Plus Size Business Casual Ideas - What to Wear To Work To Be Stylish And Appropriate

Posted by Kim on Jan 31st 2018

Being chic and stylish when you are a plus size woman is not an impossible task and it certainly isn’t difficult or time consuming to stay looking office appropriate when given a business casual dress code. Yet, business casual can be tricky for a woman to adhere to whatever size or shape. It calls for a woman to be appropriate, but that can sometimes hamper a woman’s own natural sense of style. This should not be the case. What is of the utmost importance to remember however is that plus size is not a body shape in itself. In fact, it is just a number. Body shape changes regardless of what that number is - you can be a “rectangle” at both size 0 and 20.

Here are a few plus size business casual ideas for women according to their body shape.


Plus Size Business Casual Ideas According To Body Shape

Dressing for one’s body shape is important when creating a business casual wardrobe. By doing so, it is possible to create a type of business uniform that is easy to pull together in the mornings - giving more time for making lunches and coffee, having a good breakfast and leaving the front door not feeling harassed.

Female business casual attire need not be, therefore, a tricky dress code to adhere to. Once the above rules have been digested, it is then necessary to look at one’s body shape as dressing according to our figures is fundamental to looking and feeling great. It means enhancing one’s best bits and drawing attention away from the bits that we’re not so happy about.

There are roughly five common body types for women, all of which are beautiful and can definitely look beautiful in plus size business wear. Below are ideas on how to dress any body shape as well as being plus size. 

Body Shape #1: Apple

The apple body shape is one where the waist is larger than the hips and bust or shoulders. This means that those with this silhouette have well-proportioned looking legs and should show these off to the best advantage. As such, wearing skirts that fall to where legs are at their most shapely, will mean all eyes will be drawn here. Snug fitting trousers like jeggings or treggings are also a great idea, especially ones that are cropped to the ankle to show off a fabulous pair of shoes. Another flattering option, for a plus size apple, is to choose empire line tops and dresses. This creates a waist just under the bust and gives the illusion of a concave middle. Jackets and blazers with nipped in waists are also great as they skim over any lumps and bumps creating a smooth silhouette. If prints are your thing, choose bigger patterns as smaller ones can actually make you look larger. Vertical stripes as opposed to horizontal ones are also an excellent choice. It’s best to stay clear of tops and blouses made of clingy materials. All this will seek to do is highlight any bulges that create more weight than there is. In terms of outerwear, a cocoon-shaped coat is perfect for any apple shaped ladies.

Body Shape #2: Pear

A pear shaped lady will have a bigger behind than the width of her shoulders. This is a wonderful womanly shape that should be adored and is easy to enhance with a few plus size tips and tricks. Cap sleeves on blouses are an ideal workwear go to and help create a professional silhouette that is eternally pretty too. Focusing prints on the top half will draw the eye naturally upwards and away from an oversized booty. Darker colored bottoms are not only work appropriate but will continue to minimize a pear shaped body. Navy and black suit trousers, ideally in a slight boot-cut will fit the bill brilliantly. If skirts are more your thing, then an A-line shape can help create a feminine silhouette that, if made in the correct fabric, can be both suitable for the office as well as womanly - never matronly or boring. Other items perfect for the pear shaped body are long line jackets that skim over larger hips. In terms of accessorizing your curves for the office, drawing attention to your top half is a great tip. Scarves in a colorful print not only keep you warm, but add a stylish finishing touch and is a big do in plus size fashion.

Body Shape #3: Hourglass

The hourglass figure, plus size or not, is a much coveted body shape. Marilyn Monroe famously had an hourglass figure with her tiny waist along with her bust and hips being in proportion to one another. Indeed, the waist is what any plus size hourglass lady should seek to highlight when dressing for a day at the office. A-line skirts, again, are perfect here as well as trousers with belts and tops with a cinched in waist. Jackets and blouses with wide sleeves will only further accentuate a small waist and they can be incredibly comfortable too, as well as flattering. A wrap dress in a weighty material or heavy jersey will be your new best friend and will always make you look chic. Try to keep materials sleek so as not to add any bulk to an already fabulous silhouette. The same should be said of patterns. For an hourglass figure, it’s best to wear patterns that are small so that the body is not completely overshadowed. For the office, therefore, think small polka dots and discreet paisleys and florals.

