Today on TCF, we’re sharing all things about The Plus Bus, recent sponsors of the TCFStyle Brunch and the brand founded by fearless fat babes, Marcy & Jen (or Jen & Marcy) in 2016. Saying that The Plus Bus is a “plus size store” is kind of like saying “Disneyland has some fun rides” — it just doesn’t do The Plus Bus justice!
I’m honored (real talk!) to share the backstory and evolution of The Plus Bus, through this interview with founders, Jen and Marcy. Whether you’ve been a long time stan (and fan!) of The Plus Bus IRL in-store or during live sales, or you’re just learning about this pillar of the plus size and fat community — Welcome!!
Let’s talk all things PLUS BUS!
All About The Plus Bus
Ok, bestie! Because Jen & Marcy are empire building babes, this interview is gonna be in-depth. (Real talk, can we get a Plus Bus memoir?! Or biopic?!) Because I’m diving in deep with Marcy and Jen, I want to give you a sort of table of contents. That way, you can find what you’re looking for, or better yet, know where we’re going on this wonderful ride!
Here’s where we’re going:
- Jen & Marcy MEET: How the brand came to be!
- The Focus on the Fat Community: How clothes are just ONE part of the company’s mission
- Plus Bus 3 Locations: A primer on where to go to shop for WHAT
- Community Events: Beach parties, pool parties, Lizzo concerts, etc
- Connecting with The Plus Bus
You ready? Let’s rock’n roll!!!
Jen & Marcy MEET: How The Plus Bus Came to Be!
Ok, so! As a plus size blogger/model/consultant/weirdo, I have long wondered, “How did The Plus Bus HAPPEN?!”
I visited the flagship location pre-pandemic, and there was just SO MUCH happening. Color! Clothing! Community! Cute fun sunglasses!!!!! Looking at this magical wonderland that is The Plus Bus, I was honestly like, “How tf did we get here!?!?!”
So, when I got on the phone with Marcy and Jen, that was one of the first things I asked.
And their story did NOT disappoint!
Shares Jen: “I walked up to Marcy at Full Figured fashion Week in 2012, and I was like, ‘Oh my god you’re a “Big Girl in a Skinny World” for Marie Claire! Come be my friend!!” Jen says with a laugh. “I didn’t have any fat friends or fat liberation, so meeting all those people was wonderful. I was kind of overstimulated, and it was a whirlwind. We ended up becoming Facebook friends and talking on there.”
From there, this dynamic duo found themselves going to London together!
“There was an event in London that we both wanted to go to,” shares Marcy. “We love going to plus size fashion events. As we were walking towards each other in the airport, I thought, ‘I have never spent more than 5 minutes in real life with this person. This could be a bad idea.’”
Fortuitously, their international trip was a smashing success. “We were together constantly for 3 days,” shares Marcy. “From that minute of meeting in the airport, we started giggling and never stopped.”
From that minute of meeting in the airport, we started giggling and never stopped.
Marcy Guevara-Prete , Co-Founder
(This theme of “Jumping in with both feet” is very much the ethos of this business, as you’ll see throughout this interview!)
From that event in 2013, Marcy and Jen then went onto host plus size clothing swaps in Los Angeles, inspired by events happening in San Diego. “Jen posted that she needed to stop buying clothes,” shares Marcy. “So we decided, ‘Let’s do a fat swap!’ I had been to a swap in San Diego hosted by Ashley Nell Tipton, and it was so successful. We felt like there was a community and hunger for community in LA.“
Those initial clothing swaps led to Jen and Marcy opening up their flagship location in 2016. The iconic pink warehouse became their first location!
“The Plus Bus is a ONE STOP SHOP for all things plus size fashion,” shares Jen.
“We have a bunch of options for those events, bachelorette parties or a custom dress designed by Jen,” adds Marcy.
“We are the best place to live your best plus size life.”
Jen Wilder, Co-Founder of The Plus Bus
The Focus on the Fat Community: How clothes are just ONE part of The Plus Bus mission
Talking to Jen & Marcy, they really made clear that while they LOVE and ADORE clothing (Jen is a plus size fashion designer, and Marcy is a professional producer and fashion stylist), the mission of The Plus Bus goes beyond clothes.
“The clothes are a disguise for the FAT activism,” shares Jen. “So often when new people come to the store, there’s a lot going on in their minds. They won’t show their arms, they won’t take pictures with their kids, etc. We want to be your tour guide to your fabulous fat life.”
We want to be your tour guide to your fabulous fat life.
Jen Wilder, Co-Founder of The Plus Bus
“We’re healing the trauma of plus size shopping,” explains Jen. “Being around people that come from the same kind of experience you’ve had, who know how challenging shopping can be. The Plus Bus is really a space of celebration and healing.”
Plus Bus 3 Locations: A primer on where to go to shop for WHAT
As part of their overarching activism and mission, The Plus Bus has created intentional spaces for every type of plus size and fat customer.
