How Do I Choose the Best plus Size Suit?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Buying a plus size suit should be done carefully, as a well-made, flattering one can form the basis of a work wardrobe. Since the same color used in both top and bottom pieces of clothing can be slimming as well as ideal for formal business wear, investing in a quality plus size suit is often advisable. It's better to skimp on the cost of other wardrobe pieces if necessary, or better still, buy quality over quantity, than to choose a poorly made, cheap-looking suit. Look for a color you love in a well-fitted suit in a season-spanning, natural material such as wool or silk.

Plus size people don't all have the same proportions, so it's best to try on different suit styles to find your most flattering look. As a general rule of thumb though, many plus size people aren't flattered by double breasted styles, as the double row of buttons tends to visually increase the width of the upper body. Look for lines in a plus size suit that are vertical rather than horizontal. Vertical seams, long lapels and pin striping help create slimming lines on plus sized figures. Wide lapel collars and cuffs as well as patch pockets near the stomach or hips can all seem to visually add width, so these are usually best avoided.

Usually, cuffed pants on a plus size suit aren't flattering, as they can make legs look shorter. Suit pant legs that taper too drastically should also be avoided in favor of a fairly wide, neat bottom hem that makes the body look balanced in proportion. What is known as the fingertip length can be especially flattering for a suit jacket length for many people, plus sized men and women included. To determine this length, stand straight and place both arms comfortably at your sides to see the points where your fingertips naturally reach. Trying on suit jackets in as close to this length as possible can help you discover whether this tip will work for you.

The overall suit fit for plus sized figures should be one that just skims the body. If a plus size suit is too tight, it's likely to highlight excess folds of fat as well as stretch unattractively at the seams and buttons. Too loose of a fit can add to rather than subtract from a heavy body type. Material that hangs attractively rather creates too stiff or too flimsy coverage is a desirable feature to look for when shopping for plus sized suits. Natural fabrics tend to be a much better choice for plus size suits over synthetics as they may reduce excess sweating by allowing more air flow to the skin.

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