Its not you, its the cloth




Do you find clothes shopping takes longer than you’d like because of your size? And when you do find pieces you like, you worry that they might not be flattering?

I hear your frustration. In my experience, many brands that cater for size 18+ use poor quality fabrics and use limited colour palettes and prints.

According to a Mintel report (12 years old, but it’s all I could find!), one-quarter of UK women are a size 18 or over. So why isn’t that reflected on our high street? Imagine if ¼ of the clothes in each store would fit your beautiful body? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it?

Today I’m sharing my tips for confident dressing whatever your size. Please note that your body shape (hourglass, heart, angular, rectangle, pear, ellipse) determines the necklines, sleeve lengths, waist detail and hemlines that would suit you best. Whilst I’m not covering that today, you’ll find plenty of useful tips below to help you confidently create outfits that work for you. 



Dressing for your body shape is simply an optical illusion. If you’d like to give the illusion of being taller and slimmer, try these easy to follow tips.


1. Dress in one tone from shoulder to toe. This doesn’t necessarily mean the same colour, but wearing colours that are as dark or as light as each other can be super flattering. Imagine your outfit in a black and white photo – you are aiming for the same shades of grey.


2. Try to create a column of colour within your outfit to give a similar effect as in tip 1.

Two ways to do this are:

      • Choose either a matching top and trousers/skirt with a contrasting or tonal colour worn over the top. These layering pieces could be long open cardigans, (sleeveless is a good option for summer), shirts worn open, a longline jacket/blazer, a duster coat or even a beautiful kimono style jacket. This creates a column of colour down the centre of your body and the interest comes from the layering piece.
      • Or, try a coloured or patterned top under an open cardigan/ shirt/ jacket/ duster coat that matches with the trousers or skirt. This way the column of colour is on the outside of your silhouette.

3. Avoid the hemlines of your sleeves, tops and jackets sitting on a wider part of your body. When they finish on your widest parts, it makes them look wider.

      • If your hips are your widest part, wear a top or jacket that sits higher up, on a narrower part of your body. Or go long.
      • If your tummy makes you self-conscious, don’t have your top finish right across it.



Don’t be afraid of colour and print! You do NOT have to dress head to toe in black (unless you want to – it can look fabulous with some wonderful accessories). Wear colours and prints that make you happy. And use accessories – from bold necklaces to carefully placed brooches, hats, fabulous shoes and handbags, you can still have fun with your style.



Get inspired by how they are dressing. One of my favourite people to follow on Instagram, who inspires me with outfit ideas for my size 18+ clients, is Emily Jane Johnston. She’s an American living in London. Her website has a fabulous library of blogs from fashion to travel and lifestyle:




Have a look at these brands for more outfit inspiration. And if you have other great places to shop for size 18+ please share them in the comments.

White Stuff

Studio 8

Marina Rinaldi

Marks & Spencer

Live Unlimited & KIN (John Lewis)

Gina Bacconi


Eileen Fisher



Karen Millen






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