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How Do I Choose the Best plus Size Outerwear?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Jan 28, 2024
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When choosing the best plus size outerwear, look for the warmth, wind or rain protection you need without adding extra bulk. Vertical rows of buttons and v-shaped necklines can be slimming, while double-breasted and quilted styles of outerwear are often best avoided by plus sizes. Length is another important consideration when shopping for plus size outerwear. Cropped jackets may be worn attractively by many people with fuller figures, but tapered garments that end at the smallest part of the waist are typically much more flattering than a boxy coat or jacket that ends at the widest part of the hips. Rather than choosing ultra-trendy outerwear, looking for good quality jackets, coats and blazers that are stylish but more classic can be better on your budget.

Adding trendy, up-to-the-moment colors and patterns through scarves, bags, hats and other accessories to classic, flattering outerwear can make your jackets, coats and blazers wardrobe staples. Make the most of your budget by investing in a few good pieces that are versatile. For instance, a longer coat is warmer in cooler weather, plus it can be more easily worn with evening wear. Consider a quality wool or trench coat. These styles are also usually ideal for wearing with office clothes.

A good-fitting blazer or two can not only be the mainstay of an office wardrobe, but double as weekend wear if you pair it with more casual pieces. Look for a blazer that creates a flattering v-neckline, tapers at the waist and fits over the widest part of your stomach and hips. Try scrunching or rolling up the sleeves and adding a wider belt over a wrapped or buttoned-up blazer and wearing it with jeans for a fun weekend look. As a more casual piece of weekend plus size outerwear to have in your wardrobe, a cropped jean jacket that tapers to end at your waist can be a great choice if you wear a longer top under it that fits close to your body without being overly clingy.

Double-breasted plus size outerwear styles, with their two rows of buttons, may make your figure seem wider at the chest and stomach. A single zipper or button row may be much more flattering. Self-tie belts on coats can define your waist and create a slimming silhouette. If your climate or weather conditions warrant an ultra-warm coat, avoid bulky or quilted styles in favor of heavy lined wool.

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Discussion Comments
By umbra21 — On Feb 23, 2012

I have to say that as a tall, plus sized woman with rather large feet, I have an absolute obsession with scarves.

I think it's the same thing some people feel for shoes, but for me shoes are often difficult to find in the right size, so I don't like shopping for them all that much.

A scarf, however, or a nice hat, will almost always fit me and they come in such lovely different colors and patterns.

I think it's a shame that I have to feel that way though, since it's a reflection on how difficult it is to find plus sized clothes for women.

Thankfully, that's starting to change as the industry realizes we are a huge market they should be catering for.

By bythewell — On Feb 22, 2012

@pastanaga - Most of the time I don't think you have to compromise on that, since good brands which make quality gear will usually make good looking gear as well.

I think it's worth paying extra for it too, as it can make such a difference.

I always try to get my outerwear from a dedicated camping or hiking store, in order to get stuff that works in the worst conditions.

It might be overkill, since I'm not going to use it in such harsh conditions, but I know it will work for years and years and it was made with function in mind, rather than fashion (although, as I said, they are often fashionable as well).

The only thing to bear in mind is that they don't always stock plus size clothing so you might have to go to a few different places to find the right fit.

By pastanaga — On Feb 21, 2012

I wouldn't worry too much about a big coat if you have nice legs. If anything I think it makes people look slimmer as you get that sort of sky bunny effect where people see your legs and estimate what your body must look like and come to a different conclusion than the reality.

On the other hand, make sure your jacket does fit properly.

I am plus sized, but I've lost a reasonable amount of weight in the last few years. I've found that wearing clothes that are too big for me is as bad, and in some cases worse than wearing clothes that are too small.

It just makes you look like you haven't lost weight. You might think it hides your body, but the goal is more to shape your body than to hide it. Hiding it without shaping it gets people to the wrong conclusion.

That said, frankly when it comes to outerwear I think you should always go for what is going to do the best job, rather than what looks the best.

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