How can we curvy women look slimmer and taller while embracing our curves? Check out my 10 Plus Size Styling tips below! Dressing plus size women (as well as myself) over the years I know the styling tricks that everyone needs to put plus size outfits together. Follow these tips and you will take your curvy fashion look from good to great! For even more styling tips check out 20 Ways to Fake a Hot Body!

Let’s get Started!


Plus Size Styling Tip #1               A Good Foundation

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Styling Tip #1 Foundation Magic

Working with full figured women I am constantly surprised by how many plus sized women do NOT invest in good undergarments! I know it is no fun to spend hours in a dressing room trying on bras and shapewear.  However, it is exactly the secret weapon that elevates your total look! If you are in a bad fitting bra with your breasts sagging below where they should be, you will never be able to evaluate any dress or top! I can’t count the times I have pulled up bra straps for women so their “girls” were positioned correctly. The Aha moment was immediate! Women realized that a lot of plus size clothes weren’t fitting right because they had on a poorly fitting bra.

Same goes for shapewear. Lots of plus size women won’t wear a body fitting dress because of too many bumps and lumps! A full body shapewear can take the stress out of wearing a body con dress, smoothing out your curves and creating a sleek, polished look.

The beauty of shapewear today is that there is something for every part of you. The body briefer creates a streamlined total silhouette. The waist cincher smooths and defines your waist. The half- slip is perfect under dresses that are looser on top and shaped at the waist. Control biker shorts work great under trousers, pencil skirts and shaped dresses as well as taking care of chafing problems we all get at times. Not saying you need every piece but certainly adding a couple to your secret arsenal will help make feel more confident in every outfit as well as presenting the most refined you to the world!


Plus Size Styling Tip #2               Hem Lengths Count

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Tip#2 Hem Lines Count

Be honest ladies, if your thighs and knees are not your best feature – opt for knee or just below the knee length dresses and skirts. Not only will you feel better but you will find these lengths are curve enhancers because they create body balance.  Why? Because if your dress or skirt length ends at the widest part of your thighs it draws attention to that area as well as shortening the lower half of your body. If you have amazing legs – then please keep on wearing shorter lengths. If not go for something a bit longer for a more flatting look.

Another on-trend option for plus size dressing this season is the midi/maxi length dress or skirt. For pear shaped ladies (like me) our weight is in my hips, thighs, and calves. The longer length helps to hide this abundance as well as creating a backdrop to highlight our best assets.


Plus Size Styling Tip #3 –  Roll Up Your Sleeves

Plus Size Sleeve Length Tip
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Style Tip #3 – Roll Up Your Sleeves

Sleeve length is incredibly important for us curvy girls. When we wear full length sleeves ending at our hips, we are drawing attention to the hips. This makes us look shorter and wider. By rolling up your sleeves and creating a ¾ sleeve length you are showcasing the slimmest part of your arm – the wrist and the sleeve goes nowhere near the hip! The visual effect is to elongate our legs, thus making us look taller and slimmer. Same thing applies to short sleeves on someone big busted. Short sleeves often stop at the bust line making your breasts seem larger. The 3/4 length sleeve is the optimal length for full figured women and does double duty by masking the dreaded excess skin many have on our upper arms.


Plus Size Styling Tip #4               Open Necklines

Plus Size Necklines
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Plus Size Style Tip #4 Open Necklines

Creating open space between your voluptuous chest and neck visually creates a leaner and slimmer look.  The open space lengthens your torso and draws the eyes upwards towards your neckline and face. V, scoop, or portrait necklines are all great for plus size women. Open necklines provide you a chance to wear a strong necklace or interesting hair style. Full busted women really benefit from open necklines as closed or buttoned up necklines draws attention to full bosoms often making them seem out of proportion to the rest of your shape


Plus Size Styling Tip #5               Accentuate THE Positives

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Plus Size Styling Tip#5 – Accentuate the Positive

Ladies we all can name our flaws – but do you know your best curvaceous features? If you have great legs, flaunt them wearing dresses, skirts, pants, or shorts. If your waist is your winning feature then invest in great belts. Super toned arms then go for sleeveless shirts. Great hair, shoulders or décolleté then dress to accentuate these beautiful assets. Get the idea? Always dress to accentuate the positives, moving eyes away from any negatives.


Plus Size Styling Tip #6               Monochromatic

Plus Size Style Choices
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Plus Size Styling Tip #6 – Monochromatic

Dressing in one colour from head to toe is figure flattering for us curvy girls. It gives the illusion that you are taller, slimmer and have all the right curves in all the right places. It can be a dress, jumpsuit, top with skirt or pant.  You can do this in any neutral shade, my favourite is black. The dark shade is most forgiving of any roly-poly bulges plus gives you all kinds of options for layering a third piece in a bold colour.  If you love colour and are adventurous, go for bold. Be sure to keep a single colour base outfit to flatter your curves.  Check out my post about Plus Size Magic, Column Dressing for more ideas on this style of dressing.


