Ask Taryn: Affordable plus size clothing advice

Q: What’s some advice on outfits for plus sized women on a budget?

A: I’m so glad I got asked this question because I have been meaning to do a post like this for a long time and this has finally given me the motivation to actually write it.  After working in a clothing store for over 3 years where most of the clientele would be considered plus sized I have learnt a few tricks of the trade that make plus size styling a breeze. Finding flattering clothing can be difficult for any woman at times and it can be made even more difficult when some stores only stock up to a size 14-16 or use the same cut and pattern for every size, meaning they are probably only going to flatter a size 8. So for this post I have compiled my top pieces of advice for plus size styling on a budget. I hope this is helpful and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments below!

1. Foundation garments

No matter how beautiful the outfit or how well it fits, it’s beauty can be immediately undone if your undergarments don’t fit you properly. Time and time again I see this in my work where the piece of clothing actually does fit the woman properly, it’s just that her bra doesn’t and therefore she has visible back rolls or a myriad of other unflattering problems. They often ask to go up a size but it rarely ever helps because it’s not the dress, it’s the bra that’s the problem. I know finding proper fitting undergarments can be difficult for bigger busted women but Isabella’s Passion has an incredible range which include; bras (up to a K cup!), underwear, sleepwear, swimwear, corsets, maternity, bridal, sexy pieces, hosiery and shape wear in plus sizes all at reasonable prices. It is also imperative that you get properly fitted as wearing the wrong size bra not only looks unflattering under you clothes but can also be doing your back a world of harm.

The Faye Plunge bra from Isabella’s Passion. Available up to a J cup for $69.95

2. Don’t look at the size on the tag

I know it feels great if we can fit into a size smaller than we usually take but always remember this: “Just because it can do up, doesn’t mean it fits”.  Absolutely no one else can see that little number on the tag inside your clothes and if you really want to you can cut it off altogether so please do not let it dictate which size item you buy. Try on a few sizes when choosing a garment and pick the one that truly flatters your body the most. An ill fitting garment that makes you look like you have been squished and squeezed into it is always going to be unflattering and will make you look a lot bigger than you are.

3. Don’t get stuck in all black

This may be a shock as I am probably the queen of little black dresses and own more black clothing than most goths but please don’t get stuck in wearing black all the time just because you think it’s slimming. Yes,black is very slimming but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, other colours and prints can be just as flattering. Large, all over prints can distract from a tummy and thighs and can draw attention to other, more flattering areas of your body while also adding a pop of colour to your outfit. It is worth mentioning though that I do not recommend stripes.  Horizontal stripes, simply by their very nature accentuate width and are just simply unflattering. Vertical stripes can on occasion give the illusion of length in the body but more often than not the stripes will become distorted by the curves in our body and end up accentuating the bits we would really rather hide. This Asos dress from their plus size, curve, range is an excellent example of how flattering large all over prints can be. As you can see the change in print down the sides gives the illusion of a smaller frame while the vertical nature of the print acts to elongate the body.

Image 1 of ASOS CURVE Exclusive Maxi Dress In Gothic Gate Print

4. Flattering styles

Every plus sized woman personally owes a great debt to Diane von Furstenberg for inventing the wrap dress. Her iconic wrap dress is widely regarded as the  most flattering style of dress for the plus sized woman because it accentuates the parts you want to show off and hides the bits you don’t. This is definitely a ‘go to’ style and flatters almost every body shape. To diversify your wardrobe a bit, try pull across tops and dresses as they have been derived from wrap dresses and so are also incredibly flattering. The pull across style moves the eye from one side of the body to the other and often ends in a little knot in the smallest part of the waist, keep an eye out for these while shopping.

Boohoo Eden Wrap Front Dress – $45

5. Don’t feel you have to follow trends

This one goes for everyone, not just plus sized women, don’t bother with trends! Not only will you waste money on items that will only be in fashion for a couple of months, not every trend is going to suit your body shape, and that’s ok! I’ve always been a believer in classic styling, styling that is going to last years, not months because you don’t want to look back on your pictures in a years time and cringe because you insisted on following a trend that simply did not suit you. With plus size styling I have always found that clean, simple lines are the most flattering and are timelessly stylish.

6. Accentuate your positives

No matter what your size whether it is 6 or 26, there will be parts of your body that you like and parts that you don’t. The key to plus size styling however is to accentuate your positives and creatively minimize the parts you don’t like as much. You might have a great, tiny, waist so make sure you utilize belts to nip you in around the middle and show that off! Or, you might have quite a straight, block frame but incredible legs so choose a fairly floaty dress that finishes above your knee so as to draw attention away from your middle and down to your legs. Balancing yourself out is also key to accentuating your positives. If you have a large bust you might want to minimize that by keeping to block colours up top but adding a bright skirt or pants on the bottom to draw the eye down and create balance throughout your body. This can also be done with accessories..

7. Accessorize

Accessories are a great way to accentuate what you want people to see and take their eye away from what you don’t. For example if you are a pear shape you could add a bright, statement necklace to your outfit to draw the eye towards your face and away from your tummy and legs. They are also great for adding colour to an all black ensemble.

Equip Filigree Leaf Plate Necklace – $17.99

Doubleclick to zoom

8. The extras – hair, make up, nails

To truly pull off a stylish look, the whole of you must exude style, not just your clothing and accessories. Many of the plus size woman I know are absolutely experts at this because it is something that has nothing to do with the size of your body. No matter what your size, if you have incredibly manicured hair, flawless makeup and perfect nails – you are going to look stunning! It proves that you put time and effort into caring for yourself and the way you look and it is this that takes a person from looking nice in a fashionable dress to impeccably stylish.

9. My pick of plus sized stores

Queenspark: Have a little bit of everything for women sizes 6-22. They stock day wear, cocktail, evening, mother of the bride, swimwear and active wear. While their original prices can be a little exxy, they almost always have a great sale rack and their DFO outlets are regularly on 75% off sales so you can always pick up a quality piece at a very small price.

It’s your moment formal boutique: Sell formal, semi formal, cocktail and mother of the bride in larger sizes up to a size 24 at excellent prices.

Catherine’s Plus Size fashions: Sell garments from a size 14-40!! Lovely, simple, elegant pieces for day starting from $19.95.

I hope this post was helpful and please keep sending in more ‘Ask Taryn’ questions!

6 Responses to “Ask Taryn: Affordable plus size clothing advice”
  1. Beautiful looks and love the interview format!

  2. This is great Taryn. Wonderful information, now I need to save up, go shopping WITHOUT kids or HUBBY & Voila!

  3. whatwewear says:

    great interview and fashion advice!
    xx Vera & Rony

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