Plus Size Fashion Tips by Ashley

Monday, March 05, 2012
My name is Ashley from the lifestyle blog Refreshing Imperfection and I am a size 12-14. I have always been a bigger girl. Genetics and child growing/bearing have made my body the way it is, and I love it. I have never been and probably never will be "skinny," but I still feel there is so much fashion to be had in all sizes. Did you know more than half of the women in the U.S. are a size 14 or over? For all us non-stick-figure girlies, read this article; it will make you feel better.

I used to dress so boring because I felt like nothing catered to my size. I always admired style but felt like I was too big to be "cute," so I went for the plain and simple looks 'cause nothing "cute" came in my size. The only advice I got from anyone was "Wear black. It will take off 10 pounds!" Fantastic! The most exciting color...or not. A few years ago, I decided I was going to have my own style. I would wear the brightest of colors and craziest of patterns as I wanted to, even horizontal stripes! (A big no-no for bigger girls, so they say..) It was all about working with my body and finding what works. And, after a few years, I think I got it down. 

Here are my personal fashion tips for beautiful plus size girls:

Buy the right size. Don't try to fit into the next size down or the size you want to be. Just 'cause the pants button up with lots of sucking in and laying down doesn't mean they fit. If your clothes are too tight, you will have muffin top, and nobody wants that! Wear the size that comfortably fits you and doesn't restrict you. And by fits, I mean fits. Baggy clothes don't hide anything; it just makes you look bigger. Have some confidence, embrace your curves, and wear form-fitting clothing.

Layer, layer, layer. You can add so much fun, color, and versatility to your wardrobe this way. You also can cover up parts of your body you don't feel as comfortable with. I love blazers, cardigans, and scarves for extra layers.


Accentuate your waist. It's usually the smallest part of your torso. Use belts (the wider the belt, the thinner you will look), fitted shirts, empire-waist dresses, high-rise pencil skirts, etc. That little waist will just pop and bring any wandering eye to the smallest part of your body.

Add a little height. Distract the eye from looking at your width by adding height. I am 6 feet tall, so I rarely wear heels, but it's a fabulous way to slim your appearance. Sometimes I wear a little pump with jeans and always wear heels with skirts. Flats and skirts make you look super short AKA wider. So break in those heels and use them lots!

Thick waist bands on pants. Don't judge, but when I wear stretch pants, leggings, etc., I buy maternity. Not the massive panel stretch band. They have that thick 2" waistband (elastic!) that is SO comfy and flatters the waist much better than a skinny waistband that usually burrows into those rolls in your tummy, only making them more noticeable.

Speaking of pants, get some stretch. Make sure the fabric in your pants, jeans, slacks, etc. has some stretch. It helps hold that nice fit you love!

Pay attention to where your top ends and your pants begin. Where the change happens is where the eye is drawn to and where you will look the widest.

Everyone says straight leg jeans are more slimming. I personally still adore my skinnies; I wear them daily. I think the fit of skinnies gives me curves in the hips, which I like a bit, and because they fit my legs so tight making my legs look smaller. But this one is up to you, what you feel comfortable in!

 

Long accessories lengthen your torso. Cute, long, chunky necklaces would be awesome. I use scarves more often than is probably normal. I love the lengthening look they add plus the color and it can dress up any drab, boring outfit easily.

Invest in slimming undergarments. I love my body - yes, I do! But sometimes I like to feel tight and tucked in in all the right places. I don't wear these all the time, but I usually do when I dress up really fancy for anything. This is my favorite for when I am wearing really tight dresses. It just shapes everything really nicely and I feel more confident than trying to suck my stomach in all night.
Most of all, have fun with your style and be comfortable. If you feel insecure, it will be conveyed in your appearance. Work your confidence and you will make any outfit look much better! Please add any tips you other plus-size girls out there have!

46 comments :

  1. both outfits are amazing.  and i love your tips :-)  xoxo

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  2. These are great tips and apply even if you're not plus size. Good fit, layering, emphasizing waist, these are all elements of looking well put together. Lovely post!

    xoxo
    www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

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  3. THANK YOU for sharing these tips. These are FANTASTIC tips for any "plus" size woman out there. (I also buy maternity dresses because of the roomy fit. No shame, ladies!) I am also a size 12-16 (depending on how often I'm hitting the gym or how I'm feel that day; I have serious fluctuations) and I always love to see style tips from women that I can tell have similar challenges as me and manage to pull out looking so chic. 

