When you have a full figure, cut, color and sizing are the top three factors to your looking great in jeans and tops. Whatever you do, you don’t want to become a victim of the muffin-top syndrome, which I observed first-hand at work recently. One of my plus-size colleagues decided to wear very low-cut, tight jeans paired with a top that was far too short and tight. Suffice to say, her bulging belly and the top of her underwear were plainly visible too all of us throughout the day and it was embarrassing for everyone.
Your goal is to elongate your silhouette so that you look smoother and sleeker (not skinnier), and to flatter your existing figure. You can accomplish this by wearing v-neck tops and using a monochromatic color scheme and by not wearing clothes that fit too snugly.
Remember: Skimming is slimming — in other words, your jeans and tops should skim along your curves to create a smooth silhouette.
If your jeans are too tight and they look like they’re painted on, it’s time to toss them out in favor of a pair in a larger size. Wearing tight jeans only makes you look bigger and often results in the muffin top syndrome in which your tight jeans cause your stomach to bulge over the top of the jeans.
Before you go shopping for jeans, write down your measurements, especially if you shop online. You’ll need your waist, hip and inseam measurements. In addition, you can use your existing wardrobe to get an idea of which number (18, 20 …) and letter (2X, 3X) sizes work best for you.
Once you’re at the store and you’ve found a pair of jeans that you like, be sure to try them on before you purchase them — it’s amazing how different jeans look when they’re on your body as opposed to on the rack or shelf. Note everything from how they fit around your waist, how they feel, the length, and if they flatter your backside and legs.
When you’re buying tops, it’s a bit tricky because if the top is too tight, it’ll make your bulges stand out but if it’s too loose, you’ll look bigger than you actually are. Avoid tops with big designs that will attract attention to your bulges. Also, make sure the top is long enough — it should have a loose fit that falls below your waist. The top shouldn’t be too long and fall at your hip or thigh area, however, because that will draw attention to big hips and thighs.
The top should should fit well around your neckline, sleeve and tummy areas and the top shouldn’t be too tight lest it draw attention to a big neck, big arms or a big midsection.
You’ll find that some stores are better than others when it comes to finding plus-size jeans and tops. Old Navy, for instance, carries an excellent collection of stylish jeans and tops at very affordable prices and so do Lane Bryant and Sears.