Fashion for plus sizes is more in demand than ever, with almost 62% of women in the United States wearing a size 14. Petite women comprise approximately 25% of the female population. Fashion is becoming more and more versatile, appealing to many body shapes and sizes. Knowing what to look for and what to avoid can make the process of shopping productive and even fun.


How clothes fit the body is the most important aspect of dressing a full-figured woman. If the clothes are too large or too small, it makes the body look bigger than it is. Draping is important for full-figured woman, meaning the clothes should lightly skim the body and have some movement. Avoid clothing that is too big.


If the length of the top or pant is too long, it will swallow the woman, making her look sloppy. If the garment is too short, it will appear small and ill-fitting. It is important to buy pieces that fit around the arms, bust, waist, and thigh. If the piece is too long, a good seamstress can tailor the garment to the perfect length. Very few women can buy clothes directly off the rack and have them fit perfectly.

Pattern and Color

Generally plus-size and petite (under 5’4″ in height) women should avoid stripes, specifically horizontal. Stripes often give the illusion the woman is larger than what she is. For a petite woman, regardless of size, patterns are tricky. They often overwhelm the woman and can be distracting. Petite, plus-size women should stick to a smaller print. Monochromatic tops and bottoms (the same color) are ideal for plus-size women. Bright colors can overwhelm, not enhance. Accessories, such as large earrings, can elongate the neck. A large bib necklace can add some color and life to a neutral outfit.


A high heel is a woman’s best friend, especially when the woman is petite and plus-size. The extra length gives the illusion of increased height. A heel also adds shape to the calves and can create the look of shapely legs. Flat shoes do not have to be avoided; a pointed toe is ideal as it can help create a longer look.