Updated on July 7th, 2023 at 08:15 pm

Finding professional clothing when you are a plus-size person can be difficult, as there are limited options for those of us that carry extra weight.

Related Reading: Weight considered plus-size

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Often plus-size professionals are left as an afterthought by clothing brands when it comes to professional attire and then reprimanded when their clothes don’t fit their employer’s dress code. No wonder dressing for an office environment seems impossible for plus-size women and men!

Luckily, we have put together this simple guide of plus-size outfit ideas to help you find professional clothes that fit and look good. Who said you have to sacrifice comfort for style? In our article, we’ll help you achieve a comfortable, formal office look so you can still feel like you while wearing plus-size workwear.

Dress to the nines

Because they don’t require much thought and look gorgeous no matter what your body size, dresses are ideal for the workplace and are a flattering choice. Always check your company’s dress guidelines to make sure your attire doesn’t conflict with your employer’s dress code. For example, you may be limited to certain hemline lengths or neutral colors.

Wrap dresses are a totally flattering choice while also looking professional. They will hug your curves and subtly accentuate your shape. They also come in a range of patterns, bright colors, and lengths. We recommend opting for subdued or neutral colors and a longer length to ensure you adhere to the office’s dress code.

Now let’s talk about midi dresses. If you aren’t wearing midi dresses to the office, what are you doing? Midi dresses are the perfect item for the office, dinner, or a girls’ day out. You name the occasion; you can wear a midi dress. With a fun but respectable hemline midi dresses are neither too long nor too short.

A little nervous about wearing a dress to the office? Then why not dip your toe in the water with a maxi dress? Layer a blazer or cropped cardigan for a chic look. Throw on a classic pair of office-appropriate shoes and you are good to go. A maxi dress can be a comfier option for those who may not feel confident with shorter hemlines

Accessorize with outerwear

Adding a long-line jacket or straight-line jacket will not only make you look slimmer, but inject some professionalism into your outfit, especially when you’re wearing a dress or skirt. Talk about a flattering choice! A sleek, oversized blazer can also be a great contrast against a dress with busy patterns and bright colors, and a bold jacket or leather jacket can help make an outfit with neutral colors pop.

Plus, a jacket is great when going out for happy hour drinks and for a business casual outfit. Take off your leather jacket or oversized blazer to reveal a bold, bright dress or shirt and you’re ready for a night on the town!

A confident pair of pants that work

At the base of any office wardrobe should be a pair of well-fitted pants. If you work in a more business casual environment, then you may be able to get away with wearing a pair of jeans or plus-size leggings.

When it comes to pants there are various styles you can choose from. If you have a more pear shaped or hourglass figure, then a straight-legged pant will look best. These smooth over your hips and flow down, giving the illusion of a smaller waist. Pair with a matching longline jacket for a powerful pants suit. Do you have an apple body shape? Then fitted pants will work best at giving the illusion of more defined curves.

You’ll want your pants to be fitted from the waist to the ankle but to still be breathable and allow you to move freely. Style with a tunic top or a stylish belted cardigan to really define your waist.

To help balance out your proportions and draw the eye to your legs rather than your waist, we recommend going for high-waisted pants.

Streamlining your shape

Whether you are male or female, streamlining your shape through your clothes can make all the difference in and out of the office, assuming you aren’t interested in shapewear. You can streamline your shape in two main ways:

  1. Tucking your shirt into your pants. This will cinch and emphasize your waistline making your figure appear more hourglass. A wide belt or a leather belt also does the trick! Pencil skirts can also streamline your shape and accentuate your waist in a way that shapeless skirts do not.
  2. Colors. You can wear dark to help smooth and camouflage any areas you’re self-conscious about and wear brighter and lighter colors in the areas you want to highlight.

Structuring an outfit

Knowing how to structure an outfit not only makes outfits flattering but creates optical illusions that emphasize your assets while camouflaging areas you’re self-conscious about. Structuring an outfit is fairly easy. You simply need to pay attention to the layers you are choosing.

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For example, V-neck tees will make people look and draw their eyes down. A simple button-down shirt or white shirt dress has a similar effect, as well as double-breasted suit designs.

To finish off the look, add a structured jacket or shirt jacket to give your arms a better shape and camouflage your stomach.

Is the weather too hot for a jacket? Throw on a blazer or long-lined jacket that has long lapels and slightly padded shoulders to give you broader and more squared shoulders.

Fabrics for plus-size men

Depending on your outfit and the areas you wish to accentuate and hide, the fabrics you choose are highly important. If you are a larger man, there are certain fabrics that will help streamline and define your shape without adding too much bulk.

Durable, smooth, and breathable fabrics such as denim, cotton, or twill are ideal for a larger man. These breathable fabrics will fall nicely on the body and are light enough to add structure without needing to add bulk and volume.

Fabrics for plus-size women

Plus-size women require more attention when it comes to the fabric of their outfits. Even the most gorgeous of dresses may look better on the hanger all because of the fabric.

Leather is an amazing, natural fabric for plus-sized bodies. It is durable, strong, and will last a lot longer than other fabrics when it comes to continuous wear. Leather adds structure to your look while drawing attention away from any lumps or bumps.

Silk is another natural fabric that is considered luxurious. It is super soft to the touch, comfortable, and drapes over any shape elegantly. A loose silk shirt paired with wide-leg silk pants can make quite the fashion statement.

Final thoughts

Styling professional, office-appropriate outfits on a plus-sized body can be challenging. Yes, there are options in plus-size fashion, but if you’re unsure what looks good on you or what your personal style is, then these options can become overwhelming.

We hope our handy plus-size outfit ideas help make finding your office style simple. Make sure to choose the right, breathable fabrics that help streamline your body and accentuate your best features, and you are on to a nice, clean, professional outfit.

Remember to select plus-size clothes that draw the eye down your body such as vertical lines, vertical stripes, and longer dresses, choose breathable fabrics like leather, silk, or twill. With the right office outfit, you will feel more confident and ready to accomplish any task! For more articles be sure to check out the rest of Extra Large Living.