Style 101: How to be Fat and Fashionable

Style 101: How to be Fat and Fashionable | Positively Smitten

How can I be fat and fashionable?

It’s a question we received from a reader a few weeks ago, and one that I immediately could relate to. As a fat girl, I know all too well that there’s this misconception about fat people that they can’t — or perhaps, shouldn’t — dress fashionably.

While it’s true that the clothing available to fat people has historically been less stylish and more expensive, designers and clothing companies are slowly beginning to realize we want to feel beautiful, too. Being fat AND being fashionable are not mutually exclusive — sometimes it just takes a little creativity. 

Here are a few tips for easing yourself into becoming “fashionable” — no matter your body size.

How to dress your body

Let’s start with this: there are no rules about what anyone can or can’t wear, regardless of how your body looks. If you have a body, you can wear whatever you like. That includes bikinis (lovingly dubbed “fatkinis”)!

Where to shop

There’s no right or wrong place to start shopping, and I’m a firm believer that you don’t need designer labels in order to make a cute outfit. You can take pieces from here and there, couple them with the right accessories and a bit of confidence, and you can make a great outfit.

Start with the clothing stores below and check out their selection online. From there, you can start to gather a “portfolio” of things you like (maybe even start a Pinterest board that lets you keep them all in one place?).

  • $: Rainbow; Target; Walmart; Forever 21+

  • $$: Fashion to Figure; Old Navy; Gap; Torrid; Ashley Stewart; City Chic; JCPenney; Macy’s

  • $$$: ASOS Curve; ModCloth; IGIGI; Dorothy Perkins; Simply Be; Nordstrom

Tips to cultivate a style

What really matters is finding your style. What do you LIKE to wear? What makes you feel beautiful when you put it on? What types of colors, fabrics, styles are you drawn to? Although your personal style will constantly evolve, it’s nice to have a basic understanding of the items of clothing that make you feel good.

Here are some tips to help you figure out what your style “is”:

  • Forget what you’ve heard about fashion and fat women. There are arbitrary “rules” about fashion: fat women should wear lots of black and avoid colors; stay away from horizontal stripes; show as little skin as possible, etc. The idea is that if fat people follow these “rules” they will look “less fat.” Let’s be real: I am fat and I am not fooling anyone into thinking I’m NOT fat. So scratch ALL of that. Wear what you like, and wear what makes you feel beautiful.

  • Go to a store and try on a bunch of items you like. Don’t even think about buying anything; just try things on. Admire how you look. Twirl in the mirror. Dance around. Whatever! Get a feel for how your body moves in the clothes and how they look.

  • Consider taking photos of how you look in the clothing. But then DON’T look at the photos right away. I’ve done this and then just cried because I didn’t like what I saw. But if you give it a few days, maybe a week, and then revisit the photos, you’ll be less emotionally attached to how you look in the pics and instead be able to see which shapes you like on your body.

  • Start small. Cultivating a style might feel really, really overwhelming at first. So don’t take on anything too big. If you normally wear skinnies and T-shirts, maybe start by adding some accessories or accents to what you already wear. Try a fun pair of shoes or a chunky necklace. Maybe keep your beloved skinnies but try a flowy top that’s similar to a T-shirt, but has slightly more structure. Or try some colored skinnies instead of jean skinnies. Keep the changes small until you start to feel more comfortable.

  • Figure out what parts of your body you feel are best. Ideally, we’d all love every part of our bodies. But that doesn’t always happen. There ARE some parts of our body we like better than others. For me, I like my legs, whereas I am very self-concious about my belly/arms. So dresses and cardigans have become a staple for me — they accentuate the parts of me I like.

  • Don’t force yourself to try or wear anything just because it’s ‘in style.’ There will be certain styles right away you know are not for you. Nix those. Just because everyone is wearing floral prints doesn’t mean you have to — do so ONLY if you really like and feel good in those items of clothing!

  • Consider thrift shopping and straight-size stores. If there’s one thing you can count on in the U.S., it’s that clothing size is all kinds of messed up. This sometimes means straight-size clothes will fit — but you have to try them on to know that! Lots of fat fashion bloggers forgo the idea that you need to shop only at certain stores and instead have great luck/success at various straight-size stores or while thrifting. (But this takes patience. Lots and lots of patience.)
  • Forget what other people say and think. Easier said than done, of course. But seriously, screw those people who think fat people can’t dress fashionably! Do your best to dress the way that makes you feel good and forget about everyone else.

  • Remember that feeling beautiful doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, there is almost never a point in anyone’s life where they feel beautiful constantly. It is a journey. There are moments where we feel beautiful. Cherish those. In time, they will start to feel more frequent.


Some of the bloggers mentioned: Aisha Fairclough/Fat In the City; Georgina/Cupcake’s Clothes; Gabi/



These women have mastered the art of being fat and fashionable. The best part? Their style is all slightly different. Sometimes just seeing a body that looks like yours, and seeing that YES, they are beautiful, can help you start to feel comfortable in your skin, too.

Other resources

Whether you’re fat, thin, or somewhere in between, self acceptance is a really long journey. That’s why it’s important to actively seek out sources that help validate your existence. Try these to start.

Fashion Ave photo credit Glyn Lowe. Fashion blogger photos credit: Aisha Fairclough/Fat In the City; Georgina/Cupcake’s Clothes; Gabi/


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