By Angela Guglielmino,
For a while after moving to Los Angeles, Myjah Moon, the owner of Pressed By Jess nail care, said she just didn’t feel sexy. Then, in August, she went to The Plus Bus Boutique for the first time and found the blue-sequined outfit she wore for her birthday photoshoot. It brought her confidence back.
The Plus Bus, a plus-size consignment boutique on York Boulevard in Highland Park offers both new and used clothing size 12 and up — anything from fast fashion to luxury brands and vintage items.
“[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.”
The idea for The Plus Bus dates back to 2015. Co-founders Marey Guevara-Prete and Jen Wilder, who had met each other on social media and at various lifestyle events, hosted a clothes swap in Los Angeles to clear out their closets, which were overflowing with plus-size clothes. The swap was a success, but with dresses, blouses, pants and other clothes remaining, they saw an opportunity for a store. After operating out of a small warehouse in Glassell Park for five years, The Plus Bus moved to 5031 York Boulevard in 2020. (They now use the original location as a photo studio and sewing room.)
To survive the pandemic lockdown, the boutique relied on Instagram and other social media, as well as their website. The resumption of in-person shopping lets The Plus Bus be a venue for community building as well as clothes shopping.
“[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, adding that she aims for The Plus Bus to be a place of community and freedom from diet culture.
According to Guevara-Prete, there is no comparable shop in L.A. that offers in-person resale shopping with exclusively plus-size options.
According to Plus Bus customers, other shops don’t make them feel as comfortable as they do at The Plus Bus.
“If you could imagine a big girl’s dream closet — you go into The Plus Bus, and it’s literally that store,” Moon said.
Between in-person shoppers and online customers, Wilder said that almost every week, someone tells them The Plus Bus has changed their life. Guevara-Prete recalled a woman from London on her honeymoon, who was in tears as she said she had never been to another store like it before.
The Plus Bus celebrates its customers and its clothes by hosting events including through events such as beach days, a Halloween confidence workshop, a fat babe pool party at Occidental and a masquerade ball.
The option to trade clothes at The Plus Bus is another way for customers to feel good about their bodies since they may have grown up without the experience of sharing clothes, Guevara-Prete said.
“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.”
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,” she said.
The Plus Bus / 5031 York Blvd. / theplusbus.com
Angela Guglielmino, a junior at Occidental College, and Lila Hempel-Edgers, a freshman at Occidental, are participants in the NELA Neighborhood Reporting Project, a collaboration between the Boulevard Sentinel and The Occidental campus newspaper.