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A curvy girl's guide to summertime dressing for your body type

Ally Hirschlag is a producer/actor/writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY and buys way too many toys for her cats. She contributes to several publications, including Bustle, and The Nerve, and enjoys writing about all things woman. In her spar...

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

Picking out clothes that flatter your body is hard no matter your body type and size. But plus-size women have an added challenge — brands often generalize clothing fit after you pass size 16.

It's as if they don't understand that plus-size women have unique curves just like "straight-size" women. You get up to a certain size, and suddenly the clothes start to feel like "plus-size fits all," but that couldn't be further from reality. Sixty-five percent of Americans are plus-size, and just last year the market generated $17.5 billion in sales. However, while some brands are doing what they can to offer variety to plus-size women, the rest of the market has some serious catching up to do.

With that in mind, there are ways to look at a plus-size clothing rack, and still pick out some seriously cute looks that really flatter your figure. Check out these go-to pieces for summer for each plus-size body type. You'll find a few choice looks go a long way in your warm months wardrobe.

Type: Hourglass

If you've got an hourglass shape, you have fuller hips and bust but a slimmer waist. This type and pear are the most common plus-size body types.

Look: Fit and Flare Dress

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

The fit and flare dress is perfect for an hourglass figure because it highlights the waist and gives great shape to your upper and lower curves. Retro-style dresses like this one from Trixxi are awesome for summer, because they usually have bold prints and look fab with sunglasses.

Type: Busty

Simply put, you've got large boobs, but smaller everything else. You might still be curvy below, but the curves aren't nearly as prominent as what's above.

Look: The wrap dress

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

Wrap dresses are amazing for bustier women because they accent the girls without losing their waist. This Alex Evenings faux-wrap dress from Macy's is killer for those summer evening weddings.

Type: Apple

Like the fruit, women with this body type are widest at their midsection, and slimmer at the shoulders, hips and legs.

Look: The sheath dress

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

The sheath dress works wonders on an apple shape because it hides your midsection, and accents your great legs. This Jessica Howard dress from Macy's would be perfect for work with black pumps, or the quintessential brunch outfit with strappy sandals.

Type: The Pear

The pear is the second most common plus-size shape next to the hourglass. Your widest parts are your hips, butt and thighs, but that doesn't mean you should go hiding them. They're your assets, and should be flaunted as such!

Look: Pencil skirt

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

While you may not think this would go over too well at first, let me remind you, you've got great curves, and the pencil skirt, like this one by Calvin Klein, was built to show them off. Pair it with a flouncy blouse, or cropped, short-sleeved sweater, and you'll be knocking people's socks off.


Type: Rectangle

No defined curves — your shape is boxier, and there's not much differentiation from shoulder to waist.

Look: Cropped top and pants

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

A cropped top and pants will lengthen you, and give the illusion of a waist, especially if you choose dark bottoms and a lighter top. This beautiful floral cropped top from INC makes a perfect set when you pair it with the matching skirt.

Type: Carrot

Just like the orange vegetable, you're wider on top, but start to narrow on the way down. Essentially, your shoulders are the widest part of your body.

Look: A-line full skirt

Here are some helpful hints on how to buy clothes that flatter a fuller figure

This type of skirt will immediately add volume to your lower body, and make it look more even with your top. I love this floral skirt from INC, because it's such a fresh summer look that can dress up or down with a change of shoes.

This post was brought to you by Jockey.

More on plus-size fashion

Breaking the rules of plus-size fashion
16 Totally fabulous leather pieces for plus sizes
5 Outfits that prove plus-size women can wear oversized trends

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