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Do Hot Topic Sizes Run Small

Hot Topic caters to a particular style of fashion. They’ve been around since 1988 and are home to things like studded belts, body jewelry, band T-shirts, and even cute plus-size dresses.

That being said, for those of you who do love emo, goth, or alternative fashion, Hot Topic might have some clothes that you just can’t find at a lot of other stores.

But, do Hot Topic sizes run small?

Yes, Hot Topic sizes do typically run small. The emo/goth/alternative style that Hot Topic is known for calls for tighter, more form-fitting clothing. Clothes also aren’t made from stretchy fabric for the same reason. Additionally, even though a lot of their T-shirts are pre-shrunk, they still may shrink a little in the wash. 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at Hot Topic sizing on some of their popular clothing items and how they compare to other companies. We’ll also talk about what sizes they offer and whether or not they are a good choice for the bigger man or plus-size woman.

Do Hot Topic Sizes Run Small?

Compared to the average plus size clothing, yes, Hot Topic sizes do run small for a few reasons.

First, Hot Topic runs small for the ladies because they don’t actually offer women’s sizes. Hot Topic targets the younger crowd and while that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from them if they are your style, Hot Topic women’s sizes are actually more of a Junior’s plus-size. If you’re not familiar with the difference between junior and women’s it also explains why most dress sizes are even numbers.

Second, for men and women, Hot Topic clothing is meant to be more form-fitting. This means there isn’t as much give and they hug your body. This makes them seem smaller than clothes from other brands.

Finally, a lot of Hot Topic clothes are made from cotton or a blend of cotton. This means they’re likely to shrink in the dryer. Even their pre-shrunk shirts shrink a little.

Are Hot Topic Clothes True to Size?

For the guys, you’re likely to find that a lot of your clothes actually run true to size when you buy them from Hot Topic. Even though they may feel a little snugger than the average T-shirt you grab from other stores, this is actually the design of the shirt, rather than a difference in the size of the clothing.

Do Hot Topic Shirts Run Small?

Women’s shirts at Hot Topic do run small because they actually offer Junior’s Plus sizes. This doesn’t mean that women can’t also shop at Hot Topic (they really do have a lot of edgier, but cute dresses for bigger girls). However, it does mean that there might be confusion with sizing.

In addition to running small, a lot of women’s shirts from Hot Topic actually shrink. For some reason, a lot of people find their shirts shrink “up”, so they end up getting shorter rather than the width or the whole shirt shrinking.

This is problematic for people with bigger bellies because even if you are comfortable rocking a crop top, that doesn’t mean that you want your favorite band T-shirt to become one. This is especially true because a shrunk shirt doesn’t really have the same cut and style as the average crop top. You can, however, reduce shrinkage by washing clothes in cold water and air drying instead of putting them through the dry cycle.

The exception to women’s clothes running small are band tees. Regardless of the band, Hot Topic band T-shirts are considered man’s shirts and are more true to size. Of course, there’s still a risk of shrinkage with these too, even if they have been ‘pre-shrunk’.

The fit of the men’s shirts at Hot Topic depends on the style. Button-ups are smaller and shorter, while T-shirts are true to size. The exception is slim-fit clothing, which may be half-size to full-size smaller.

Do Hot Topic Bottoms Run Small?

Hot Topic pants, skirts, and other bottoms might be a little tighter than other brands. However, this is not usually from them running small, but because of the way that they are designed. Alternative, goth, and emo styles are generally tighter and more form-fitting.

Hot Topic does have certain brands that look like they are bigger, like the Tripp band of clothing. Tripp brand looks like it’s oversized, however, the waist is going to be more true to size even with the way that it looks. This is the same with Tripp jackets and other clothing, too.

Does Hot Topic Offer Extended Sizing?

Yes, Hot Topic does offer extended sizing. If you’re looking around at your local mall store, though, you’re less likely to find it.

The best way to see all the extended sizing that Hot Topic has to offer is actually on their website. Unfortunately, even in extended sizing, Hot Topic clothes do run a little small. This remains true even after they adapted Torrid sizing for some of their clothes.

Here’s a look at how Hot Topic compares to the plus size brand Torrid, which was interestingly owned by Hot Topic up until a few years ago. Despite being originally owned by the same company, Torrid sizes are generally accommodating while Hot Topic doesn’t have the same stretch and fit as Torrid clothing.

Size Torrid Sizing Hot Topic Sizing Torrid Bust Size (inches) Hot Topic Bust Size (inches) Torrid Waist Size (inches) Hot Topic Waist Size (inches) Torrid Hip Size (inches) Hot Topic Hip Size (inches)
14/16 1 1X 42-46 42-44 36-40 36-38 46-50 46-48
18/20 2 2X 46-50 46-48 40-44 40-42 50-54 50-52
22/24 3 3X 50-54 50-54 44-48 44-48 54-58 54-58
24/26 4 4X 52-58 54-58 46-52 48-52 56-64 58-62
26/28 5 5X 56-64 58-62 50-58 52-56 60-70 64-68
30 6 6X 66-70 64-68 60-64 N/A 72-76 N/A

Can I Find Plus-Size Clothes at Hot Topic?

While Hot Topic does offer plus size clothing and even extended sizing that goes up to 3X-5X depending on the wardrobe item, you’re much less likely to find them at the store. Instead, you’ll want to shop for their extended sizing online.

Unfortunately, shopping for plus size clothes online comes with its disadvantages. Even so, it’s one of the best ways to find clothes that you love instead of the ugly plus-size clothes that a lot of department stores carry. It also gives you the option to shop at places like Torrid or Hot Topic that don’t have physical locations everywhere.

My best advice is that with Hot Topic clothes being a little snugger, you size up just slightly above what you need to. This is especially true for the people who are closer to the end of the range on the size chart. Plus, after you’ve ordered a couple of pieces of clothing, you’ll be more aware of what size you actually need when shopping here.

Still, you can find clothing for plus size people and this YouTuber shows off a great haul:

Also, even if you are planning on shopping in-store, check out the size charts before you go. Sizing is really complicated with all their women’s clothing being offered in Junior’s sizes and I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Hot Topic location that had a fitting room, so trying on clothes isn’t always an option. Plus, the size of the clothes in the store really doesn’t accommodate for the shrinkage that is likely to happen, either.

Final Word

Do Hot Topic sizes run small? It varies based on the specific item of clothing that you are buying. For the ladies, however, Hot Topic does run small. And for the guys, it really depends on the shirt or bottoms.

Since Hot Topic carries Juniors plus sizes, there are also some discrepancies between what you’d expect as a woman shopping at other plus-sized stores like Torrid. There is a size chart that can make ordering easier, however, you’ll want to go up at least a half-size or full-size depending on the clothing. You’ll also want to be wary of shrinkage.

Hopefully, this guide will make it easier for you to take advantage of the plus-size fashion that Hot Topic has to offer. It is a unique brand with some great clothes, as long as you can find your size!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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