Plus Size Clothing, Plus Size Styling

Does Your Body Shape or Size Dictate What You Can Wear?

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

Do you like to be compared to fruit? Or a geometric form? How do you feel when you hear “pear shaped” or “rectangle”? It doesn’t exactly instill positive feelings.

True, knowing your shape and how to dress for it is a good thing. But no one should be judged by their shape. Look beyond the shape and you will find a unique individual. Let others see that side by your choice in style.

Daily we are immersed in a world that praises the perfect shape. By grouping women according to their form and size, society steals their ability to express themselves.

Take it back. You may not have complete control over your body shape or weight. But you can – and should – have control over what you wear. But showing off your shape confidently and not being held back by common stereotypes is a challenge. Here are the solutions.

Challenge – Undefined Waist

If you have a lot of tummy weight, it can cause you to have an undefined waist. That’s no problem – just choose flattering garments that highlight your personal beauty.

Look for plus size V-neck and scoop neck tops. They naturally draw your eye upwards and elongate your figure by creating a vertical line. This also accentuates and highlights your neck and chest, drawing the attention away from your midsection.

For the warmer weather of spring and summer, you can’t go wrong with plus size open-shoulder tunic tops. Their length and flow will elongate your figure while the open-shoulder detail keeps attention higher up. Wear them with solid bottoms or jeans and you’ve got a gorgeous outfit that can go just about anywhere.

Layers can work for you too, especially in professional settings. A structured, single-breasted V-neck blazer will give you a more defined shape. Throw on a scarf for a little flare on breezy spring days.

Challenge – Wide Hips and Thighs

If you carry more weight in your lower body, these tips will help you create flattering outfits that show off your curves and keep your figure balanced.

A common issue for women is having hips wider than the shoulders. You can widen your upper body with creative sleeves and even out your look. Butterfly, ¾, and bell sleeves are all a great choice.

Choose a printed top and pair it with a darker bottom. Instead of going with long, flowing tops, choose tops that accentuate your waist and don’t add more length or size to your bottom half.

A-line skirts work well with a jacket. If skinny jeans are your thing, match them with an A-line tunic.

You want a polished look regardless of what you wear, so make sure you’ve got the right fit. This can be hard when shopping for plus size clothing, especially since not all designers offer clear sizing guides. So before you buy, confirm the measurements of the pieces and be sure they’ll fit you right.

Challenge – Curvy and Busty

Instead of covering up your gorgeous body, highlight your strengths and create a flattering figure. Curves are something to be proud of – not to hide beneath shapeless outfits!

Be careful with stretchy fabrics with a low V-neck. Instead, go with a plus size jacket or a flowing top for a softer touch that still enhances your shape.

Elongate your torso and create length by wearing your skirts a little below the waistline. To highlight your waist and create a balanced look, try tucking in your top. You don’t have to cinch yourself in with a tight tuck – keep it loose and light to create visual interest while staying comfortable.

Make It Work for You

One thing’s for sure: your body shape doesn’t define you. People don’t care about those titles and categories. They only see what you do with what you’ve got.

Forget the fruits and rectangles. You have a great shape. Work with it!

True, some shapes naturally look better in certain styles. But you should still feel free to experiment. Mix and match styles until you create the one that defines you.

Confidence is something you can’t buy on a rack. It needs to come from within. Take off the extra stress about your shape with creativity and positive thinking!


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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