Do you know that almost 10% of women in the professional world are discriminated against based on their weight? As for the males, they too are body-shamed, though comparatively less, thanks to the predominance of a patriarchal mindset. What’s more, the availability of plus-size professional clothes is almost minimal. With the workforce returning to the office model set-up, it is time you check out some professional outfits that will assist you in boosting your professional look. So, how to dress professionally when you are plus size? Let’s check out here –
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How to dress professionally when you are plus size – as a woman?
‘You have been eating a lot these days, it seems,’ ‘You do know this is office right, can’t you just put your bulge in?’ ‘Don’t you get paid enough for going to the gym?’ – These are some of the random remarks that a plus-size woman has to hear in her office space. Unwelcome, surely, but definitely the harsh truth!
However, as you work your way towards a healthier silhouette, here are some of the ways how to dress professionally when you are plus size as a woman –
1. Dresses – from wrap to midi
In a corporate set-up, a formal dress is the most opted outfit. If you are a plus-size lady, you can always choose from wrap dresses tailored to restrict your curves. You have alternatives such as – midi or maxi dresses, with a cardigan or blazer to complete the formal look.
2. Pant-suit is a fantastic option
For all those ladies who are wondering how to dress professionally when you are plus size – a pant-suit is a classic option. Tailored to fit every curve, choose core shades such as black, navy, beige or even olive green and wrap up a scarf to enhance the corporate look.
3. Change the style of your top
For most women with a ‘plus-size’ shape, it is the upper part of the body that somewhat awkwardly presents itself. In that case, how about wearing a tunic or tie-waist blouse? A pair of plus-size tunics add that perfect layer to cover your body. Besides that, you can always wear a tie-waist blouse and double-knot it.
4. If it’s a Zoom meet
If you are on the heavier side and are a bit conscious about how you would look in a Zoom meeting (with everyone getting to see the upper part of the body)? A collared shirt, knitted top, or a formal shirt-blazer combo is a great way to hide those extras and present yourself comfortably and confidently. Ever checked how Oprah presents herself?
5. For a casual day at work
How to dress professionally when you are plus size and have a casual day at work? In that case, you can opt for a knitted V-neck long-sleeve or a knitted sweater in any core hue and pair it up with straight jeans. How about adding a structured coat on top of it?
6. Taper the lowers
The last thing that you need to work on is your lowers. You have to taper your trousers and maintain a structured tailoring. In that case, it is best to stick to a pair of denim or leggings. Say you will have a hectic day at your office and are not in the best of health; try out the leggings-tunic-blazer combo! In case you have a casual day at your office with your ‘plus-size,’ it is best to stick to plus-size flared denim.
How to dress professionally when you are plus size – as a man?
Though you might not have to hear a snide remark here and there about how ‘overweight’ you are, once in a while, you might have heard some untoward comment. How about surprising them with a transformation? So, here’s how to dress professionally when you are plus size male –
1. Checked or plain printed suit
As a man, a suit will always be your first choice. So keeping that intact, how about choosing a printed or a checked suit this time? Don it over a tucked-in turtleneck to cover the curves and maintain your professional look.
2. Keep a collection of wrap-overs
If you are confused or in a rush about how to dress professionally when you are plus size, you must keep a couple of wrap-overs handy. Whatever you might put on, these will save you some awkward moments.
Bomber jackets – Pick a neutral shade and wear it as an alternative to blazers or trench coats.
Camel coats – As one of the best options to add layering, a darker shade camel coat will always help hide your ‘plus size.’
3. Create something unique
Just because you are plus size doesn’t mean you cannot create something unique. So, here’s something you may wish to try –
You can pair up a chambray shirt with slim-fit trousers. Now add a bomber sweater on that and wrap it up with a scarf. Make sure the shades are in contrast!
4. How will you wear floral prints?
For those wondering how to dress professionally when you are plus size in floral prints, choose a light-hued floral print and pair it with denim and a blazer or high neck.
5. Maintain functionality and style
How does a cotton golf tee with simple-fit pants sound in contrasted shades? Or maybe, pair up formal shirts tucked in with khaki pants? With this combo, you can maintain both style and functionality, despite your ‘additional’ size.
6. Suits will always save you
One of the most professional formats to dress in – whatever your size is a well-structured fitted suit. Tailor it with low-rise trousers, and keep a single-button format to streamline your look.
What must you remember before choosing an outfit?
Assuming you have read this article well, you now know how to dress professionally when you are plus size. Keeping that in mind, you will have to note certain specifics while choosing your professional outfit –
1. Ditch baggy – know your fit well
When choosing a plus-size outfit, you might be tempted to go in for one ‘that covers it all.’ However, you must not choose clothes that are either ‘too tight’ or ‘too loose.’ Instead, you must find a fit wherein there must be little room between your figure and the concerned dress. Check if you can move your arms freely or if the buttons are strain-free. Also, taper the lowers so that they do not stretch while sitting down.
2. Trim your silhouette
When you are wondering how to dress professionally when you are plus size – you have to focus on your waistline. So, how about tucking in your shirt or top and using a sleek belt to firm your girth?
3. Pick solid neutral shades
You might be holding on to black and white when talking of solid neutral shade. As much as monochrome works perfectly to hide your ‘extra’ – you can also opt for – olive greens, charcoal greys, navy blues and chocolate browns. Keep patterns to a minimum. If at all, go in for floral or block prints. Do you wish to experiment with reds and yellows? Go ahead – but not all at once!
4. Know your fabrics well
When talking about how to dress professionally when you are plus size you have to be a little mindful. Rather than going in for synthetic or polyester, opt for natural, durable fabrics such as cotton, twill, denim, oxford cloth, and thin knits.
5. Layering is crucial
As you are progressing in the path of having a toned body, as of now, to cover the flab, you need layering. Opt for structured, tapered and pleated attires when adding to your layers. Ensure that your look is not inspired by a curtain but rather has an automatic structure that frames a shape minus the excess volume.
What to avoid while choosing a professional outfit?
As you may have comprehended, a structured dress-up presents you in a classy manner at a professional set-up. We have given you a how-to-choose for the same, to which you can always go back. However, just to skirt some mistakes, here are the things you must ditch while choosing a professional outfit if you are shaped at plus-size –
1. Steer clear off diamond or bobby prints
When opting for prints, steer clear from bobby or diamond prints, as they stretch your overall appearance. Rather go in for block prints (as stated before).
2. Look for alternatives of spandex
You might think spandex will save you from exposing the extra fat, but that is a sham. It instead clings at all the wrong places. If at all, go in for cotton canvas as an alternative.
Confidence is the key to success
So, now you know how to dress professionally when you are plus size. Having noted all that is mentioned in this fashion write-up, on a parting note, what you need the most is – a dash of confidence to handle the untoward criticism. It is not good manners to criticise someone over their looks, and that too in a professional (or even personal) space. But the reality is – one faces it!
Therefore – ensure that you dress well, follow this guide content, stack up your confidence levels, and present your ideas to the world! For more updates – stick to this page!
Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer and copywriter with close to 3 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing articles for travel, entertainment, cooking, celeb, lifestyle, tech, health, fashion and film news.