The plus size industry has grown a lot recently - many new options of brands, products and websites have entered the market making it much easier to shop for various occasions and price points. Websites have plus size dresses in various lengths, fabrics and fits. However with all these options what are some keys ways in which we can shop online and make sure our shopping looks great on us
- Fabric of the garment - This in my opinion is the most important thing to look for and that is true not just for a plus size dress, but any clothes. While cotton is more comfortable and breathable it is a little stiff and colours are not as bright. Polyester and viscose/ rayon fabrics tends to be more flowy and drape easily on the body. Depending on what you are looking for (all day wear, evening out wear, travel, workout wear) you can look for different fabric types. If you are looking for some stretch in the fabric, which is actually a great idea when you are looking for curvy dresses, you will usually find it described as lycra/ spandex/ elastane and is used in combination with polyester most commonly but also with viscose and cotton sometimes. Check if a dress is lined or not. The advantage of lining is that it ensures the dress does not stick to the body, the disadvantage is that it adds another layer of fabric to the garment.
- Measurements - every brand has different size charts and becomes difficult to remember all your measurements. The two measurements that I find to be most important are chest / bust and hips. As long as you know these two measurements, and select your size from the individual brand’s size chart there is a good chance the garment will fit you right, easing out the whole “how to choose a plus size dress” dilemna! If you are buying a knee length or mini dress also note the front length of the outfit which is usually mentioned in the description so you can make sure it is not too short or too long for you.
- The cut or silhouette of the garment - here it is important to understand your own body type and know what kind of plus size dresses will look good on you. Although there are no rules and we are all in favour of experimenting and being adventurous with fashion here are a few tried and tested looks you can opt for
- If you have a big bust and are top heavy also called an apple shape, try silhouettes which are loose on top but have a defined waist. This will give you a shapely look and cut the middle section of your body. Also try curvy dresses with open necks such as deep V necks, boat necks or halter necks to take attention away from your middle section and to your upper half. Try to take elbow length sleeves or three fourth sleeves if you want to cover your arms. Ruffled sleeves are a good way to hide any bulges in your upper arm and be comfortable.
- If you have a slim top and a heavy bottom also called a pear shape, fit and flare plus size dresses work great for this body type. Anything which is narrow on top and shoes off your neck, arms and shape of your upper half will look great. A line dresses of mini or midi length work well to distract from the bottom half. Try to choose dresses which are lined or have a slightly thick fabric so it does not stick to your body.
If you are feeling heavy all over and just want to be comfortable and not have to think about legs, arms, stomach or anything at all slip on a maxi in a flowy fabric which can be accessorized in multiple ways and will look good on any occasion. Try to choose fabrics such as cotton or rayon/ viscose which are comfortable and will not stick to you.