Finding flattering clothes can be a frustrating chore for many plus sized women. As a plus sized woman I have learned through trial and error the best way to flatter my body shape. This article will tell you what is flattering for larger women to wear, and where you can find the right clothes.
Find your shape. Not all plus sized women are the same shape! It is important to find your shape. I am a pear shape (small waist, large bottom/thighs) and have a hard time find pants that don't gap in the back of the waist. Some women are apple shape (small on top and bottom, large in the middle) and need pants that don't sag in the bottom.
Once you find out what shape you are you can decide what type of clothes will suit you best. In general most plus sized women look better in vertical instead of horizontal stripes. Most people don't look good in flashy bright colors. Large obnoxious prints can draw attention to "problem areas" and aren't very flattering. Wearing longer pants or shoes that are the same color as your pants can create the illusion of long legs. Specifically pear shapes should look for clothes that skim the hips and emphasize their top half. Apple shapes should look to create a "fake" waist by adding fullness to the top and thighs, and cinching in on the waist.
Find a store that caters to your size and shape. Many stores are now carrying clothes for specific shapes (besides just Petite and Tall). Find one that has the type of clothing that appeals to you. Lane Bryant carries trendy style clothes that might appeal to a younger crowd. Catherine's carriers a more casual selection and caters to a more mature shopper. Old Navy has started carrying plus sizes on its website. A simple Google search will list many other stores that might be more suited to your personal taste. Target and Wal-Mart carry many staples that can coordinate with pricier items from brand name stores.
TRY ON THE CLOTHES! I cannot emphasize this step enough - try on the clothes before buying (or in the case of Internet/mail order, before taking off the tags). Every manufacturer has a different set of measurements that they go by to make their sizes. A size 18 in one brand may be a size 22/24 in another brand. Even if you have purchased other items from the same store, make sure and try on the new garments. Different cuts and fabrics can change the way an item will fit.
Have a friend give you an honest assessment of what looks best on you. We all have ideas of what we think should look best, but sometimes it helps to get a friend's opinion. You cannot see all sides of yourself, and how the garment moves with you. A friend is invaluable for this.
Become friends with a seamstress. Do not balk at having your clothes altered. Shop around to find a seamstress who can work with your budget. It is worth spending a little money up front if in the long run you have clothes that fit properly and look good.
Keep a sense of humor. I used to get frustrated and upset when I went shopping. It helps to keep the mood light and not let yourself view it as a chore. Remember the last time you found the perfect item, in your size, and on sale? You'll find a deal like that again, some day. Keep looking and make it into a game. You'll be more open to trying items you might not notice if you were in a bad mood.