"Plus-size" is the official term for women's garments size 14 and above. Although more than 60 percent of American women fit into this category, the plus-size clothing market is notoriously underdeveloped. Many manufacturers use the same scale for all their clothing sizes, which often results in plus-size women being unable to find clothes that fit correctly. However, a few rules of thumb can make plus-size dressing less of a challenge.
Choose darker colors, tailored clothing and simple lines; avoid shiny fabrics, leggings and high-waisted or tapered pants. When choosing color combinations, patterns or stripes, make sure that the vertical line of the body is not cut off by any part of the outfit. Heels are universally flattering, but even more so to the plus-size woman. In addition, plus-size women can wear large, chunky jewelry and colorful accessories that would overwhelm a more petite figure; these add-ons can distract from any figure flaws.
A common complaint of plus-size women is the lack of trendy clothing available in their size. This is beginning to change; stores such as Torrid market inexpensive, trendy clothing exclusively to plus-size consumers, and even Forever 21 opened a plus-size line called Faith 21. While plus-size women should never be afraid to follow trends boldly -- the best part about any look is the confidence with which a women wears it -- it is generally wise to avoid loud trends such as animal prints or neon. Remember that a mannequin is an unrealistic representation of the style's wearability, and trends can always be adapted to fit a plus-size look.
Don't be afraid to wear clothes that fit exactly right. Many plus-size women choose baggy clothes in order to hide their figures; others choose clothes that are too small, because a smaller size number seems better. Neither option is flattering. Keep in mind manufacturers such as Lane Bryant, who tailor clothing with plus-size proportions in mind. Of course, dressing for your body as it is, not as you want it to be, may be the most important fashion tip of all.