    I'm a huge fan of these outfits posted here and I really can't wait to see more over at your blog because I can really relate to your tips and style challenges of being this size. Do you ever have the "between" sizes issue, especially in higher label brands? Too big for regular clothes and yet too small for the real "plus" size clothes? 

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  4. As a co-size 12 I wholeheartedly agree with a lot these tips! And now I have some new things to try (maternity leggins - who knew?!).

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  5. red lipstick + red shoes = perfection!  Thanks for the tips.

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  6. LOVE the first one.  I'm so jealous of people who know how to pull off scarves, and those boots rock.

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  7. I'm glad that a plus-size blogger was featured here! I hope we'll see more of it! While I feel that many of the outfits and tips on this blog definitely apply to plus-size women, not everything is as flattering on us. I'm a size 16 or 18 depending on the brand, and I've only recently become more confident in myself and started to wear more flattering clothes. However, I've kind of felt at a loss for where to start and how to dress my body (especially how to dress modestly). Thanks for this post, and I hope to see more like it!

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  8. Great outfits- she doesn't look plus size to me (at all). So the tips must really work. :)
     
    www.hellopretty.net

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  9.  She said she was about 6' tall, so someone that tall who wears a size 12/14 will look a lot different than someone like me who is only a size bigger but is also only 5'3". Of course, she also knows how to dress to flatter her body, which definitely helps!

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  10. Ashley, you are gorgeous! Thank you for a wonderful post and such great tips! You affirm that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes! Such a powerful statement in this day and age.

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  11. Wonderful post! such great advice for any-sized woman!   I ALWAYS try stuff on, that's my golden rule. Esp since I've had a child, things change and I am no longer the sizes I once was.

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  12. She does not seem plus sized to me at all! If you're six foot tall and a size twelve, I would say you're not "plus sized" just you naturally have a larger/taller body. 

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  13. Sarah-Anne LyonsMarch 5, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    great tips...i agree with everyone else: you can't be plus sized!

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  14. I love this blog post, Ashley!  I think all body sizes can adopt a lot of these tips.  I really love the tasteful use of color though.  These are very put-together looks!

    Mindy at Nautical Stripes

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  15. Thank you so much for this post! I generally wear a size 10-14 depending on the store and the day and I hardly ever see fashion bloggers who are my size. I don't mean this in an offensive way at all - but a lot of the bloggers I see are either a size 0 or a size 24. There never seems to be an in between! It's so nice to see that you can be cute and stylish anywhere on the size spectrum. But I have to say, I agree with everyone else - you are definitely not plus sized! 

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  16. To the commenters who suggest Ashley doesn't look plus sized--I fluctuate between a 16 and an 18, but I don't identify as plus size. I'm certainly an amazon, there's no doubt about that, but every time I walk into a plus size store or try on a plus size top I am swimming in it, even in the correct (or smaller!) size. They're just cut differently. My body has a large straight size build, not a small plus size build. There's variety even in the realm of the "plus size" body.
    That being said, my advice? Do not fear the tuck! I was terrified of tucking tops into my skirts for a really long time, thinking it really highlighted my weight, but all it does--especially with a skirt that fits--is accentuate the waist beautifully. (I linked to my blog. No one panic.) I'll admit I'm still pretty nervous about tucking tops into pants, but I'm working on it.Oh, and fake it till you make it. I get anxious about wearing certain outfits--there's one skirt that has been hanging forlorn in my closet for three months, ever since I received a catcall for wearing it--but the only way to get over that anxiety of wearing a pencil skirt that hugs your curves but you think is "revealing" is to wear it. I can tell you, the vast majority of time, no one will even say anything either way. The hardest step is the one out the door, and every step thereafter in a pair of skinny jeans gets easier and easier.

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  17. I love ALL these looks! excellent write-up!

    xoxo

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  18. I don't think you look plus sized at all.I love the outfits you posted! I am a size 12-14 as well, but I have bigger arms so I look bigger. It's hard to hide that. I agree with you on all of the tips though! I use them all, although I'm still too terrified to wear skinny jeans. I feel like my thighs will look bigger, but i know one day I'll try it. 

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  19. Great comment! Thanks for your input!!!

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  20. Golly, your tips are great and your pictures are awesome!! I am loving the outfits.  Surprised you've had kiddies.  This is so encouraging! 
    love,
    suze

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  21. She's beautiful! Although I'd definitely be considered a smaller girl (I hate the term stick figured), even I have a couple of maternity pieces and have no shame! I carry more of my weight in my middle and have never been comfortable with that area and I've finally come to a point where I just buy whatever fits well and flatters, not caring about sizes/labels/etc.         

