by Tess DiNapoli | Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but she also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.
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We all want to look our show-stopping best and put our truest self forward. Looking great and feeling comfortable are both important when choosing clothes that enhance your confidence. And when you’re rocking a plus-size figure, you especially want to show the world your beautiful, bodacious body at its best.
As the market for women’s plus-size clothing continues to grow, it’s getting a little easier for women of substance to find clothes that celebrate and flatter them. Online outlets and brick-and-mortar retailers are giving more thought to the needs of fully-proportioned women. Slowly but surely, plus-size fashionistas are finding more options to choose from, and that’s great news!
The truth is that women of all sizes often find it difficult to discern the right cut, color, hemline, and other factors that create the look you’re going for. There’s no universal type or size of the female body. Every single one of us is unique. As famed French designer, Coco Chanel once said, “Fashion changes but style endures.” Style is a highly personal quality that tells the world a little about who you are. When your style is worn with a sense of self-celebration, you feel your best by looking your best, embodying elegance.
Body type and size don’t define elegance. Elegance is wearing your self-confidence for all to see. No apologies! Easy and effortless, elegance is about feeling terrific in whatever you’re wearing.
For women of substance, the trick is to find the proportions and shapes that present your body in the best light. Because “substance” defines a lot of different sizes and shapes. Plus-size women model a range of body types, height differentials, and shoulder-to-hip ratios just like other women.
So, what does size-inclusive elegance look like?
Accentuate Your Curves
Until quite recently, a lot of plus-size clothing was shapeless, enveloping the wearer in an abundance of fabric. But your curves are stunning, and they deserve to be seen! Letting them shine is a matter of selecting the right shape and cut, flattering your most precious assets.
Accentuating your curves doesn’t mean resorting to Spandex, either. Your lifestyle may find you casually elegant in boutique sweaters and jeans. Or maybe you’re a mom seeking the perfect, sexy “date night” dress to wow your partner.
Whatever you wear, you want the cut of your clothing to tell a story of confident style. Clothes that subtly hug your curves speak that language, presenting you as the savvy style queen you are.
Effortless style isn’t shapeless. Neither is it skintight. It’s a combination of the right fit, the perfect proportion, and the ideal color or pattern. The end result is you at your vibrant, stunning best.
Proportion is Everything
Not all plus-size women are tall. Some are short. Some have broad shoulders and others, narrow. Some plus-size women have well-defined waists, others are more straight up and down. All these figure types deserve to be sartorially splendid.
Understanding the best proportions for your body shape and size helps you look gorgeous in anything you wear. Proportion is essentially another word for “balance.” Balance is harmony, where each piece you wear complements the others, achieving the alchemy of elegance.
The hourglass figure type demands a different approach to the pillar-shaped figure, for example. Working with your shape, you can style carefully to accentuate your most attractive assets, creating a beautifully flattering silhouette. Working with proportion is the art of effortless elegance and presenting the most eye-catching version of yourself.
With a larger bust and hips and a defined waist, hourglass figures are showcased at their curvaceous best in striking jackets and empire waist dresses. Amp up that waist with a belt or choose a wrap dress with a deep-v neckline. Both strategies highlight your enviable shape in a tremendously flattering way.
Women with shoulder widths and bust sizes equivalent to their hips — the straight body type — can enhance your curves at the shoulders with a ruffled, off-the-shoulder blouse, creating the illusion of width. And again, belts are your friend, because they help to define the waist. Add a peplum to heighten the effect, adding more volume to your hips for a flirty, hip-swaying look.
Fear Not The Jeans
The right pair of jeans can work wonders for any woman’s confidence. When a well-cut pair of jeans hug you in all the right places, you know you’re killing it!
The straight-cut jean works well on just about anyone, especially when paired with the right blouse or top. Pair your jeans with a scoop neck, A-line tunic to elongate your look, adding slinkiness. One favorite top pairing is the criss-cross (also called surplice) blouse with a long peplum. Get it in a beautiful print and color to balance your straight-cut jeans and draw the eye up.
Flared jeans work well on women with a curvier upper body, creating volume on the lower half of the body. It strikes a balance the eye reads as elegance. Flared jeans with a longline, cowl neck sweater balance the fullness of your upper body.
Remember that high-waisted jean is often going to be your most comfortable choice. While low-rise jeans are making a comeback, being comfortable is always the pinnacle of elegance. And whatever style of jeans makes you feel like the queen you are, up the ante by pairing jeans with a top that flatters your body type by presenting it at its gorgeous best.
Wear It With Confidence
When you know who you are, style comes naturally. With a few simple tricks of proportion, you’ve got the style bull by the horns, and dressing your body becomes a joy. With proportion in mind, you can wear anything with confidence.
The type of clothes that suits a plus-size figure is whatever clothing you feel best in, in smart combinations that speak the language of your curves. In beautiful balance, everything looks good on you, and that, women of substance, is elegance.