How to Dress for Work When You’re Plus-Size
Dress for the job you want. Not the job you have. It’s a form of manifesting that can change your whole outlook on life. Whether you’re working in a corporate office or building your own company, you always want to put your best foot forward. That starts with workwear.
It’s easy to see workwear through a ‘one size fits all’ lens. There’s more to workwear than tailored jackets and designer heels. You don’t have to hide your personality to impress your peers.
Personal branding is something you shouldn’t underestimate. One of the easiest ways to build a brand is by wearing your heart on your sleeve. How can you show your personality while dressing professionally? If you’re plus size, this can feel like a mountain to climb.
Don’t worry. We’re breaking down the steps on how to dress for work when you’re plus-size. This plus-size workwear guide covers the capsule closet essentials and the things you should consider when curating your office style.
Building a Workwear Closet on a Budget
Workwear is an investment – but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re a recent graduate or transitioning jobs, you might be struggling to find plus-size workwear.
Start with the basics. We swear by Donna Karan’s ‘Seven Easy Pieces’. It’s the OG capsule closet. Donna Karan’s ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ included a bodysuit, dress, a leather garment, tailored jacket, skirt, cashmere sweater, and white shirt. The idea is that these seven pieces can take you anywhere – from a day at the office to an evening cocktail party.
If you’re a fan of capsule closets, this concept will be right up your street. You can also think of the ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ as hero pieces with one color scheme – usually black and white.
Plus-size women all have hero pieces in their closets. They’re the clothes you reach for on days when you want to look (and feel!) your best. These hero pieces are the ones that can do it all, whether you’re presenting to your board members or meeting a new client.
Your hero pieces don’t have to break the bank. Start with a list of pieces you can mix and match for any occasion. If you’re not a fan of bodysuits, switch it out for a white button-up blouse. Curate your ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ to fit your budget, lifestyle, and fashion sense.
Some of our hero pieces include slip dresses, silk pants, caftans, flight suits, and leather jackets. Start with your 7 hero pieces and gradually build your workwear closet as your style evolves. Beginning with one color palette gives you a basis to repeat hero outfits in other colors as you start to experiment.
Find Your Color Palette
Do you not know where to start with your plus-size workwear closet? Start at the beginning. Minimalistic and muted color schemes are the perfect place to start.
If you work in a corporate setting, you may want to stick to classic shades of camel, tan, black, and white. These color palettes will always have you look chic for a day at the office.
But not every working environment is the same. Some plus-size women rely heavily on darker color palettes for their naturally slimming effect. While everyone needs a little black dress, don’t be afraid to experiment with your color palette.
There’s a color palette out there for everyone. You can work with a stylist to find your ideal color scheme or work it out yourself! Your hair color, skin tone, complexion, and eye color will all determine the shades that will look best on you. Don’t forget to check whether you have cool or warm undertones.
Once you have your color palette, incorporate it into your hero pieces. A fuchsia pink blouse will add a flair of personality to a black pencil skirt.
Experiment with Prints and Accessories
Don’t be afraid of experimenting with prints. Start by looking for prints that compliment your color palette. It’s a misconception that plus-size women should stay away from prints. We think you should always be able to wear your heart on your sleeve! A printed pantsuit is guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go.
Find outfits you love then start with accessories. You want accessories that you can mix and match with different outfits that showcase your personality. Everyone needs a mini bag and a watch to finish off any outfit.
Accessories are a budget-friendly way to shake up your workwear and transition it from one season to the next.
The Fit Is Essential
One of the most important aspects of plus-size workwear is getting the sizing right. We all have clothes in our closets that are a little too tight or that no longer fit us. Don’t forget that the size on your label is only a number.
You want your workwear to be comfortable and professional. If you’re plus-size, it may take some trial and error to find the right sizing for you. It may mean sizing up in certain silhouettes or buying multiple sizes when trying new brands.
The easiest way to get the perfect fit for plus-size workwear is to work with a tailor. Invest in your hero pieces and take the extra time to have them tailored for you. A seamstress will alter the garment to suit your silhouette and give you an extra confidence boost. A little tailoring can make a $100 blazer look like a $1000 designer piece.
Embrace Your Own Style
Workwear is no longer just all-black suits and pencil skirts. We live in an era of working from home, digital nomads, and hot desking. Being plus size doesn’t mean that you have to hide your personality away. Embrace your own style – especially in your workwear.
Start by using your accessories as a way to bring your personal brand to your workwear. It might be a quirky handbag or a design motif in your jewelry.
One of the strongest types of personal branding is color schemes. Find your signature color palette and lean heavily into it. Color affects our mood more than we think and can help build our professional identity.
Plus-size women often feel like they have to blend into the background. Embrace your own style and reclaim your workwear. We hope this guide inspires you to look at plus-size workwear through a new lens.
Find your hero pieces, invest in accessories, experiment with color, and never underestimate the importance of tailoring! Shop our new arrivals and find your hero workwear pieces here.