Plus Size Clothing

How to Stay Fashionable Without Breaking the Bank

A version of this article first appeared on 60 & Me. 

You just stepped off the runway. A soft breeze gently sweeps your hair back. You gracefully glide down the stage to a sea of flashing cameras. Heads turn to see you decked out in a tulle gown with crystal Gucci tassels…

Maybe in your imagination. But the reality is that you may not have the funds to support such a glamorous style.

You can still rock it with a little planning and creativity. Who says you can’t look like a million bucks on a leaner budget?

The secret is in knowing what to buy and how to make the ordinary into something extraordinary.

Look Beyond the Brand

Marketing is powerful stuff. Like it or not, brands use marketing to manipulate you. Don’t be fooled. Even mature women who think they’re beyond these things can still be affected by the barrage of advertisements.

Remember, you want fashion and quality at a good price — not just some name on a tag that ultimately means nothing. In fact, it’s not uncommon to reach for the higher end clothes only to find out they don’t last. Where’s the value in that brand name now?

This can be a particular problem for plus size women. That’s because some popular brands are trying to take advantage of the plus size market. But instead of designing clothing specifically for those sizes, they make simple upsizes of their current line. The result is poorly fitting, low quality garments that are not made with a woman’s body or comfort in mind.

Keep Things Classic

Ever spend too much on a trendy shirt that looked good in the store, only to realize it matches almost nothing in your closet? What happens then?

It gets shoved in the back of the closet, along with all those other random garments that don’t match. Come back and check in on that shirt in a year (or even less). When the trend passes and it’s unfashionable – plus unmatchable to boot – the shirt will probably stay in its wardrobe dungeon forever.

The lesson? Instead of chasing down trends, keep your wardrobe classic and versatile. For example, the classic button up blouse can create a variety of options. Go for a relaxed, casual look with jeans or step it up with classy dress pants. A solid, simple tank top allows you to layer and recreate new ideas. Tunic tops can give you limitless possibilities. Having an array of classics will allow you to adjust and always have the latest look.

Even so, there are a few items that are worth shelling out the extra money for. Get those jeans that show off your curves and make you look amazing. Or stay warm in a stylish black leather jacket. They are classics that will never go out of style. Remember, it’s better to have a closet with a few classics that you love than endless hangers of mediocre wannabees.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

If you have an important social event coming up, don’t hesitate to start looking early. Shopping left to the last minute encourages impulse buying. Purchases made under pressure usually doesn’t reap the best results.

You get stressed out knowing the clock is ticking. The tendency is to cave in and settle for something that’s not a perfect fit. Shopping ahead of time will save you money and ease the stress. You want an extraordinary look — so take the time to find it.

Find the Best Deal

You want top quality clothing but at a good price. To get it, don’t limit yourself to just one store. Try a variety of retailers, including online shops. And use these tactics to get a great deal:

  • Subscribe to email newsletters from your favorite brands and designers. They often send special discounts to subscribers – and you may get a bonus discount just for signing up.
  • If it’s a boutique online store or designer, reach out with an email and ask for a first time discount. Many will be glad to offer you a deal on your first purchase especially.
  • Shop around holidays when online stores tend to offer the best deals.
  • Shop for last season’s styles during transitional months when they often go into deep clearance sales.

Remember, if you always opt for the cheaper blouse that doesn’t fit, you won’t be happy. A handmade piece of clothing that fits perfectly is worth the extra money and will make you feel beautiful. So read reviews of the brands and designers you are thinking about buying. You might not get a huge discount, but it’s always a better deal to buy a quality garment that’s going to last years over a poorly constructed piece.

Another way to maximize your style while minimizing your budget is to use inexpensive accessories to complement your outfits. Artfully arranged bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings have the power to take a simple outfit and ratchet it up to amazing. You don’t have to spend a lot – casual, chunky jewelry that brings color and fun to your look won’t break the bank. But you might be surprised at how dramatically it improves even a simple ensemble.

Just the Right Fit

Not all in the fashion industry understand the specific needs for plus size women. It’s not just a matter of extending standard measurements and upsizing. To get a perfect fit, clothing must be designed especially for plus size women’s natural body shapes.

Designers that have you in mind when creating a piece of clothing will produce exactly what you need. For sure, clothing that fits you in all the right places is priceless!

You spend most of your life in your clothes, so splurge for the extra nice things. You are worth it!

Once you’ve carefully chosen the clothes fit your budget and make you feel fabulous, wear them with attitude! You may not be in Paris sauntering down the runway. But with a little forethought and smart shopping, you can make a fashionable statement at a great price.

What other ways have you found to create a million dollar wardrobe on a realistic budget?


Stephen, Your Designer

“There is an amazing feeling of artistic accomplishment when all the parts come together into one harmonious aesthetic. It's a connection with who you are and the elements you choose to express yourself visually. This is what making clothing is all about for me. It's like when a songwriter hears his first written notes from a voice or a baker who has practiced a recipe and nails it or a figure skater who exceeds her own expectations. I express my sense of art in clothing. I see things in color, shape and texture. I react to the touch of silk on my skin and my eyes are aware of how color combinations make me feel. My goal is to bring all of these intuitive notions to garments that are sized for larger women. If I can accomplish this then I have reached my goal.” – Stephen

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