Vol.1, No.10

Black in a plus size wardrobe

The function of black clothing in a plus size woman's wardrobe.

A black coat
Photo Credit: Sharon Dominick
Many plus size women worry about how they look in clothes. Most do, in fact. Many may also wonder if there are any basic colors they need in a wardrobe. One stands out: black. Black is essential in any wardrobe, but particularly in a plus size one.

Black has the wonderful property of camouflage and the ability to fool the eye. A pair of looser black pants may not hide the size, but they do hide any rolls and bulges. Somehow, it all becomes much less visible in black. It doesn't matter if the trousers are knit pants or black jeans — black hides a lot of less desirable traits. The same holds true for black skirts.

A matte fabric is also desirable for black pants or skirts. "Slick" fabric tends to catch the light, and outlines bulges. If the fabric must be shiny, it should have a weave that will confuse the eye. Slinky knit is good for this. It is a drapey fabric, but the vertical ridges confuse the eye and draw them down the leg. A pair of black slinky knit pants should be in every plus size woman's wardrobe. They are one of the most versatile garments ever invented.

Wearing black next to the face is a different story. Some women look better in black than others do. Some women do better with an inky black, some with a gray or charcoal shade. Women can experiment with what looks best next to their faces, and should adjust their cosmetics accordingly. Plus size women also should think about necklines that lengthen, such as V-necks and scoop necks. These necklines give the illusion of longer, slender necks, which is always an advantage.

As with all plus size clothing, fit is crucial. Even black will not be attractive if it is too tight, or too loose. A plus size woman should strive for a good fit, and look for tailoring details that will allow the fabric to glide smoothly over the hips, abdomen and rear. Most plus size women have issues with all these body features.

Can a plus size woman wear a "little black dress"? Yes, if the dress fits properly and has room through a woman's trouble spots. A good choice in this category would be a dress that is fitted through the bodice, then either has a dropped waist or natural waistline, and a skirt with movement. Not the traditional "little black dress" perhaps, but more flattering than the classic sheath. Again, choice of fabric is crucial. It should move and drape well.

The other great thing about black, of course, is that it matches almost everything. Like khaki, it is a true neutral and works with nearly every other color. It can also usually go casual or dressy, with only the addition of a piece of sparkling jewelry, or a silk scarf.

A plus size woman wanting to add more black to her wardrobe should probably focus on a couple of pairs of pants and a good skirt. Getting these basics in her closet will help her look better, and ultimately, feel better about herself.