I have been an online writer for more than 8 years. I enjoy writing about beauty and fashion, particularly vintage fashion.
I don’t particularly like the phrase plus size. I believe people come in all shapes and sizes. Why do you have to be referred to as plus size if you wear a size 12 or larger. (12 is plus size? Really? Seriously?)
If you are curvy, Rueben-esque, or even, shall we say, fluffy, it doesn’t mean you have to be condemned to a lifetime of oversized clothes and a wardrobe of black.
Fashion Rules Curvy Women Should Break
- Don’t wear fitted clothing.
- Don’t wear maxi dresses.
- Curvy gals can’t wear pencil skirts.
- Wear black.
- For that matter no white either!
- No stripes!
- Definitely no skinny jeans!
- Stay away from prints.
- Listen to fashion experts.
Rule # 1: Don’t Wear Fitted Clothing.
WRONG! Fitted clothing actually makes you look smaller. Loose clothing makes you look larger. The important thing is to look for the right fit and certain details that will make the best of your shape.
If you have a larger torso and smaller lower half you are probably like me and need to create the illusion of a waist. Look for button-down blouses with princess seaming that cut in at the waist. Make sure you buy a blouse large enough to fit your shoulders and your bosom. If this makes the blouse a little loose in the waist, take it in or take it to a seamstress or alterations shop to do it for you. You don’t want gaps in the buttons. You can pair your blouse with jeans, pants, skirts whatever you fancy and we will cover them shortly.
When shopping for dresses don’t rule out knit and shift dresses. If you are going for knit dresses look for ruching on the sides and heavier knits that tend to hold you in rather than cling like lightweight jersey knits. Ruching is sewing or gathering along the sides which create soft folds in the fabric. It’s a little like smoke and mirrors. It makes it very hard to tell what are fabric folds and what are little flaws. Dresses with good tailoring details also help. Look for seaming that creates structure and again, a waist.
Rule #2: Don’t Wear Maxi Dresses.
Bullocks! You can! Look for V-neck halter top styles which look very flattering on well-endowed ladies. An empire waist, one that is right under the bust line, hits at the smallest part on every woman. The length of the dress also helps to elongate your body making you appear taller and slimmer. Look for fabrics that float away from your body.
Rule #3: Curvy Gals Can’t Wear Pencil Skirts.
Are you kidding me? Pencil skirts look stunning and classic on curvy gals. Again, fit is key. Make sure it fits your waist, hips, butt and thighs. It should gently hug your body but not be skin tight. Again if you have wildly varying proportions, such as a very small waist and full hips of an hourglass, you will probably need to have the waist taken in.
You can go for a classic black pencil skirt, or a slimming pinstripe. You can also wear a brightly colored pencil skirt as well. Pick your favorite color and strut your stuff. Pair it with a button down blouse, fitted v-neck or scoop neck t-shirt or a cardigan. If you have a small waist, put a nice wide belt around it to show it off. If you have no waist, same thing, put a nice wide belt around it to create a waist.
Try a little color blocking in your outfit and be right on trend for spring and summer. Don’t be afraid of color. This brings me to Rule #4: Wear black.
Rule #4: Wear Black.
Yeah, yeah, black is slimming. I have tons of black in my closet. I love black, but let’s face it all black everyday is just depressing.
Look for dresses in blocks of color or do your own color blocking. Try a turquoise shift dress with a red cardigan over it and an orange belt. Too much for you? Ok. How about a sunny yellow top, navy blue pencil skirt and wide red belt? Put on a pair of peep-toe pumps in any of those colors, and bright bag and you are ready to go!
Rule #5: For That Matter No White Either!
White is wonderful and no woman no matter what size she is should be denied the freedom to wear white. I would suggest either a white dress or white pencil skirt. White pants are hard to pull off for many women and there is no need to torture yourself when finding the the perfect little white dress for your figure is so much more figure flattering and fun.
Rule #6: No Stripes!
Pish-Posh! You can wear stripes! Go ahead put on a striped tee, dark wash jeans and a fitted blazer or short sleeve jacket. When buying jeans, trouser styles are the most flattering. Look for wide legs to create a nice long line. Wear a bright or patterned pair of wedge heel espadrilles. Adding some accessories like a nice long necklace and a few brightly colored bangle bracelets complete the look.
Rule # 7: Definitely No Skinny Jeans!
Ok. Personally, I think skinny jeans look bad on everyone with the possible exception of stick figures, but if you want to rock this style like everything else, it’s all about proportion. Look for a dark wash and make sure you get a GOOD fit. Pair them with a flowing shirt and loose long casual vest. Wear a long necklace to draw the eye down. Put on a pair of funky booties or high heel sandals and you will look smashing.
Rule #8: Stay Away From Prints.
Where’s the fun in that? You are probably getting tired of reading, “pay attention to proportion” but it really is the key to dressing well and looking your best. Pick the correct size print for your frame. Don’t get a print so tiny and dainty that it takes what looks like a million of them to cover you. On the other hand if you are short, a print that is two large or busy is going to make you look worse. Try to find a middle ground. This may mean you have to try a lot on, but it’s better than being stuck with something you aren’t going to be comfortable wearing.
