Autumn has been a season of shopping since we were kids, and growing up and getting a job doesn’t change that. For too long, however, finding sharp, fashionable plus size workwear to shop was a daunting task. Just in the last year, I’ve seen the quality and quantity of the options improve tremendously, and if anything, you might end up spoiled by choice. This is the best type of problem to have, but I’ve narrowed it down a bit for my busy professional readers who don’t have the time to scour the internet for a wardrobe update.
Suits: Many of my favorite plus contemporary brands have upped their workwear game seriously this year, adding suiting and structured pieces that are totally office ready, without being boring. The gorgeous navy suit from Mynt 1792 (above right) is a snap to style for the office: With a classic white button down and matte leather pumps, it is boardroom ready. The black faux leather accents make it a no-brainer for mixing with your existing black suiting: Think how amazing the jacket would look with a perfectly fitted pencil skirt; or how hot the tuxedo-esque pants would look with a sharp shouldered long line blazer. This suit has boundless potential outside of work, too. For a night out, you can wear it with the Chromat Curve caged bustier and heeled booties for epic Beyonce-levels of sexy menswear style.
Even some of the more fashion forward, non-traditional styles can work for a corporate setting if styled correctly. Take this deep teal suit from edgy Danish label Carmakoma (above in the Hey Gorgeous! fall lookbook). The sharp blazer is unimpeachably professional, but the tailored jogger pants require a bit of thought for a law firm or an investment bank, for example. The key is covering the sportswear inspired waistband – I’d either tuck in a matte silk shell and blouse it gently, if you plan on wearing the jacket closed, or wear a straight hem chiffon blouse untucked if you want to leave it open. A d’orsay pump and a deliberately severe high bun would complete the look. For the weekend, I’d wear the joggers with a structured crop top and a grey moto jacket.
If you are looking for something a bit less trendy, Eloquii‘s new main line of suiting is classic, with a contemporary fit. Available in navy and black, it is great if you are trying to build up your workwear wardrobe and don’t want the dowdy silhouettes that have too long been the norm in plus. Eloquii also offer coordinating pencil skirts, if you prefer skirt suits. As temps cool, I like to pair rich color opaque tights (like oxblood or deep plum) with my skirt suits to add some personality to the look. Suits free of embellishments also function like a blank canvas for adding a pop of color or print with tops.
Classic suiting should be pretty much seasonless, but something about colder temperatures just begs for a richly textured suit. As part of her first-of-its-kind collaboration with Lane Bryant, designer Isabel Toledo interpreted the iconic boucle set. Of all the suits here, this one requires the least thought in the morning: The top is built right in, because it is actually a dress. Just add sleek pointed toe booties to keep the look from being too prim. Outside of work, the jacket can be easily styled down for the weekend, with skinny coated jeans and a sheer flowy top.
Sheath Dresses: Another classic silhouette that always works for work is the sheath dress. The tailored, close-fitting skirt gives the same effect as a pencil skirt, and looks effortlessly put together with or without a blazer.
This Anna Scholz number is bold and strong, a perfect combination for taking charge of a presentation.
Igigi is a contemporary plus brand known for its curve-conscious fit, and the perfect cut on its “Elle” sheath dress attests to it. I have and love the lace panel version (pictured top center), but I am also loving this graphic twist on the classic LBD.
The print on this ruched sheath from British label Elvi is visually interesting, but not over the top for a more conservative setting, especially when topped with a black blazer. Even better, it is currently on sale for $20!
I’ve rounded up some of my other favorite sheath dresses below:
Do you have a suit or sheath dress you swear by for work? Tell me in the comments. Next up in my workwear series: separates and office-ready a-line looks for days when form fitting is not an option (we all have them!)