Keep cool and stylish in plus-size fashions all summer long.

What Should Plus-Size Women Wear in the Summer?

by Mercedes Valladares

Clothing made of breathable, lightweight fabrics are generally wardrobe staples for all body types during hot summer months. Full-figure ladies can look stylish and on-trend while enjoying the summer rays by implementing a few styling techniques. Flatter your silhouette by shifting focal points and enhancing those areas you want to feature.

Skinny Jeans, Leggings and Jeggings

As skinny jeans, leggings and jeggings -- leggings made of denim stretch fabric -- remain on the on-trend denim list, most plus-size ladies hesitate from wearing these form-fitting garments. Since most women want to diminish their bottom half, look for dark stone-wash colors and pair them with a bold print or brightly colored top. This styling tip shifts the fitted focal point upward, featuring your upper half. You can also wear belts that create a waistline, giving you an hourglass shape.


Excess drape and boxy silhouettes are often comfortable for most, but for plus-size figures, tunic tops with these features often lead to a frumpy look. Look for elongated tunic lengths in silhouettes that shape at the side seams. Choose a printed, embroidered or embellished neckline adding interest to your ensemble. Look for high side vents that will slightly open with natural movement. Tunics stitched to the bottom hem often appear tight around the hips, shifting the focal point back to your bottom half. Wear loose sleeve caps with on-trend lace inserts around the cuffs. This design detail detracts from any tightness framing the upper arm.


On those days you need to go from office to evening, layer your ensemble with a blazer. Whether you choose a pattern or bold color, select silhouettes that shape and define your waist. Wear a blazer with self-fabric ties at the waist or pair a long-length jacket with your ensemble by adding a colorful wide belt to accentuate your shape. Look for blazers or jackets that have a structured or detailed shoulder area to shift the focus upward.


Loose silhouettes do not have to translate into tent shapes. Choose a shift dress -- a column-like silhouette from shoulder to bottom hem that gradually shapes into an A-line body -- with detailing at the neckline or side seams. Look for form-shaping construction details within the dress. Front and back darts -- pinched and stitched fabric areas -- or princess seams -- curved seams that generally start at the armhole and finish at the bottom hem -- add definition to the garment by shaping the side seams. Shift dresses with a slight A-line bottom hem give you extra room around the hip and thigh area, while keeping you cool and stylish during warm summer days.


Although most full-figure women avoid shorts, wearing the right pair opens up the door to endless summer short-style fashions. Look for roomier silhouettes with elongated inseams. These style features prevent the shorts from riding, tugging or gathering in unwanted areas. Read fabric labels for stretch blend fabrics. Designer fashions include these fabrics in a host of patterns and colors while conforming to your body during natural movement. Wear a patterned stretch chino short or wide-cuff culottes with a colorful blouse to an outdoor movie with friends.

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images