How you dress your curvy body is integral to feeling confident in your clothes!
This topic has been requested many times from our readers, many wanting more concrete style tips and advice for dressing plus size or curvy bodies.
So we asked our the plus sized Frump Fighters in our community for THEIR BEST advice and tips. In this massive post, you’re getting all the golden rules for curvy women.
We hope the tips in this post will be the little help you need to look and feel your best in your body. Because all sizes are beautiful!
The 10 Top Style Tips for How to Dress Plus Size
Curvy Style Tip #1: Know Your Body Shape
This is a very important place to start. You may reply with “It’s curvy, DUH.”
But we are talking specific plus size body shape, as in: pear shapes, apple shapes, hourglass shapes, etc.
Even within plus sizes there are different shapes! Wearing the right clothes based on your specific body type is a great way to emphasize the right places and your best features.
Since body shape is the foundation for finding flattering clothes, go look at those two links and then come back! We’ll wait for ya, don’t worry. It makes a huge difference to know this.
Curvy Style Tip #2: Ignore the Clothing Tag Size
Pay no attention to clothing size – if it fits and flatters buy it!
I know that number feels so important, but unfortunately every company, designer, etc. that makes clothes can have a slightly different measurement for what each size is. There is no standard size!
So if you know your usual top size and it doesn’t fit, go up or down a size and see if that helps.
It may help to think of yourself as a range of sizes, entirely dependent on the brand.
Number isn’t important – FIT is.
“You are so much more that a number! Abandon the obsession with the number/letter on the tag and wear something that makes you feel CONFIDENT! A happy/confident posture is so much more flattering than a hunched over/squished one☺” – Shared by a member of the Frump Fighters community
“Don’t worry about the size number. Get what fits your body. Every bump, roll, stretch mark, age spot, or wrinkle tells a story. Your body is amazing and you are beautiful!” – Shared by a member of the Frump Fighters community
Curvy Style Tip #3: Oversized is Not the Answer
Don’t hide behind oversized, baggy clothes. Wear the right size clothes.
Important Rule of Thumb: Clothing that FITS is flattering.
You may feel that baggy is the only thing you think “covers” you.
Whether that’s because you are uncomfortable with your body or because of modesty or fear, don’t fall into the trap that you only look good in shapeless clothes.
Honing in on your body shape (tip #1 above!👆) and finding the right style of clothes that fit you best will flatter you most!
Curvy Style Tip #4: Undergarments that Fit
Make sure you are using the right size underwear and bras. This may be the most important thing you take away from this post!
This literally goes for every woman every where, but it was a popular piece of advice our Frump Fighter’s community brought up because it’s crucial!
Undergarments literally create a foundation for the rest of your outfit.
If you don’t know if you wearing the right size or style of bra, find a store that will fit you! Nordstrom, Soma, and Macys are just a few places that are likely to have bra fitting experts on hand.
Curvy Style Tip #5: Fitted VS. Tight
Strike the right balance between fitted & tight!
No one, and I literally mean NO ONE, looks good in super tight clothing.
We already talked about baggy clothing, but tight is also something you want to avoid.
Fitted is where it’s at! It’s also all about the balance in your outfit.
- Fitted top + wide leg pants
- Skinny jeans + looser tunic top
- Swing dress + Structured Jacket
You get the picture! Wear the right size clothes and you are immediately headed in the right direction.
Curvy Style Tip #6: Invest in Quality Basics
Improving your wardrobe can be expensive, but if you are going to spend the money on a few things, get quality basic pieces.
Save buying lower quality clothes for trendier pieces that you won’t want/need to wear for more than a few years.
Quality clothing is made from better material, are sewn more professionally, and go through a better quality control system than most clothing stores.
Buying quality also means it’s worth the money to hire a good tailor to alter the waist or hem on the perfect pair of jeans. (Or maybe that tailor is a friend or family member…)
They won’t shrink or wear funny, and will last longer!
I’d also add that you have to balance quality over risk of the clothing getting ruined. If you have young children at home you may want to avoid spending too much on tops that could get ruined easily. Because if you’re too worried about this, you won’t end up wearing them. And then what’s the point of spending any money at all on them??
Also make sure that any quality pieces you buy are easy to launder. I know I didn’t often wear my hard-to-launder clothes because as a busy mom I didn’t have time to wash them or didn’t want to pay for dry cleaners.
It’s a balance… find quality when possible, but not at the expense of time and not if you won’t actually wear them for everyday life–which is your BEST life!
Curvy Style Tip #7: High Rise Bottoms
High waisted pants elongate your frame and hold your tummy in, which are both a big bonus when it comes to a pair of pants!
Thankfully, high waists are in so you should easily be able to find high rise in any bottom style – leggings, jeans, pants, shorts, etc.!
Any skirt can be high rise by wearing it high up on your waist.
Curvy Style Tip #8: Follow the Best Plus Size Fashion Blogs & Influencers
Follow plus size bloggers/influencers for inspiration delivered right to your inbox or social media feed!
Here’s some of the best suggestions from other Frump Fighters! Links are mostly to Instagram, but lots of them have websites too!
- Wardrobe oxygen | Alison Gary
- Adore your Wardrobe | Kelly Leigh Cartwright Snyder – she has tips for all sizes, but is really focused on making fashion work FOR your body, not AGAINST it. Very helpful!
