“How To Dress”: 10 Essential Clothing Items, Plus Size Edition


I got a few emails and tweets asking me for clarification on what are essential clothing items for plus-sized gals. Great point.

What is plus-sized? There is some controversy about this, with a few groups claiming that size 8 and above is plus-sized. But the industry standard seems to be size 14 and above in the US, size 16 and above in the UK. So, I’ll go with that.

I would say that most of my list (in the last post) applies to plus sizes. One of the chicest women I know is a size 20 and she lives in a wardrobe of beautiful white shirts and black skirts.

The White Button-Down Shirt

I’d argue that the white button-down is an essential.

Here are a few stylish plus-size ladies you might know, wearing this classic item.

The lovely Ina Garten.


I LOVE LOVE LOVE this photo so much. Model Tara Lynn wears a take on the classic white button-down (via an Hermes jumpsuit: so fab) and absolutely KILLS it. From Elle France.


So, here’s some tips on how to wear a button down.

Because plus sizes can be funky with fit, I would recommend you purchase your shirt to fit the widest part of you (bust, shoulders, whatever that area might be) and tailor it to fit the smallest areas, like your waist. To go for a more figure hugging look, you can belt it or buy a peplum style. Or you can go for a more loose fit, like Ina. To make a loose shirt really elegant, you could buy a model with French cuffs and buy cufflinks.

Here’s a good choice:

Classic, 3/4 length sleeves from Lane Bryant. See the darts coming inward? That makes for a figure-flattering look.


Other places to look: LL Bean, Brooks Brothers.

The Black Dress

There are tons of cute LBDs in plus sizes. First, here’s a famous actress looking amazing in a little black dress so I can convince you all.

Rebel Wilson, looking fantastic.


I think I have mentioned ModCloth before. Of all of the online retailers out there, they may be the most awesome when it comes to plus-sizes. According to Refinery 29, almost all of their dresses now come in sizes 14 and above. They have a very extensive selection of LBDs. To wit:

This pretty number. The ruching is cool and I love the sleeves. And it reminds me of Rebel’s dress.


Great Jeans


Yep, there are super cute plus-sized jeans out there. I would again recommend you alter a pair you love. Remember: no pair of jeans will fit anyone perfectly, except the fit model they were created for. So don’t be afraid to take in the waist, or hem the bottoms.

Not My Daughter’s Jeans (sorry for the cringe-y name) gets top marks from lots of plus-sized fashionistas. You can find them online at Modcloth.

A Beautiful Coat

Again, I’d argue that a beautiful coat is a plus-size essential. The only caution I’d give? Beware of super bulky versions and look out for extra-heavy linings. Here’s a really cute one:

From H & M. Classic double breasted style, gorgeous color.


The one essential I would say skip is the pencil skirt. But, an A-line skirt in black would be a great alternative.

Finally? Can I just note that my research turned up the following: plus-sized models Candice Huffine and Tara Lynn are possibly two of the most gorgeous women on this earth. They should be working a LOT more.



PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE chime in if you are plus-sized. Do you agree? Any tips? Disagree? What brands do you like?


Filed under personal style

7 responses to ““How To Dress”: 10 Essential Clothing Items, Plus Size Edition

  1. Can I please put in a request for top five shoes? I’m fine with clothes… but not shoes. I wish i could have one magical pair that would go with everything. I would pay a lot of money for that pair of shoes. But until then… and keep in mind that I hate hate hate shoe shopping… can you please give me five types of shoes that should go with most stuff?

  2. Size 8 is plus sized shhhhheeesh! I am a size 6 and I wouldn’t want to go any smaller!! Great choices J the models are stunning.

  3. Thank you for doing this! I think with plus sizes, one of my problems is feeling like I’m not going to look good in it anyway, so why bother? also, I get hung up on the numbers and don’t want to buy something that’s in too big a size, so i end up getting things that dont’ fit right.

    My mom took me to Lane Bryant recently to buy a dress for my cousin’s wedding. I resisisted (“I do not need to go to a Fat Girl Store!”) But Ite clothes were really cute, the dress looks great on me, and it was kind of fun to be wearing the smallest size in the store. 🙂

  4. Pingback: “How To Dress”: 10 Essential Clothi...

  5. Thanks for doing this post! I think fabric is very important for plus sized girls. Also, to remember that you can still dress fabulously, you don’t have to wear those old lady tops that they sell in plus sizes in a lot of department stores.

  6. Don’t be afraid to wear clothes that actually fit your body. Baggy doesn’t hide anything; confidence does!

    And I do love that ruched black dress.

  7. Size 8 my ass! Who came up with that? A size 00?

    I’m naturally at 10/12 but post baby #2 I am now a 14/16. Given that it is summer, I live in denim capris (two different lengths, one just below the knee and the other between the knee and ankle).

    I agree that baggy is not better, not by a long shot but worse is too tight. I have NEVER been able to find a white button down that fits right so I abandoned the pursuit.

    The Macy’s Woman dept and whatever the one at Nordstrom is called get my vote. Never heard of ModCloth. Can’t wait to take a peek.

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