Vol.1, No.10

Tips on buying a professional skirt suit for plus size women

A good skirt suit is essential for a professional businesswoman. Here are some tips for plus size women to use when shopping for a suit.

A woman in a skirt suit
Photo Credit: Paul Piebinga
Today's professional businesswoman knows that her appearance is very important to ensure credibility in the workplace. A good skirt suit is an essential component for any woman's wardrobe, but this presents a particular challenge for a plus size woman. For years, larger women had to make do with unflattering, polyester pant suits that lacked style and comfort. Today's larger women have more options than ever before when shopping for a skirt suit.

For a plus size woman, choosing the right fit and style in a skirt suit is very important. One's body type must be taken into consideration so that the suit will flatter the figure. Be prepared to try on suits, and wear or bring shoes that are typical of what you will wear with the suit.

The first thing to consider is the cut of the jacket. Avoid short, boxy jackets, and instead opt for a longer length that will skim the hips, creating a smoother illusion. Slight padding in the shoulder will balance your figure and add dimension to the jacket.

Look for a cinched or tapered waist rather than a jacket that is cut straight up and down. A cinched jacket will accentuate the waist while at the same time minimize the stomach. For years, larger women hid their curves under bulky clothes, but today's styles are designed to accentuate these attributes. Hiding under bulky clothing tends to make a woman look bigger than wearing more form-fitting styles.

In selecting a skirt, first consider the length. If you have great legs, don't be afraid to show them. For professional wear, however, a skirt should be no shorter than just above the knee. If you are going short, try a pencil or slight A-line skirt. This, combined with a longer tapered jacket will create a smooth line, emphasizing your waist and legs, and detracting from your hips.

If you are not comfortable in a short skirt, there are plenty of options available. Today's styles are either very long, or very short, and anything in between looks a bit dated. If the suits in your closet have skirts that hit mid-calf, consider shortening them. This will freshen them up and give them new life and extended wear.

Long skirts look better on taller women, but with the right style even a shorter woman can wear a sweeping long skirt. Always go for balance. If the skirt is straight, the jacket should be cinched or tapered, while a long, full skirt looks great with a shorter cropped fitted jacket. Be sure that the skirt isn't too long, and choose shoes that will complement the overall look and feel of the outfit.

Plus size women should never wear skirts with pleats or gathers. These elements add unneeded bulk, and are also very dated in appearance. Ruffles are also on the "don't" list for business wear.

Business suits can be basic colors like navy, black, or gray, but many women are finding that color is okay for certain occasions. Allow the nature of the business to dictate your decision on color.

While most department stores offer fashions for the fuller figure, they do not usually have a wide variety of business suits. For this purchase, you may have to either have the suit made for you or look online where there are many sites offering business wear for the plus size market. Online, you can often find designer sites that have beautiful suits for the fuller figure. Make sure to have accurate measurements for sizing if you plan to order a suit online, and feel free to contact the site if you have questions about ordering or sizing. Make sure that you can return the suit if it doesn't fit right or is somehow misrepresented.