- Plus Size Style | Alexa Web
- With Wonder & Whimsy | Liz
- Curvy Girl on the Run | Sandae
- Fashion Fix | Lindsey Froemming
- Katie Sturino
- Lovely in LA | Rachel
- Girl with Curves | Tanesha Awasthi
- 40 Fat and Fabulous | Jennifer Nafziger
- Maddy Gutierrez
- Trendy Curvy | Kristine
- Lane Bryant
- Caralyn Mirand Koch
- Mommy In Heels | Rebecca
- Stefani Nicole
- The Smiling Sweetheart | Mona
And don’t forget Pinterest! As one community member told us:
“Pinterest is my playground! They have all kinds of resources if you search under the words Plus Size. Most stores have capsule recommendations in Pinterest (Kohl’s, Old Navy, Target, etc).”
Curvy Style Tip #9: Love Your Body
Embrace your body and accept your shape. It’s who God made you to be!
If you don’t like something about yourself, you have the power to change it. But change it because YOU believe in the change, whether it’s your physical health, your mental health, your confidence, etc. YOU.
Don’t just change it because it’s what someone else wants.
Curvy Style Tip #10: Whatever You Choose to Wear, Choose Confidence
Wear whatever makes you feel good; confidence is best!
If one of the tips in this post or somewhere else online doesn’t work for your body or you just don’t like it, don’t follow it!
Give yourself permission to know what you like and what works for you, because if you feel confident in what you are wearing you will shine!
How to Dress a Curvy Body: What NOT to Wear
These are the top 10 items/styles most of our curvy Frump Fighter’s said DO NOT work for a plus size body.
Of course, this doesn’t mean none of these will work for you, but if you need a quick place to start this is a good snapshot of don’ts.
- Tight Shirts
- Low Rise
- Loose & Baggy Clothing
- Large Patterns
- Empire Waist
- Anything Super Short: Tops, Shorts, Skirts, etc.
- Clingy Materials / Flimsy Fabrics
- Horizontal Stripes
- Large “extras” like big ruffles
How to Dress A Curvy Body: What TO Wear
These are the top 10 items/styles our community said YES to!
If you need to improve your wardrobe and you’re overwhelmed on where to start, this list is a great starter guide!
- Tunic Tops
- High Rise Pants
- Flare/A-Line/Swing Skirts
- Plus Size Dresses: Flare Dresses, Maxi Dresses
- Skinny Jeans
- Long Cardigans
- Long Necklaces/Scarves
- Cropped/Structured Jackets
15+ Best Places to Shop for Curvy & Plus Size Clothing
- Asos “Curve & Plus”
- Avenue Clothing
- Dia & Co.
- Forever 21 Plus + Curve
- Lane Bryant
- Old Navy
- Land’s End
If you don’t have our online shopping directory, you need it! It has a full list of Plus Size department stores plus a breakdown of average cost and how easy returns are!
Straight from YOU: The Best Advice for How to Dress a Curvy Body
We got SO many good tips and encouragement from our community I couldn’t help but include some of their comments word for word below!
“Embrace where you are at right now, and find clothes that make you smile and confident! Don’t wait to dress well.“
“We are worth feeling our best. It’s so easy to hide behind my leggings and t-shirts but I feel like a power player when I select an outfit purposefully that looks put together and helps me feel confident.”
“It takes courage to love your body when it’s not the exact shape you would want it to be – but if you do, your body will thank you in turn :)”
“There is a time for everything… and every body shape! Instead of longing for what was or could be, recognize that God created you and finds you beautiful all the time, so it’s okay to embrace and clothe the body you have now! Your comfort, peace, and confidence will encourage others to see the beauty in you and themselves too.”
“Fall in love with your clothes. It makes me happy to wear clothes I love.”
“Don’t worry about the size number. Get what fits your body. Every bump, roll, stretch mark, age spot, or wrinkle tells a story. Your body is amazing and you are beautiful!”
“Cultivate gratitude for your body and the amazing things we are capable of. I put positive messages to myself on my mirror and over my sink. I pray in thanks for being able to birth 4 children, especially when so many women in my life struggle with infertility.”
“Find a silhouette that is flattering and focus on that at first. Also buy the best quality material you can afford. Higher quality materials always lay better. Forget fast fashion.”
“Your most important pieces of beauty are confidence and a smile.”
“Gratitude! Be grateful for the body you have and all that it enables you to do. And then approach dressing it as a fun creative project, just like decorating your living room. You can’t change the actual shape of your walls but you can change the focal point, and the accessories and the color scheme and the decor. Not every outfit will be perfect, but use trial and error, spend time playing with your closet, figure out what you like and why you like it, be comfortable and be grateful for the endless possibilities you have for beautifying this amazing body you’ve been given. No pressure, just fun and creativity! No comparisons, just innovations! No shame, just gratitude! And once you’re done dressing, give yourself a huge smile in the mirror, be grateful that you have something/anything at all to wear and then don’t think about your clothes for the rest of the day!”
“Every body is different. You *will* find what fits and flatters. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
We really hope that this post encourages you and gives you some inspiration for how to dress your body!
Have you found any of these tips to be helpful?