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Every good wardrobe needs basics. These pieces make putting together a stylish ensemble easy because they serve as the foundation of your outfit. The not so easy part is finding these pieces when you are building a plus-size wardrobe. Lucky for you, I did all of the work and put together this list of the best plus-size wardrobe basics.
Personally, I have a long torso and an apple shape. I carry most of my weight in my stomach. I prefer shirts that are longer and pants that have a medium to high waist. I know that every plus-size lady has their own unique shape, style, and preferences. While I shopped for these basics for my body type and style preference, I think most of my selections are fairly universal.
Tshirts and Tank Tops
Even if your style is more classy than casual, it is good to have both T-shirts and tank tops in your wardrobe. Even if you won’t wear them to work, they may be the perfect thing to wear to that company volunteer gig at the food bank.
My top recommendation for an affordable t-shirt is the EveryWear from Old Navy. I prefer the V-Neck but they also have a Crew-Neck option It is thinner material but I like that it is long enough to be tucked. Also, the colors change seasonally, so make sure to check back every few months for new color options.
If you are willing to invest, you can’t beat Universal Standard. I always opt for the V Rex which has a v-neck, but you can get a crew if that is your preference.
During the cooler months, a casual long-sleeve top is great for layering under a vest or worn alone with jeans. You can get both the Old Navy EveryWear and Universal Standard V Rex in a long sleeve.
Tank tops are another piece that you will want all year. They are great for layering for a bit of added warmth, are perfect for wearing under a sheer top, and can make a low neckline less revealing. My favorite tank tops are from Target. During the summer when there are more colors available, I stock up.
A good white shirt really adds to your wardrobe. They can be worn alone with jeans for a more casual look or they can be dressed up with a blazer.
I recommend having two white tops in your closet, one button-down and a wild card option. I really like the notch neck shirt for wearing alone or layering under a blazer. Pairing a collar with a blazer can look a bit too corporate office, if you get what I mean. Of course, that might be the look you need if your job has a conservative dress code.
If you splurge on one item, let it be on a blazer. A great blazer can be dressed down and worn with jeans or dressed up for the office. However, a blazer that looks cheap or doesn’t fit right will always look frumpy. Find the best blazer that fits your budget then get it tailored to fit perfectly.
Unless you want to buy new blazers every year, opt for options in more classic cuts and stay away from trendy styles. The classic black blazer in a longer length looks less stuffy but still polished.
Dressy Black Skirt or Pants
Working from home means I don’t have a lot of need for workwear but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a pair of black dress pants on standby. Should I have an interview or a formal business meeting, I will be glad I have them. If you work in an office with a dress code, you will obviously need more than one option in your wardrobe.
When I worked in an office I preferred an A-Line skirt, but you might find you like a pencil skirt better. It is really just a matter of personal preference. Of course, you could skip the skirts altogether and wear pants. The ankle-length is flattering, you don’t have to worry about them being too long, and they can be worn with a variety of different shoes.
Even if you would rather wear sweatpants or joggers all day, you need to have a few pairs of jeans in your closet. If it has been a while since you have purchased jeans, you probably also need to update the styles to something more current.
When it comes to plus-size jeans, I turn to Madewell, Eloquii, and Universal Standard. I know those stores can be expensive, but the quality is great. One really nice thing about Eloquii is that they offer three different cuts so you can find the perfect fit for you. The classic fit for those with a proportional waist and hips. Viola for fuller hips and Gena for a fuller waist.
Leggings and Sweatpants
While I highly recommend that you don’t wear leggings or sweatpants every single day, they are nice to have as an option. Pair them with t-shirts and a cardigan, a long sweater, or a sweatshirt. Throw on some shoes and you are ready to go.
Before I had kiddos, I belonged in the leggings are not pants camp. Now I live in leggings at home. I will wear them out to the grocery store or carline with a long sweater or a cardigan. I only wear these Old Navy leggings. They are the perfect combination of comfortable and affordable.
Underneath It All
I am not a shapewear girl at all. I don’t like feeling like a sausage about to explode. That being said, I do have a few suggestions for those times when you may need something underneath all of your clothes.
If you have a sheer shirt or want to wear a smoothing camisole this Spanx one will do the trick without being too uncomfortable. Now for the best find of all, the Knix Thigh Saver. They come in a ton of nude tones and there are two lengths! I have a pair of 4-inch shorties that I wear with knee-length dresses. They have no compression so you won’t get any smoothing with them.
PS. If you order from Skims, make sure to size up at least one size.
Tips For Making Your Plus Size Basics Last
Since your basics will get the most use it is important to make sure they last. If possible try to get as many wears out of your basics before washing. If you only wore something for an hour you likely don’t need to wash it. Also, make sure to follow all washing directions carefully.
You will also want to buy the best quality you can afford. With these pieces, quality is more important than quantity. A nice blazer or a high-quality pair of jeans is going to last longer. Really look at the material, the cut, the lining, and the hems of all of your wardrobe basics.