Fashion Do's And Don'ts For Plus-Size Women

This article discusses some fashion do's and don'ts for plus-size women.

Plus-size women want to dress attractively and in style. Even as Americans are getting larger, however, women's fashions seem to be getting skimpier. Here are some good do's and don'ts for the plus-size woman who wants to look her best.

Adequate sizing. Women should get the size they wear. Clothes that are too large make a woman look like a bag lady. Too-small fashions are hideous. Buy the appropriate size and ask a sales associate to help.

Ditch the muumuus and house dresses, unless it is a lazy Saturday morning at home. Few garments make a plus-size woman look more pathetic than a house dress. This is reminiscent of those women in comedy skits with pink sponge curlers in their hair, and teeth missing. If a plus-size woman wants to wear a dress, make sure it has some shape to it. "Floats," "trapeze dresses" and "free-and-easy styling" are all synonyms for one thing: a muumuu. Leave them strictly alone. Look for dresses with princess seams down the front, dropped waists, and other styles with shape. Stay away from anything that looks like a tent with flowers.

Pay close attention to the length of tops. Some fashionistas say it is perfectly all right for a plus-size woman to wear those curvy, shaped blouses that barely skim the navel. This is a personal call, and the woman should be aware of what those kinds of blouses reveal. It depends on whether the woman has a large behind or low-hanging abdomen. If so, she should probably stay away from that kind of blouse. Women who are plus-size, but mostly curvy can get away with this kind of fashion.

As a rule, plus-size women should look for tops that hit at least the midline of their navels. Layered looks are good, with blousy shirts over tank tops, as long as the line is smooth, front and back. This is an effective camouflage for big buns without that tent look.

V-necks and other low-cut tops: ditch or keep? Try on the top and look in the mirror. A v-neck can be very flattering on a plus-size woman because it lengthens the neck line and draws the eye down. However, any neckline that shows overflowing cleavage is not flattering. A plus-size woman with an average bust can usually get away with slightly lower-cut tops than a woman who is very well-endowed. These women can wear v-necks and so forth, but should be cautious about how much of their charms they show.

Women should strive to balance jeans and T-shirts. Few things look worse than a big woman in a pair jeans that are skintight across a big rear end, wearing a T-shirt that is too short. It makes her rear look even bigger.

Jackets are tricky for plus-size women. So much depends on how the woman's body is made. Some women are pear-shaped, some are apple-shaped, some have hourglass figures. Taller women with longer legs can usually get away with short jackets, especially if they do not have large rear ends. Women who are short or average height may be able to wear short jackets if they are fairly well-proportioned, bottom andtop. Too large on either end, and a short jacket should be avoided. A good bet for most women is a blazer-style jacket that covers the abdomen and rear end. It can be boxy or tailored, depending on the woman's preferences, body shape and current fashion.

With tops out of the way, what about bottoms? Most plus-size women can wear A-line skirts in flowing fabrics. Tailored or straight skirts are a little more problematic. Again, body style determines everything. Women who are larger on top than bottom may be able to wear a straight skirt with a tailored jacket very well. Women with large hips should look carefully at the skirt's construction and should try it on in the store. It should fit adequately and should not pull or strain at the seams, especially through the widest part of the hip line and the pocket. Plus-size women can wear shorter skirts, but should again be careful to keep clothing proportioned.

Plus-size women can wear wide-legged pants if the fabric flows and drapes nicely. They should stay away from jeans that are tight in the rear and through the thighs and have wide legs. They are unattractive on average-size women, let alone plus-sized ones. Leave them for the size four teenybopper set. Jeans can even have a sleeker fit, provided they do not outline rolls and bulges. Some jeans have 5 percent spandex in the material blend and this can be very helpful in fitting.

Tapered legs probably are some of the most flattering pants a plus-size woman can wear. As long as they keep drawing the eye down, without it stopping right at the hipline, tapered-leg pants are good for most women, and can be found in jeans, tailored twill pants or knit pants.

Proportion is the key for plus-sized women. They should strive to create a pleasant line in their clothes, one that plays up their assets and camouflages flaws. Sales associates in plus-size stores are usually sensitive to these issues, and their advice and opinions should be sought if a woman is in doubt about how something looks on her. It is possible for a plus-size woman to dress attractively.

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