What Not to Wear: Plus Size Fashion Tips 

What Not to Wear: Plus Size Fashion Tips 

Shopping for plus size clothing can be frustrating. The limited selections, poor fits, and lackluster styles leave you wondering, “What am I supposed to wear?” Even worse, you may find yourself squeezing into clothes that are too small or wearing baggy tops and bottoms to hide your body. But you don’t have to sacrifice style or comfort. With a few fashion tips, you can create stunning plus size outfits that flatter your figure and make you look amazing.

Dress for Your Body Type

The key to looking your best is choosing clothes that complement your body shape. Are you a pear, apple, hourglass or rectangle body type? Identify your shape and accentuate your assets.

For example, if you have a pear shape with fuller hips and thighs, opt for A-line dresses and skirts that cinch at the waist and flow over the lower half of your body. This creates the illusion of balance. Or if you have an hourglass figure, highlight your waist. Peplum tops and wrap dresses work wonderfully. Determine what flatters you most and enhance it.

Steer Clear of Overly Baggy Tops

While flowy, blousy tops seem like they would conceal full figures, they often have the opposite effect. Excess fabric adds bulk and makes you look larger than you are. Instead, choose semi-fitted tops in soft, drapey fabrics like jersey knits. They skim your shape while remaining comfortable.

Look for side ruching or front shirring that provides shape without tightness. And consider waterfall cardigans that slenderize with cascading front panels. For optimal enhancement, match tops and bottoms that are relative in size. An oversized top with skinny jeans, for instance, throws off your proportions.

Say No to Low-Rise Bottoms

What Not to Wear: Say No to Low-Rise Bottoms

Are your pants constantly slipping down in the back? Low-rise styles don’t offer enough coverage for a full rear. This results in a plumber’s crack and constant hiking up. For comfortable coverage, opt for mid to high-rise bottoms.

Not only will you avoid showing off your backside, but higher waistbands are thinning and elongating. Look for pants, capris, and shorts that sit above your hips. Try different rises to find your best fit. The same advice applies to skirts. A higher waist is more secure and more flattering.

Be Wary of Boxy Fits

Just because you’re plus size doesn’t mean you have to settle for shapeless, boxy clothing. Oversized fits do not look good on any body type. They add bulk, conceal your shape, and make you appear larger. Avoid anything labeled boyfriend, slouchy, or relaxed fit.

Instead, look for tailored pieces that skim your curves without clinging. Tunic lengths provide coverage while showcasing your waistline. And jackets and blazers with well-defined silhouettes bring out your form. You want breathable fabrics with structured designs for a polished look.

Skip the Short Shorts

Full thighs often lead to chub rub when wearing skimpy shorts. The constant chafing can cause painful rashes and irritation. Spare your skin by choosing shorts with a longer inseam. Bermuda and walking shorts hit a few inches above the knee, providing ample coverage without overexposing.

Look for side vents, pleating, and wide legs that allow comfortable movement. Linen, twill, and stretch denim are great short fabrics that won’t cling. The longer length also helps balance your proportions and show off toned calves. So, bid farewell to Daisy Dukes and say hello to stunning, thigh-saving shorts.

Curtail Clingy Fabrics

Have you ever peeled yourself out of a dress at the end of the night? Thin, clingy fabrics show every lump and bump. They dig into the skin and limit movement. Yet we’re often told to wear body-conscious styles. That advice doesn’t always serve plus size figures.

Instead, look for dresses in firm, weighty fabrics. Materials like Ponte, brocade, and scuba hug curves without squeezing tight. They skim over areas you want to camouflage while emphasizing assets. And knit dresses with stretch provide plenty of give to avoid sausage casing syndrome. Choose thicker, quality fabrics that hold their shape without vacuum sealing your body.

Don’t Drown in a Shapeless Dress

Don't Drown in a Shapeless Dress

Tent-like dresses conceal your figure under yards of excess fabric. But looking shapeless in oversized frocks does not create a flattering silhouette. You end up looking heavier in a billowing, amorphous sack. The key is to find dresses that skim your shape without clinging.

Try a fit-and-flare style that hugs your top half and flares gently over the hips and thighs. Look for defined waistlines, side ruching, and flattering necklines. A-line dresses and faux wrap styles also minimize problem areas. The right dress should breezily drape without enveloping you in a tent. Say goodbye to shapeless and hello to shapely.