Plus Size Styling Tip #7               Dark Colours

Plus Size Styling tips
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Plus Size Styling Tip#7- Dark Colours

If, like me, you carry the bulk of your weight in your bottom half, then be sure to wear dark colours on your lower half saving lighter shades closer to your face. Dark colours hide an infinite number of flaws and offers the illusion of slimmer and longer legs. Keep the effect going by choosing high waisted trousers, pants, or jeans in a straight leg, bootcut or flared leg style. If you chose a straight leg pant, make sure not to go to narrow or too wide. If the pant is too narrow it will stick to you and not have the desired effect, if its too wide it will only add more bulk to your lower half.


Plus Size Styling Tip #8               Toe Shape Matters

Plus Size Shoe wear
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Plus Size Style Tip #8 – Toe Shape Matters!

You can continue the illusion of long legs by either matching your shoes to your outfit and hose colour or using a neutral nude shade matching your skin colour. The colour relationship between shoe and outfit is important. If you must wear a darker shoe with a lighter shade outfit, be sure the shoe style is sleek and simple to draw as little attention to your feet.

Ideally you should have nude colour shoes that match your skin tone in your wardrobe. Not only do they make your legs look longer, but they are also great to have on hand for various hemline lengths and the odd coloured outfit that crop up.

The pointy shoe is the most flattering shoe style for all women who want to create a longer, leaner leg. It can be heels, wedge, boots, or flat shoes. The elongation comes from the continuation of colour and the point of the shoe.  Nude strapless peep-toe shoes are also great to elongate the leg as the long line of skin is unbroken. Rounded toe shapes tend to make our foot look wider. Avoid ankle straps as they break the lean line, shortening your legs and making your ankles look wider.

It goes without saying any shoe you buy should fit well. Buying comfortable shoes can be difficult for us full figured girls. Look for wide widths and supportive heels for a more polished and comfortable look.


Plus Size Styling Tip #9               Define Your Waist

Plus Size Beltwear
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Plus Size Style Tip #9- Define the Waist

Whenever I refer to different body types, (check out Style Fundamentals on for more information on body types) the key to looking balanced is defining a waist. I can hear the groans already! Some of us are afraid to belt our waist because we mistakenly think it will make us look bigger. Others feel a belt is a nonstarter because they don’t have a waist. Surprise, surprise – it’s the opposite. A belt is a wonderful way to highlight an existing waist or to create a waist even if you don’t have one.

The key to wearing a belt is to make sure it is in proportion – not only to our size but also the outfit we are putting it on. What do I mean by this? First off skinny, tiny belts are not for us. But short of that the belt can be as wide as you feel comfortable in. The width will really depend on the outfit you will be wearing it on. A simple outfit can handle a wider belt, for example a pencil skirt with a shirt. On the other hand, if the outfit has a lot going on such as ruffles, ruching or pleats it will need a narrower belt to keep the lines simple.

The placement of the belt will also depend upon your body shape. Oval or apple shape girls will need to create the illusion of a waist. As a result, the belt will need to be higher up on the torso, likely just below the bust.

As a rule, a narrow belt (1 ½”) is ideal to wear with jeans or pants. A wider, textured leather belt or elasticized stretch belt (2 ½ – 3”) can provide waist definition for over size shirts worn untucked, pencils skirts or add flair and shape to loose-fitting dresses. Take the plunge and add a belt.  You may find that they will become a welcome new friend.


Plus Size Styling Tip #10             Accessorize Me

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Plus Size Styling tip #10 – Accessorize Me!

When thinking of jewelry and what an outfit will need, keep a few things in mind. Your jewelry should be in proportion to your size as well as taking your overall body shape into consideration.

As full-figured curvy women, small, delicate little pieces of jewelry are not right for us – they get lost on our frames. Instead use accessories to add interest and colour to your looks. It can be a bold necklace, earrings, rings, or bangles. Be strategic on how you put these together – don’t overdo it. Less is always more when dressing with statement pieces.

Remember to use your accessories to accentuate the positive. What I mean by this is if you have a short, full neck then a statement bib or choker piece will not be ideal for you,  since it emphasizes these negative aspects. Instead go for a longer pendant or triple strands of chains or pearls to elongate your torso and draw attention away from your neckline. For a busty woman make sure your necklace falls above or below your bustline to avoid drawing attention to your chest.

Just Remember

Ladies these 10 Plus Size Styling Tips are general rules that I have come to rely on over the years. As I have already mentioned your body shape also plays a major role in how best to dress for success.  Never fear I intend to write future posts that will offer more specific styling tips for the five body types. In the meantime, you can check out my Fundamentals page on my website for overall styles best suited to the different body shapes. Some off these plus size styling tips may not directly apply to you based on your body type and that’s fine. These were meant as a general styling guideline. Pick out what suits you and ignore the rest.

Hope you found these tips helpful. If so, drop me a line and don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list to receive notifications of my next post.

Until next Time!

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Lynda has worked in various parts of the fashion industry for 40 years- yes that means she is not that young! She has worked with designers, studios, retail and manufacturing companies. But as a Plus Size woman her most rewarding moments has been helping other Plus Size women learn to look their best. Not a clone of someone else’s idea of what a Plus size woman should look like – but their own individual selves. Her blog is intended to help and inspire other women to be as confident as she is – meeting the world every day.

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