Their three locations are:
- The Plus Bus Flagship: 5031 York Blvd. LA, CA 90042
- Community by TBP: 2701 W Ave 34, LA, CA, 90065
- The Plus Bus (a literal bus!!): Travels all over!
Thrift, Vintage & New
Marcy & Jen were kind of, no, REALLY brilliant when it came to planning their two brick and mortar spaces, and their actual literal BUS.
“The Plus Bus on York was designed to elevate the plus size shopping experience,” shares Marcy. “Excellent vintage and really excellent thrift pieces. For people who want more of that thrift ‘sort through bins’ experience for treasure hunters, they’ll love the location on Park.”
Below, we dive into what can be found at each location!
The Plus Bus Boutique [York Location]
The Plus Bus on York is a boutique! It’s a combination of new items from plus size indie brands (BAACAL, What Lo Wants, URTUMUCH, etc), as well as vintage and high quality resale or thrift items (“Vintage clothing” has to be at least 40 years old to qualify as “vintage,” hence the differentiation between “vintage” and “thrift” here.)
“The York Boutique is ‘Buy Now / Wear Now!’” exclaims Marcy. “Our goal is to elevate the experience at York to include personal styling. You can go online and do virtual styling, personal styling requests, event requests (for example, if you’re going to be a bridesmaid or have another specific event). We have some of the best plus size models and stylists that work here in the store, you’re styled by a pro who has been in the industry for years.”
We have some of the best plus size models and stylists that work here in the store, you’re styled by a pro who has been in the industry for years.
Marcy Guevara-Prete , Co-Founder of The Plus Bus
Plus size babes can also find in-store community events for new and established plus size indie brands, finding luxury or higher end pieces for their wardrobe.
Ok, this location is for our babes who are hardcore thrifters! Honestly, before going to The Plus Bus, I hadn’t really had the experience of going to a thrift store and finding something in my size!
“At the Park location, we have more off-season items that are a little more gently worn,” explains Jen. “Some pieces might have a damage or two. This is where you find treasures, and some may need a zipper fix!”
This location also offers “color packs” which I thought were cool! “We have $5, $15, $20 color packs here as well,” shares Marcy.
This location was really driven by Marcy & Jen’s desire to serve the plus and fat community. “There’s no way we could sell all the clothes we get at just York location,” shares Jen. “This location means we can offer clothing at a variety of price points, and really aim to serve everyone. We’re trying to make fashion accessible. Doesn’t matter your size or your budget. You don’t have to dress by the rules, and The Plus Bus is showing that every body can be aspirational,” says Jen.
The Plus Bus (Actual Bus!!)
Finally, the last “location” is actually on wheels! “This is a 250 sq ft boutique,” shares Marcy. “We use it to host events and pop ups all over in Southern California!”
The Plus Bus (Online)
As not everyone is in the LA-area, the team at The Plus Bus shares daily finds to their Instagram Story, a combination of new, thrift and vintage pieces! It’s like QVC or HSN, but make it fat!
The Plus Blus also does regular “Instagram Lives” selling pieces live!
You can also set up a personal or in-person styling appointment (sounds like such a fun experience!!), details on plus size personal styling in LA and virtual, here!
Note: Gender Inclusion
Something that Marcy and Jen made sure to communicate at the beginning of the interview was that The Plus Bus is for folks of all genders. No one is going to police who can try on what at The Plus Bus!
Community Events: Beach parties, pool parties, Lizzo concerts, Disneyland, etc
As Marcy & Jen have shared, The Plus Bus celebrates fashion — but is so much more!
“We have a monthly fat hiking club, fat yoga on Thursdays and so many community events,” shares Marcy. “We love our plus size beach days, and Jen is always trying to get people to wear smaller and smaller bikinis,” she explains with a laugh.
Marcy & Jen love when an event is community-led, and community members often use The Plus Bus as a sort of nexus for events they want to see happen. “We’ve also organized two different groups around LIZZO concerts,” shares Jen.
The Plus Bus loves LIZZO, and they have had wardrobe sales from items from Lizzo’s closet!
To see all of the details on The Plus Bus events, head here!
If you’re a bit afraid to go shopping for yourself or show up to a community event, both Marcy & Jen had encouraging words to share (and a few happy tears):
- From Marcy: “Never be scared to show up to a fat event. You’re going to find a whole community. It’s a great place to meet people, especially if you’re in LA. Meet other like minded individuals who want to go out and have fun.”
- From Jen: “Don’t be afraid to come alone, 50 fat friends are excited to meet you! I know that finding a fat peer community is the most healing part of fat liberation. Being with people who look like you. I’m crying I feel so lucky to have so much of it in my life, and I have created a world, and I’ve created. Show up alone, and show up open. See what happens! at community has has literally changed my life, and my children’s lives.”
Connecting with The Plus Bus
Shop the latest in plus size fashion in LA at ThePlusBus.com!
Finally, of course, The Plus Bus invites you to bring in YOUR clothing! “You can bring your gently worn clothes for store credit,” shares Marcy. “Make an appointment via email!”