Plus Size Clothing

Avoiding the Traps of Matchy-Matchy and Monochrome with Your Plus Size Clothing Style

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

Have you ever seen someone wear an outfit that matches too much? They meticulously planned every piece of that outfit. They were going for a constant flow of style. But it’s just too much.

Therein lies the problem. You want to create a look that matches well and has a coherent style to it. Maybe you tend to choose a certain color, print, or pattern regularly. You know what it goes with and you know it looks good on you. But the trouble comes when you overdo it.

Too much of the same color or pattern can be overwhelming to the eye. You want a unique blend of color and style, not a monochrome look or clashing ensemble.

This can become a problem for plus size women over 40 especially. You’ve been told you have to wear all dark colors to slim your figure. You’ve been told that big prints and patterns are no good – they’ll only make you look huge. And you’ve been attacked with all kinds of other stereotypical fashion advice meant to control and shame curvy women.

Despite all that, there is good news! You don’t have to give up on matching, contrasting, and creating beautiful outfits. Use these tips and some simple planning to create a lovely, balanced style that’s never too matchy-matchy.

What to Match

You don’t have to forget about matching colors entirely. Just find ways to match that will draw the eye in and create a nice touch. Try focusing your eye on pieces that are located near each other. For example – let’s say you’re wearing a turquoise plus size cardigan. Wear simple, matching earrings to highlight the color.

From there, move away from turquoise and choose complementary colors instead. Leave the trousers a basic, neutral color. Resist buying matching pumps. Go with a subtler look, like black or white.

Consider the intensity of the colors you choose too. Bright colors are best matched with bright. Mixing them with muted colors will throw off the balance of your entire look. Matching bold colors and patterns gets intense, but adding a touch of them to an otherwise neutral outfit creates a beautiful look.

Coordinating Your Accessories

Instead of trying to match all the colors and prints, look for a focal point. Start with a colorful patterned scarf, then use those colors as a guide to choose other pieces you will wear.

A handbag in a subtle color from the scarf will compliment beautifully. Cleverly chosen shoes can bring out a color found in your blouse. But avoid trying to match loud colors and patterns – they’re best left to stand out on their own. Remember, exactly matching your colors too much can give you a monochrome look that washes out your figure and leaves you shapeless. Creating some contrast is a good way to balance your style, especially with your accessories.

You may feel that matching your earrings and necklace will look alright. After all, most times they are bought together. But it can be too, especially if you’re wearing bold colors that are also in your top or scarf. Try mixing things up and wearing different complementary colors instead of making both the same.

If you can’t choose over gold or silver, mix them together. Afraid you’ll be breaking some essential rule of fashion? No way! Worn next to each other they will look great. Don’t be afraid of what the fashion police say. If it looks great and creates a look you love, go with it!

Subtle matching is easy with accessories. Pairing the colors in your necklace with a color in your skirt can bring the entire outfit together. Don’t be afraid of colorful chunky accessories as well. They’ll add a fun touch to your look and go perfectly with your plus size style.

Making It Work with Your Wardrobe

Think about what’s in your closet. Can you coordinate a few outfits without matching too much? Choose 2 or 3 colors and see what different shades you can come up with. If they are all cool colors, mix and match them to create a great combo. Then toss in a touch of something bold – like a red purse – for a little pop of color.

Don’t fall into the trap of being too matchy-matchy. Focus on expressing your unique individuality and finding the sheer elegance of a perfect combination.

Open your mind as your survey your closet. Don’t be held back to only neutrals, only exactly matching accessories, or any other limitations. With a little planning the options are endless.

If your wardrobe has become too monochrome, pick up some new pieces that bring color into your style. Local stores usually have lackluster options in plus sizes, so shop online instead. There are many designers focusing on clothing for mature, plus size women – you’re sure to find lovely, colorful garments to add to your collection.


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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