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Despite the fact that a majority of American women are plus size, finding plus size professional clothing can be a challenge.
So, how can you dress professionally when you are plus size? There are a few straightforward strategies to follow so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
By following these guidelines, I help my plus size styling and image consulting clients create simple, streamlined wardrobes that make getting dressed for any occasion easy.
From Zoom meetings to formal office looks, read on to learn how to dress professionally when you are plus size.
If you work in a formal office, having a few reliable suits in your closet will make getting dressed in the morning incredibly easy.
A matching jacket and pants is a powerful look that commands respect for any CEO.
For maximum versatility, look for a suit in a core color like black or navy, which can be mixed and matched with shirts in other core colors (think white) or tonal shades.
Once you’ve got the basics covered, feel free to branch out with a suit in a bold color or pattern, like the subtle brown check pattern worn above by Megababe CEO Katie Sturino.
A button down blouse is the classic pairing for a suit, but it can also be paired with different style tops depending on the season, like the knit turtleneck seen on Sturino.
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Business casual can be interpreted many different ways, but by stocking your closet with versatile separates in core colors, you’ll never be at a loss for what to wear.
A classic black and white look like the one above is sleek and instantly stylish.
Try pairing ankle-length pants with a lightweight sweater in a luxurious fabric like cashmere, then add a great pair of heels to finish off the look.
Looking for more business casual inspiration? Check out my article on business casual looks for plus size women.
Casual/No Dress Code
While casual and CEO style might seem like opposite ends of the spectrum, you can still dress down like a CEO.
Sticking to core colors like black, white, navy and gray will ensure that your casual looks are perfectly put-together.
For this stylish casual outfit above, model and size inclusion advocate Lauren Chan pairs jeans and a white ribbed sweater with a classic pair of pointed toe shoes.
Adding a structured cream colored coat on top brings the whole look together and dresses it up, making it a perfect casual CEO look.
Video calls are integral to our professional lives now more than ever, so knowing how to dress for Zoom is vital for CEOs.
Consider how your outfit will look from the chest up, as that’s all your Zoom audience will see.
A blazer or collared shirt is ideal, and you also want to pay close attention to your accessories.
A look at Oprah’s Instagram reveals she’s a pro at Zoom dressing: Here she wears a power color that really pops on-screen and makes sure to accessorize with a great pair of eyeglasses.
Remember, if you follow the 50/40/10 rule to maximize the amount of outfits in your closet, only about 10% of your wardrobe should consist of seasonal colors and prints.
Need help shopping for plus size professional clothing so you can look (and feel) your best? Check out my plus size CEO styling and image consulting services.
Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals.
Next Level Wardrobe has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Today and CNN. See here.