Ask CF: How Do I Dress Fashionably and Comfortably as a Plus-Sized Woman?

How to look and feel fabulous at any size!
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Welcome to the latest edition of Ask CF! Every two weeks, we select a reader fashion question and answer it here on the site. Do you have a specific fashion question for us? Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn how to send it our way!

Ask CF Question

Hello CF,

I am in my (very) early twenties and as everyone this age, I want to be taken seriously, therefore I tend to dress older than I am. Don't get me wrong, I love the business-casual look but I often feel too dressed-up, especially in classes where everyones' priority is to be comfy. My main problem is that I'm on the plus size side so a lot of the trendy pieces (such as rompers, crop-tops, shorts, and boyfriend jeans) are a no-no.

So, my question is how can I dress my age with my size in mind (while trying to escape the power combo jeans+tshirt+cardigan) and still be fashionable?

Thank you ladies,

R

Our Response

Dear R,

I recently answered another question about how to dress your age; however, your letter poses the additional question of how to look fashionable as a plus-sized woman. And, while shopping for plus-sized clothing can be hard -- because options are still limited, despite the fact that it's 2017 and there is a huge demand for plus size fashion -- that is not to say that it is not doable!

However, before I delve further into your question, I would like to dispel the notion that, as a plus-sized woman, certain items are, as you say, "a no-no."  

I don't know whether you have this idea because you have bought into the false notion that, after a certain arbitrary cut-off size, people "can't" wear certain things, or simply because some items are just harder to find in larger sizes. Either way, it isn't true, and what looks good on your body -- or on anyone's body, whether they're a size 2 or a size 22 -- actually depends more on the fit of the garment and the shape of your body, rather than on your body's size.

So, from now on, when you go shopping for clothes, I want you to think about what looks good on you, as an individual, rather than what looks good according to general and arbitrary "rules."

In addition, be sure to check out this list of places to find stylish plus size clothing, as well as Part One and Part Two of "The Top 10 Best Stores for Fashion on a Budget" -- which also feature some retailers that carry affordable plus-sized clothing!

With all of that in mind, I have put together some comfortable and stylish plus size fall outfits to inspire you; keep scrolling to see them all. 

Plus Size Fall Outfit #1

"Ask CF: How Do I Dress Fashionably and Comfortably as a Plus-Sized Woman?" Outfit #1 featuring gray three-quarter sleeved sweatshirt with striped bow embellishment and stone and pearl embellishments, dark wash boyfriend jeans with small rip, open-front drapey anorak jacket in olive, small gold hoop earrings with hearts, gold bangle with bow engravings, red patent satchel with gold hardware, black heeled almond-toe ankle boots

Products: Sweatshirt - Mango, Jeans - Nordstrom Rack, Jacket - Target, Earrings - NET-A-PORTER, Bangle - Kate Spade, Bag - Bloomingdale's, Ankle Boots - Amazon

This outfit shows that you can wear casual and comfortable clothes and still look put-together for class. 

I deliberately included a pair of boyfriend jeans -- something that you said in your letter was a "no-no" -- to further demonstrate that these arbitrary "rules" are wrong! Seriously though, this chic pair, with its dark wash, mild distressing, and perfect loose-but-not-too-loose fit would look amazing on anyone!

Here, I've chosen to style the jeans with a gorgeous embellished sweatshirt (I'm drooling over that bow!), a feminine, drapey take on the classic anorak that you'll be able to wear all season long, and a pair of black block-heeled ankle boots that would go with just about any outfit.

In terms of accessories, I've chosen a red satchel with a trendy patent finish for a pop of color, as well as a classy bow-engraved bangle and a pretty pair of hoop earrings with dangling hearts.

Plus Size Fall Outfit #2 

"Ask CF: How Do I Dress Fashionably and Comfortably as a Plus-Sized Woman?" Outfit #2 featuring light-wash chambray long-sleeved button-up shirt with peter-pan collar, wooden buttons, and medium-blue inner-sleeve cuffs; camel-colored button-front corduroy mini skirt with silver buttons, large gold drop earrings with goldstone, gold ring with round labradorite stone, gold textured leaf chain-link bracelet with toggle clasp, cognac-brown faux-shearling open-front drapey vest, medium-gray tights, rust-colored saddle bag, brown knee-high boots with small heel

Products: Shirt - Modcloth, Skirt - Forever 21, Earrings - Kendra Scott, Ring - Wolf & Badger, Bracelet - Macy's, Vest - Kohl's, Tights - Avenue, Bag - Nordstrom Rack, Boots - Amazon

This cozy, vintage-inspired ensemble is the perfect plus size fall outfit because of the way that it combines multiple soft and luxurious textures; I also love its sophisticated, mostly-warm color palette that reminds me of a crisp Fall day.

