Michelle Neilson started Sheer Essentials and Curvy Fashions to empower women of all sizes with fun, fashionable clothing, swimwear and lingerie. Stop by the new Curvy Fashions location on the trans-Canada highway to see what’s in store for you!

Cowichan Valley’s curvy customers can’t get enough of this clothing store

Women-owned business meets increased demand with bigger, better location

Two bad experiences was all it took.

First, Michelle Neilson went shopping for bridal undergarments. An occasion that should have been fun turned frustrating when every store she visited offered old-fashioned styles and different advice.

That made her wonder if she ought to open her own lingerie store — one with fun styles for people of all sizes, and expert staff to make sure things fit. But it wasn’t until her second bad experience, when someone told her she’d never run a store, that Neilson finally took the leap.

“I don’t take being told ‘no’ very well!” she says.

18 years later Neilson holds six diplomas in bra fitting and empowers women every day in her two businesses: Curvy Fashions and Sheer Essentials.

Curvy Fashions just moved to a new larger space with lots of parking on the Trans-Canada Highway where you’ll find clothing, swimwear and lingerie for sizes 12 and up. Sheer Essentials, Neilson’s original store, continues to sell undergarments and swimwear for men and women from its two locations in Duncan and Mill Bay. You can also shop both stores online!

Quality products with a personal touch

“We hear from people all the time that shopping downtown is too expensive, and I used to think that too. I believed everything I needed would be in the malls,” Neilson says, “Now I make sure to correct everyone. Downtown stores have what you can’t find elsewhere. You’ll be inspired. And small boutiques have incredible sales just like everyone else!”

Three things make her stores unique:

  • Customer Service: With expert advice and personal profiles for every customer, you don’t need to know your size when you walk in the store. Let the staff show you styles that flatter your personality and body shape.
  • Canadian-made: “We want to support our own economy. We’ll always source local first and then check North America later,” Neilson says. Curvy Fashions carries quality garments made in Canada including Brenda Laine Designs based right here in the Cowichan Valley.
  • Women-owned and operated: Neilson believes women should always feel sexy and confident in their own skin, regardless of their size. Employing women throughout the business helps with that.

Curvy Fashions is bigger and better than ever!

You asked, and she answered! The new home for Curvy Fashions has plenty of parking and plenty of room in-store for all the swimwear, clothing and lingerie that customers requested. Right now the store carries a size 12 to a 4X, but they plan to carry 5X by next spring. With chic shirts, versatile cruise-wear, and sexy nighties, there are plenty of reasons to stop by and see what’s new!

Visit the wheelchair-accessible, spacious store conveniently located on the Trans-Canada Highway across from Duncan Dodge, or browse online at mycurvyfashions.com.


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