Full-Figured Fashion: How to Style Your Body Type

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Bodies are often compared to pieces of fruit. Some are soft, some are firm, some are elongated, some are round. The one thing all bodies have in common is that they’re different, and one size very rarely fits all. But figuring out how to style your body type—whether that means accentuating your curviest features or dialing them down—is one of the best ways to emit confidence and style, whether your shape leans more toward pear, apple, banana or avocado. 

keep on dazzling dress

Chic Soul is here to help you nail full-figured fashion as it applies to your specific body type, with all the best advice, outfit ideas and rules to break. Check out this guide to styling your body type for some excellent advice.

The Five Commandments of Full-Figured Fashion

We all know that rules, especially those that pertain to fashion, are meant to be broken. But the following list of full-figured fashion commandments is meant to help you keep a positive outlook every time you peer into your closet, inspiring you to pull together looks that are true to your personality, flattering to your figure and, perhaps most importantly, fun to wear. 

  • Thou Shalt Not Hide Thy Curves (Unless Thou Wants To)—Everyone has times when it just feels better to drown in your favorite oversized boyfriend sweater. But on the days when you’re feeling fabulous, don’t resist the urge to flaunt your curves. The goal is to find clothing that accentuates your figure and highlights your curves without forcing yourself into something that’s uncomfortable or even painful.
  • Thou Shalt Not Self-Shame—This is definitely the hardest rule not to break, yet the one that’s the most powerful. As hard as it is sometimes, find and celebrate the features you love the most about your body. Whether it’s your perfect hourglass shape, your full lips, your long, strong fingernails or your gorgeous eyes, shower it with love and try to apply the same practices to the rest of your body.
  • Thou Shalt Not Live and Die by Fashion Rules—This one sounds kinda silly given that it’s included in a list of rules, but don’t let yourself get caught up in the world of prescriptive, rule-following fashion. After all, style is about having fun and expressing yourself, not proving to others that you have the not-so-unique ability to live by the book. Break all the rules—wear those horizontal stripes, sport white after Labor Day, rock your sleeveless and spaghetti strap tanks all day long.
  • Thou Shalt Not Be Scared of Trends—Why is it that full-figured women so often feel that they have to stick to basic, timeless fashion? Sure, any good wardrobe starts with the fundamentals, but adding some pizzazz in the form of animal prints, florals, stripes, neons, leather, mesh, chevron and suede is what life is all about. There are tons of supremely flattering plus size tops out there that help you pay tribute to the hottest trends, even crop tops. So, go big, bold and trendy.
  • Thou Shalt Not Fail to Experiment—It’s the truth: Building a figure-flattering wardrobe from scratch can be time-consuming, exhausting and expensive. Just remember that every single piece of clothing you wear—whether you only try it on, order it and return it or rock the heck out of it—should be considered research and development. Over time, you’ll have a full catalog of silhouettes, fabrics, cuts, lengths and colors that you know flatter your shape and skin tone, making shopping so much easier. 
  • Cotton Candy Skies Dress in Mauve

    How to Style Your Full-Figured Body Type

    As we already mentioned, all bodies are different, so there’s no single strategy for dressing a specific body type. Instead, there are many things you can do to develop a personal style over time, and one that makes you feel like your most confident, best-dressed self.

  • Step One: Measure—You know how every star on the red carpet always has a perfect-fitting dress for the occasion? It’s because someone measured her every square inch and then custom-made a gown to her measurements. You don’t have to go to the local seamstress for a head-to-toe measuring session, but definitely make sure to know your basic measurements (bust, waist and hips) and always cross-reference the sizing chart when you’re shopping online.
  • Step Two: Follow Plus Size Influencers—One of the best ways to get awesome plus size outfit ideas is to scour Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for trailblazing, full-figured fashionistas. (Just a tiny taste, but a few of our favorites on Insta are @torii.block, @curvestocontour and @nicoles_outfit_inspirations). This will help you with the bigger picture—forging a fashion identity and figuring out exactly where your personal profile falls along the style spectrum.
  • Step Three: Know Where to Shop—We’re positively giddy with all the amazing new plus size clothing brands out there for you to explore. Once you find a brand or retailer you absolutely adore, you can cut your shopping time (and stress) right in half. Know which stores offer large selections of plus size fashion and, as always, read reviews on popular items to see how things worked out for others.
  • Step Four: Identify Your Style Goals—You probably don’t have to mull over this one for too long. Chances are, you already know exactly what you want to highlight or dial down. Once you know what your precise style goals are, move onto the next section and read through a few of our most helpful problem-solvers.
  • steps style full figure body graphic

    Plus Size Fashion Tips Based on Your Style Goals

    If you’re like most women, you probably have a few boxes to tick each time you’re getting dressed. Does it suit the occasion? Does it make you feel comfortable? Does it radiate figure-flattery? We can help you with all of these things, but the solutions below are specifically geared towards ticking that figure-flattery box and making you feel head-to-toe fab, no matter what.

