One would think that due to my size and general girth that I would have difficulty finding clothing, and they would be wrong. Do I have the troubles that every woman has where I shimmy and shake my way into a too-tight arm hole only to have the waist fit perfectly? Yes. But other than that I have learned not only to find clothing that fits my shape but to also learn what works and what doesn’t.
How I ended up gaining a massive amount of weight in a very short period of time isn’t all that exciting but how I’ve learned to adapt is a little bit more interesting. Are you ready for my secret? TRIAL AND ERROR. That’s all. Five years later I know where I can go for which dress and for which occasion and I even know when there’s a sale.
I’m 5’8″. I wear an 18/20/16W/18W depending on who/what/where. I wear a size 11-size 12 shoe. Reading it out like this makes me feel and seem massive. And I’ve gotten to a point in my life and with my body where I don’t think of those numbers as the sum of me. They’re just numbers and I am a woman who likes to shop. So, in the words of Tim Gunn I, “make it work”.
Speaking of Mr. Gunn, here is what the Project Runway mentor had to say about designers – or lack thereof – and plus size clothing:
“Go to Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue, I think it’s the eighth floor, and it’s just a department called ‘Woman.’ It’s rather devastating. You’ve never seen such hideous clothes in your entire life. I mean, it’s simply appalling. Thank God there are no windows on that floor, because if I were a size 18, I’d throw myself right out the window [after seeing those clothes]. It’s insulting what these designers do to these women.”
If you read through the article on Huffington Post you’ll see where he says that most women resort to shopping online as in-store options are so scarce thus my shopping at the same few stores. The interesting part is that when I then wear a dress from a place like Gap or Lands End, places that EVERYONE shops at, my colleagues are often all WHERE’D YOU GET THAT DRESS! IT HAS POCKETS! and I’m like uh, Lands End online. And then they’re all, oohhhhhhh. It’s nice to have a dress that not everyone else in your office has, you know?
So, here are my top 10 plus size dresses for fall. I am now officially looking forward to tights and booties. Happy Shopping!
Skater Dress: Forever 21 1 of 10
Why I love it: This dress looks so comfy. I like to conceal my need for pajamas into something work appropriate.
Featured Speaker Dress: ModCloth 2 of 10
Why I love it: The description says it all: "Kick off this evening's networking event by giving your intro while looking professional and posh". For me it's all about something that can be worn during the day and then into a string of cocktails/evening receptions/fundraisers. This is high on my list of 'Want'.
Cause and Effect Dress: ModCloth 3 of 10
Why I love it: This dress is darling. I feel that looking cute during a long day of meetings makes me feel better about all of the schlepping around.
American Rag Short Sleeve A-line Dress 4 of 10
Why I love it: This screams fall. Add a cardigan and it's perfect for a nice day and an even nicer brunch with friends.
Anne Klein Faux Wrap Dress 5 of 10
Why I love It: Every woman needs a wrap dress. I like faux wrap dresses because it's less likely that the tie will come undone and everyone will see your unmentionables. Truth. The pattern is darling and as with my other selections, it's very work-friendly.
Nordstrom Flocked Skater Dress 6 of 10
Why I love it: Styled exactly as is in the photo and this dress is perfection. Black tights, black ankle booties? Yes, please. Have fun with your clothes.
Talbots Ponte Peplum Dress 7 of 10
Why I love it: It's bright red AND peplum and the perfect length. I want to wear this everywhere.
Lands’ End Elbow Sleeve Boatneck Dress 8 of 10
Why I love it: You cannot go wrong with red knit. Seriously. You will be the most sought after woman in the room. Try it.
A Latte to Love Dress 9 of 10
Why I love it: It's fun. There are stripes and buttons and think of how much you'll want that fun come November.
NY Collection A-Line Shirtdress 10 of 10
Price: SALE $47.99
Why I love it: A-lines are universally flattering and I love a good shirtdress. This can be dressed up or dressed down and yes, I did just purchase it in green. Like I said, HAVE FUN.