The “fuller figure” was one of my departments when I was a fashion buyer. As a personal dresser for Dress for Success Seattle (DFSS), I have put this experience to good use – most of our clients range between sizes 14 and 20. In fact, the fuller figure is mainstream in North America. The most bought sizes are 12 and 14, with 14 being the starting size for plus size departments. Certain regular-size clothing ranges have started to incorporate size 14 into their size curve with larger sizes being available online. This is true of Gap, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.

Rules about body type and height also apply to the fuller figure, but a few general points can be made when selecting clothes for a voluptuous diva:

  • Choose styles that skim the outline of your shape.  No puckering, gaping or pulling; and nothing shapeless either. Oversized clothing is awfully unflattering. Don’t hide from the rest of the world – you’ll look slimmer when your clothing is closer to your body.
  • Enhance your focal points. This could be your shoulders, décolletage, forearms, legs or ankles.
  • Shape those shoulders. Your clothing should be snug on your shoulders. Adding shape to this area will automatically make you look elegant.
  • Jackets at hipbone length are best. Tops and jackets that cover up your bottom act as a spotlight. Jackets that end at your hipbone elongate the leg and slim down the mid section.
  • Avoid pleated and tapered bottoms. Pleats add bulk that you do not need – keep your bottom fronts flat. Tapering narrows the line to your ankle and will accentuate your hips.
  • Don’t fall back on black all the time. It can look harsh and matronly. Black may be slimming, but wearing softer neutrals is more sophisticated, current and stylish.
  • Invest in tailoring. If you’ve found an item of clothing that fits you well but needs some extra adjustment (e.g. on the waistline) buy it and have it altered.  

Dressing lovely, extra-curvy ladies at DFSS has been fabulous because everyone ends up looking fabulous. Style is beyond size – embrace it and look stylish!

Clothing cut close to the body – essential for the fuller figure – from Nordstrom.