Rd.)
Tel: (04)326-0612; Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm
Guess what this chain store sells? That's right, pants. And a lot of them. Sizes range from S to 60, and alterations are available in house. Men's suit slacks are about NT$3,000-4,000. There are also jeans of every imaginable color, priced at NT$1,140. Despite its name, you can also buy men's shirts and neckties here.

No. 67, Chungcheng Rd; No. 267, Taichung Harbor Rd., Sec. 1
Tel: (04)2228711; (04)3256478; Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Net is a chain store selling men's and women's casual and semi-casual clothes. Although there are a number of Net locations in Taichung, I included the two with the best selection of larger-sized clothes. Jeans and slacks are made with a waist measurement as high as 40, but most of the clothes are sold in S,M,L, XL. You might have to spend a little time here to figure out exactly what fits you. I have been able to find really roomy Ls, but have found some XLs to be more like M.

Ke Sheng
No. 25,27, Chungcheng Rd.
Tel: (04)2230865; Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Located downtown, this is a women's clothing store selling fashions from Southeast Asia. There are no sizes, but most of the clothes are roomy, and the staff is eager to help you find the right fit. Prices range from NT$1,400-3,000.

Lao Gu Shih
No. 33, Chung-cheng Rd.
Tel: (04)2208566; Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
This store used to be located in the basement of First Square but moved across the street to its present location in March. This is actually the showroom for several clothing designers who specialize in ancient Chinese styles (which looks a lot like Southeast Asian styles). There are no sizes on the clothes, but there is a photo album of the designs that you can look through, or you can simply go through the racks. Prices range from about NT$1,800-3,000 per item.

OK1 Size Shoes Store
No. 288-9, Taya Road (at the corner of Chinhwa N. Rd.)
Tel: (04)2065520; Hours: 10:00am-9:30pm daily
This is a chain shore (with 2 other stores in Taipei and Kaohsiung) which sells domestic-made and imported men's and women's leather shoes. Men's shoes range in size from 11-14. Prices average about NT$2,000 for a pair of domestic-made shoes to NT$4,000 for imported shoes. For women, sizes range from 9-12. Prizes average about NT$2,000-3,000 for domestic made shoes and NT$5,000-6,000 for imported shoes.

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