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10 plus-size fashion myths debunked

Oct. 18, 2013 at 1:26 PM ET

Get the truth! Kahlana Barfield from InStyle debunks some common myths about plus-size fashion, such as avoiding horizontal stripes, stiletto heels or oversize shirts.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Horizontal stripes won’t make you look wider
The key here is finding the right width. Thicker lines are best on curvy women, I've found, because they're proportional with bigger figures. Look for ones that are around two inches wide (very thin, close-set stripes have an enlarging effect).

Rayon-polyester sweater, Thread & Butter, $94 (XL–3X); thread-butter.com.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Stilettos are not only for stick figures
Patently untrue. Stilettos elongate everyone's legs, but note: Ankle straps can be tricky since they interrupt the line of your limbs. If you really want legs for days, go for a monochromatic look with matching tights and shoes.

Suede ankle boots, Elie Tahari, $595; at Elie Tahari Collection, 212-334-4441.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Leggings? A great idea
Find ones that have stylish details like leather accents so that you don't seem too casual. Balance your proportions by pairing with a loose top that hits at the mid to upper thigh.

Polyester-rayon leggings with faux-leather trim, Jennifer Hudson Collection, $62 (XL–3X); qvc.com.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Loud prints won’t call attention to your size
All black gets boring fast! When wearing bold patterns, opt for ones in a larger scale, such as the brushstrokes on this dress. When prints get too tiny, they emphasize the dimensions of your body simply because there are so many of them. One thousand teeny flowers aren't better than 100 larger ones.

Cotton jersey dress, Rachel Pally White Label; $264 (1X–3X); rachelpaly.com.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Boyfriend jeans won’t hide your curves
They may not be formfitting, but these are flattering. For a more structured effect, add a blazer.

Denim jeans, James Jeans, $224 (14–26); jamesjeans.us.

Jonathan Leibson/WireImage
Jonathan Leibson/WireImage

Don’t avoid bright colors
No shades are off-limits! I love vibrant hues. But if top-to-bottom color gets a little overwhelming, mix in metallic accessories the way Rebel Wilson does here. This will break things up without having to resort to fallback black.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Sweats are not sloppy
Not all sweats make you look like a slob. In fact, this season is filled with unexpectedly stylish ones. It's my favorite fall piece, and it proves you can be comfy and trendy at the same time.

Polyester-rayon sweatshirt with sequined sleeves, T Bags Los Angeles, $220 (1X–3X); tbagslosangeles.com.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Oversize shirts are not frumpy
Just as with leggings, the trick to wearing this type of top is balance. Team it with pants that hug your hips and are slim through the ankle, and you'll be perfectly put together.

Polyester blouse, Lane Bryant, $45 (14–28); lanebryant.com.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Miniskirts won’t reveal too much
Minis are fabulous — just cover up a bit more above the waist. Try one with a cute long-sleeve sweater or a moto jacket. Not totally at ease with your legs? This is the perfect season to experiment with tights and ankle boots (heeled or flat).

Polyester lace skirt with faux-leather trim, Jessica Simpson Collection, $59 (1X–3X); macys.com.

Dyad Photography
Dyad Photography

Dresses don’t need to emphasize your waist
Some argue shifts are too shapeless, but I don't think you have to emphasize your waist all the time — it's so limiting. Choose a fun design and show off your legs by selecting a hemline that hits at the knee or higher so that you'll still feel sexy.

Jersey dress, ASOS Curve, $42 (14–24); asos.com.

More from InStyle.com: How to Play Up Your Best Assets
Found: The Best Dress for Your Body
Rent the Runway Is Now Offering Plus-Size Dresses



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