Plus size flattering dresses - how to pick one - Photo Credit: gwynniebee.com

It’s not often that you can find the same plus size model in several dresses  I recently did (I found these on gwynniebee.com – a plus size clothing subscription service) and it really illustrates exactly how important shapes are when choosing a dress when you’re plus size.

The comparison of the same woman side-by-side with herself in dresses that are short, maxi, and everything in between as well as prints and solids makes it really easy to illustrate my point that when purchasing a dress, the first considerations should be for shape, length, and volume over print and color.  I suspect the majority of us do that backwards.

Choosing a Flattering Plus Size Dress

A sleek dress will make you appear thinner If you purchase one that fits correctly. A dress should just skim your curves and not hug them. A dress that’s too large can look sloppy. Don’t be afraid to take the dress to your local tailor (many dry cleaners have people available to do simple alterations).

Possibly the most perfect maxi dress for a plus size woman.

Possibly the most perfect maxi dress for a plus size woman.

While long maxi dresses may be comfortable to wear and allow you to skip a day of shaving, you pay for it in the volume of fabric. Plus size women should look for slim maxi dresses. Also, look at the overall balance of the structure. Longer dresses with short sleeves and a high bodice can look out of balance and more like a dress that’s oversized and too large instead of long and lean.

I know thigh-high dresses are the rage right now, but for a plus size woman that’s a no-go unless you’re wearing thick leggings. Why? Because when a skirt (or shorts) is wider than they are long, it accentuates the width. At or just below the knee is the most flattering length for dresses for women of size. It hides the cellulite on the back of the knee and draws your eye down. If you must wear a dress above the knee, skip the voluminous skirts and go for something fitted and lean.

If you’re large chested as most plus size women are, skip high necklines and go for a deep scoop or v-necks. If you must wear a high neck wear a large chunky necklace that lands midway between the collar or top of the dress and your breasts. Otherwise, that area will be accentuated and look out of balance.

Prints are fine – make sure they fit the style and size of the dress and you feel good in it. Heck, you can ignore all of my rules above and wear whatever you want, but if you want to buy a dress that unilaterally will look flattering on anyone size 14+, follow the guidelines above.

What are your plus size fashion rules?

Dresses Perfect for a Plus Dresses for Women

Star Vixen Women’s plus-size Short Sleeve Knit Twistfront MaxidreShort Sleeve, Jade Solid

Star Vixen Women’s Plus-Size Sleeveless Surplice Maxi Dress with Empire Banded Waist, BlackStar Vixen Women’s Plus-Size Short Sleeve Tipped Skater Dress with Tie Belt, Black/White Dot

AGB Women’s Plus-Size Pop Over Scoop Neck Dress, White

S.L. Fashions Women’s Plus-Size Soutache Illusion Flounce Dress, Black/NudeJones New York Women’s Plus-Size Shoulder Tie Dress, White/Multi

Dana Kay Women’s Plus-Size Tapestry Print Skirt Set Border Print, Blue/Black

Danny & Nicole Women’s Plus-Size Sleeve Floral Print Dress with Belt, Pink/Multi

AGB Women’s Plus-Size Pleated Neck Lace Trim Sash Belt, Watermelon

NY Collection Women’s Plus-Size Printed Elbow Sleeve Surplice Maxi Dress with Slit, Violet Lacquer

Sandra Darren Women’s Plus-Size Embellished Printed Sheath Dress, Blue/Green/Multi

Chambray Button up Denim Women’s Dress with Belt ( Regular/plus )

This dress would be in my plus size DON’T pile. The dark sleeveless top and light bottom creates an imbalance that makes her hips look huge. Great if you have a large bust and small hips, but not here. There’s also too much fabric in the skirt adding to her size.