Before thinking about dresses that look best on plus-size women or the gorgeous, smart casual shirt dress styles that look amazing on just about everyone, let's talk about what it really means to dress for your plus-size body type.
Thousands of plus-size fashion-lovers feel pressure to wear:
- Dark, drab colors to hide their incredible figures.
- Swathes of fabric and muumuu-type dresses.
- Shapewear and clothes that conceal instead of celebrate.
While shapewear is quite popular and gives many women extra confidence when posing for pictures, it’s not always very comfortable. The art of plus-size dressing is all about uncovering your identity, not compressing it to look different. It’s about feeling good about how you look and feeling confident walking out the door like the girl boss you know you are.
Learning how to dress your shape can take a little time and patience. But know there are zero limitations on how you express your inner goddess, regardless of what the prevailing fashion rules might say.
Finding a Plus-Size Style for Your Shape
Plus-size is a broad term that refers to a range of shapes and outlines, so it's essential to think about your unique body type before you start picking out pieces for your wardrobe.
Remember, you can be a mixture of body types, so it might take some experimenting to figure out what works best on your shape. The most common body characteristics are:
- Apple shapes: slimmer legs, broader torso and a rounder middle.
- Pear shapes: wider hips and legs, a defined waist and petit shoulders.
- Banana shapes: straighter silhouettes with shoulders, hips and a waist with a similar outline.
- Hourglass shapes: a larger chest and hips with a slimmer waistline.
Take a look at your whole self in the mirror, pick out those features that you love and keep those in mind as you put outfits together that show off your assets.
Plus-Size Styling for Apple Body Types
If you identify most as an apple shape, your weapons are your legs and chest.
Think bias-cut dresses that offset your legs, off-the-shoulder tops to showcase your shoulders, and bootcut jeans to give you balance.
Never be afraid of structured pieces. They look sleek and add definition. A quality blazer or three-button jacket falling just above your hip also works well.
Dressing for a Pear Body Shape
If you have a smaller waist and larger bottom half (like J-Lo), you'll want to go for well-cut pants and fit and flare skirts or dresses to add symmetry and emphasize your natural shape.
Sleeker dresses and bright, vibrant colors and prints on your upper half are perfect, so go as wild as you like with shades and patterns.
Key Style Pieces for Banana Plus-Size Bodies
A rectangular shape gives you the benefit of proportions, so it's a brilliant body type to get creative with texture and angles.
Ruffles, asymmetrical cuts, beautiful tulip skirts, cozy knits and classic peplums look fantastic on a banana-shaped, plus-size body.
Choosing Clothes for an Hourglass Shape
Finally, if you have an hourglass figure, you can combine pieces to fit and flatter your curvy outline, blending contemporary with cool to create an edgy style.
Strapless tops, fitted skirts, high-waisted pants and jeans with a wiggle will look striking.
Dressing for Your Plus-Size Body
Ultimately, the clothes that make you feel stunning are your go-to style. The best way to find your iconic look is to play with fabrics and cuts and keep track of the pieces that feel best.
Great fabrics with a bit of stretch are ideal for fitted items, and you can mix-and-match styles and patterns as you get to know what feels good, aligned with fashion goals and preferences that are just as distinctive as you.