The Best Workwear For Size 16 (and 18, and 16P, and 16WP, and 14W…)

The Best Workwear For Size 16 | Corporette2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on the best workwear for size 16, but you may also want to check out a more recent threadjack on how to look cute for work if you’re short and cusp-sized. 

We haven’t talked explicitly about the best workwear for cusp sizes in far too long, ladies — if you’re a size 16 or 18, what are your favorite stores and brands? Given the fact that the average American woman is now a size 16 and 5’4″, this is particularly a difficult question because with those stats you may fit in regular sizes (e.g., 12, 14, 16, 18), plus sizes (e.g., 10W, 12W, 14W, or 16W), petite regular sizes (such as 14P, 16P, 18P) or that rare bird, petite plus sizes (12WP, 14WP, or 16WP) — this is why women in this size range are called “inbetweeners!” But a lot of “regular” stores only carry sizes up to size 12 — and a lot of “plus” stores only start at 18W. Add to that the fact that most stores carry very few of those sizes on the shelves, and you may be stuck in a never-ending cycle of online shopping and returning stuff, as several readers noted in our post on how to return items bought online. SO. Let’s discuss, ladies: What’s the best workwear if you’re a size 16? If you’re an “average” size and right on the cusp of plus sizes, which brands or stores have you found to be the best for you? What styles of clothes work best for your body type? What brands run small; which run big?  

Psst: If you are interested in plus size workwear, please sign up for CorporettePlus, our newsletter! Signing up helps us gauge interest in the project, and we promise not to blast your email more than once a week at most. (Right now it’s more like once a month.)

Some of the brands I know of include:

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Suiting Brands for Women: Plus Size Suits, Petite Suits, Tall Suits and More

plus size suitsIn case you missed it, we did a major round up of the best suiting brands for women a few weeks ago, from the budget brands to the boss brands. As promised, we’re back with a focus on specialty suiting brands for women — if you’re looking for plus size suits, petite suits, tall suits, or even suits from independent/specialty boutiques, this round-up is for you.

Ladies, if you’re on the hunt for one of these types of suits, which are your favorite brands and styles? Where do you shop the most, and what kind of sales have you found? 

The Best Plus Size Suits For Women

plus size suits

Awesome Options for Tall Suits for Women

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Professional Image, Outfit “Compliments,” and Confidence at Any Size

Self-Confidence | CorporetteWhen you get an unexpected comment on an outfit, does it make you question bigger things, like your judgment? Do plus-sized women need to be particularly wary of such office outfit comments? We’ve talked about when you can tell interns their outfits are inappropriate, and how to react when your male boss tells you you “dress too well,” but we haven’t really talked about a casual comment from a friendly coworker. A big welcome back to today’s guest poster, my old friend Kathryn Rubino, who’s written previously about the perfect plus-sized blazer and DIY options for gaping blouses. – Kat. (And I’m sure she looked FABULOUS in the blouse she’s talking about.)

“What a great top — I mean, I could never wear it, but it looks great on you!”

I heard those words and my blood ran cold, and I stuck a smile on my face and mumbled my thanks. Was this a genuine compliment or was I the victim of workplace shade?  Disturbing though it may be, most professional women have dealt with this sort of thing (Kat has even written about the back-handed compliment phenomenon before). But it is such a ubiquitous problem that for my guest post I wanted to discuss that moment that has you questioning every fashion decision you’ve ever made.

First, a little background  this is a workplace where jeans are appropriate on more than just Fridays. The general guidance is that you shouldn’t look “sloppy” but there is quite a range that is considered perfectly acceptable office wear.

Second, I felt great in the outfit. You know how some looks just put a little bounce in your step? That was this outfit. Yes, the shirt was a bold pattern (shades of taupe mixed with a bright yellow and pink), but I had it paired with a dark rinse jean, a reliable black stretch blazer, and nude wedges. So there wasn’t a lot of the pattern showing, just enough to make me feel like spring had really sprung after this interminable winter.

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The Best Workwear for Plus Sizes

Sejour Micro Houndstooth Suit Jacket

2017 Update: Check out our updated discussion on the most stylish plus size suits, as well as our updated roundup of workwear for size 16 — and please do sign up for our new Plus-Size Workwear newsletter if you’re interested in more plus-size content from Corporette!

We’ve talked about where to shop for workwear if you’re petite and if you’re a tall professional in recent weeks, so I thought we’d continue the series today with a look at the best plus-size workwear. I’m going to sort it into three categories: regular plus sizes (generally 14W-24W), petite plus sizes, and regular sizes 16 and 18, which tend to be incredibly difficult to find.  We’ve discussed plus-size workwear before, of course — in 2008 and 2011, and in 2011 guest poster Kathryn Rubino wrote about her must-have list for the perfect plus-sized blazer — but we haven’t talked about this in a while.  Readers who shop plus sizes — which are your favorite shops for workwear?  How about suiting?  Size 16s and 18s — and petite pluses — which shops am I missing on the list?   (Pictured: Sejour Micro Houndstooth Suit Jacket, available at Nordstrom in sizes 14W-22W for $148.)

Note that we’ve talked about maternity plus sizes over at CorporetteMoms.

Workwear in Regular Plus Sizes

Recommended by readers last time: [Read more…]

Suit of the Week: Talbots

For busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

I’m liking this simple gray tweed suit from Talbots’ today.  I like the ruffled back on the jacket, the full lining on the pants, and the fun black and white pattern.  The jacket (Talbots Grace Fit Donegal Tweed ruffle-back jacket) is $199, and the pants (Signature Fit Donegal Tweed wide-leg pants) are $119 (both online only).  A matching skirt (not pictured: Donegal Tweed ruffle-back pencil skirt) is also available, online only for $119.  The jacket and pants are available in regular, petites, woman, and woman petite’s sizes; the skirt is regular and petites only. [Read more…]

Thursday’s TPS Report: Doupioni ruffle-V top

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

I bought a very similar version of this shirt (in a voile cotton) last year, and it turned into one of my favorite blouses. Perfect for wearing under a blazer (the collar peeks up just so) and perfect for showcasing a necklace. I also like the fact that it can be worn out, belted by itself, layered beneath a tighter sweater, or even tucked. This year they have it in a silk dupioni in regular, petites, plus sizes, and plus size petites in 5 colors: “red desert” (pictured), a light pink, a cream, a black, and a moss green. It’s $79.50 at Talbots. Doupioni ruffle-V top


Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.

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