How to Dress for a Plus Size Body

How to Dress for a Plus Size Body

    Getting dressed shouldn’t be a chore or something you dread, which is something plus-sized women can experience due to the pressures put on us to conform to certain standards and ideals. I want to do away with these notions and instead celebrate women regardless of their body type and size, so I have created a simple guide on how to dress for a plus-size body!

    Understanding Your Body Shape

    The first thing we have to realize is that “plus size” is a generic term - it doesn’t account for our body shape. If you want to dress to impress you have to understand your body shape as a plus sized woman and common body shapes include:


    If you have a straight body shape it means everything is in proportion from top to bottom and a defining feature is that your shoulders and bust are typically inline with your hips and you may not have a clearly defined waist.

    With this plus-sized body shape you want to choose clothing that creates the illusion of curves or accentuates specific features like your waist or legs. For example, a belt around your waist helps define while designer womens blouses with frills and ruffles can add further accentuation.


    With an hourglass plus size figure you typically have a larger chest and hips with a defined waist and usually your hips and shoulders are the same width which gives your body balance.

    The key with this type of body shape is to lean into that symmetry and natural curves and wear clothing that further shows off your defined waist and cleavage. Blouses and wrap dresses work well to show off your waist, while tops with necklines such as the v-neck or deep scoop neck look fantastic.


    If you have an apple body shape this means that your upper body is more enhanced while your shoulders and hips are typically aligned. As a result, your waist may not be as defined which is why wearing clothes that emphasize your waist and legs works well.

    For example, you could opt for skirts or trousers that are fuller and help define your silhouette. Layering also works well to streamline your body further and give the illusion of balance.


    Plus sized women with a pear body shape have fuller hips and legs but this tapers off at your waist which is more defined and your shoulders and bust are typically narrower. The key here is to bring attention to and put the emphasis on the top half of your body to create balance.

    Choosing the Right Fabrics and Colors

    plus size woman wearing jeans and tshirt

    Fabrics and colors play an important role and can drastically alter how an outfit works for a plus sized woman. Certain fabrics are slimming while others can enhance your figure in the wrong way for example, and the same can be said for colors.

    Flattering Fabrics for Plus Size Figures

    Some fabrics are simply better than others when looking at how to dress for a plus size body and some of the best include:

    • Structured fabrics
    • Textured fabrics
    • Matte fabrics
    • Stretchy fabrics

    Structured fabrics such as cotton blends, twill, and wool hold their shape superbly and thus reduce the emphasis on curves and bumps that you want to conceal. They allow you to create smooth lines, add definition in the right places, and have an overall slimming effect.

    Textured fabrics like flannel, brocade, and tweed draw the attention away from your body shape and any parts you want to conceal and instead emphasize the fabric itself. They work fantastically to break up the lines in your body.

    Matte fabrics are those that absorb light and this has the benefit of hiding imperfections as opposed to shiny fabrics that are reflective and outline your curves further. Stretchy fabrics are also great as they contour to the shape of your body more easily and do not add unnecessary volume to your curves if you don’t want it.

    Dazzling Colors to Complement Your Curves

    Some colors complement your curves better and work great for plus sized women, but I don’t want you to be restricted. You can wear any color you want providing it works with your outfit!

    That being said, if you do want to use colors that work well with your figure, darker shades are a better choice. Black is often viewed as the ultimate slimming color, while purple, navy blue, dark green, and darker reds all work brilliantly too.

    Celebrating Your Unique Beauty

    I hope you have found this guide on how to dress for a plus size body useful. With these simple tips and by understanding your body shape you can kit your wardrobe out with clothing that enhances your best features and makes you look and feel fantastic. I also want you to celebrate your unique beauty and remember that you don’t have to conform to the often unrealistic body standards that society imposes.

    Article by:

    Gina Kuyers

    Gina Kuyers is the founder of Luxeire. The idea for Luxeire came out of founder Gina’s frustration with the discomfort and high maintenance of beautiful clothing. With a 20-year career and PhD in school psychology, Gina spent decades applying research to real-world problem solving. She brought these well-honed skills to designing and producing a line of elevated wardrobe staples.

    Gina grew up in West Michigan where she attended Calvin College graduating with a degree in education. She continued her education at Fordham where she received her PHD in school psychology. Gina and her husband, David, have four adult children and live in New Jersey—just a short ferry ride from the Luxeire studio in New York City.