Rethink Thigh-High Slits

Sky-high leg slits are best left to supermodels on the catwalk. When you’re plus size, an overly exposed thigh can look vulgar. Avoid gowns and skirts with slits above the knee. They showcase more than you may want to reveal.

For a hint of leg, look for dresses and skirts with subtle slits that hit just above the knee. You’ll get a peek of skin without exposing too much. Side slits are also more slimming than dramatic front or back openings. Show a tasteful amount of thigh while maintaining sophistication. Leave the sexy Angelina Jolie leg flash for Hollywood starlets.

Forget About Low Cut Necklines

Plunging necklines can appear racy and cheap on larger figures. Avoid low-cut tops and dresses that dip too far. Cleavage spilling out is not a good look. You want support and coverage from clothing, not the risk of a wardrobe malfunction.

Instead, frame your face with flattering V-necks and scoop necks. Tops with embellishments, collars, and detailing around the neckline also draw eyes up. Cute cold shoulder and off-the-shoulder styles showcase the d├ęcolletage without exposing too much. Be mindful of your bust to find necklines that are tasteful rather than tacky.

Say No to Skinny Jeans

Forget about squeezing your curves into tight skinny jeans. That look is unflattering and screams try-hard. The lumpy, bumpy effect does your figure no favors. Jeggings and leggings also cling unsympathetically. Leave those awkward looks back in the early 2000s.

Opt instead for bootcut and trouser jeans that gently skim your shape. Stretch denim provides figure flattery without sausage casing. Dark washes and medium washes elongate legs for a slimming effect. Flair jeans balance out the hips and thighs. Tailored, structured jeans give you support without squashing you like a stuffed sausage. Time to retire the skinnies for good.

Skip the Crop Tops

It’s tempting to try out the trendy crop tops you see in stores. But a boxy crop top does not properly flatter a plus size figure. The short cut coupled with insufficient stretch leads to unappealing bulges. Your belly ends up exposed instead of elegantly framed.

Rather than baring your midriff, opt for tops with targeted cut-outs. A keyhole cut-out bares a tasteful peek of skin without full exposure. Side cut-outs highlight your waist, and shoulder cut-outs flaunt those shapely arms. When in doubt, choose tunics and tops with longer hemlines. Cropped only works on the tall and super slender.

Steer Clear of Ankle Straps

Steer Clear of Ankle Straps

Delicate ankle straps on pumps or chunky sandals may be pretty, but they will make your feet and legs look smaller. Ankle straps visually cut off the leg, shortening your silhouette. Solid straps are particularly unflattering. Go for shoes that create length.

Pointed-toe pumps elongate the legs and feet for a slimming optical illusion. Neutral nude and beige shoes give the illusion of longer limbs. Leave the ankle straps for petite figures and choose shoes that make your legs look miles long. Say goodbye cankles, and hello gorgeous gams!


Shopping for plus size clothing can be discouraging. But with these fashion tips, you can highlight your assets and convey confidence. Analyze your body type and accentuate your best features. Seek out flattering fabrics and cuts that enhance without squeezing. Wear length and structure to elongate your silhouette. Most importantly, dress to please yourself. Do not force your curves into unflattering styles to follow trends. With the right know-how, you can craft stunning looks perfect for your plus size figure.


What are the best fabrics for plus size clothing?

Look for stretchy, breathable fabrics with spandex that hug curves without clinging. Ponte, scuba, and thick jersey knits work well. Avoid cheap, thin fabrics that cling and wrinkle. Stretch lace, chiffon, and microfiber are also great options.

What are the most flattering cuts and styles?

A-line skirts, fit and flare dresses, tunics, wrap dresses, peplum tops, and ruched sides create shape and curves. Tailored pieces with structured drapes are best. Avoid oversized, slouchy styles.

How can I dress for my apple body shape?

Accentuate your legs while creating more balance up top. Try A-line dresses, vertical stripes, dark slim pants, v-neck or scoop neck tops, and cropped jackets.

What are the best jeans for plus size figures?

Look for stretch denim, dark wash, bootcut, straight leg, and flare jeans. Trouser jeans and jeggings provide a smooth silhouette without squeezing. Avoid skinny jeans and light washes.

Are platform shoes flattering for the plus size figure?

Absolutely! Platforms elongate the leg and provide comfort with height. They balance curvy figures and add retro flair. Go for platform loafers, wedges, sandals, and sneakers. Avoid spindly high heels.

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