What Should Plus Size Women Wear in Summer?

April 25, 2021

As a stylist I’ve worked with many plus-size clients, and a recurring theme is confusion about what to wear in the summertime.

The right summer clothing for plus size women will help you stay cool, feel confident and look amazing- effortlessly.

Read on for my picks for what should plus size women wear in summer.

The Best Fabrics to Wear in the Summer

Fall and winter outfits are all about layers, but in the hot summer months, that goes out the window in favor of lightweight pieces to keep you cool.

When shopping for summer clothing for plus size women, avoid fabrics like polyester that will trap heat and make you sweaty and uncomfortable.

Instead, focus on buying breathable, lightweight fabrics that will keep you comfortable and cool, no matter the occasion. Here are my top fabric picks for summertime:


A Swatch Of Lightweight Linen For What Should Plus Size Women Wear In The Summer

Linen is a classic summer fabric for good reason: It’s breathable, durable, and naturally sweat-wicking.

This natural, lightweight fabric has a looser weave, so it lends itself well to looser-fitting silhouettes that are more comfortable in the summertime.

And because linen has a naturally rumpled look, it’s great to pack for summer trips — no iron needed.

Cotton (Tri-Blend & Slub)

Tri Blend Cotton Swatch For What Should Plus Size Women Wear In The Summer
Slub Cotton Swatch For What Should Plus Size Women Wear In The Summer

Cotton is eternally popular because it’s lightweight, affordable and easy to care for, but there are two specific types of cotton I recommend to my styling clients.

Tri-blend cotton is made up of 3 types of yarn (cotton, rayon, and polyester), making it super soft and extremely durable, with a little texture for visual interest, while still being breathable.

Another great fabric for summer is slub cotton; this is a type of cotton where the yarn is thicker in some places, giving it a unique texture.

Some sections of slub cotton fabric are more transparent than others, creating a super lightweight fabric that’s perfect for summer.

The Best Colors to Wear in the Summer

Yes, black is slimming and an all-black outfit looks sleek — but wearing black in summer can be way too hot.

One of the best ways to create easy, stylish summer outfits is to lighten up your color palette.

Focus on lighter shades that will help reflect heat, like white, khaki and/or light blue, and incorporate pops of color or prints as accents.

Core Colors Triangle with three sections for colors of a closet

I teach all my clients about building their wardrobe on a foundation of core colors, but for summertime you’ll want to focus more on the middle of the pyramid.

Four Summer Clothing Essentials for Plus-size Women

Looking for specific recommendations for sophisticated plus size women’s clothing? Here are four essential pieces I recommend for summer.

A Great-Fitting T-Shirt

The perfect white tee is a wardrobe workhorse that can be paired simply with linen pants or jeans, or worn under a blazer for the office.

The Zoe Tee from 11 Honore has a flattering cropped fit that’s perfect with a high-waisted bottom.

11 Honore Zoe Tee For Plus Size Women In The Summer

11 Honore

Comfortable Pants

Linen pants in a light neutral shade will help you create a ton of easy, stylish summer outfits.

These cream-colored linen pants from Eloquii have a comfortable drawstring waist.

Eloquii Linen Pants For Plus Size Women To Wear In The Summer


An Easy-to-Wear Dress

Universal Standard Tesino Washed Jersey Dress In Olive-For-Plus-Size-Women-To-Wear-In-The-Summer

Universal Standard

Look for light-colored dresses in simple silhouettes and breathable fabrics that can be dressed up or down.

This v-neck jersey dress from Universal Standard (one of my favorite minimalist brands for plus-size women) can be dressed down with sneakers or sandals — plus you can wear it in the fall with a leather jacket and boots.

Lightweight Layers

Whether you work in an air-conditioned office or just feel more comfortable with your arms covered, summer-friendly lightweight layers are a key piece.

This linen-cotton blend cardigan from Nordstrom’s Caslon line is a great core color for summer.

Caslon Linen Cardigan From Nordstrom In A Core Color For Womens Plus Size Summer Clothes


Need help assembling a stylish plus-size wardrobe for summer and beyond? Check out my virtual personal styling services for women.

About the Author - Cassandra Sethi
About the Author - Cassandra Sethi

Personal Stylist & Image Consultant

Cassandra Sethi is a Personal Stylist and Founder of Next Level Wardrobe, a luxury Personal Styling and Shopping Service that helps successful professionals of all ages and sizes. After working in the fashion industry for over 25 years, she used her expert knowledge to create a proprietary styling system called ‘The Next Level Wardrobe Style System' which guarantees clients more outfits with less items in their closet. NLW has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Tamron Hall Show, NY Mag, Huffington Post and more.

*Disclosure: Next Level Wardrobe only recommends products that we’d suggest to our clients or personally wear ourselves. All opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, Next Level Wardrobe may earn a small commission. Read the full privacy policy here.

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Cassandra Sethi

is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. She is the Founder of Next Level Wardrobe and 'The NLW Style System' that guarantees clients more outfits with less items.

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