Flattering Formal Dresses for the Plus Size Woman

Written by Amy Pusey (last updated October 25, 2019)

Formal events can sometimes put a frown on the faces of plus-size women. You may often find that when you go to your local department store the plus-size formal wear is relegated to a far corner of the store, where the selection is rather dismal and unflattering. And suddenly, the anticipation of finding a beautiful dress becomes a moment of disappointment. However, do not feel despondent because there are numerous resources and choices, and all you need is to know where to find them.

Specialty stores can usually provide you with designer collections, as well as a variety of styles, colors, and fabrics. We cannot forget about the accessibility the internet provides paving the way for us to countless vendors, both nationally and internationally. The goal as a plus-size woman is to try on as many different styles as possible to determine which ones accentuate your attributes the best. For example, you may have an attractive full bust, shapely curves, or lovely shoulders that would be further enhanced by a beautiful formal dress designed to show off those features.

  • Little Black Dress. The favorite necessity of every woman, no matter her size. The perfect black dress has a complimentary cut, no patterns or embellishments, and falls at least to the knee. The best style will not be trendy, but will be suitable to wear to formal affairs, such as dinners, funerals, and receptions. The more formal the event, the longer the skirt length should be.
  • Halter Style. A formal dress with a halter style top and A-line skirt will highlight your lovely shoulders, and create a very feminine silhouette. You do not want to over-accessorize because you want the attention brought upwards toward your bare shoulders. An elegant pair of chandelier earrings may be the perfect way to accent your ensemble.
  • Sweetheart or V-Neck Style. If you are modest and find a halter-style dress to revealing, a dress with a sweetheart or v-neckline may be what you will prefer. These necklines provide coverage and support your bust line, and modest detailing along the border will showcase your face and any exposed cleavage.
  • Jacket Dress. For the plus-size woman who is not comfortable exposing her arms, opt for an A-line dress that is accompanied by a same-color jacket, which can be further decorated with details or embellishments.
  • Princess Line. Shapely, full figures will be flattered in a princess line dress with vertical seams, as opposed to horizontal seams, to draw attention to length and not to width.
  • Fit and Flare. A full, pear-shape will be especially attractive in a dress comprised of a fitted top and a full skirt. Necklines that include a portrait or boat neck shape will add a graceful touch to complete the look.

A full figure is always enhanced by a solid color creation. If you decide on an elegant dress or one with a coordinating jacket, be sure you wear it in one color to develop a slenderizing, clean body line. Make certain any designs or accents run in a vertical pattern to add length and de-emphasize your wider proportions.

Be conscious of the fabric of the dress you choose. If satin is the glean in your eye, make sure the dress is not too fitted and select one in a jewel color tone – reds will be especially attractive. Sheer fabrics, like chiffon, are fine; just steer away from excess layers because they will only add the appearance of additional weight. These are basic guidelines to help you find a formal dress that accentuates your most beautiful attributes. In the end, wear what is appropriate to the occasion and makes you feel beautiful and good about yourself.

Author Bio

Amy Pusey

With over 18 years experience in operations and human-resource management, Amy Pusey uses her skills in her consulting and freelance writing activities. She is a freelance writer for Tips.net, as well as a resume writer for GreenThumbResumes.com. ...


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