Rule #9: Listen to Fashion Experts.
No.You don’t even have to listen to me. You know what looks best on you? Confidence. If you love something and it makes you feel pretty and happy when you wear it, then by all means wear it! Be honest with yourself. Be yourself. Nothing is sexier than a confident woman.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on July 13, 2014:
I am glad you liked the article and have been able to help your gf embrace more fashion choices. I hate the term plus size. I don't think size 12 is necessarily plus, but the fashion industry does. People come in all shapes and sizes.
veronica-h on July 13, 2014:
My girlfriend is a curvy woman and I have helped her to get rid of her oversized tent tops and black trouser 'plus size' uniform. She has embraced fitted dresses and pencil skirts and is definitely more confident as a result. Advice like this is really positive and there should be more of it.
Btw, I'm a size 12 yet have skinny arms and legs. I am so not a plus size!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on December 23, 2013:
poetryman6969 on December 23, 2013:
If you've got the nerve to have the curves then flaunt it!
Anya Brodech from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607 on August 13, 2013:
I just finished reading your article and it reminded me of my own. I'm a curvy girl (size 6) with lovely lady lumps, so I know how important it is to wear clothes that fit you properly. As long as it just hugs your body and graces the edge of your curves, it'll look great, no matter what the color or pattern. Feel free to read my hub about the secret of simple and form-fitting silhouettes, because it has a lot of parallels to yours. https://bellatory.com/clothing/F-is-for-Fit
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on July 17, 2013:
Thank you. I hope you find things you love and can be comfortable with the shape and size you are now.
Xeng from Philippines on July 15, 2013:
I've gained a lot of weight recently and none of my old clothes fit. The over sized clothes really do make me look fatter! Thank you for all these very helpful advice. Voted up and sharing. :) Have a great day!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on April 14, 2013:
Thank you, Blond Logic
Mary Wickison from Brazil on April 13, 2013:
Wow! Since when has 12 been a plus size? The women you have here all look amazing. I especially love the purple dress near the top. If a woman feels confident in herself and with what she is wearing, everyone else can deal with it. They are the ones with a problem.
Great hub. Sharing this one.
VaughnPearl on June 26, 2012:
I love this!!!! That's right why is size 12 and over plus? You hit the main point it is all about the right fit! I personally think when the fit is off no matter what the size will make you look not as good as you can.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on November 30, 2011:
Pkitty, this is true, however, I think stores like Torrid, Lane Bryant, and Ashley Stewart are changing that. If you really want fashionable clothing and a perfect fit, make your clothes. That's what I do. Don't know how to sew? Take a class at your local store or community college. You will gain a lifelong skill and a whole new, perfect for your, fabulous wardrobe.
pkitty on November 29, 2011:
I have never followed the fashion 'rules' but the really annoying part of shopping for plus size fashion is that most shops seem to feel that once you have reached a certain size you should only wear a moomoo. Nobody wants to dress like a frump!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on August 30, 2011:
Prektjr.dc Thank you so much. Nothing looks better on a woman than confidence. Have a fabulous day!
Debbie Carey from Riverton, KS, USA on August 29, 2011:
You have just validated my entire wardrobe!! Thanks.. you are my new best friend!! I agree...size is less important than confidence and s-t-y-l-e! Thanks for a good hub! voted up, useful and interesting!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on June 21, 2011:
Weer44: I'm still not sold on the skinny jeans ~ but if you like them and they make you happy, go for it!
weer44 on June 16, 2011:
One thing. Skinny jeans actually look great on non-stick-figures. It highlights the butt and thighs while slimming the legs. A bit of a muffin top can appear, but that can be overcome with a looser waist on the pants.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on May 28, 2011:
aaah, thanks! You rock DiY!
DIYweddingplanner from South Carolina, USA on May 27, 2011:
I've seen you in just about everything you mentioned here and can give a testimonial you look GREAT in all! Voted up and awesome!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on May 27, 2011:
Thank you rachelsholiday and Jeannieinabottle. Personally I won't be caught dead in skinny jeans! (Leggings under a dress maybe) But, if you or any other woman want to wear them, then you should be able too. You just gotta know the tricks that are going to help you not only look good but feel good in them as well.
Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on May 27, 2011:
You are so right! As far as skinny jeans and, for that matter, leggings go, it is all about body shape and the shirt. You can be any size and wear skinny jeans as long as the person wears a long enough shirt. Voted up!
rachelsholiday on May 27, 2011:
Thank you for writing this! I hate all these fashion "rules." Our society seems to think that women don't know how to do anything. Get out there and show them that you can look amazing!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on May 27, 2011:
Thanks Celebritie. I don't believe in wearing anything that makes you feel unhappy.
celebritie on May 26, 2011:
I agree that women of all sizes should wear what they feel good in. Fashion experts do not always know what they are talking about.