Building a professional wardrobe when you wear plus-size clothing isn’t always a fun prospect. First of all, many plus-size clothing companies don’t seem to think that women who wear larger sizes might want to wear suits and other professional gear. Once you clear that hurdle, you can often wind up looking at boxy, unflattering pieces. That’s not the case everywhere, thankfully, but you still need some guidelines to help you build up your work wear.
Mix and Match Coordinating Pieces
Find a blazer that you like and pair it with pants or a skirt that give you a suit effect. Believe it or not, there are also plenty of suits available for plus-size women out there. Check stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s for the best results. Once you find a suit that you like, those pieces mix and match as well. Try a black suit jacket with a black and white hounds tooth skirt for a classic, professional look.
Keep Skirts Knee Length and Longer
One big caveat when you’re looking for skirts is to keep them knee length or longer. Even if you have fantastic gams, you don’t need to be showing them off so much at the office. Knee length is a good compromise, and longer skirts are flattering as well as excellent work choices. Be careful going the other way, too, since you don’t need to be tripping over your skirt at work, either.
Don’t Be Afraid of Patterns
One piece of advice that plus-size women tend to hear often is that patterns are something for them to avoid because they’ll make them look bigger than they are. This isn’t necessarily true since a lot depends on both the pattern itself and the cut of the clothing. So before you write off patterned blouses, dresses, or skirts, try them on. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find that looks fantastic on you.
Neutrals Aren’t Evil
Another common piece of advice is that neutrals—black, tan, navy—are boring, drab, and make you fade into the background. This isn’t necessarily true. Neutral pieces give you a terrific base on which to build and add colors and interest. They’re also really easy to mix and match with each other, which expands your wardrobe exponentially. And that’s a huge bonus when you have a limited budget on which to build your work wardrobe.
Building a professional wardrobe as a plus-size woman isn’t as difficult as you might believe. Remember to shop for quality rather than quantity.