    • Goal: A More Proportional Figure—If you ask us, a perfectly proportioned figure is overrated, but we all want one sometimes. Luckily, there are a few super flattering plus size dresses and tops that will help you earn an A-plus in the study of proportions.
    • Solution: Master the Balancing Act—Try to strike a balance between your top half and your bottom half with tops and dresses featuring more dramatic silhouettes. For example, if you want to balance slimmer hips with a bigger bust, consider rocking a fit-and-flare dress or an A-line skirt that creates some bottom-half fullness. If you want to make your top half appear curvier, wear something flashy and form-fitting up top with some slimming bottoms. 
    • Goal: A Slimmer Overall Look—Just having one of those days where you want to appear slimmer? We all have them on occasion, and there are a few tricks you can master to help achieve an overall slimmer look from head to toe.
    • Solution: Wear Form-Fitting Styles—We know it seems counterintuitive, but wearing form-fitting, curve-hugging styles is actually a great way to give the body a slimmer appearance. That’s because loose-fitting clothes can add to the curvature and create the appearance of extra weight. Oh, and that old rule about monochrome dressing? It really works. You don’t have to stick to a single color, but if you want to go big with a fun print or pattern, wear it as a dress or a tunic so you don’t break up the proportions.
    • Goal: A Taller Figure—Many of us with curvy shapes err on the short end, and to look taller, we often turn to uncomfortable heels that are hard to walk in. And we all know that’s not the most practical or realistic option half the time, like when we’re running errands, walking the dog or meeting up with friends for drinks. Flats, please.
    • Solution: Rock Floor-Length Frocks—Your stash of plus size maxi dresses can totally help elongate your figure, making you appear long and tall year-round. To add a few inches without feeling like you can barely walk, opt for some cute, height-defying wedges or platform sandals. Longer hemline tops and tunics are always great for making you feel longer too, even when you’re sporting your comfiest flats.
    Number One Choice Top in Wine
    • Goal: More Well-Defined Curves—Full-figured doesn’t always mean super-curvy, especially if you’ve got a more rectangular body type. But creating well-defined curves can make you feel sexy and confident on occasion, so give it a try if you’re so inclined. 
    • Solution: Know Your Silhouette—Dresses and jumpsuits are your besties when trying to create that gorgeous hourglass figure, but only if you know which silhouettes to choose. Rock dresses that are longer and form-fitting to highlight your figure and draw attention to your curves. Necklines are also a big player in the game of curve definition. V-neck and sweetheart necklines can boost the top half, creating more curves. If you want to enhance the booty in your favorite bottoms, rock some tight-fitting jeggings in a stretchy fabric.
    Watch Me Go Jeggings in Super Dark Wash
    • Goal: A Slimmer Tummy and Waist—Bellies are so often the target of our self-hate, with many of us specifically seeking out waist-slimming looks. But don’t let those Instagram ads suck you in with insanely uncomfortable looking waist cinchers (those aren’t safe, by the way) or flat tummy teas that do nothing. Your best bet is to dress down your belly!
    • Solution: Embrace a Natural Hourglass Shape with the High-Rise Trend—Whether you love it or hate it, high-waisted jeans are here to stay. Going above the belly button with your pants can help keep everything neatly in its right place so you feel smooth, slim and sexy. If you’re not keen on the retro rise, consider wearing a longer top or dress belted at the waist, creating a slimming point and enhancing your natural hourglass figure. You can also experiment with fun shapes and silhouettes, like boyfriend-style and peplum tops that conceal the belly.
    • Goal: Take the Focus Off Your Chest—We’ve never been huge fans of playing down the curves, but we know that a larger cup size can make you feel self-conscious from time to time. Luckily, there are some pretty simple ways to create the illusion of a smaller bust without plastic surgery or those uncomfortable minimizer bras.
    • Solution: Wear a Higher Neckline—It sounds obvious, but if you want to lessen your top half, leave the cleavage on the table (for now). Instead, opt for higher necklines, especially the scoop and crew neck. We also recommend steering clear of any material, fit or silhouette that might be form-fitting, as looser tops bring more downplay potential. Finally, consider rocking a darker colored top and avoiding any flashy jewelry or bold prints.

    take focus off chest quote

    Dress in What’s Comfortable and What’s Totally You

    At Chic Soul, we believe that the most figure-flattering thing you can wear is confidence, and style and self-confidence are often very much in sync with one another. When you feel stylish, you feel confident and vice versa. We hope that these full-figured fashion styling tips will help you feel your absolute best no matter where you’re going or what you’re rocking! Just make sure to infuse a bit of your own personality and flavor into everything you wear and you’ll undoubtedly knock it way out of the park.


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