I adore this chambray button-up shirt for its unique details -- a peter-pan collar, wooden buttons, and contrasting inner cuffs -- and thought that it would be the perfect accompaniment to a cute camel-colored corduroy mini skirt.  

I chose this chic faux-shearling vest and fleece-lined tights for extra warmth (and style!), and added a pair of timeless brown knee-high boots that give off slight Western vibes. (These ones are made with a wider calf, and also come in wide width to ensure a comfortable fit.) 

A (faux) suede saddle bag in a beautiful rust shade fits in perfectly with the fall-inspired color palette, while large gold stone drop earrings, a labradorite ring, and a toggle-clasp bracelet add an earthy feel to the ensemble.  

Plus Size Fall Outfit #3

"Ask CF: How Do I Dress Fashionably and Comfortably as a Plus-Sized Woman?" Outfit #3 featuring black short-sleeved romper with pale pink, white, and green floral print, buttons at front, and tie at waist; black faux-leather bomber jacket, black opaque tights, black cat-eye sunglasses with pale gray lenses and dark silver bridge, charcoal-gray scarf with tassels, black bucket bag, black chelsea boots with pointed toe

Products: Romper - Torrid, Jacket - Avenue, Tights - Land's End, Sunglasses - Topshop, Scarf - Forever 21, Bag - Topshop, Chelsea Boots - ASOS

In your letter, rompers are another one of the things that you mention as being off-limits for you because of your size; however, I'm here with this awesome look to prove, once again, that your size does not dictate whether you can pull off an item of clothing.

This black, floral-print romper is a perfect Summer-to-Fall transition piece, as it can be worn either by itself or layered with opaque black tights, like the ones shown here, once the weather gets colder.

To add a bit of edge, I've chosen to add a cool black (faux) leather bomber jacket, as well as a sleek pair of cat-eye sunglasses. A charcoal-gray scarf breaks up the almost-all-black color palette of this outfit, while a bucket bag adds a trendy touch.

I've finished off the look with a pair of chelsea boots with a pointed toe for a twist on a timeless style. 

Plus Size Fall Outfit #4

"Ask CF: How Do I Dress Fashionably and Comfortably as a Plus-Sized Woman?" Outfit #4 featuring long-sleeved relaxed-fit magenta split-neck boho blouse with tassels, gray velvet pointed-toe mules with bows, dark-wash skinny jeans, light gray cardigan with allover gray floral pattern, gold branch stud earrings with pavé clear stones, gold cuff bracelet with pearls, rectangular purple stones, and round pale pink stones, gold necklace with three larger round clear stone surrounded by two smaller round clear stones, Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish in "Take Me to Thread," a grayish-mauve shade; light blue pebbled tote

Products: Blouse - Old Navy, Mules - Kohl's, Jeans - Old Navy, Cardigan - Macy's, Earrings - J.Crew Factory, Cuff - Macy's, Necklace - Shopbop, Nail Polish - Amazon, Tote - Mango

This boho chic look is ideal for class because it is easy to just toss on and go, but looks like you spent a lot of time putting it together.

A boho magenta blouse goes perfectly with a pair of classic dark-wash skinny jeans, and a gray cardigan with a beautiful allover floral print adds some visual interest (and keeps you warm on chilly fall days!).  

These velvet mules are right on trend for Fall, and I absolutely love their super-cute bow details!  

Feminine jewelry, such as pavé branch stud earrings, a delicate necklace, and a classy cuff add some sparkle to the look; a light blue pebbled tote adds some interesting color contrast.

Lastly, this grayish-mauve nail polish ties the look together and will look amazing on all skin tones. 

I hope that these looks have shown you that it is possible to dress comfortably and stylishly regardless of size, and that no clothing item is off-limits for plus-sized women! Thanks for your question!

Do you have a fashion question? Send it to us!

Is there something in your closet that you want to wear but have no idea how to style? Do you need advice on what to wear to an upcoming event? Do you have a specific fashion conundrum?

If you have a fashion-related question that you would like to see answered in this column, simply email it to askcf @ collegefashion.net, and one day you might see your question answered right here on the site!

What do you think?

What are your favorite outfits for class that are both fashionable and comfortable?  Do you have any more tips for looking put-together as a plus-sized woman?  Which arbitrary fashion "rules" do you like to break when you get dressed?

Let me know in the comments!

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