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  22. Looking gorgeous and Loved your outfit! Thanks for sharing wonderful fashion tips. 

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  23. Go girl!! Love you Ashley! And ps I've never ever looked at you and thought 'plus size'...ever!

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  24. Rocks Paper MetalMarch 6, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Love the scarf in the first photo! 

    www.RocksPaperMetal.com

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  25. I'm 5'8" and a size 14, but I can't wear wide belts.  Sometimes I think it just depends on how someone is shaped.  Even when I was underweight and a size 8, it wasn't really flattering for me.  Maybe I'm just picky.  My younger sister is shorter and the same size, and she looks great in big belts because she and I gain weight in different places.  With me, it's in my belly, and with her it's the hips. 

    Love the outfits! Thanks for the tips.  I noticed when I started to gain weight that an acquaintance who is also plus-sized always seemed to look really nice.  I figured that if she could be confident, so could I.  

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  26. Wow, so happy to see this post! You look fantastic, and it's clear that your style tips work wonders! Thanks for sharing. It's so refreshing to see an emphasis on looking/feeling your best no matter what your size. 

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  27. I'm inspired to do some similar tips on my own blog. These are great and as a fellow PSG I can relate! Bravo!

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  28. Those are all great tips, but since when is a size 12 plus size? Especially considering that the average size of a woman in America is 14. When I think of plus size, I think of 16 and up. But that's just me personally. I feel like it's almost degrading to women that are an AVERAGE size to put the "plus size" label on them. This is just my opinion though. I think she looks beautiful and love the style-I just definitely don't see a plus sized person when I look at her.

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  29. My mind did backflips when I read "plus-size" next to her picture! I'm a Dietetics intern and to me "plus-size" doesn't mean anything, but it implies that one is overweight! Once I read that she was 6' tall, it made much more sense but I still wouldn't consider her plus-size, since she's exactly the size she should be for her height. 
    To me, "plus-size" should be banished. If it only means your size is above a certain number, than it's meaningless because height and body shape aren't taken into account. If it means you're overweight..than just say overweight. : /  Oy. Aside from the terminology rant (sorry, lol), this is a great post! These tips are super helpful. Love your style Ashley. :) Gina

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  30. Yes, yes, and more YES!!! Plus-size girls CAN look cute, fashionable, and sexy!!! I'm proud of my body but it has taken me a long time to gain this confidence. Even still, I have  "bad" days when I get down on myself. But just because I'm a size 16 and don't look like the girls walking the runways or on the cover of magazines does not mean I am not beautiful, healthy, or strong. 

    Thank you for posting this!!! I love seeing other women embracing their curves!!!!

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  31. thank you beth!! i am a red fanatic. 

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  32. thank you nikki! i am hoping to post more as well! 

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  33. I guess its a technicality thing- 12+ is considered plus size, but my height helps a bit :)

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  34. thanks! there really is so many options when you are in 'the middle' lots of room to work either style! 

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  35. just be daring bonny! try it! 

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  36. well that is such a compliment! i have 2 thank you!!!

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  37. sorry I used the term stick figure :) but thank you for saying that you dont care about sizes, labels- so true! just wear what fits & flatters !

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  38. Thanks for all your tips! Super helpful... especially in this postpartum period when muffin tops are easy to come by. :) BTW... have to agree with others you are definitely not a "big girl" by any stretch of the imagination. But, it's always good to know how to dress for your figure.

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  39. That pink floral scarf is my absolute favorite! :)

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  40. I do the maternity pants too!

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  41. Thanx for sharing these cool outfits. You look awesome in these outfits. There are a lot of designer clothes available that comes along with
    a wide variety.

    plus size beach dresses

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  42. Thank you for sharing such a nice post. You are gorgeous and the tips you gave surely helpful for plus size women's.

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  43. where i come from, girl size 12-14 are considered beautiful. skinny girls are considered weird and when you are that thin everybody starts saying things like " are you feeling well?"

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  44. Girl--You and not plus-sized. Most if not all stores and people consider "plus sized" as sizes 16-18 and up. You are tall and as another tall woman I feel your pain. There is typically nothing on the rack that is long enough, but I digress. I am doomed to getting my clothing tailored for the rest of my life. ;)

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