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Plus-size fashion: how to dress to suit your gorgeous curves

What is plus-size?

Top style tips for plus-size fashion

3 essential tips for stylish plus-size dressing

Style tip 1: Don’t get hung up on a number

Style tip 2: Back to basics

Style tip 3: Dress to impress

The past few years have seen a revolution in plus-size fashion and it has never been easier for women with curves to look gorgeous and glamorous, whatever the occasion. To ramp up the wow factor of your perfect plus-size outfit, take a look at our simple style tips for dressing your curves for maximum impact.

Curvy style icons such as Ashley Graham have changed the way that plus-size women dress forever. Stepping into the limelight and onto the red carpet, these trailblazers have also shaken up the plus-size clothing scene and inspired designers to take a fresh approach to curve fashion. Plus-size is now one of the fastest-growing sectors in the UK clothing market, so whether you are looking for laid-back chic or traffic-stopping glamour, there have never been so many options to dress to impress.

What is plus-size?

One thing that is worth remembering is that there is still confusion about what “plus size” actually is. In the UK, some clothing lines regard anything over a size 14 as a plus size, for others it might be size 16+ or size 18+. If you are buying from a US or European fashion house, things get even trickier, as the sizing standards are different – you might be buying a size 12 from the US, or a size 44 from Germany.

Top style tips for plus-size fashion

Whether you are a pear, an apple or an hourglass, it‘s easy to find your perfect plus-size outfit: look and feel fabulous by dressing to suit your body shape.

If you are a typical “pear” (one of the most frequently-occurring body shapes in the UK) you will carry your weight around the lower part of your body, particularly the hips. When putting together your curve fashion outfit, make sure that your top half is well defined to balance out your silhouette. Structured jackets will make your shoulders appear broader, as will tops in striking prints and statement necklaces that draw the eye upwards. Emphasise a narrow waist and opt for flowing fabrics that will skim, rather than cling to, your lower half for a flattering look.

Apple shapes tend to carry weight around their stomach, so draw attention to your fabulous décolletage or gorgeous legs with some clever dressing. If this is your body shape, empire-waisted tops and dresses and detailing around the upper bodice guide the eye upwards. Low v-necklines and scoops are particularly flattering on apples, as are high-tie wrap dresses that redefine your silhouette by creating the impression of a waist at the narrowest part of your upper body. Straight or bootleg-cut trousers show off your legs and long, waterfall cardigans are also an excellent choice for apples.

If you have an hourglass body shape, you will typically have a well-defined waist with bust and hips in equal balance. The key to dressing a plus-size hourglass figure is to keep your top and bottom halves in proportion and accentuate your narrow waist. Top tips include wearing belted tops – or adding a belt to your curve fashion outfit – to nip in your silhouette. Add drama to your killer curves by choosing form-fitting or wrap tops and short, tailored jackets that cinch in at the waist. High-waisted skirts, particularly pencil skirts , will look fabulous on you – and no-one can rock the vintage look with curvy suits and gorgeous mid-length dresses like an hourglass!

3 essential tips for stylish plus-size dressing

Whatever your shape, it isn’t hard to look wonderful in plus-size outfits. Here are three top tips for stylish plus-size dressing.

Style tip 1: Don’t get hung up on a number

It’s easy to get into the habit of buying clothes in a certain size, but the truth is that the number on the label doesn’t matter. Sizing is notoriously inconsistent in today’s fashion world and it is much more important how a particular piece hangs, looks and feels on you. One brand’s UK size 14 might easily be a size 16 or 18 in another clothing line and tops, bottoms and dresses will vary depending on the brand and the type of garment. Don’t be afraid to look beyond “your” size. Try a size smaller or larger and buy the one that feels right, whatever the number on the label.

Style tip 2: Back to basics

Great plus-size dressing starts with great foundation wear. The most essential item for a smooth, polished look is a well-fitting bra: it will make whatever you wear look better and give you that little extra confidence boost. The right bra will be comfortable and create a fantastic silhouette. Many stores have in-house bra fitting experts, so get properly measured and get help in checking that it fits correctly. Try on a range of different styles to find the ones that work best for you. There’s also a great selection of underwear and shapewear available to smooth and flatter curvier figures.

Style tip 3: Dress to impress

Plus-size dresses have come a long, long way in the last few years. In the past curvy fashionistas often used to opt for separates to best express their personal style, but now the range of gorgeous dresses for both casual and formal occasions is vast. Dresses are now a go-to choice for fashion-conscious women with plus-size curves. Chic, easy to wear and very versatile, they can be styled up or down for any occasion. The key to choosing the perfect plus-size dress is getting the proportions right. Fitted shapes are flattering, and cross-body draped styles look stunning on curvy figures, as they draw the eye towards the waist and create a more defined hourglass silhouette. Go long or short depending on the occasion and your mood, and highlight your best features. Enhance a dramatic décolletage with a fitted or lower-cut top, cinch in a curvy waist with an eye-catching belt, or show some leg with a shorter length or well-placed skirt split.

Plus-size dressing has never been easier or more glamorous: wow them all with your choice of perfect curve fashion outfits and step out in style.

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