Margo T. Lewis, an event designer and owner of New York-based Cake Bliss, is easily one of the most stylish women I know — and I’m in fashion so that’s saying a lot. Though she runs a thriving business and is the mother of four school-age kids, Margo is never too busy to shop.
Soon she’ll start the hunt for hot spring looks that flatter her plus-size frame. “It’s difficult to find trends and quality in plus sizes,” Margo says. Add to this, the fact that like most women, Margo is larger than size 10 and is pear shaped — a 14/16 on top and 16-22 on the bottom. If you’re a plus size, shopping can be daunting.
But never fear, there’s a lot more choice out there these days. We’ve spotted the hottest trends at some great stores and on the Internet for women who wear size 12 and up.
Dresses and metallics are the two top must-haves for spring.
Marina Rinaldi offers a range of both at luxury prices. For more affordable styles check out Torrid for clothes and Nine West for accessories. Both cater to a youthful, trendier customer.
Accessories are a great way to work the metal of the moment. Sling a gold-tone hobo over your shoulder for daytime. For evening, contrast a black or navy dress with a shimmery clutch. Use silver ballet flats to dress up a casual combo of hoodie and denim capris like the ones we chose from NY & Co.
In fact, hooded sweat tops and anoraks are part of a developing athletic trend, which is great for full-figured women who want comfort without giving up style on the weekends.
The variety of dresses available for spring makes the choice easier for full-figured women. A wrap will accentuate curves and is appropriate for a date, a spring wedding or for the workplace. Choose a tent dress for an even newer look. A style like the black and fuchsia number we showed from NY & Co, skims the body and bares the neckline sending a sexy message. Slip a jacket over it for serious on-the-job meetings.
One of the best toppers for a dress or pants is the trench. A lightweight trench jacket is a classic. It fits all body types and is always polished. A navy Marina Rinaldi trench over a saffron yellow dress from ABS takes you from day into evening. Just take the trench off after work and you have a playful, scoop-back jersey dress that’s perfect for cocktails.
While we’re on the subject of jersey, it’s the central fabric for spring. But while Europeans have always been comfortable with knits, American women are just easing into it. To wear jersey well, take a page from the celebrities’ notebook: The key is in the underpinnings.
Nancy Ganz and Spanx are two lines that offer seamless coverage for curvy women. Our model wore Spanx control lingerie and it gave her great control under her jersey dress. With control garments, anyone can enjoy the two outstanding features of the season’s hottest fabric — its comfort and its ability to take color beautifully.
Color is back so don’t shy away from all the gorgeous hues inspired by nature. Incorporate color into your wardrobe tonally rather than wearing several contrasting colors in one outfit — a look that breaks up the line from head to toe and is not particularly flattering on big women. We paired a cornflower blue knit top with a sky-blue tailored pant from Lafayette 148. A metallic reptile handbag from Sang A and Stephen Dwek jewelry complete the look.
Bold necklaces and stunning cuffs like the white and bronze-color cuff from Stephen Dwek are a fabulous way to bring personality and drama to an outfit. And the proportions are great for big women. Try a pair of colored patent shoes too for the same effect.
Spring trends to skip: Go easy on huge floral and fauna prints. Tent dresses in stiff cottons are difficult to wear; too much fabric looks bulky. And opt for capris or tailored walking shorts rather than short-shorts.
Whatever you choose, wear it with confidence. Remember, curvy is in. Just ask Jennifer Hudson, "Gray’s Anatomy’s" Sara Ramirez or Margo. Margo says she hasn’t made her spring purchases yet, but will definitely “be looking for two great dresses.”
Plus-size resources for hot spring trends:
NY & Co (Macy’s)Marina RinaldiOscar by Oscar de la RentaCarmen Marc ValvoSaint JohnABSTorrid/Torrid.comAshley StewartMonif CNordstromLafayette 148Ebay.comJLo by Jennifer LopezMandeesLane Bryant/Lane Bryant.comBloomingdale’s