Body Shape #4: Rectangle

A woman with a rectangular shaped body has a figure that goes straight up and down from her shoulders to her hips. The waist goes neither in nor out. To add some womanly curves, yet staying business appropriate, a jacket with a peplum hem is stylish and practical. A wrap dress will, as with a lady with an hourglass figure, be incredibly helpful on those mornings where deciding what to wear seems impossible. It’s smart as well as feminine and is a complete, immediate look once paired with shoes. An empire line top is also a good purchase for women whose figures go straight up and down. Much like what it does for an apple shaped lady, the illusion of a waist will be created whilst remaining business appropriate and professional. Skater style dresses, or fit and flare dresses, will also look chic on any plus size rectangular shaped lady. Ones with sleeves are like the holy grail of business casual dressing. The shape of the skirt, alongside covered arms and shoulders, are unequivocally demure.

Body Shape #5: Inverted Triangle

Having bigger shoulders to hips is the thorn in any woman’s side if she has an inverted triangle- shaped body. Yet it doesn’t have to be. Being top heavy is easy to dress, once you know how. A beautiful figure can be created by applying some simple plus size dressing dos and don’ts. For instance, it is best to avoid tops and blouses with buttons and tight collars which will only constrict the wearer and create lumps and bumps where there need be none. Instead, opting for wrap style tops and dresses, in bold and bright patterns, will help balance out any inverted triangle ladies. Additionally, any dresses and skirts that finish above the ankle will show off slim legs and accentuate a body part that most women would die for. Midi length hemlines are business appropriate too. Accessorizing with belts, or wearing tops with built in ones, are perfect for creating the illusion of a waist which will further help balance out a top heavy figure. An A-line skirt is also a great option for inverted triangle ladies.

Whatever shape you are, we have included a few guidelines that can make a world of difference in how you look. Make sure to cultivate your confidence with these tips.

1. Good undergarments is key to any appropriate business casual wardrobe.

Undergarments gives structure and smooth lines that are the foundations to any outfit. A well-fitting bra will lift, separate and create just the right amount of cleavage. Proper underwear is paramount for business clothing as it is the basis for how to look appropriate. If a slip is showing or a bra is creating the dreaded ‘four boob’ front, an outfit, however cute it is off the hanger, will not only look bad, it will also be distracting to any colleagues or clients.

2. Undergarments should never be visible.

No visible panty lines (VPLs) or bra straps should be seen. Again, it is not only inappropriate but it is also unprofessional to have a bra on show in the middle of a meeting. Cute outfits for curvy figures can be pulled together easily, but ruined if pantyhose are out in the open for all to see.

3. It is important to be comfortable, as well as smart, at the office.

It will be impossible to concentrate on any task when constantly pulling down an ill-fitting skirt or wearing a blouse that pops open repeatedly at the front. Flattering looks for plus size women, like all women, are achieved by wearing clothes that hang properly and don’t pull across body parts, whatever they may be.

4. Only ever draw attention to one asset.

This is a basic do, in the do’s and don’ts of plus size fashion. It can mean enhancing legs or chest or the waist. Never try to draw attention to more at any one time as the overall effect will be trashy and tasteless. The waist is a great one to enhance for business casual attire. It creates a sexy hourglass shape while remaining classy and professional. Remember, too, that we all have more than one good asset, however self-deprecating we are. Be honest with yourself and have some body confidence. That confidence will shine through.

5. Never forget that outerwear is an important part of any outfit.

While well-fitting undergarments can help create a fabulous base for a fabulous outfit, coats and jackets can also break a look that is otherwise well pulled together. It is so often forgotten that a coat should compliment an outfit - never more so than when dressing in business casual clothes. A jacket or coat is the first thing that anyone will normally see. It’s key to a first impression therefore.

6. Baggy and loose fitting clothes can look messy as well as being unflattering.

It can be all too easy to hide our curves in formless tops and skirts. Yet doing so can actually make a woman look bigger. Wearing clothing that skims curves and creates smooth silhouettes that accentuate a wonderful bust or shapely legs is a simple yet effective way to look stylish every day at the office.

7. Buy well-made basics that fit correctly in many colors.

Once a well-fitting and comfortable button down, for example, has been found, if budgets allow, it is good idea to try to buy it in lots of different colors. It can help create a foundation to a business casual wardrobe that is quick to coordinate in the time strapped mornings.

One Last Tip

Finally, and regardless of body shape, once you have pulled together a number of items to create a business casual wardrobe, with underwear that will only improve your figure, a sexy pair of shoes will smarten up any outfit in an office setting. This doesn’t have to mean 5-inch heels, but it does mean that shoes have to be well maintained, polished and re-heeled regularly to look professional at all times.

Above all, it is paramount to embrace your body, your curves and your right to be confident whatever your shape or size. When you’re a plus size girl, don’t look to clothes to be leaner. Clothes are available to all that will downplay what we do not like, but, more importantly, enhance what we do.

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