The Layered Look:

A Plus Size Fashion Tool

Written by Yolanda Early


The layered look is a stylish choice for women of every size. While some critics argue that plus size women should stay away from this look, I maintain that it’s a key part of plus size fashion. Wearing layers can make you look polished and pulled-together. Full-figured women just have to make sure their outfits don’t add extra padding to their frames. Here are some things to consider when putting together a figure-flattering layered look.

Aim to create balance.

This should be every plus size woman’s goal when getting dressed. Try a boxy jacket to counterbalance a full bust or a wide midsection. Or bring attention to the shoulders to take the focus away from fuller hips. To make the layered look work, you must keep an eye on the overall silhouette.

Use color to your advantage.

Dark colors have a slimming effect while lighter colors give the appearance of fullness. This doesn’t mean that you only wear dark colors. It means that you should use color to trick the eye. Emphasize areas you like with light, bright colors. Deemphasize what you don’t want to showcase with darker, mellower hues. Color also expresses mood and personality. Don’t be afraid to use bold color combinations.

Work with stiff or medium weight fabrics.

Anything too light and flimsy won’t hold much shape. This can work if it’s a base garment and you wear something with more shape over it. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking bigger. On the other hand, avoid layering with materials that are bulky. These hefty fabrics add fullness that you don’t need.

Wear well-fitted garments.

Layering clothes that are too small or too big just makes you look sloppy. For plus size women, clothes should fit close to the body without being tight. Jackets should fit in the shoulder and be able to close. Pants should fit in the waist, hip and seat. Use a tailor if necessary.

Go for structured pieces.

Simple clothes with clean lines are very flattering to the full figure. Pick items with details that create shape. For example, wear garments with empire or cinched waists. Try well placed darts or ruching. Typically, the more seaming a garment has, the better it’ll look on a super curvy body.

You can always fake it.

It’s not necessary to wear multiple garments to get the layered look. There are plenty of items on the market to help you achieve it. Wear a cami bra under tops with deep v-necklines. Or choose shirts and sweaters with built-in collars and cuffs that the give the illusion you’re after.