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Flatter your body with the fit and flare style

For plus-size women, a good first step toward building a flattering wardrobe is to learn about good fit, and which shapes and styles work best on your body type.

Experimenting with different clothes is the best way to learn what looks best, and once you find a The first step is understanding what the right fit actually looks like.

The first step is understanding what the right fit actually looks like.


Fit-and-flare dresses, skirts and tops are universally flattering because they mimic an hourglass shape,

Two fit guidelines make for a very flattering shirt. One, the shoulders of the top should line up exactly with your shoulders. That means the seam where the sleeve meets the shirt should hit exactly at the point of your shoulder. And two: shirts’ hemlines should end right at the middle of your hip bones. Any longer, and it can make your hips look a little wider. Of course, there are exceptions, such as tunics and long cardigans.

If you’re wearing a button-down blouse, make sure the buttons aren’t gaping or stretched too tight. This can be a problem for many women with large busts, but choosing a larger size that fits properly around your bust, and having a tailor alter it to fit the rest of your body can fix the issue.


Wearing a bra that fits correctly is one of the most important style rules for plus-size ladies, so make sure to keep your measurements up-to-date or have a professional fitting. Your bra shouldn’t squeeze your body or cause your breasts to spill over, but it’s important that it isn’t too large either; the rest of your body’s proportions could be affected.

Jackets & Blazers

The same shoulder- and hip-length rules apply with jackets and blazers, plus you should take a look at sleeve length. Unless the sleeves are cropped, they should end just past your wrist but not extend over your hands.

Pants & Jeans

For pants and jeans, first, look to your hip area. If the material across the front of your pelvis is wrinkling (usually in a shape that looks like whiskers), the pants are too tight around your hips. Secondly, your pant length will depend on the shoes you wear with them. The general rule is that wide-or straight-leg pants should reach to about half-an-inch from the floor with your shoes on. Cropped pants should end just below your calf muscles, and slim-cut pants should reach at or an inch or so below the ankle.


Skirts should follow the same rule around the hips as pants and jeans: if you notice wrinkling around the hips, the skirt is a bit too small. Skirt length really depends on personal style, although skirts should hit at or just below the kneecap for office wear.

Speaking of skirts, one popular style plus-size women should definitely consider is the fit-and-flare look. Also known as A-line, fit-and-flare styles complement almost every body type.

plus size model wearing a black skirt

Why wear fit and flare?

Fit-and-flare dresses, skirts and tops are universally flattering because they mimic an hourglass shape, even if the woman wearing them has a different body type altogether. The cinched waist and flared skirt define the waist while draping over a curvy lower body. Even if your hips and thighs are wider, wearing a fit-and-flare dress or skirt makes the more voluminous lower body look like part of the garment, rather than part of your body’s shape. Fit-and-flare clothes can also accentuate a woman’s small natural waist or even create the appearance of a tiny waist for women with less definition.

How to wear fit-and-flare dresses

Fit-and-flare or A-line dresses are the most common ways you’ll see the style worn – and they have the added benefit of being versatile and fun. Styles that flare out a little less, or flare at the hips then slightly narrow toward the knees, are perfect for staying stylish at the office. Wear dresses with a wider princess-cut flare to go out in the evenings or just look sophisticated and chic on the weekends. Loose and flowing skirts are perfect for spring, and those with a more structured fabric are great for softening the look of wider hips. Wear your fit-and-flare dresses with short cardigans and cropped jackets to get the most out of the hourglass-shaped cut.

plus size model wearing a printed yellow and orange dress with a leather jacket.
Guineveve 2-Piece Dress

How to wear fit-and-flare tops

Fit-and-flare tops are a little less common than dresses of the same style, but one of the most familiar fit-and-flare top styles is peplum. Peplum tops narrow at a woman’s natural waistline, then flare out over the hips. Any top that widens as it reaches the hips can be considered a fit-and-flare style, though, so look for blouses, blazers or sweaters that give you that hourglass shape. Look for high-low and asymmetrical hemlines that will make the hips appear more narrow and add a touch of panache to your look. Wear fit-and-flare tops with fitted bottoms, like pencil skirts and slim-cut pants, to balance your outfit.

Plus size model wearing a black top with jeans with a burgundy purse over her shoulder.

How to wear fit-and-flare skirts

A-line skirts look best when they sit at the natural waist rather than hips. Pair them with tucked-in shirts, like a button-up blouse at the office or more casual tee for weekend wear. This spring, choose a skirt with a feminine ruffle at the bottom for an even more exciting look, and layer a matching fitted blazer over it to create a formal work outfit that will still give your curves a flattering shape. Also, keep in mind that when you’re wearing an A-line skirt or dress, putting a belt around the waist can create even more definition!

Comments (7)

I am 5 ft 5in and I weigh 200 lbs. So therefore I am not a small woman. My biggest problem is my belly .
I would like a dress that camouflages that part of my body. i also have big breasts. Yes I am in hard shape…lol I really need to lose weight cause no matter what dress i wear it is not going to make a big difference I guess. I am going to my nieces wedding next summer and would like to find something nice and flattering to wear.

I need to learn how to get the perfect cloth for an inverted triangle shape.

Those are 7 pair of cute shoes for working a 9:00 to 5:00 job. I have been off work for 20 years. Ever since October 24th 2000. I used to work for Peoples Energy.

I am tired of being given advice on what to wear for older plus size women, just to find the accompanying pictures are of regular sized women (size 14-16). We heavier women need to see examples that match our bodies, i.e., apple shaped.

I’m a 72 year old grandmother. It’s very difficult for me to find clothes that are flattering. My measurements are 45-40-46. I carry my weight from my midriff to my lower stomach. I look dumpy no matter what I’m wearing. Please give me some ideas/suggestions for clothing, pants, shorts, blouses, T-shirts, dresses and swimsuits.
Thank you.

I am prefer to fit and flare dresses, it is more easy to wear, I don’t need to think more about how to match it, just wear it, amazing!

Miranda from

I have partial reconstruction on top, a waist then larger stomach and large hips.

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